Meg Keller: Because of you I am a writer…


When I was in kindergarten, my teacher, Mrs. Glover, towered over me as I wrote out my alphabet and sounded out all the letters for her. I remember at five years old the letter “E” being my favorite letter, for no specific reason, of course; but I did know I loved words. I knew I could spell the word “cookie” and “turtle” before any of the other kids in my class, but I never would have guessed that my passion for words would blossom into a career in writing. Really, I didn’t even know I would be a writer until I met Charlie Bowen, the professor who taught my first ever newswriting class. I secretly took a journalism course in 2017 while still being a Health Science major because I was tired of forcing myself to learn things I didn’t care about and was bad at (science). Charlie taught me how to interview, and how a hard news isn’t MY type of news lead. He taught me to tailor my questions toward the angle.  Charlie showed me how to hone in on my own empathy in order to elicit an emotional story. He showed me compassion when being constructive. He was a stiff grader because he knew if he made me feel doubted, I would prove him wrong. Because of Charlie Bowen I am a writer.

When I didn’t know why I should be writing or where to go with a story Dan Hollis showed me the way.

His law class was the hardest course I have ever taken in the school of journalism, and it is that way for a reason.  Those key facts were not going to study themselves and I knew I was not about to win a libel suit if got myself into one. Dan pushed me to realize I do belong in journalism, even when it is intimidating.  There have been many times when I felt like my writing has been mediocre at best, but he never fails to find something positive in it and share that reinforcement with me. He ensured me to take risks when I write a story. Because of Dan I know how to make a story real, exciting, relatable, honest and lawful. Because of Dan Hollis I am a writer.

My first story ever for The Parthenon was about a coffee shop opening up in the west end. Sandy York was my professor for our beat writing course, and I knew when we both got excited over a miniscule coffee shop story, we were going to get along well. Sandy saw more potential in me than any professor, no, any person who has ever known me.   She sent me in to a White House Press Pool in 2018 and a year later at bootcamp, when I took a semester off of school to join the U.S. Army, she sent me weekly issues of The Parthenon in the mail so that I could feel closer to home. Sandy has watched me create and destroy myself throughout college many times but has never allowed me to feel alone. One of the most frustrating feelings as a writer is to feel your words mean nothing to those reading them.  Sandy has never let me feel that way. Because of Sandy I have a mentor, friend and leader to look up to.  Because of Sandy I grew confident enough in my writing to know I can move to the big city after I graduate to do it for a living. Because of Sandy I know there is power in handwriting my stories first and that it is okay that I have to write my lead before I can move on. Because of Sandy I know writing a feature is my go-to and being creative in that is imperative. Because of Sandy I am a writer. 

I may not have known in kindergarten that my fondness for the letter E would take me this far, but because of The Parthenon I know how far I can go. The opportunities afforded to me at the hand of this university, and more specifically, this news organization, have cultivated the person I am today. Because of The Parthenon I am a writer, but because of Marshall I have a home.