Growing Local Roots

Holly Deal graduated in December as a double major in journalism and English at Western Michigan University. She started her journalism career as a copy editor at the Western Herald in 2010 and then moved on to a position as a news reporter intern at the Kalamazoo Gazette during the Fall 2011 semester. Her goals are to become a reporter at a newspaper -- it doesn't matter whether it's a large or small one -- and to create her own newspaper/news website.  Her hobbies include playing ukulele and making unique jewelry and shoes.

Jared Field is a journalism student at Western Michigan University. His interests include music, politics and the environment. Jared plays in a band called Stikyfut located in the Kalamazoo, Mich. area.  The band’s music is featured on this website.


Pat Sciame is a senior at Western Michigan.  He is a journalism major and a Spanish minor.  He is from Chicago and after graduation he would like to write for a newspaper somewhere in the Chicago area.


Schuyler Slone is a senior at Western Michigan University interested in broadcast journalism.  He lives in Battle Creek, Mich. and hopes to one day become a TV anchor.


Travis Smola is a journalism major at Western Michigan University.  His interests are in photography, travel, hunting, fishing, geocaching and the outdoors. He has had photos published twice in FTF Geocacher Magazine. He hopes to pursue a career as an outdoor writer/photojournalist.


Analiese Grohalski is a senior at Western Michigan University studying journalism and creative writing.  She is a writer at heart but also loves photography.  She has worked as a reporter intern at Three Rivers Commercial-News and worked as assistant editor for The 2010-2011 Laureate literary magazine.  In the future she plans to write a novel, and she strives to become a journalist for the Chicago Tribune.


Jared Johnson is a senior at Western Michigan University graduating in Spring 2012. His goal is to continue his education by getting a master’s degree in the field of journalism before finding a job in the profession.


Bryan Paas is from Grand Rapids, Mich. and is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology.  He will be graduating from Western Michigan University in April 2012 and hopes to land a career in the field of sports broadcasting or in a sports information director position at a college or university.  Bryan contributed photographs to the “Community Gardens in Kalamazoo” map for this reporting project.


Jolene Khor is a senior studying journalism and textile and apparel at Western Michigan University. Until recently, she was a columnist for Western Herald for over a year.  She is currently an avid blogger who runs her own website. She alsois a weekly guest blogger for a popular fashion blog online.  Jolene is co-manager of WMU's MODA Style Blog. She is excited to begin a career in the magazine publication industry.


Joe Stando is a journalism student at Western Michigan University.  He has written for the Western Herald, Battle Creek Enquirer and Kalamazoo Local Music.  He enjoys shopping at local food co-ops and restaurants and thinks you should too.


Katey Stapleton is a recent Western Michigan University graduate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. While at Western, she worked for The Western Herald, was a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honors Society, and earned the Burke Scholarship in 2010 for excellence in journalism. She hopes to one day work for an entertainment or fashion magazine as a journalist/photographer. Currently, she is searching for an internship in journalism.


Alyssa J. Trager is a journalism major and a French minor at Western Michigan University.  She plans to graduate in April 2012 and aspires to work with National Public Radio or Michigan Public Radio after her internship with WMUK in the spring. In addition to her academics, she is also a professional Middle Eastern dancer and wants to travel the world in place of Anthony Bourdain.


Alexandra Batson is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in journalism and creative writing.  She plans to graduate in June 2012.  She also writes for After graduation she would like to move out of the state and write for a music magazine as well as write a novel and children’s stories.

Alexandra Harvey is a senior at Western Michigan University pursuing a double major in journalism and fine arts. Her other works include stories written for Flagler College’s The Gargoyle, Western Michigan University’s Western Herald and the online magazine West Michigan Noise. Alexandra worked as a broadcasting intern at News Channel 3 in Kalamazoo, Mich.


Erin Gignac is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is no stranger to the environment. She is a senior with a double major in journalism and public policy at Western Michigan University. Currently, she works as the news editor at Western Michigan University’s student-run newspaper, The Western Herald and also works at WMU’s Waldo Library.  Last summer, Erin learned about multimedia journalism as an intern for WLUK-Fox 11 News in Green Bay, Wis. She also learned about community activism and local government through an internship with Kalamazoo City Commissioner Don Cooney last spring. Both of these experiences have strengthened her desire to be an investigative community reporter when she graduates in December 2012. When she’s not writing, Erin is cooking, reading or dreaming about hiking.    


Bridget Kennedy is a senior journalism major at Western Michigan University. She hopes to become an on-air news personality after graduation in April 2012.  Her passion for journalism began when she was 11 years old while on a family vacation in New York City.  She was part of the Good Morning America live studio audience, and she was interviewed on national television by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer. Her favorite part of journalism is digging for the truth and informing people of what really is going on.  She also loves running, being out on the golf course and watching Detroit sports.


Andrew C. Prout was born in Marquette, Mich.  He grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and has a degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University. He has a brother in the United States Marines Corp.  He worked on the “Community Gardens in Kalamazoo” map for this reporting project.


Meet The News Team


Project Advisor

Jocelyn Steinke is a professor in the School of Communication and holds a joint appointment with the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies at Western Michigan University.  She teaches courses in news writing and reporting, feature writing, environmental reporting and science writing.

Support for this project was provided by the
School of Communication at Western Michigan University



Website Designer

Cody Kimball is a communication student at Western Michigan University.  He is the web manager of the Western Herald,

 a SCUBA diver, boater, ordained minister, notary public, web designer, film maker, DJ and journalist. Cody was born and raised in Port Huron, Mich. and is a graduate of SC4. Formerly the webmaster of the Erie Square Gazette in Port Huron, Cody has won awards from the

MCCPA for his web design and reporting.


Special thanks to Stikyfüt for providing the music for this website.

Stikyfüt includes vocalist Emily Detwiler, guitarist Phil Wrenbeck, and percussionist Jared Field.

They can be found at: