Emily Rodriguez-Vargas



Sitting on my interviewee (and recently-found) friend’s sofa munching on deep-fried frog legs from Thailand, I came to an interesting realization: the job of a journalist is to investigate and report, but the work doesn’t always end there.

It’s been truly life-changing for me to watch Asian Americans from various walks of life while covering this beat. At the Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce gala, I watched successful Asian American entrepreneurs receive rewards, ambitious students proudly accept scholarship awards, and others celebrate with their friends.

At other events, I’ve learned more from individuals and the trials they have faced to be where they are now than I could possibly hope to understand from a history lesson. Many of these people are refugees and immigrants. When I talk to them about their struggles as a foreigner learning a new language and adjusting to life in new surroundings, we can connect because I understand what they are going through. I’ve been there, twice.

No, I never suffered from political persecution, and I never spent time in a refugee camp, but I know what strength it takes to carry on and tackle each new challenge despite all obstacles. In a way, these stories teach about how important it is for those who can help, to do so in the best way they can.

While I try my best to convey what I see in a story, I know that I’m the one gaining the most out of the experience. The more involved I get in hearing each story, the more I decide that just writing their story isn’t enough.


As a Colombian American raised in Europe, I love exposure to different cultures, languages, and people. I find myself driven by one passion after the next.

On a normal day you’ll probably find me in the library, lost in an ever-growing pile of books on politics, law and social justice, listening to European online streaming radio stations while doing my homework, or checking up on the latest of my favorite blogs over a cup of tea.

One way to accommodate all of these interests was my decision to double major in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism, and international studies. My minor in French, for which I recently was able to do a study-abroad program in Québec, Canada, serves as my balance and language outlet.

I’ve worked as an opinion columnist for the Daily Utah Chronicle, a writer for Wasatch Woman Magazine, and most recently as a news reporter for KCPW-FM radio. I’ve also loved working on the other side of the aisle in a Utah state agency or in a congressional office in Washington, D.C.

When I find a quiet moment, I like to experiment in the kitchen, attempt to keep my balance through yoga poses, and plan my next adventure. Next up is working behind the scenes of the European Parliament. While I’m in Brussels, I’ve decided to try my hand at photography. I plan to live in Manhattan some day and catch up on all of the books I have on my shelves, just dying to be read.

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