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March 16, 2021

Quaker Communication

Quaker-educated since elementary school and a Bonner Scholar at Guilford, Abby Bekele ’19 came to Greensboro from Philadelphia with a vastly different path in mind than the one she ended up taking. She was pre-dental but soon realized she’s “not a science person at all.”

"Find what you are most passionate about and work hard to pursue it."

Abby Bekele '19
English and Media Studies

After pursuing the College’s Criminal Justice major, which she says is top notch, Abby eventually arrived at English. She had a journalism or photography career in mind. Her mentor, Cheryl Hatch, who taught journalism at Guilford at the time, helped Abby chart her course and find the missing pieces she needed to create the media career she wants. "I really liked Cheryl’s work and previous photojournalism career and saw myself doing something similar,” Abby says. 

To round out her communications courses, Abby worked for the Guilfordian, the student-led newspaper, as a photo editor and managing editor. She also earned awards for her photography and a journalism fellowship with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. “I went to Ethiopia and reported on the foreign adoption ban. I traveled there for about three weeks, and during that time period I got all my content. When I came back I created a multimedia piece that is currently published on their website,” she says.

[Learn more about Abby's project, published on the Pulitzer website.]

One summer, Abby worked with the nonprofit group Girls Inc. in New York City, gathering content and managing their social media platforms. And during a gap year, she worked at a Philadelphia nonprofit organization called the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation. "With the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation I worked on content creation and photography with their social media team, and I helped with events and took photos for their social media accounts and websites. I really enjoyed my time working with them and learned a lot."

Gaining Experience

Abby is currently working on a master’s degree in Interactive Media at Elon University, a 10-month intensive graduate program. She is focusing on social media and content creation in sports.

“For my capstone project I'm creating a social media campaign that highlights the issues that black female athletes face at predominantly white institutions. Using a series of interviews, these black female athletes will be detailing their experiences and how they’ve coped with issues that surfaced during their collegiate careers,” she explains. “By creating social media accounts on different platforms I will be providing a positive mental space to showcase and celebrate what these black female athletes have conquered and have accomplished, while creating a safe space that allows them to cope with mental-health stress.” 

To students interested in pursuing communications, Abby advises following what they’re most passionate about. 

“Look for those small opportunities, do your research, look outside the box, and see what you can create. For instance, if you have a camera, pick it up and go! Shoot whatever interests you. Find what you are most passionate about and work hard to pursue it.”

Are you interested in a media career like the one Abby is pursuing? Schedule your personalized visit to Guilford to learn more about the English and Media Studies major and the award-winning student-run newspaper, the s/media.