Courtesy Roberto Treviño,
Valerie Briseño, a senior at the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts and Martin High School attended The Princeton University Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) over the summer. Briseño was among 23 high school juniors nationwide on the Princeton University campus in Princeton, New Jersey.
The PSJP invited a diverse group of high school students for a 10 day seminar on journalism. The intense schedule, which started daily at 7:00 a.m., included writing workshops, field reporting, and seminars. The workshops were taught by reporters and editors from the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and ABC News. The program allowed the students the opportunity to tour the New York Times and CNN in New York City. Students also attended seminars, where they met with Admission Counselors, who lectured them on every aspect of the college admissions process, including registration qualifications, financial aid, and essay writing.
While on campus, the students were paired with counselors and directors who helped with the college application process and . According to Briseño, the counselors and directors were very influential in encouraging and guiding the students to believe in themselves. After we returned home, they have kept in contact and continue to mentor the summer program participants.
“I was the underdog. The vocabulary and expressed by the other students was very intimidating to me, at first,” said Briseño. “The counselors and directors were amazing. They showed me that if you don’t have the vocabulary, your voice and opinion still matter. What you have to say still counts. Express yourself. That is what journalism is all about.”
As part of the PJSP experience, students reported, wrote, edited and designed their own newspaper, The Princeton Summer Journal, which is published on the program’s last day. Briseño contributed to the publication with an opinion column, “Abortion is taking a life.”
When asked what she gained out of the PJSP experience, Valerie replied “Everything they taught us. I learned things I didn’t know and I was able to bring them back to school with me.”
All expenses including students’ travel cost to and from Princeton were paid by the program. The program’s goal was to encourage outstanding students to pursue a career in journalism.
Briseño was encouraged by her counselor to apply for the program. “Geraldine Pro, my counselor at Martin High is the one who told me about the PSJP. She helped me throughout the entire application process.” The opportunity was amazing,” stated Briseño. “I was like a little girl in Disneyland. I was amazed by all the trains, tunnels, and buildings. Everything was just amazing.”