(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of stories about Bellisario College students doing summer internships.)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa .– For Morayo Ogunbayo, a journalism student at Penn State, discussions with her parents have often been about politics and the news headlines. These family conversations helped lay the foundation for her career path.
âJournalists were really respected in my house,â she said. “I think that made me want to become one.”
Ogunbayo retained this energy in high school as captain of the debate team and editor / editor for the school’s news magazine. She saw an opening to continue her passion at Penn State. She was awarded a Bunton-Waller Fellowship from Schreyer Honors College and saw a multitude of opportunities at Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
âGrowing up in New York City, Penn State is always on your radar,â she said. “I knew Penn State had an important and extremely prestigious journalism program.”
In high school, Ogunbayo moved to Atlanta. She visited the University Park campus in her senior year, and that visit sealed the deal. She remembers visiting the Carnegie Building and walking across campus.
âI always knew there were good sports and good people. It really made me excited to want to go, âshe said. âSo I came for a tour and I remember thinking it was a really nice college town. I really like it. “
This summer, Ogunbayo is found across the country. She is an intern for the San Francisco News Chronicle. Meetings with editors and other writers are virtual, but she covers stories and conducts in-person interviews. Only a few weeks after the start of the internship, she had already completed five articles.
âEvery day I wake up and see what to do. I make sure the photos are there and I organize interviews, âshe said. “I interview people and beg sources for things they need to send me.”
Ogunbayo reports to the editor of Agenda, the Chronicle’s arts and entertainment section. She enjoys the freedom to report from the field and to meet and interview people in person. She also enjoys the weekly virtual meetings with the newspaper’s editorial team.
“It was cool to be able to do a lot of things on my own,” she said, “but also to have some close advice to make sure I’m doing it right.”
In its first month, Ogunbayo covered the Juneteenth celebrations, a film festival and the premiere of a television series. She interviewed poets, producers and community organizers. Although it was surprisingly cold, she enjoyed San Francisco and discovered the city. Writing is Ogunbayo’s favorite part of journalism and she loves seeing her signature.
âSeeing an article you wrote in the newspaper has always been really cool,â she said.
âI feel supported at Bellisario College. All of my teachers want to help me and really care about my aspirations. “
– Morayo Ogunbayo, journalism student
The resources, opportunities and contacts at Bellisario College have helped Ogunbayo build his creative career. She wrote for The everyday schoolboy and was editor-in-chief at Valley Magazine, a student-run lifestyle magazine. She has completed other internships that she has found, such as The Chronicle, through the Career Services office at Bellisario College. Relations with professors were also invaluable.
âI feel supported at Bellisario College. All of my teachers want to help me and really care about my aspirations, âshe said. âEveryone is extremely helpfulâ¦ I can’t even name all the teachers who wanted to help me succeed.
One of his mentors, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Gary Abdullah said he expects Ogunbayo to be a “barrier breaker.”
âMorayo operates at a different level from the vast majority of the student body,â he said. “She firmly believes that she can accomplish anything.”
Ogunbayo’s curiosity and determination will guide his success, according to Abdullah. She doesn’t see any obstacles. She sees challenges to overcome.
“It is this attitude that sets Morayo apart from the rest,” he added.
This fall, Ogunbayo will be doing an internship at Bellisario College Journalism project in prison. She is a member of the student group EcoReps and is minor in durability. Writing will always be a part of her life, but Ogunbayo said she could see herself working as an environmental lobbyist or joining a sustainability think tank.
âIt’s probably one of the biggest issues of our time, and I just feel like I have to find a way to do something,â she said of her minor in sustainability. âI’ve always wanted to help drive sustainability forward and do what I can do. “
A noble and stimulating cause. Can she tell the difference? Abdullah says Ogunbayo’s level of greatness has yet to be determined and that it is “entirely up to her”.