White Station Journalists Association : Students learn about careers one interview at a time


Annie Zhao

The White Station Journalists Association allows members to improve their speaking skills, networking abilities and gain knowledge about different career paths. Club members can join by messaging WSJA’s Instagram account @wshjournalistsassociation.

The White Station Journalists Association (WSJA) was created by Annie Zhao (11) to allow students an opportunity to learn about potential career paths and develop social skills by conducting interviews with successful individuals. “I first started WSHJA back in tenth grade when I moved back from Florida, and I actually had something in Florida that was similar that I wanted to bring with me and share with the people around me,” Zhao said. At first, Zhao struggled to grab the interest of other students to join. Eventually, with the support of friends, the member count rose, leading Zhao to establish officer positions to split up the intense workload. The current officer positions include Zhao as president, Gahana Nagireddy (11) as vice president, Emily Hu (11) as secretary ​and Tejasvi Epuri (10) as treasurer. “I found out about White Station Journalist Association through their Instagram page,” Aanya Kabra (9) said. “This sounded like a fabulous opportunity, and I absolutely loved the concept of talking to members of different professions to gather insight on a multitude of career paths.” Each member can interview any individual in a career he or she is interested in. Recently, the group has interviewed multiple doctors and professors, including president of Rhodes College Dr. Marjorie Hass, Cardiologist Dr. Rami Khouzam and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Dr. Michael Ugwueke. “My favorite interview so far is the one I did with Dr. Hass, President of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.,” Nagireddy said. “Her battle with breast cancer and authoritative position as a woman opened my eyes. She even invited us to visit her office over spring break.” Although club members are challenged with having to spend hours transcribing interviews to be made available on their website, the benefits far outweigh the struggles. For example, members have the opportunity to learn how to conduct proper research, network, speak in public and get the most out of professional interactions. In addition, club members also gain life lessons from interviews and learn how to upkeep a positive environment with teamwork. “A piece of advice that really impacted me is to always be curious,” Zhao said. “A lot of people say to follow your passion, and that sounds cliche, but … when you are in a situation when your passion is something that a lot of people don’t do and when you step out of that bubble …that’s when you get to feel what they truly mean and the idea of living for yourself and not through the eyes of others.” For incoming club members, the WSHJA president and vice president advise them to take as many opportunities as possible, be willing to try new things and learn about whatever seems interesting. “Please do WSHJA if you want to improve in public speaking; it is so worth it and everything here is free,” Nagireddy said. “ I was very shy in the beginning, but now I feel a lot more confident. Everyone is welcome here.”