Senior Erika Rasmussen named O’Hare Fellow
English and Sociology major Erika Rasmussen will spend a year in New York City immersed in the media landscape with America Media
Santa Clara University senior Erika Rasmussen (English, Sociology) has been named a Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Postgraduate Media Fellow. As part of this fellowship, she will spend one year at America Media working on print, digital, audio and film projects while benefiting from mentoring and professional development opportunities.
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Rasmussen is a creative writer and journalist driven by a thirst to connect deeply and to love authentically, notes American Media in a recent press release. She served as poetry editor for The Santa Clara Review and has enjoyed reporting on human interest pieces as well as arts and culture in Silicon Valley.
We asked her a few questions about the fellowship and her plans moving forward.
This fellowship is sure to bring a lot of opportunities your way. What are you most looking forward to?
I am so, so excited for what's to come. Imagining the next year slaps a huge smile across my face. I'm just amazed and so grateful for the opportunity to experience New York City, to learn and write and grow alongside people that seem so wonderful. I've been a student in Jesuit education for eight years now, and I so appreciate what the Jesuits are about—the passion for justice, the deep reflection. I can't wait to spend time with the people at America Media, to take in their wisdom, to collaborate.
Who knows what the day to day will look like—but I'm really looking forward to pitching ideas, working with a team to see stories come to fruition. There are billions of stories to be told, and it's such a cool thing to be part of sharing those stories. We'll get to try out different forms of media besides writing, I think, maybe video or audio—podcasting—and I'm psyched to try new things and expand as an individual. My faith and spirituality have really shifted this past year, too, and my heart is wide open for more growth and friendship and learning in those other senses, as well.
You’ve certainly been busy while at Santa Clara. How has your time here prepared you for this fellowship?
My education as an English major has been seriously rigorous—we're guided into becoming critical thinking, rhetorical, thoughtful communicators, readers, and writers in our program, and that's certainly prepared me to keep doing the same as a reporter. My Sociology major has also trained me to think and analyze through the sociological imagination, which I think is very important. Journalists have to know a little bit of everything, and I really believe in an interdisciplinary approach to life and work in general.
With Dr. Julia Voss' help in tandem with both the English internship course and the REAL program, I got to intern with alternative weekly newspaper Metro Silicon Valley for five months last year, and that experience in the field was absolutely invaluable. I've also gotten to write for The Santa Clara over the past year—the practice and experience make me feel just about as ready as I can be, although you can never really be ready, right?
So your next year is set. What are you thinking about doing after your time with America Media?
The world really is our oyster, isn't it! There are so many amazing and interesting things I'm thinking about pursuing—potentially going into the publishing industry, doing more in the literary world. I never stop thinking about visual art. Trying more creative writing, comedy, screenplay, fiction, there's so much to create and share!
I'm also very deeply passionate about understanding our human condition through the lenses of psychology, theology, mythology, etcetera, and how they intersect. I don't know nearly as much as I should, and have a lot of reading to do—a masters or Ph.D. in mythology would be cool. I could also stay with journalism... we'll see. I'm sure, at the very least, I'll never be bored.
One of three graduating seniors chosen from Jesuit colleges and universities across the country, Rasmussen is joined by Molly Cahill (Boston College) and Kevin Christopher Robles (Fordham University). If all goes according to schedule, Fellows will reside at Fordham University Lincoln Center, where they’ll engage in a dynamic community in the heart of New York City, the media capital of the world.
About the O’Hare Fellowship
The Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Postgraduate Media Fellowship is a program of America Media, co-sponsored by Fordham University. The fellowship is named in honor of Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., who served as editor in chief of America (1975-84) and president of Fordham University (1984-2003). The O’Hare fellowship is made possible through the generosity of William J. Loschert, of Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, Class of 1961, and a member of America Media’s board of directors.