People Person

By Zoe Lance

If you ask Stephanie Sumell what’s on tap for her work week, you better have a few minutes to hear about her packed schedule.

Stephanie SumellSumell, a journalist and 2010 CI graduate, will tell you that she’s in back-to-back interviews or out in the neighborhood looking for stories. She may zip out to CI to cover an event or a city council meeting. And every Wednesday, she helps lay out the weekly print edition by hand.

Sumell works at The Acorn, a newspaper for Ventura County readers. She reports on Camarillo local government, but she also writes about the faith community and what’s happening at CI.

“Every day is different,” she said. “There’s something really satisfying about breaking down complex or contentious issues into something that anyone can understand. It’s great to hear that people read the paper.”

Sumell started her journalism career as a student, but in an untraditional way. The Westlake Village native wanted to study art, and turned to CI’s program to hone her skills. She immediately delved into her studies, focusing on portraiture.

“When I looked at CI, I was really impressed,” she said. “I would have felt lost at a bigger university. It was a good fit for me.”

During her senior year, she realized that she was also passionate about writing. She loved writing classes, tutoring at the writing center in the John Spoor Broome Library and working on her capstone — showcasing student artists’ work through CI View (student newspaper) articles. When looking for internships, she thought of The Acorn.

“I didn’t originally think journalism, but I wanted to do some sort of writing,” she said. “Art wasn’t the typical path of someone in that field.”

When she got the internship, Sumell took it extremely seriously — she even spent her free time on writing assignments. Her dedication paid off: after graduation, the newspaper gave Sumell clerical work and freelance assignments that blossomed into a staff position.

She sees a connection between her art background and journalism. “My favorite articles are the human-interest pieces,” she said. “I’m fascinated by people, and getting to hear their unique stories is something I’ve always gravitated towards.”

Sumell credits her hard work at CI for scoring the fateful internship. “I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity, and I lucked out,” she said. “The Acorn took a chance and brought me to where I am now. I’m forever grateful.”

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© Fall 2016 / Volume 20 / Number 02 / Bi-annual

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