Participating in NextGen’s week of workshops has only solidified my love of radio and the people who work in it. While journalism wasn’t what I thought I would be doing with my life (I majored in cultural theory in college), I’m very happy that it turned out that way.

I knew a few people who had gone through the program before me and encouraged me to apply. They had nothing but glowing reviews of Doug and the learning environment that NextGen creates. I’m happy to report that all the rumors were true. I profiled Sean Francis, the owner of Fremont Music in Lander, Wyoming. As the week flew by, I learned how radio journalism and music can bring people together.

Right now during the pandemic, our job in radio can feel alienating. We write and talk to people all day without having to see them in person. We are creating connections virtually because we can’t meet in real life. While I would have preferred to meet my cohort and all the mentors in person, it was still a breath of fresh air to meet a group of people doing similar things as I am in this era of isolation.

My mentor Brian Bull at KLCC in Eugene, Oregon, gave me support when I needed it and pushing when things didn’t pan out. He’s given me advice that will go directly into the long-term memory folder in my brain. Quotes like, “beware the octopus” are going to go comfortably into my vernacular.

I can’t say enough what it means to be around a group like this. I felt propped up and taken seriously as a professional who’s just starting out in her career. I’m proud of what we all accomplished in our short time together, and I will be recommending everyone that will hear me to apply for NextGen.