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When I started this website in college, I intended to use it as a hub for all my published work. Over the past few months, I’ve realized it’s a bit more difficult than I thought to keep the website updated — especially since I work for a daily newspaper and write multiple stories per day!

With that said, please find my most recent published articles (Yes, every article!) on my new online portfolio on Muck Rack. Visit this link to check it out!

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I will now be using this website ( for my best written work. I will continue updating this site regularly, but only with what I believe best represents my writing and journalism skills.



Sonoma State University student among 6 dead in Berkeley balcony collapse

USA TODAY College: Sonoma State University student among 6 dead in Berkeley balcony collapse

Sonoma St994321_590659277644428_611701867_nate University student Ashley Donohoe, 22, was one of six students killed on Tuesday when an apartment balcony collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., leaving seven others critically injured. Sonoma State President Ruben Armiñana sent out a campus-wide statement acknowledging the death of Donohoe and asking for the community’s sympathy in light of the tragedy.

“It brings great sadness to the entire university when one of its students dies at such an early age and promise,” Armiñana said in the email. “Her death is a tragedy which is felt by all.”

Armiñana said Sonoma State will likely hold a memorial for Donohoe in the fall to celebrate her life and time at the university.

Murali Pillai, chair of the Biology department at Sonoma State University, says Donohoe was a driven and dedicated student. She was a member of the Pre-Health club and studying to go into medicine.

“Ashley had a clear passion for and desire to having a career in the health profession and she was working toward achieving that goal,” Pillai says.  “I am deeply saddened by this tragic accident and the loss of one of our students.”

Donohoe, a resident of Rohnert Park, Calif., was a 2011 graduate of nearby Rancho Cotate High School, where she volunteered by coaching the school’s soccer team following her graduation.

“Ashley was a phenomenal student both academically and athletically. She was well received by classmates and faculty,” Assistant Principal of Rancho Cotate High School Josh Wilson says. “After high school, she gave back to the school by volunteering as a soccer coach.”

The other students who died in the collapse were Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh, all of whom were 21 years old and citizens of Ireland. Donohoe — who held dual citizenship in the U.S. and Ireland — was Burke’s cousin.

Andrew Martini, a close friend of Donohoe’s and fellow classmate at both Sonoma State and Rancho Cotate High School, says he has been deeply affected by her death. He says Donohoe was not only a leader, but a tremendously positive person who “found joy in anything she could learn from.”

“Ashley strived to become friends with people she hardly or didn’t even know, always welcoming anyone who might’ve felt unwelcomed,” the fifth-year biology says. “Ashley always knew how to enjoy life. She found balance in everything and was able to live it freely.”

Martini adds that Donohoe was a model for all who knew her.

“She had aspirations that were very tangible,” he says. “Nothing was out of her reach.”

Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, acknowledged the loss of the students and their bright futures in a statement to the Irish Parliament published in the New York Times on Tuesday.

“It is truly terrible to have such a serious and sad incident take place at the beginning of a summer of adventure and opportunity for so many young people,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that the collapse of the apartment balcony was likely due to dry rot from water exposure on the wooden beams that supported the balcony. The fourth-floor Berkeley apartment was the site of a 21st birthday party.

Mario Savio honored on Free Speech Movement 50th anniversary

USA TODAY College: Mario Savio honored on Free Speech Movement 50th anniversary

Mario Savio 3

As the 50th anniversary celebration of the Free Speech Movement comes to a close May 29 at UC Berkeley, where the protest movement was launched and quickly spread, the efforts and contributions of one of its leading founders, Mario Savio, is being recognized nationwide.

In the decades following the passionate speeches that made Savio the movement’s unofficial spokesman, the activist-turned-professor didn’t seek the spotlight, and in fact shied away from it later in life as a faculty member at Sonoma State University.

“It was hard to be Mario Savio because he didn’t want to be famous,” said Jonah Raskin, professor emeritus of communication studies at Sonoma State and a former colleague and friend. “People read about him or saw him or heard him on TV and had an idea of who he was and, in a lot of ways, he just wanted to be an ordinary person.”

He recounted how Savio, who served as a professor of mathematics and philosophy at Sonoma State from 1990 until his untimely death in 1996, believed that college campuses should be used as a platform to inform, and not a place where students were restricted in their ideas and forced to silence their speech. “(The 1960s), though not that long ago, were like the dark ages for free speech,” he said.

Elaine Sundberg, associate vice president of academic programs at Sonoma State, said people would often approach Savio and ask if he was “the” Mario Savio. His response, she said: “‘Well, somebody has to be him.’”

Joshua Gutierrez, a student at the college interested in a career in journalism, said he sees Savio’s ideals as principles to live by. “Savio’s ideas should extend to any individuals who feel an obligation to defend their own condition or that of another,” said Gutierrez.

Raskin added that Savio was a “moral crusader” because of the influence of his rhetoric, whether in the 1960s or at Sonoma State. He “would get in front of an audience and start to speak and it wasn’t only what he said, it was how he said it. He had a sort of electrical force,” said Raskin. “He seemed fearless.”

Though his activist days were mainly behind him when he arrived at Sonoma, Savio’s dedication and rhetoric continued to inspire the campus community. David Walls, a professor emeritus of sociology, believes Savio’s past was primarily unknown to students during much of his time there, though as years progressed the campus began to recognize and appreciate his past. In 2012, Sonoma State dedicated a space, the Mario Savio Speakers’ Corner, in his honor.

Walls said, “There was a rediscovery of Savio by students of different generations.”