My passion for writing began at a young age as I wrote stories about my hamster, as well as many letters to my parents. Once I began high school my mother encouraged me to take a journalism class to see if that passion would grow into something more. With the help of a wonderful mentor, that journey continued through high school and into college as my newspaper writing opportunities expanded.
Although my journalism career began in high school, it officially took off after I graduated from Arizona State University in 2006. Since graduation, every year proves to be better than the last, offering more opportunities to do what I love, write.
A highlight of my career took place in November 2011, when a job presented itself on an 18-mile island in Southwest Florida. I became the editor of the Pine Island Eagle.
I contribute articles for Times Media Group, which has publications in the East Valley of Arizona: SanTan Sun News, Gilbert Sun News, Nearby News Mesa, Nearby News Scottsdale and Nearby News Chandler. I am also the SanTan Sun News Neighbor section editor, Youth section editor, Arts section editor and Spirituality section editor.
When I attended Arizona State University, I lived in Mesa, where I met the now executive editor of Times Media Group. She brought me on as a freelance writer for Times Media Group in June 2013.
Here is a collection of some of my articles that have been published accompanied with some photographs I have taken over the years.
Times Media Group articles:
Articles published in December 2014:
Fox 10 weatherman McCloskey brings Scrooge to life
For years, Cory McCloskey dreamt of playing Ebenezer Scrooge, but he never believed he looked old enough to pull it off.
Despite that, the popular Fox 10 Arizona Morning weatherman decided to audition for the role in “A Christmas Carol” at the Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert. He figured he would try out and leave the rest up to theater staff. Apparently, they believed in him. He serves in the role in the “red” cast, while the “green” group features Mark Kleinman as Scrooge.
Articles published in November 2014:
Learn about Arizona history, while enjoying period food
More than 8,000 people are expected to celebrate Arizona’s history with demonstrations, activities and, most importantly, authentic period food.
The fifth annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off is set for Friday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 9, at Tumbleweed Ranch at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 E. McQueen, Chandler.
Chandler mom returns from volunteer opportunity to Peru
Photographer Rachel Tabron traveled abroad for the first time to Peru, where she spent time volunteering at an orphanage.
She witnessed extreme poverty and poor living conditions, but the Chandler resident would go back in a heartbeat.
Bike ride explores state from Tucson to Chandler
A few slots remain for the inaugural Tucson to Phoenix bike ride which concludes with dinner at Tumbleweed Park.
The ride will be held on Sunday, Nov. 9. Bicyclists will meet at 3:30 a.m. at Tumbleweed Park, 745 E. GermannRd., by the tennis courts where the bikes will be loaded before driving toTucson. The bike ride then begins at Oro Valley Bicycle, at 12985 N. OracleRd., in Tucson. Wheels will be on the road by 6 a.m. and cyclists will return to Chandler before 5 p.m.
Articles published in October 2014:
Halloween Spooktacular returns for 33rd year
The City of Chandler is offering a safe alternative to trick-or-treating with the 33rd annual Halloween Spooktacular from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, at the Downtown Library Plaza, 125 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Articles published in July 2014:
Teen travels to Boston to hone clarinet skills
A 16-year-old Chandler student is calling Boston University his summer home as he perfects his clarinet performance at a workshop for teens.
Articles published in June 2014:
Chandler-area graduates head to NASA
It was far from your typical call from Texas.
“I’m from NASA,” said the voice on the other line.
Chandler student a U.S. Presidential Scholar
Named a U.S. Presidential Scholar, Arizona Virtual Academy senior Anna Han feels like she “won the lottery.”
Risen Savior collects, donates 3.6 tons of food
Risen Savior Lutheran Church and School’s four-week food drive yielded 3.6 tons of food for the Chandler Christian Community Center’s Chandler Food Bank and the congregation is deeming the community outreach program a success.
Articles published in May 2014:
‘Paranoia’ Almost Destroys Scottsdale Man
The highly addictive drug methamphetamine brought one Scottsdale resident to his knees after losing everything and everyone in his life. But he found sobriety, and, using a penname, has released a self-help book about his experience.
Articles published in March 2014:
Train enthusiasts chug into backyards for tours
Valleywide members of the Arizona Big Train Operators are opening their backyard to the public to provide rare glimpses into their garden train layouts.
Chandler couple followed their dreams to Grand Canyon University
A true love story blossomed as two passionate former Arizona State University students followed their dreams, eventually landing jobs at the same school, Grand Canyon University, and settling in Chandler.
Interactive book shares story about a tuxedo cat
Youngsters have the opportunity to learn about a tuxedo cat through an interactive book of song and illustrations created by a Sun Lakes resident.
Celebrate Chandler’s history during the Ostrich Festival
Families can partake in fun and healthy activities while celebrating Chandler’s history during the 26th Ostrich Festival from Friday, March 7, through Sunday, March 9, at Tumbleweed Park.
Articles published in February 2014:
Celebrate the history of Arizona railways March 1
The Arizona Railway Museum will celebrate Arizona Railway Day by offering the public an opportunity to view a large collection of Arizona specific railroad equipment that are rarely available to visitors.
First food truck competition comes to Chandler
More than 50 gourmet food trucks will travel to Tumbleweed Park to win over the attendees’ votes and take home the title of the Best Food Truck of Arizona next weekend.
Chandler resident shares story of overcoming abusive childhood
A Chandler resident who turned to the church at a young age for guidance to help her overcome an abusive childhood is sharing her experiences in a book to help others.
Colombian students to participate in Chandler’s Science Saturday
Students from Marie Curie school in Colombia will participate in the Chandler Science Spectacular this month to showcase what they are studying and to deepen their curiosity of learning.
Articles published in January 2014:
‘Jeep Girls’ share their story, bring awareness
Two Chandler sisters dubbed “The Jeep Girls” share their lifestyles with like-minded people by giving back to others as they tour the country bringing awareness of American culture.
Hear groundhog’s prediction at EEC on Feb. 1
Chandler youngsters can hear a groundhog’s prediction and interact with her on Sat., Feb. 1, during a special class at the Environmental Education Center.
Chandler Multicultural Festival celebrates diversity
Residents from all walks of life will come together this month to honor the diversity among them during the 19th annual Chandler Multicultural Festival.
Articles published in December 2013:
Humorist Jeanne Robertson returns to Chandler Sat., Feb. 1
Jeanne Robertson was well on her way to becoming a successful Auburn University student when she won the Miss North Carolina pageant 50 years ago.
Not too late to winterize yards
Even though the East Valley has encountered its first freeze, it isn’t too late to winterize the yard.
Witness an Italian tradition under the big top Dec. 25 to Jan. 5
A 170-year-old family circus will head to Chandler to do what it loves most— make people smile and forget about their worries.
Two Chandler residents named Fulbright scholars
Two Chandler-based Arizona State University students have received 2013 Fulbright scholar awards to study abroad.
The program, which is a premier fellowship program of the U.S. State Department, is aimed at increasing mutual understanding while helping develop creative responses to problems. A record 26 students received the Fulbright Award from ASU last spring representing 19 different countries.
Chandler musician plays Underground
Living in Guatemala City, Sam Braxten learned he had a good ear for music. To hone his performance skills, he played every Sunday at his church.
Articles published in November 2013:
‘Dunk Your Kicks’ while supporting pediatric cancer patients
Parents who are struggling to financially support their cancer-stricken children are receiving help from a unique fundraising initiative in the Southeast Valley.
Photographer captures poor living conditions in Cambodia
After spending two and a half weeks volunteering in Cambodia among shanty towns with no running water or electricity, Chandler photographer Melanie Sassano still hopes to continue her work.