Category Archives: Internship

Printed By-Line: digital and print

topic of my News21 article

This is completely un-related to travel, however I could not resist the urge to spread the good news. My in-depth article that I wrote for News21 on employer sanctions was published in PRiNT and ONLiNE. This is the biggest accomplishment – to date – in my journalism career.

Background: I was chosen as one of 10 fellows for the Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative, which includes 12 universities across the nation and is headquartered at my Alma Mater: Arizona State University. I was one of two undergrads accepted into the program and was the FiRST to get my story published out of the ASU group. The summer fellowship focuses on innovative story-telling. This year there was much more emphasis on impact and newsworthiness.

The nation’s leading journalism schools come together in this unique program to experiment with new forms of in-depth and investigative reporting.

Students travel the country to report on critical issues facing our changing nation and then find innovative ways to tell those stories.

my story leading the AzCentral home-page

Each school spent all their time and attention investigating and reporting on a specific subject area they felt they could write about accurately.

In Arizona, our group focused on immigration issues. Being so close to the border we felt this was appropriate.

My project:  It dealt with employer sanctions, which are laws that states pass in order to combat the hiring of undocumented immigrants in the workplace.

To narrow the focus and make a better comparison, I looked at two states: Arizona and South Carolina.

Both had incredibly similar employer sanctions laws. However, only one has been able to successfully educate their state businesses, enforce their immigration law, and prosecute or violate those that do not comply. Which state, you may be wondering? I’ll let you find that out for yourself. Here is the introduction to my article, which can be read online at AzCentral:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When it comes to cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, Arizona may be getting the headlines, but South Carolina seems to be getting results. Only three businesses – all in the Phoenix area – have been prosecuted in the nearly three years since Arizona’s highly publicized employer-sanctions law took effect.
During that time, not a single business outside of Maricopa County has been punished for hiring illegal immigrants. By contrast, South Carolina has cited more than 200 businesses for being out of compliance since that state’s employer-sanctions law went into effect in 2009. South Carolina officials say that their efforts have paid off with far fewer illegal hires.
The two states have radically different approaches on how to stop the hiring of illegal immigrants.
South Carolina’s system gives authorities the power to scrutinize businesses’ hiring records and the state has a comprehensive program to educate employers about the legal consequences of hiring illegal immigrants. If auditors find illegal immigrants on the payroll, employers are cited, fined and forced to fire the workers.
In Arizona, county prosecutors must build an individual court case against each employer suspected of hiring illegal immigrants. And they must do it without easy access to the employer’s records, because the Arizona law does not provide subpoena power for those types of investigations.

Visit AzCentral to read the full story. Take a look at other immigrations stories covered in the 2010 News21 program at Arizona State University.


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Filed under Arizona, Facts, Internship, South Carolina, United States

Oriententing Myself

I’m at that point where I am nervous and excited about my move to Ecuador. I have to continually remind myself that I’m leaving this weekend to visit family in Indiana, with a side-dish road-trip to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

It will most likely be filled with ups-and-downs because my grandpa just went through a quadruple bypass surgery after a minor heart-attack and, well, let’s just say that side of the family still seems to be going through World War II, which is where the seed for the family-tree was planted.

This will be my only vacation taken all summer and I haven’t even started doing laundry. In my opinion, once you’ve traveled internationally, you lose the excitement of packing for any trip. You wait until the very last night before or the day you leave — depending on the time of departure — to actually put the loads of laundry in the washer and toss a pile of disheveled, wrinkled clothes into a suitcase.

For Indiana and Kentucky, I’ll most likely revert to an Adidas duffel bag and wing it:

  • Shirts – check.
  • Cargo pants than can become shorts with one quick zip – check.
  • Converse – check.
  • Toothbrush – check.

No stress. No worries.

My mind is more focused on Ecuador than anything else. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? I’m practically moving to a foreign country. I’m thinking about money. I’m thinking about the internship – what if I’m not cut out to be a travel writer. I’m thinking I need a full-time job. Why can’t I be normal like my older sister and twin sister. One has been a crime-scene technician for more than a couple years now and loves it. My twin sis just started her career as a teacher today — and I’m still here, going from internship to internship still trying to get the big break.

But isn’t that part of the excitement in not knowing what’s going to happen? Stepping off that airplane and into an entirely different part of the world brings out that adventurous spirit in myself. This is the job I want. This is the office where I want to work. I admire those like my sisters who can take pictures of dead people and have the patience to mold the minds of our future.

However, I want the opportunity to bring cultures to people in all corners of the planet, whether it be in the pages of a geography book, in an online article or in the pages of a travel guide I may have written or contributed to.

At this point, I have to stop wanting and actually do it. This is the dreaming turning into reality.

I will educate people about a variety of languages, food, cultures, music and places they may never have heard about, because maybe, just maybe they’ll think of traveling there one day because of the pictures I have taken and the words I have written.


Filed under Ecuador, International, Internship, Travel

Visa! Shots! Pills?

For the past two months I have been preparing for my move down South. No, not to Mexico. I’ll be  on the equator after moving to Quito, Ecuador in a little over a month for a travel writing internship! I will be working with V!VA Travel Guides and learning how to make my dream career a reality, while hopefully becoming bilingual at the same time.

Since I’ll be staying for longer than 3-months, which would have meant that the only document I needed to enter the country legally was my passport, I had to start the dreaded Visa process. This is where it gets complicated, so for those really interested in this whole thing, pay close attention. Please.

I had the decision between a tourist visa or the student visa. There were really some big differences between the requirements for these two types of visas. However, the one that really made the choice easier was the fact that the tourist visa, or visa 12-x tourist, would have been valid for only 6 months.  I plan on staying a bit longer because family and friends want to visit and I would like to show them around using my apartment as the home-base.

The simpler route and most beneficial for someone in my situation was to obtain the student visa. I had my contact from V!VA enroll me in a Spanish school for three months. She sent me the forms I needed for the Visa 12-V Student and that was that. I will not only be able to stay for up to one year but will be able to add a language to my resume. As a journalist, that’s a huge bonus, trust me.

Requirements from the California consulate that I’m flying to this Friday include (I’ve also posted how much I had to pay for each item if a cost was needed):

2.1.1   Complete in your computer, and sign two copies of each form of visa applications. Free

2.1.2   Passport valid for at least for the next six months Already have

2.1.3   School registration or proof of admission to a government approved school, college or university Approximately $70 USD

2.1.4   Certificate from bank indicating good economic standing with letter from the parent/guardian indicating that they will support the student while in Ecuador. Free

2.1.5   Certificate of deposit in a national or foreign bank or financial institution domiciled in Ecuador in the amount of at least $1,000. Was told it was unnecessary

2.1.6   If the visa applicant will be traveling with close family members the deposit will need to be increase by $500 for each member of the family traveling Traveling alone

2.1.7   If the foreign student has close family members who reside in Ecuador or any another immigrant who can guarantee the foreigner subsistence, no proof of deposit will be required from the applicant.   In this case, the close family member or immigrant will need to issue a notarized financial guarantee. My employer gave me a note for proof it is a paid internship

2.1.8   Document issue by a local or foreign bank or financial institution which can prove that the applicant will have the sufficient funds during his and his family stay in Ecuador. $10 USD

2.1.9   Two recent photographs, passport size, in color, white background Approximately $10 USD

Total Cost of the Ecuadorian Student Visa itself: $130 USD

I have checked all the requirements off my list and the final thing to do  is to fly to California and wait the two hours they say it will take to receive my Ecuador Visa.

Traveling to Ecuador also has another requirement: shots.

Before I got the shots necessary to survive in Ecuador, I had to go to my family physician and get an updated record of all my shots. Took that record to the international shot place and handed it over. The lady sat me down and went over all the indigenous diseases found in the country and what shots she highly recommended. She explained how Quito is located on a strip of land in the middle of Ecuador that doesn’t have a lot of disease but if I planned on traveling outside of the zone that it would be beneficial to get the shots she recommended.

I ended up getting my Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever and updated Tetanus shot with Whooping Cough.

Total Cost: $400-$500 USD

According to my health packet:

  • Hepatitis A is transmitted through fecal matter, person-to-person contact and contaminated uncooked shellfish, fruits, vegetables and contaminated water.
  • Typhoid Fever is transmitted via contaminated food & water.
  • Yellow Fever  is transmitted by the Aedes sp. mosquito.

She also suggested: rabies (but I don’t think I’ll be walking up to random dogs in the street to pet them no matter how much I want to) and dengue (but greatest risk lies near the coast, which I’m not located near & I plan on using insect repellent because it is transmitted via mosquitoes), and traveler’s diarrhea medication.

What I would like your opinion on is malaria pills & altitude pills (since Ecuador is so high in elevation), would you recommend these or not?


Filed under Ecuador, Facts, International, Internship, Tips, Travel