How my journalism major is preparing me for law school

CATEGORIES: Student Perspective

Name: Anna Olson

Year: junior

Major: journalism and mass communication, political science

Hometown: Boone, Iowa

Second-year Greenlee student Anna Olson hasn’t wasted any time since she first stepped foot on the ISU campus in fall 2019. As a Greenlee student, she’s a student volunteer on the First Amendment Committee and a semi-finalist in this year’s Washington Media Scholars Case Competition. She also has campus jobs working in the Greenlee School’s main office and as a lifeguard at Recreation Services. This year, she’s gaining valuable communications experience as a public relations intern with the Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS), as the senior director of communications for ISU Student Government and as one of the co-founders of Women’s Week, sponsored by ISU Student Government. She also served as Geoffroy Hall’s president her first year.

What does your role as senior director of communications for ISU Student Government entail?

Going into the role, it started during the pandemic, so our transition reports were setting up destination Iowa State, After Dark and managing the Student Government social media accounts. Much of my position involves outreach in the community and working with the director of outreach to bring in involvement. Most recently, I came up with the idea to have a Women’s Week Conference March 8 through 12.

How did you come up with the idea for Women’s Week?

The idea originally came from some of the interviews I did for my internship with the Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS). IRIS is a nonprofit that places exchange students in high schools here in the United States. When I was interviewing students about their experiences, I realized that we should really be empowering women and that is how the idea for the Women’s Week Conference came to me. Three of the panelists for the conference were women that I interviewed for IRIS. I worked on a lot of the planning with the director of outreach for Student Government, Eliana Crabb. We communicated with the panelists and speakers. We also worked with ISU Lectures to make it happen and this helped us with outreach. The Panhellenic community was also a huge help with outreach because the Sorority and Fraternity community held drop-off sites for donations during the week of the conference. These donations were given to ACCESS.

What would you like to do after attending Iowa State?

I hope to go on to law school. That has been my goal since I was 8 years old. I remember mentioning this to my parents. I also remember that when I was in elementary school I wrote a petition because our principal banned sandals. I am pretty sure that I got a lot of signatures on my little pink clipboard. When the principal found out that I was going around getting signatures, he brought sandals back. I also remember the mayor telling me that I should be an attorney, and I really thought that would be a good idea. I hope to be a women’s rights attorney.

How is your journalism major helping you prepare?

I really had to think about a major I would be interested in if I decided not to go down the path of law school, and for me it was journalism. I participated in a journalism camp through DMACC in high school that was taught by Julie Roosa (adjunct assistant professor and First Amendment Specialist in the Greenlee School). She asked me to come back and be a tutor for the camp. She has helped me in so many areas and introduced me to so many people. She has really been a mentor in my life.

What are your long-term aspirations?

I’m hoping to one day become a women’s rights attorney and have my own firm. I want to focus on how we can all work together and empower each other, so then the next generation does not have to fight as hard.

Interview by Olivia Benjamin; edited for length and clarity.