A last word: farewell from The Eagle's class of 2022
The Eagle's class of 2022 reflects on their time on staff
As The Eagle wraps up publishing for the spring semester, we’d like to take a moment and recognize the hard work of our graduating seniors. The Eagle’s class of 2022 has worked tirelessly to make The Eagle what it is today and we are so proud of them and their achievements.
On her last day as Editor-in-Chief, Clare Mulroy wrote about the community that The Eagle provides and the people who make up this community.
“The Eagle is home to 115 staffers who act in different capacities to keep this organization up and running. We’re made of news reporters with a passion for local news reporting and administration accountability, life staffers who channel their talents into features and coverage of concerts and performances, opinion writers with an argument to share and a voice to do it, sports writers who know college basketball and lacrosse better than anyone else,” Mulroy wrote. “We’re made of photographers with an eye for capturing small moments at protests or field hockey games and graphic designers who will create a mind blowingly complicated design and jokingly tell you, yes, graphic design is my passion. We’re made of social media editors with a talent for grabbing your attention and copy editors with a keen eye for mistakes.”
Each and every graduating class from The Eagle leaves a mark and these seniors are no different. We congratulate our entire class of graduating seniors and invite you to read some of their reflections below:
Elena Arango, El Águila Copy Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Spanish Literature
I decided to join The Eagle a few months ago. Now, looking back at this decision, I am forever grateful for it. Having the opportunity to join a team full of hard-working, inspiring and caring people has helped me motivate myself to continue pursuing my dreams as a journalist.
I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all The Eagle staff for always being so welcoming and supportive of me. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you all.
Before saying my final goodbye, I would like to thank Clare for giving me the opportunity of joining such an amazing team of dedicated journalists who always strive to deliver the best possible. Pablo for listening and being patient, very patient, with me all the time, and for giving me a platform to use my voice as a Latinx journalist. I leave a part of me in Cafecito Break, a space for students with Hispanic backgrounds to have a space to discuss a wide range of topics. Disfrutenlo y se los encargo, pues es un proyecto que me hace profundamente orgullosa!
To all my graduating peers, I wish you the best of luck in this new chapter of your lives. May God fill you with blessings today and every day. May he guide you towards pursuing all your dreams and finding happiness in the little things. I know you will all become outstanding professionals in the fields you choose and inspire others who follow you.
Always shoot for the stars, you might become one! I will cherish all my moments at the office forever, and keep them close to my heart. Congratulations to all the Class of 2022, we made it!
Keely Bastow, Assistant Copy Editor, Master's in Journalism and Public Affairs
I am lucky to have had this time on The Eagle as a graduate student with only one year at American University. I joined The Eagle interested in the dynamics of a newsroom and I was blown away by the professionalism and expertise of the copy editing team, reporters, digital team and of course our Editor-in-Chief, Clare. In my semester at The Eagle, I have had the privilege to work on breaking news and investigative stories about some very important topics, like the University distributing counterfeit masks and mishandling of disability accommodations. This semester has thrown a lot at our team and through it all we have handled it with grace.
The Eagle is a student newspaper, but it is also so much more. Situated in the heart of D.C., Eaglets have a lot more on their plate than the typical campus paper. Our reporters cover some of the same topics as national papers and are held to the same standards by our editors. Working on this team with such skilled students has been inspiring. I am leaving this experience hopeful and excited to see where such talented journalists end up. I know I am a better journalist and editor because of my time on The Eagle.
Owen Boice, Satire Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
When I applied to The Eagle in the first semester of my first year at AU, I knew I wanted to do something in the Opinion section. That said, I didn’t have a strong preference for being an opinion columnist or a satire columnist. Apparently, the writing samples I submitted were so sarcastic that the staff decided to place me in the satire section. I don’t know who made that decision, but I truly thank you! Writing over 30 satire articles has been a welcome break from the pressures of academic life.
No doubt some of my articles have covered more serious topics than others. In fact, one reason I enjoy satire is how versatile a genre it is. Satire can address any issue and evoke nearly any mood. Since taking over the role of Satire Editor last year, I often found myself noticing events on campus with an eye for how to turn them into satire articles. This is a habit I will cherish going forward and it will remind me of fond memories. Best of luck to my fellow graduating colleagues and those of you continuing to write for The Eagle.
Sara Campbell, Sports Staff Writer, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science
For the first two years of my college experience, I was always intimidated to join The Eagle and let the feelings of imposter syndrome prevent me from submitting my application. At this school, The Eagle means business. Unlike other student-run publications at other universities, The Eagle replicates a lot of real-world journalistic experiences. Knowing this, when applications would come back around, I always began to fill them out with the intention of submitting them, but I never did.
It wasn’t until I had a class with a staff writer, since turned Managing Editor of the Sports section, that I decided to apply and finally submit my application. I can’t talk about my Eagle experience without thanking you — Ben Morse. If it wasn’t for your belief in me, I would’ve never applied during my last year at AU. Not only that but your perpetual faith and confidence that you maintained in me when I actually became a staff writer meant so much to me. Thank you for all that you have done for me even beyond The Eagle.
I also wanted to thank Spencer Nusbaum for making my transition into the Sports section as seamless as possible. As a senior surrounded by younger writers, I felt out of place. Your kindness and willingness to help me with the little things, such as offering to help me with my first interview for The Eagle, early on meant so much.
I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to write for the Sports section because I got to watch and write about something that is personally meaningful to me. Had Ben Morse not convinced me to apply and had I not joined, I would’ve never discovered how much I truly love to write about soccer and experience sports journalism. I also would’ve never met some of the most memorable people I’ve come across during my time at AU. I have no doubts that everyone is going to succeed beyond expectations. Good luck to you all, I can’t wait to read your articles someday!
Chloe Irwin, Audio Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
I didn't join The Eagle until my junior year, in the height of lockdown. After everything moved online, I was looking for a new way to find community on campus. I applied having almost no journalism or multimedia skills to speak of, immediately after I decided to be a journalism major, too. In the past two years, I am so grateful to The Eagle for helping me grow as a journalist and as a person. I have loved getting to hear everyone's podcasts every week, and to help with print every semester (after learning how to put together a print edition on the job). As multimedia editor, I learned how much grace everyone on The Eagle's team has as they put up with me asking what felt like hundreds of questions on what makes a good sports photo or trying to put words to an edit on a graphic, which often escaped me. I am so proud to have been a part of The Eagle for the past two years, and I have felt so welcomed into this community. I am sad to be leaving, but I cannot wait to see what The Eagle does next. I know no matter what, this team will continue to do amazing things, and it's been an honor to work with so many wonderful people!
Stella Lynch, Photographer, Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Strategic Communication
I can’t believe I’m writing a farewell letter! I don’t think it’s hit me yet that college is over and so is my time at The Eagle. I had a short run on staff as I started the summer before senior year and I wish I could go back and start as a freshman.
The work I did this year pushed me out of my comfort zone and refined my skills, but that’s not what stands out when I look back at my time on staff. The people who are a part of, and run, The Eagle is what made my experience so amazing. Everyone I had the pleasure of talking to and being around was so kind, smart, funny, the list goes on. It was truly an inspiration being around such driven and focused individuals.
Yet, hands down my favorite part of The Eagle was watching my best friend since Eagle Summit and roommate of three years run this paper with grace, relentlessness and compassion. Clare, I’m so so proud of you and all you continue to accomplish. College wouldn’t have been the same without you. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the both of us. AU and The Eagle, you will be missed!
Pablo Molina Asensi, El Águila Managing Editor, Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
I still remember the first time that the idea of joining The Eagle crossed my mind. I was a freshman finishing my first year in the School of International Service and the president of a club I belonged to at the time sent me the link to apply to The Eagle. By that point, I had not yet started my communication minor, and the very idea of it seemed preposterous. While I knew that I was interested in pursuing journalism, I had no relevant experience, no understanding of the intricacies of writing for a newspaper and no material with which to apply. I decided to wait until a year later, when, having finished my Writing for Communication class, I finally decided that I was ready to take the jump.
I spent my first semester at The Eagle as an assistant copy editor, which meant that I spent a lot of time exposed to the excellent writing and journalism that everyone in this team produces. Despite this, my first semester on The Eagle was a hard one. Due to COVID-19, I spent most of 2020 and half of 2021 in Spain, and the experience of not being able to go to in-person news shifts and having to stay up until 3 a.m. for editorial meetings due to the time difference was often isolating and stressful. After one of the hardest semesters of my academic career, I was not sure I wanted to continue my work at The Eagle.
However, when my friend Lee encouraged me to apply to be El Águila’s first Managing Editor, I was tempted. Once again, I took the jump, and I can now say that it was worth it. Throughout all its ups and downs, and all the growing pains of The Eagle’s youngest section, I have seen El Águila grow from a small Spanish-language initiative to its own space within the paper. We published pieces that I had wanted to see written from the very beginning, we started a podcast and we built a community.
There are a lot of people I want to thank. First, Sophie Austin and Clare Mulroy for believing in me and in the promise of El Águila. With all my heart, I want to thank Lee Clarke, for being a true friend in our brightest times and in my darkest. I want to thank the entire Eagle family just for being there in this last, complicated year of my undergraduate career.
Most importantly, I want to thank everyone in El Águila. Thank you to everyone who has ever been a part of this section, and a special, heartfelt thanks to our team for this past spring. To Sophie Cazares, Elena Arango Ulloa, Daniella Jimenez, Nick Blanco and Aline Behar Kado, gracias. Gracias por todo.
I was always meant to be a transitional managing editor. The rest I leave to you.
Grace Newton, Assistant Online Editor
Unlike a lot of other college students, I knew immediately what my major would be when I got here: journalism. But like a lot of journalism majors, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the field. The Eagle staff over the past four years has helped me foster an environment where I could explore my interests and discover what I want to do. I was scared walking into my first ed board freshman year, which I now realize is silly, because the room was full of my future friends, support system and colleagues. The experience and friendships The Eagle has provided me with are invaluable. Walking into that ed board freshman year was, without a doubt, the best decision I’ve made. I want to thank all the EICs I’ve served under including Haley Samsel for being such an impressive role model, Sophie Austin for guiding me through the reporting of a story that won me my first award and Clare Mulroy for being not only the most qualified leader I’ve ever met but being an even better friend (and keeping me up to date with all thing Euphoria). Izzy Wolf, thank you for everything. You’re truly a star and your strong partnership throughout my years on the Online team means everything to me. And thank you to Eliza Schloss for bringing me comfort knowing the Online team will remain in exceptional hands. Thank you to Spencer Nusbaum, for showing me what true dedication looks like and for motivating me to work harder every day. And lastly thank you to Lydia Calitri, you were the first editor I worked under on The Eagle and four years later you’re still guiding me and helping to shape my journalism career. Thank you for taking me under your wing in so many ways and for being the best friend, colleague, and mentor I could ask for. The Eagle staff will always have a special place in my heart. To this wonderful newspaper, thank you for everything.
Spencer Nusbaum, Former Sports Managing Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
The Eagle is full of geniuses. All geniuses make mistakes, though, and that’s why I got to run our sports section for nearly two full years. Even though sports didn’t exist for about 80 percent of my tenure, I loved my time at this paper — and that’s because of the dozens of people who made me believe that I belonged. So, I’ll cap off my four years here doing what I do best: going egregiously over the word count.
To start: Kimberly Cataudella, I probably wouldn’t be in journalism right now without you. When I came to college, I wasn’t good at writing, but you made me feel like I was and that was all I needed. Alec Branch, Liah Argiropoulos, Andrew Powers, Jon Kolodny, Cameron Fisher, Lee Clarke, Ben Morse and Alex Walulik, and everyone I worked with on the sports staff, I know you made every other managing editor envious of my job. I think the sports section has a tendency to get overlooked, but your incredible work and personality made us impossible to avoid.
Haley Samsel, Lydia Calitri, Sophie Austin and Clare Mulroy, you are all saints. Haley and Lydia, you are both funny and incredible journalists, which is a rare combination, and you made me feel welcome as an underclassman. Sophie, you are probably the best journalist I’ll ever know, and you put up with me for a whole year. Clare, I bailed on you as an editor one week into my senior year, and you treated me with kindness and friendship anyway. You both rock. Thank you for always valuing my input.
There are so many others who I didn’t work with directly but made my time at The Eagle unforgettable. To Dan Papscun, who is humble despite being your favorite journalist’s favorite journalist. To Abbie Veitch and Grace George, who made it impossible for me to leave my Zoom camera on during Ed Board and news shifts because I couldn’t contain my laughter. To Georgina DiNardo and Sam McAllister, who became great friends as the years passed. And most importantly, to Grace Newton, who I believe in more than anyone else I’ve ever believed in, and who believes in me the same. You all have a special place in my heart and helped me find comfort at AU. I’m going to remember the moments with you all more than any story I wrote.
Dan Papscun, Investigative Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
It’s at moments like these that I wish I was a better writer.
If I was, I could better explain to you how much The Eagle has meant to me over the last four years. I’d explain how I can’t imagine my time at American University without it, and how to me, The Eagle is AU, because almost every experience I’ve had at this school has been filtered or shaped, improved or recorded through The Eagle. I cannot separate the two.
This place has provided the opportunities of a lifetime, even if they were sometimes painful and seemed pointless in the moment. From covering Student Government with my now-roommate and friend Asher Weinstein to stumbling our way through the early days of the coronavirus pandemic with Fariha Rahman, Lydia Calitri, Brianna Crummy, Nina Heller and so many more, The Eagle’s staff are what truly defines it.
It would be futile to try to list everyone here, but I would be remiss not to mention the role models I look to constantly for inspiration: Haley Samsel, who welcomed me even when I wasn’t sure of my place and who remains the voice of reason when things get tough; Sophie Austin, who showed us all how to lead a newsroom during one of the hardest times any of us could imagine and dealt with my em-dash obsession more gracefully than I deserved; Spencer Nusbaum, who seems to believe in me more than I do myself and consistently pushes me to do better; Clare Mulroy, who really needs no explanation but has dedicated more of herself to The Eagle than I ever could have or thought possible; and Skye Witley, who is simply one of the best reporters I’ve ever known.
There are so many more staff I should mention, both past and present, but you know who you are (and the limitations of word count). Suffice it to say that I am honored to have worked with and learned from you all. I would not be the same person otherwise.
Looking back at the last four years, I can honestly say that joining The Eagle during those uncertain first weeks of freshman year was the best decision I’ve ever made. Where else could I have learned how to report, write, edit and photograph? Where else would a community like this welcome an unsure, self-conscious and self-doubting person like me? Where else would have taken the pandemic in stride, learned from it and produced some of the best reporting I’ve ever seen despite being limited to Zoom meetings and the impersonality of Google Docs?
Thank you all for the honor and opportunity of knowing you for the last four years. I will always be overjoyed to buy you a coffee in thanks.
Fariha Rahman, Features Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government
As I reflect on the memories of my three years at The Eagle, I remember the terrifying feeling of talking at pitch meetings, and looking at all of the older editors who sat together at the front table. Everybody just seemed to know what they were doing and I was completely out of place. I just wanted to write news that mattered, I wanted to make an impact. But things quickly changed after I found my footing, which was way after I published my first story. Soon enough, I was sitting at that front editor table.
In the three years that I was on The Eagle, approximately half that time was in person and half that time was online. However when I reflect back, my memories were largely the same. Creating the community engagement position with Lydia Calitri. Asking Abbie Veitch for editor advice. Midnight coronavirus update meetings with Dan Papscun. Calling Nina Heller in California while she drove home from work every single day until we finished our Greek life story. Countless calls to Sophie Austin regarding possible lawsuits. My first print byline. My first print cover.
In my time at The Eagle we created amazing work. The stories we wrote over the last three years were on kitchen tables and in cramped apartments. But my future memories will not be the late nights in The Eagle office or the countless Zoom calls or the difficulty of getting comments from the administration, it’ll be in the people. In making friends with Sarah Matallian, Clare Mulroy, Eliza Schloss and Nina Heller. In becoming a mentor to the next generation in Abby Turner. To the amazing women of The Eagle who came before me, just know that I consider all of you an inspiration. To the incredible team of news editors I worked with this semester: Nina Heller, Jordan Young, Kate Corliss, Skye Witley and Dan Papscun, we did it. I couldn’t be happier or more proud. I’m gonna miss you all. And to all future Eagle generations; your ideas matter so say them, make space in journalism for yourself and student journalism is real journalism and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. My goal when I joined The Eagle was to leave it better than I found it and I think I did a pretty good job.
Skye Witley, Administration and Local News Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
My time spent at The Eagle was short and sweet. I joined as a news reporter in September 2020, desperate to test my journalistic chops after months spent cooped up inside. Less than two years later, I’m staring down graduation. Choosing to graduate in three years, with half of that spent online, has truncated my college experience and left me longing for more time, especially with this paper.
At The Eagle, I found a community of incredibly intelligent and talented people. I was inspired to be surrounded by journalists with a passion for the craft as white-hot as mine, and that inspiration only grows with every new set of reporters that joins. I credit much of my professional growth to the outstanding editors and reporters I’ve worked with. Highlights include publishing the investigative team’s first project in the office with Clare Mulroy and Dan Papscun after months of work, and revealing that AU was distributing counterfeit KN95 masks. I have also loved every second serving as Administration and Local News editor.
I’m proud to have forged strong relationships with many at The Eagle. To name only a few, thank you Dan Papscun for working with me on my first story and many after that. Your editing taught me a lot, and your reporting inspired me to always push for a deeper story. Clare Mulroy and Nina Heller, no amount of words will convey how much your graceful leadership and friendship mean, so all I will say here is thank you. To every reporter I worked with on ALN, your hard work and scrupulous reporting have meant the world to me. You are going places and I can’t wait to cheer you on from the sidelines. Finally, to the former, present and future staffers of The Eagle, thank you for the community you create and the hard work you put into the best college newspaper around. It has meant the world to me.
Isabel Wolff, Assistant Operations Editor, Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Strategic Communications
Although many of you may not be necessarily familiar with my byline, you surely aren’t unfamiliar with my work. I’ve drafted and edited hundreds, if not thousands of social media posts for The Eagle over the past three years while on staff. The Online team is in a unique position because we support the rest of the staff and only hope to make our peers’ work shine brighter by posting their work on social media. There is a lot of responsibility in this position (which I have never taken lightly), and I wrote a much larger goodbye letter detailing what my work on staff has meant to me in our final newsletter of the semester and my final Eagle Explains ever.
But, as part of the Online team, I’ve been one of the few individuals tirelessly (I’ve quite literally stayed up 24 hours to work on this) working to keep The Eagle afloat over the past few years, I didn’t necessarily do this alone. There are many people I need to thank that have also helped me as well.
First, I need to thank the several different Online Managing Editors over the years: former News ME Kelsey Carolan for hiring me, and Susanna Compare for running the section during my sophomore year. I also need to thank former Editor-in-Chief Lydia Calitri for listening to me and being one of the first to trust me with our Instagram. To Daniella Ignacio, former Online ME: Thank you so much for being my partner-in-Eagle-crime, for trusting me with the section and letting me bring the Online section to life. In fairness, I did do a lot of the work to make Online better, but without your support I couldn’t have done any of it. Thank you so much for everything, your support meant everything at the time and we’re all now incredibly thankful for it.
I need to thank our former Editors-in-chief: Sophie Austin and Clare Mulroy. Sophie, thank you for giving the green light on “The Eagle Explains.” Clare, thank you for trusting me with the section and helping me with my visions to help make Online even better. To our current Editor-in-Chief and former Online ME, Nina Heller: I’m so proud of you and I absolutely cannot wait to see what you do running the whole entire show now. To Grace Newton, our one-time Online ME, our long-term assistant Online ME and our even longer-term newsletter editor: I can’t believe your byline won’t be on the newsletter anymore. I also can’t believe we really spent half our college years working on it. Yes, “The Eagle Explains” was very much my thing, but the newsletter was all yours.
To Eliza Schloss, our current Online ME: I’m so, so proud of you and the changes you’ve made so far. Although we threw the section on you, you’ve proven yourself to be worthy of leading Online. I know you got this and I can’t wait to see what you do to make it even better. I also need to thank the many social media editors over the years. Y’all will always have a special place in my heart because the work is hard and you always deserve a shoutout.
In general, I also need to thank The Eagle staff. I’ve asked a lot of you every week, while putting together “The Eagle Explains” and thank you for participating in my passion project. Also, thank you for making my life exponentially more difficult because I’ve been posting your stories — especially if it was breaking!
Lastly and most importantly, I need to thank you, our readers. I wouldn’t have joined the staff if it wasn’t for our readers and my desire to help inform the AU community and beyond.