Student's summer travels take her to Japan, Uganda, D.C.

During her college search, Sayra Trejo ’18 knew she wanted to stay close to home and family. She also knew she wanted a student-focused University, a place where she could work alongside faculty scholars rather than be just another face in a huge lecture hall.

Located only three miles from her alma mater Terra Linda High School, Dominican was the perfect fit.

Now, heading into her senior year with a wealth of experiences under her belt, Sayra is enjoying a remarkable journey. This past summer her studies took her to Japan and Uganda. Then she spent the fall semester in Washington, D.C. as Dominican’s 2017 Panetta Congressional Intern in the office of U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal representing California's 47th District.

Sayra came to Dominican to study communications. Thinking back to her campus visit day, she recalls being drawn to Dominican’s Political Sciences and International Studies program after listening to a lecture by Dr. Gigi Gokcek, an expert in U.S. foreign policy and the politics of developing countries.
Beginning her freshman year, Sayra embarked on a personalized learning plan that allowed her to integrate her growing interest in politics and her goal of working in the media. Support and recommendations from faculty in the Department of Communication and Media Studies paved the way for a deep dive into journalism, buoyed by internships with Bay Area media stations.

At KTVU-TV in Oakland, Sayra worked on the assignment desk and shadowed reporters.  During an internship with NPR-affiliate radio station KALW in San Francisco, she wrote and produced a story about Muir Woods National Monument and environmental concerns.  The segment helped her earn the 2016 Emerging Environmental Journalist Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Sayra added political science as a second major her junior year. When Dominican hosted several high-profile political events, Sayra’s insight and communication skills made her a popular media guest. She was featured by Telemundo as a delegate for College Debate 2016, interviewed by the local Fox-TV affiliate as an on-stage spectator for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ appearance at Dominican, and talked with  Univision Noticias TV 14 during a panel discussion on immigration.

Now, heading into her senior year, Sayra is branching out. “I feel that I am ready to travel and to explore,” she says.

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Earlier this summer Sayra visited Japan thanks to a Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting fellowship from the Indiana University School of Journalism. She met with reporters and editors in Osaka and Tokyo and attended reporting workshops that helped her hone her media skills.

“I met with reporters from Bloomberg, the Associated Press, and Reuters and learned how they were integrating digital content into their work,” she recalls.  “The experience made me think seriously about working as a foreign correspondent. I also thought a lot about the role of the American journalist in the global economy.”

A quick turnaround and she was off to Uganda, traveling with Dominican faculty and students on a Campus Ministry immersion trip to the small village Kiganda. Since 2008, a Dominican contingent has visited Kiganda to help its people with its water purification system, its school lunch program, its educational needs, and its health center. Sayra assisted by teaching children and was immersed in various aspects of Ugandan culture during the two-week visit.

Before traveling to Washington to begin her 11-week internship, Sayra will spend two weeks in an intensive program at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at CSU Monterey Bay. The program, established by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, was designed to prepare the Panetta interns for their semester in Washington.

“I am really looking forward to meeting more people passionate about the political system and government,” she says. “Having experience in a congressional office will be amazing. You have a special role as the intern – as you both can observe and ask questions. It is a time to see what everyone is doing.”


July 29, 2017