India Bown



Throughout this semester, this class has given me the opportunity to have many different experiences, both positive and negative. In all learning situations nonetheless, I was able to gain new insight and perspective on news writing overall. Personally, in terms of disappointments, I’d say I was more so disappointed in how some people value journalism. In the process of getting interviews and involvement from outside sources, it was hard to get engagement with people if you didn’t have a direct phone number. The correspondence took longer than normal, which is to be expected with different people’s schedules, but some responses were a little discouraging. 

On the successful side, I feel like I have learned a lot more about what it means to be a good writer, but also a good news writer. I find the information on the writing process to be very valuable, along with the experience we had as college students to get a feel for what it’s like to work on bigger stories for publication. I think it’s also a success that so many amazing writers also decided to take the class, so there is always feedback when needed. I think collaboration is so important, so taking Voices of Utah was extremely beneficial for my group and individual growth as a writer. 

I’ve learned that if I’m going to partake in the journalism industry, the writing topics have to be more tailored to my interests or things I want to learn more about. Writing within the news industry doesn’t allow for as much freedom and creativity as I’d like for a future career. Writing is and always will be a passion of mine, but when it comes to reporting or going out for investigative journalism, I don’t think those careers work long term for me. 

Opinion editorial writing is more my style and I really enjoy the writing process when it comes to reviews. Other areas of the news industry like design layout also really interest me for the future, so either way at some point after school I’ll be able to try different jobs. 

I fully plan on continuing to explore more Asian American communities here in Salt Lake City. Along with supporting businesses in the area, I want to continue staying up to date on social issues surrounding Asian Americans and be more conscious of community gatherings. The important thing for me is to support local and minority groups as opposed to places that don’t need my business. I won’t just be supporting the businesses covered in my articles, but as many as I can.

Especially now that as a class we’ve gone through so much on the topic, I can only imagine the rest of the history and interesting stories that can be done. I’m not certain if I’ll follow the beat as closely as before, but I will be keeping myself updated. 


India Bown is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Communication at the University of Utah. Since she was a kid, India has always enjoyed writing, and joining a journalism elective in high school sparked her passion for it. For extracurriculars, India is a staff writer for the arts desk at the Daily Utah Chronicle and the communications director for Fashion in Business, an organization through the Eccles Business School.

India continues exploring her interests outside of school, like fashion, arts, and being outdoors. In her free time, India loves making photoshoot sets, styling outfits, and designing graphics/layouts. India plans on meshing her two passions, fashion and journalism, after college and has dreams of one day having her own brand. 

Brooke Williams



The past several months have been filled with learning, discoveries, connections, realizations, epiphanies, and everything under the sun to overwhelm my mind constantly. More than ever before, I find myself asking questions that have no answer at this time, questions that make me think and strategize and wonder about the possibilities, yet none of these could be answered with anything reportable.

As I write news, I often think about how it might hinder my creativity in writing. Being strictly limited to facts and quotes poses a serious challenge for my story writing and makes me feel like my stories are not as eye-catching as I want them to be. I find that my freedom in writing news is not so much about the words I can use to reel the reader in, but it’s the story itself; research and experience and especially interviews can make my stories captivating.

Typing out two hours’ worth of an interview with one person is a daunting task, but I can’t help myself when there is so much to talk about and I really enjoy the conversations I get to be a part of. I was able to use details from my interviews to make connections within my story, using nothing but presenting facts and quotes.

The questions that have taken over my thought space involve my future. I’ve been nervous to graduate college because learning is what I want to do for a living. If I could get paid to be a student forever I wouldn’t think twice about it. The beauty of journalism is that’s exactly what I get to do — except books are replaced with real people and personal stories. I feel like I have a unique opportunity to observe and communicate stories in my community. Everyone lives for something, everyone has some reason they get out of bed every day and more often than not it’s things that the average person is completely unaware of. I realized this when I retired from my Drum Corps International career and started desperately missing the activity that kept me moving. With that piece of me missing it was difficult to do anything at all and finally it’s driving me toward the depths of my community and finding those stories within it.

I went to a friend whom I thought I knew a lot about and realized I will never really know what he knows. We all have crazy unique experiences that are bigger than us. In interviews with my friend, Mitch, I discovered so many story ideas and chose to report on an experience that was dear to him. In learning that story I discovered something that affected every aspect of Mitch’s personal life. Not to mention, it was a global project that does the same for hundreds of others, the very foundation created by people who were so dedicated to pass on these experiences and memories.

I now feel responsible to communicate these reasons to live in the form of stories. News is full of infinite possibilities, and I am in a place where I can be selective of my own education and share it with others.


I was raised in Utah by a single mom, who taught me everything I know about hard work, integrity, dedication and more. I spent much of my childhood and high school days playing softball competitively. One day I had to give up that passion for another in marching band. I truly believe that the hobbies I practiced and the circumstances in which I was raised have shaped who I am today.

Coming home from softball tournaments was very nostalgic. It was normally a long drive home in a sandy uniform at some ungodly hour after the championship game. I was fortunate to be on one of the best teams on the West Coast, so I regularly came home with a trophy and some level of pride, unless it said anything about runner-up on the plaque. My grandfather used to tell me, “You only take first place. You get what’s left.” That is one thing that stuck with me to this day.

Memory is a hazy space. Much of my early years are blocked from my memory yet the idea of doing the best in anything I do was never forgotten. I remain focused and determined to perform at my greatest ability in anything I do. This has been the foundation of my work as a writer. Stories are the single greatest way to communicate memory. Without stories, those memories are lost forever. I have a mission to use these stories as evidence of real people’s real experiences.

I know everyone has something they live for, and I believe their story needs to be told. News today seems so repetitive, abundant in stories about legislative actions and auto accidents and movements, but the elements that make these stories important is missing. Someone is directly affected by these newsworthy stories, and those reasons are what people need to know about more than anything.

I studied journalism at the University of Utah so that I could bring unseen stories to the surface in order to create a more informed and community-oriented society. I saw 42 states in the U.S. during my study. My travels have confirmed the importance of storytelling, but I left my heart in Maryland. Since then, I’ve planned on making my way back to Baltimore to fulfill my need to share stories of the people around me.

Carlene Coombs



Coming into this beat, I was very unsure of what to expect. Admittedly, I knew very little about “the” Asian American community and I was initially apprehensive about my ability to cover the beat accurately. Gradually though researching the Asian American community in Utah, putting together my pitches, and interviewing for my stories, I gained confidence in my reporting ability. This semester has shown me the importance of covering diverse stories. Journalists must strive to tell all stories, especially those from marginalized communities. As a journalist myself, I have the platform to tell diverse stories and I hope to continue to do so in my future endeavors. 

For my reporting this semester, I focused on the Japanese American community and the internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II, which has historical significance in Utah. As I continued my work, I quickly realized how little I knew about the civil rights violations experienced by Japanese Americans during that time. This topic was so quickly brushed over during my high school education that I never fully understood the Japanese American experience during World War II. Learning the story of Chiura Obata and how he used art to cope and help others cope with their tragic circumstances truly opened my eyes. It showed me the importance of telling history from all historical perspectives, even if it challenges your current worldview. 

This beat has helped me embrace being an “outsider” and use that as an opportunity to listen, learn, and be open-minded. Being an outsider to this community forced me to do more research and be a better listener, which will improve my reporting in the future. 


Carlene Coombs is a senior at the University of Utah and anticipates graduating Spring 2023. 

She began studying at the University of Utah in 2021 after transferring from Brigham Young University–Hawaii. While at BYU–Hawaii, she spent over a year contributing to and editing The Ke Alaka’i, a student-produced feature magazine at BYU–Hawaii. Shortly after coming to the U, she joined the staff of The Daily Utah Chronicle as a news writer and will be the news editor for The Chronicle for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

To her, journalism is about telling the stories of everyday people. As she’s continued her education, she’s become passionate about using journalism to tell stories that otherwise might go unheard. 

In her free time, Coombs enjoys traveling, hiking, thrift shopping, and making Spotify playlists.

Alexis Perno



This beat was entirely new to me. Asian American communities have not been reflected in my writing, and I am so happy to have been able to cover the diverse stories within this class. The stories I found under this beat have pushed me outside my comfort zone in ways that have been useful for both my personal and professional growth. 

Covering Mushin Self Defense was especially cathartic given the reason I connected with school in the first place — at the beginning of this semester, I was assaulted during a robbery. Learning more about the school’s evolving history brought me closer to the founders themselves, and I’ve felt more and more at home as I continue to attend my self-defense class. The school’s present-day culture is so different from the history it has left behind, and experiencing the culture firsthand helps me appreciate how far Mushin has come. Journalistically, the piece is easily one of my favorites I’ve written. I don’t get the opportunity to write extended pieces very often, so this deep dive was a wonderful writing exercise. 

I love feature writing. It’s the perfect intersection where creative and journalistic knowledge come together to allow true excellence. Every time I sit down to write a feature, I feel challenged, and this time was no different. Voices of Utah really pushed me to explore the boundaries of what my writing can look like, and I’m very proud of the product. 

As for the future, I’ve always assumed I would end up on a news desk. Now, I’m eager to stay involved with features, especially investigative news features. The stories that combine various genres of journalism and pull from techniques of creative writing are the ones that hook me the most, and I want to keep writing them. 

Both of my stories presented extreme challenges — namely, the timing and sourcing. Coincidentally, I had to completely pivot from both of my original ideas to the existing ones the week of the deadline. Sourcing remained an issue throughout. My video game industry story tested my source-sleuthing abilities in particular. However, Voices helped me think outside of the sourcing box. Instead of being disheartened by a lack of contact information readily available, Voices has helped me shift my mindset to find the lead within the roadblock. From there, I’ve been able to find contact information, even if it wasn’t for the original source I intended. Voices helped me find ways to make things work, no matter what I’m working with.

I’m very grateful to have taken this class, and especially so under Professor Mangun. She’s been an enormous help, and without her constant encouragement, guidance and support, my stories would not have come to fruition.


Alexis Perno is a Communication student, freelance journalist and professional poet. They are the community events assistant at arts nonprofit Craft Lake City and are a current contributor to SLUG Magazine. With aspirations in both the journalism and screenwriting industries, Alexis aims to maintain writing as a core part of their life. Supporting local businesses, music, food and art is a priority for them, and they hope to engage the community both professionally and personally. Alexis encourages you to read the music reviews and community features they love to write at SLUG and learn more about Craft Lake City’s mission to uplift the creative culture of Utah.

Rose Shimberg



I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be a member of Voices of Utah this semester! This class has been an incredible experience and has helped me to learn more about the important issues facing Asian Americans in Salt Lake City. It has allowed me to connect with both people and place and equipped me to do more work like this in the future.

I had some hesitancy when it came to reporting on communities that I do not belong to because I wanted to make sure that I did them justice and represented them accurately. I went into the project mindful of my privilege and intending to be a listener, remain open-minded, and give my sources a space to speak freely. I am grateful to everyone who was willing to talk to me and trust me to write these stories.

This semester was tumultuous for both my reporting and my personal life. I broke my arm shortly before the first story was due and my initial recovery set me a couple of weeks behind schedule. On top of that setback, I had difficulty locating a third source for my first story and hearing back from anyone for my initial idea for story two. Last semester, when I first put together a three-source enterprise story, I heard back from everyone quickly and didn’t encounter any difficulties. But because I had to pivot so many times and think outside the box, I learned a lot more this time around about the need to be flexible and adaptable as a journalist.

My first story ended up being pretty difficult to write and I was disappointed that I had so much trouble finding a third source to speak to. But the sources I did find were excited and passionate, which encouraged me to stick with the idea despite my difficulties. I consulted a wide range of scholarly materials to back their personal experiences with relevant data, which allowed me to make up for the lack of a third interviewee.

My biggest success, in my opinion, was my second story. After my initial idea fell through, I came up with an idea, sourced and conducted all three interviews, and wrote the story in just one week. I cared a lot about my new topic, the Japanese Peace Garden and the recent vandalism that occurred there, and I thought it was a story that needed to be told. It was encouraging to see that even with a busy schedule, I was capable of turning around a story so quickly and creating something I was proud of.

I was aware of some of the issues facing the Asian American community and the rise of anti-Asian attacks in recent years, but speaking about these issues with my sources gave me new insight and perspective. Although it wasn’t directly relevant to my story, one of my sources told me a lot about the history of internment and division within the Japanese-American community, which inspired me to do more research into a topic that I hardly knew anything about.

I also realized that I don’t know nearly as much as I would like to about local politics here in Salt Lake City. Speaking with councilmember Darin Mano was my first real experience talking to a member of local government and hearing about the issues we face on that scale. Through my research, hearing about other classmates’ stories, and speaking with my sources, I have become much more familiar with the local actors here in Salt Lake City. This project has encouraged me to stay more up-to-date on local news and policy as well as big, national issues. 

Everything that’s happening on the national or global level ripples into local politics and local stories. So in addition to raising my cultural and political awareness, this class has also given me a good insight into what life working for a local newsroom would be like. I found it gratifying to tell personal, intimate stories that connect to broader issues, which I think is what local journalism is all about.


My name is Rose Shimberg and my path to Voices of Utah has been a bit unconventional. I grew up in rural New Hampshire and then attended the University of Vermont, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and a minor in Community and International Development.

Geography gave me an understanding of the intersectional nature of the issues facing the world today and a drive to do something about them. But as graduation approached, I came to the realization that I couldn’t envision myself going into that field in the future. Although I cared about the topics I studied, I realized that my true passion, which I’d nurtured since childhood, was writing.

Graduating into a world that had been upended by the pandemic allowed me the time to reflect on this revelation and ultimately decide to do something about it. Since starting journalism courses at the U this fall, I’ve become more certain than ever that I’m on the right path. Although I’m working full-time and am only a non-matriculated student, I hope that the experience and samples I gain through my coursework will help me to follow my passion, go to graduate school for journalism and one day land a career in the field. Recently, I accepted a communications internship at the International Rescue Committee, which I believe will be the perfect synthesis of my undergraduate degree and my recent studies in journalism.

Andre Montoya



Going into this, I did know that the term “Asian American” was very broad, and that it was maybe a little too broad. So, I expected to learn about how diverse this community is to Utah, but I was not expecting to learn how integral it is. My peers wrote stories about bakeries, Buddhist temples, and markets that I didn’t know existed and I’ve lived in Salt Lake City my entire life.

It was a learning process for myself getting to know my community. It also was a big step toward becoming a journalist. I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and pursue ideas that I was not initially sure I could write about.

The part of the story writing process that was challenging for me was the entire interview process. First it’s finding people willing to be interviewed, then it’s the actual interview where I had to have the right questions prepared and maintain a good rapport with the interviewee. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone.

Overall, I know this class has been fundamental to my career development. I was not only able to learn about how the story writing process works, but I was also able to apply strategies in real-time, thanks to Professor Mangun’s help as I powered through the story writing process this semester. Thanks to this class and experience, I know I have a future in journalism.


Andre Montoya is a third-year student at the University of Utah completing his Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Montoya had always enjoyed writing and decided early on to pursue a career in journalism.

While in high school, Montoya started and maintained a newsroom for local teens in the Glendale library with the lead editor of the Westview, Charlotte Fife-Jepperson, and Salt Lake City public library employee Pablo Abarca. Montoya facilitated discussions and activities for program participants relating to writing and self-expression and helped them publish their own original work in the Westview.

Although the newsroom had to be closed due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Montoya still found it a great experience for building leadership skills and growing as a writer.

Montoya plans to graduate in June 2023 and pursue writing locally before joining a larger publication.

Kenzie Wilkinson



For this beat, I initially expected to have a challenging time finding sources, connecting with individuals from the community, and finding meaningful stories to write. I had concerns about appropriately sharing stories of my sources and felt immense responsibility for the accuracy of my writing.

As I began to form story ideas, I found so many individuals who were willing to share their incredible and unique stories. I learned that other journalists are willing to help find sources, and it was inspiring to be surrounded by other journalists who rooted for each other’s success.

I saw the benefits of networking. It is amazing how interconnected we are as a community. Over the course of the semester, my expectations changed once I realized I had access to all the resources I needed. I had higher standards for myself as a journalist and was able to focus on writing techniques, networking, and exploring the best way to structure my stories.

My beat taught me that there are so many stories that need to be shared, and so many lessons that need to be learned. Here in Utah, there’s a story behind every voice and it is my job as a journalist to represent those voices. Reading these stories about people who come from every walk of life allows us to grow and become better. We can learn from the experiences of others, and that’s what this beat has been all about for me.

Being involved in the Asian American community has opened my eyes to the realities of cultural appropriation, the assimilation of cultures, and the difficulties of being part of a minority. Hearing the stories of Asian American sources whom I interviewed gave me the opportunity to empathize, celebrate and be a part of a culture within our community that I previously had little experience with.

Covering the representation of Asian-American fashion in Utah particularly resonated with me because of my desire to be a fashion designer. I was able to understand the importance of properly representing a culture. It was inspiring to see the confidence that came when one was able to accept and have pride in every part of their identity. It takes confidence to show who you are through clothing, and I am grateful I got to cover this in our beat.

I have had epiphanies about how passionate I truly am when it comes to sharing the voice of individuals. I love to write inspiring stories that help us to connect with one another. I have always wanted a career where I feel I am making a difference, and I feel I am doing that with my writing. I feel much more confident in starting out my career through the experiences I have had during this beat.

I have learned that I am capable of handling hard situations. During this course I have been forced to get outside of my comfort zone. I have gained more confidence in my writing and know I could cover any beat.


Kenzie Wilkinson graduated from the University of Utah in August 2022 with her bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in journalism. During her senior year, she completed an internship with the nonprofit organization GK Folks Foundation. As the foundation’s social media manager, Kenzie oversaw creating and posting content on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. She had the opportunity to help fulfill GK Folk’s goals, which are providing mental health, entrepreneurial, and educational assistance to African immigrants and refugees.

Kenzie also participated in an international study program in Europe. There, she got to chase after her main passion, fashion design. She visited Edinburgh, Paris, and London, where she attended workshops and took classes.

Her academic achievements include being on the Dean’s list six semesters in a row and graduating with a 3.89 GPA.

Kenzie plans to attend fashion design school soon and hopes to continue her career in fashion journalism.  

In her free time, Kenzie enjoys skiing, boating, rock climbing, and heavy weightlifting. She is always trying to find new hobbies to add to her skill set.

Devin Oldroyd



If I have learned anything from this past semester, it is that “the” Asian American community is much more present in Utah than I knew. Now that I have written my stories, I see ideas for new ones surrounding “the” community everywhere I look. Because of Voices of Utah, I will keep a closer eye on things surrounding “the” community in Utah, whether that be festivals, restaurants, legislature, etc.

Throughout my experience, I learned more about “the” Asian American community than I ever thought I would. Writing my stories has helped me realize that Utah is full of Asian communities and Asian culture that I, as a white American, an outsider, can never fully understand. That does not mean that I cannot learn from them though.

I have learned so much, particularly, from the individuals I was able to interview. Interviews are something that I have a love-hate relationship with. I would call myself introverted, yet interviewing someone can be so interesting. Learning about somebody’s story or their thoughts and feelings on a particular subject is truly a valuable experience and something that I love so much about being a journalist.

Talking with and getting to know my sources was one of the best parts of Voices of Utah. It was so great. Maxwell and Annie from Tosh’s Ramen in Holliday were so kind and hospitable to me. I was able to coordinate with them when I was coming to their restaurant and they made sure to treat my friends and me with kindness. They checked in with us periodically throughout our meal and made sure that everything was perfect for us.

Everyone at the National JACL Credit Union was incredibly helpful while I was developing my story. They were quick to respond when I reached out and always gave super helpful answers. Overall, I don’t think I could have had better sources.


Devin Oldroyd is a sophomore at the University of Utah. He is pursuing a double major in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism and Gender Studies. He expects to graduate in May 2024.

Oldroyd has a passion for journalism that he discovered in high school when he wrote for his school’s newspaper. He wrote for The Buffalog for three out of his four high school years. During this time, he held the position of both the managing editor and the in-depth page editor.

This eventually led to Oldroyd joining the staff of the University of Utah’s campus newspaper, The Daily Utah Chronicle as a news writer. During his time at The Chronicle, he has published over 30 articles ranging from features to breaking news stories.

Currently, Oldroyd works as a digital content producer with KSL Newsradio. At KSL Oldroyd writes web stories, maintains the KSL Newsradio app and works with the social media accounts sharing stories and promoting the brand. Oldroyd has learned so much from his time spent in the newsroom at KSL and is excited for what the future holds.

Oldroyd finds journalism to be challenging, but very rewarding. He enjoys seeing his work published and is so happy to be able to participate in the final year of Voices of Utah with Professor Mangun.

In his free time, Oldroyd enjoys theater, reading, writing, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.

Leyre Casarin




That is when you need to start appreciating the little things and celebrating the successes. In this class, I tried to go out of my comfort zone since I am not a public speaker and doing interviews for the first time with important people was challenging. I had to go through a process every time which required me to face up to all my fears.

Woooow. What a rollercoaster of a semester! It brought a lot of things on my plate. I want to celebrate the little successes, but I want to start with the disappointments, since, unfortunately, there were more of these.

In this semester, I overcame some disappointments, but I haven’t gotten my life poisoned by them. It happens! Maybe this is something you wouldn’t expect to read…

Disappointments cannot be avoided; they displace and jeopardize our balance. But we can always defend ourselves. And they can even be turned into a springboard to new challenges and opportunities. The secret is to know yourself well, not to cultivate disproportionate expectations and never stop safeguarding your self-esteem. But also, in “not closing yourself to desire” while maintaining the willingness to do and move forward.

Starting from a fact: each of us has happened to be disappointed at least once in our lives, and when it happens, our expectations are shattered and us with them. People, circumstances, contingent situations, everything can contribute to disorienting us and collapsing ourselves. And we are disappointed in love, in work, social, life, school, or sport.

In my case, I had some “down moments” in general. That’s life though. I always wanted to push myself in everything I do and this semester I ended up having six classes, two internships, and a busy schedule with swimming.

I felt like Wonder Woman, but in the end, my physical and mental health were having a lot of ups and downs.

So, what did I do? We can always react, and go through the painful experience successfully, to get out of it positively.

I have regained lucidity and balance by always keeping in touch with reality, with Professor Mangun who was like a Holy Grail for me, with having realistic expectations, and learning to know myself better. Self-knowledge is the basis of a good relationship with reality as well as being aware of our limits and our potential. This nourished my confidence.

I also learned to be more patient because there are waiting times that I can’t control, especially when the people you interview don’t answer you or they are busy. It can be stressful, but the idea of a “race” also comes into play. The fact of not wanting to surrender to the obstacles that life and this class put in front of me. For some people, they are even stimulating because they push them to “get busy.”

Finally, the mutation of disappointment into a vital process is actually the transformation of pain, its “sublimation” into a creative act: “creating” yourself, aware that you can be the architect of your own life, as an actor and not a spectator.

Stick to reality is really important, and the book “Writing as Craft and Magic” by Carl Sessions Stepp helped me. Especially Chapter 6, “Beginning to Write: Focus and Leads,” as that was my major problem. It illustrated the writer’s purpose and all the different types of examples, which were really helpful for utilizing the creativity I knew I had but I didn’t know how to start a story and give order to it.

I celebrated the fact that I have made it through this class, through my swimming career, through college in the United States — which is on the other side of my homeland, Italy — through a culture, system, language, challenges that helped me better myself, be openminded and learn.

Voices of Utah, I will say it again, really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. I have realized I might not be the best person to conduct interviews, and that maybe reporting isn’t my specialty.

I am “pathos girl” and that is why it is hard for me to keep myself out of the stories. I emotionally connect too much with the people I interview.

I have realized that collaboration and constructive critics are so important, and it was amazing to work with fellow classmates and learn from their brilliant points of view.

This is more than just a class. It is a very introspective analysis, and this is what I collected:

  1. In times of crisis, great opportunities are hidden. When everything seems to go wrong, stopping, thinking and taking a good look around is very necessary because it is in these moments that the greatest opportunities and epiphanies/realizations often lurk.
  2. Change is inevitable, it is part of life. Everyone changes, so work on yourself to be one of those people who get better over time. And as doing so, be flexible and adapt to every situation that changed.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This might be cliché, but it is so true sometimes. The things that happen to us, good or bad, are less important than what we give them credit for.
  4. Don’t take anything for granted. While working and readapting the topic for Voices of Utah, there were times where I felt hopeless because I couldn’t see the work I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. But then I remembered that life, your loved ones, your peace, your freedom, your security are still there even when we do not see them. And being grateful for what we have is always a good reminder that it is never the end of the world if an assignment didn’t come out as we planned. You are still doing a good job and putting a lot of hard work into it that will pay off anyway.
  5. The only person who will be with you for your entire life is you. Before worrying about solvable problems, you need to take care of yourself, even if it means to slow down and take a break. More than once, I got stuck with my writings and so I decided to leave the work there to take time for myself.
  6. The ego is your biggest saboteur. Sometimes we create the biggest obstacles ourselves. Keeping it in check was what I learned, and that helped to realize that things were easier than I thought, and I just needed to take that little first step, the start.

The most satisfying part of being a professional communicator or storyteller was having the privilege to meet important people and connect with them. Telling stories about Asian Americans was incredibly helpful to myself to learn more about them. There is always a new facet that the big most popular newspapers/websites miss or do not include. I would say I had some adrenaline while going into the interviews.

I have always wanted to be a journalist or a storyteller. It started with the newspaper in middle school or in the parish and ended up bringing me to college and pursuing journalism. At all costs, forever.

A profession? No, a good mess. Considered too romantic, always much talked about, so mythicized, but most of the time little understood due to the infinite emotions it causes you and which you often cannot tell due to the lack of space. A tender passion which never abandons you and which no threatening “network” or multimedia can turn off. But this is all satisfaction.

When I was writing my stories about Asian Americans, I was thinking, and overthinking, but especially, I was feeling what they were saying.

You have to be pierced by pain, by their feelings, to be able to tell them and give a soul to those thousand or three thousand words… This is why also a reporter can be moved as a human right and as a professional duty.


Leyre Casarin is a senior at the University of Utah and is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism. She is also completing a minor in business. She is a swimmer and part of the Utah swim and dive team, competing at one of the highest levels in college swimming.

She is an international student from Italy, and aspires to enter the digital media world.

Her ultimate dream is to create. She has some long-term projects but doesn’t want to tell them. Superstition! 

As plan B she would love to work in the fashion industry as she has always been passionate about it and growing up in Italy that helped her have a sense of style.

Being a student-athlete, she has faced many challenges that brought her to have good time management. Leyre has had to balance being a Division I athlete while maintaining good grades in order to compete. 

With a new language, new culture, new people and far from home, with double practices almost every day of the week, lift sessions, treatments, and rehab, Leyre had to go through ups and downs that only made her stronger.

As athletics have taken up a ton of her time throughout her life, Leyre is managing to complete two internships as a writer for a sports magazine, and as a marketing intern for the University of Utah Athletics. She hopes to find an internship as a digital media marketer, or content writer/creator within the business, fashion, health, or sports industries.

As she has been into sport her whole life, Leyre hopes to give space to her creativity and focus on her other passions. Voices of Utah is definitely another experience in the books!

Jiyoon Yu



When I heard our Voices of Utah Spring 22 beat is related to Asian Americans, I was excited and nervous at the same time. Because I felt little pressure to come up with a creative topic, it was my first time writing my article.

At first, I felt difficulties collecting and selecting some sources and interviewees. Publishing a story can be a crucial factor in giving recognition to an audience. 

Learning the manner when I do some interviews with people whom I never met was a challenge itself for me. Setting the location, interview times, and making appropriate questions are valuable experiences as a future journalist.

News outlets that thrive now and in the future will be those that can understand and serve the whole of their communities.

I continually tried to consider the ‘Writer’s toolbox’ by completing my article. I’m not an English person, but I believe that text and strong topic sentences have the power to move our minds. Writers should look over their stories before publication. This practice makes a lot of sense in investigative reporting when we interview powerful people for a story. The vast majority of my interviews were not adversarial situations. People I interviewed were often helping me out. In this point of view, peer editing is also one of the essential previous steps. 

The relationships between my peers and me are cooperative ones. We can exchange much advice and get ideas for a wide range of sentence types. Solid supporting details and a nut graph tell the reader what the writer is up to; it delivers a promise of the story’s content and message. All these diversity components need persuasive arguments that this issue has broader, deeper, urgent effects on our news organizations and their future sustainability. It is an honor to participate in this meaningful project, and I’m grateful to everyone around me for helping me develop my reporting and writing skills. 


A graduate of the University of Utah, Jiyoon Yu is a high achiever who majored in Communication. She has a passion for journalism and looks forward to writing her own stories with her point of view as she enters the field of journalism and begins studying.

Jiyoon knew from an early age that she wanted to work as a journalist. Participating in journalism is something she is truly passionate about. Jiyoon enjoys movies and games as much as other people, but she actually views newscasters as the real superheroes in her life. She loved school from the moment she hosted the news as a school announcer. She has loved every minute of her time in the broadcasting booth, from exploring new topics to building strong announcing skills and collaboration with other students. 

Jiyoon is also an active learner of foreign language. In 2019, she was selected for Chinese Language Summer School program from University of Utah Asia campus (UAC) and went to Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) for four weeks. She finds this achievement very rewarding and considers it to be a wonderful experience that will help for her future career. During her high school years, Jiyoon served as a volunteering English tutor, helping students in lower grades master spelling and writing skills. 

She was a member of U-Go-Girl, which is a girls hip hop dance club and Ultimate Broadcasting with Absolute Quality (UBAQ) in UAC. She played a role that allows her to participate in various performances of UAC, such as Incheon Global Campus (IGC) Music Festival. For the UBAQ, she filmed and edited some short films directly to introduce students’ school life and uploaded them on UAC social media (Facebook) page as well.

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