Q & A with Maryum Elnasseh

maryum elnasseh
Name: Maryum Elnasseh
Major: Journalism
Future goals: Work as an investigative journalist and obtain a degree in human rights law
Journalism is the foundation of democracy and an invaluable tool in helping us keep those in power accountable. It helps us shed light on injustices and elevate voices that are often unheard.

When did you decide you wanted to study journalism?

I decided to major in journalism because I think words have the power to change the world, and I think journalism allows us to do exactly that. Journalism is the foundation of democracy and an invaluable tool in helping us keep those in power accountable. It helps us shed light on injustices and elevate voices that are often unheard.

What was one of your favorite classes in your major?

It is hard to pick a favorite class since I loved so many of my journalism classes, but I found Capital News Service (CNS) to be the most rewarding and the most beneficial. CNS is a program where journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia, and distribute their stories, photos and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites. CNS was incredibly exciting because it allowed us to experience reporting full-on—covering the General Assembly, receiving press badges and getting published in media outlets nationwide.

What are the professors like in the Robertson School?

The Robertson professors are absolutely amazing. They continue to awe me by how passionate they are about journalism, how dedicated they are to teaching and how helpful they are to their students. And there is (usually) never a dull moment in class.

Can you tell us about your internship experience?

I’ve also had the chance to complete a journalism internship at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. I loved my time there and learned so much from the amazing people I worked with. (I am still in touch with my boss and wish that every boss I have in the future is as wonderful as she is). I was also able to study abroad twice. I went to Prague, Czech Republic for a journalism training program where I conducted my own independent reporting regarding the rise of Czech Islamophobia. I also went to Beirut, Lebanon to take classes at the Lebanese American University. While I was there, I conducted interviews with refugee women to report on the unique challenges they face. These experiences changed how I see the world and reinforced what an important role journalism plays in documenting human right abuses.