DeAsia Sutgrey, a sophomore from Aurora, Illinois, is a news and information major. She is one of five college students from across the country chosen by The Nation magazine for its Black on Campus program, which mentors emerging storytellers age 19 to 25.
As a first-generation college student, I never had much guidance. But I knew I wanted to do something with my writing and I knew that coming to KU would be a good start.
The obstacles that my ancestors faced to attain an education was my main motivation to attend college.
My ancestors’ survival trumped getting an education. I knew that if I had the opportunity to get an education, I would take advantage of that because I would be living out the dream of my mother, my grandmother, and many other black people, specifically black women, who had to put their education aside.
Being a black woman affects my life on a daily basis. It also significantly influences my writing. My writing tends to cover the intersections of race, music, culture, gender and sports. That’s mainly because all of those identities encompass my lifestyle.
I'm passionate about black music and black culture. It’s not something that is typically talked about in the media, and I want to change that.
I’ve always loved to read and write articles. At first I thought about majoring in English just because of my love for literature. Eventually, I realized I wanted to be a journalist because they have a certain power being able to inform people and influence the way the information is perceived.
The best thing a journalist can have is curiosity, and you can’t have that without the confidence to ask questions.
I can always find comfort in the words of prominent black female writers. Toni Morrison, Brittney Cooper, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jemele Hill and Melissa Harris-Perry have uplifted me in times when I've felt weak, encouraged me to succeed, and shifted my thinking. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for their writing.
Advice I would give to my peers would be to not be a bystander. Always question what you hear; don’t just take it at face value.
My favorite part about KU are the events that they have on campus. There are so many that reflect the interests of every student, including those who are less privileged.
At the J-School you have an opportunity to learn from some of the best professors in their respective fields who are dedicated to ensure that you are marketable for a job after graduation.
A quote that I live by: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison
Paige Henderson is a junior from Lenexa, Kansas, majoring in news and information and strategic communication with minors in business and Spanish. She hopes to use her writing in the sports world after she graduates in May 2019.