Taylor Lewis

Take the risk

Taylor Lewis, a 2013 graduate of the School of Journalism, originally from Blue Springs, Missouri, now works in New York as an internship and career coordinator for St. Nick’s Alliance, a nonprofit that helps those with low- and moderate-incomes with employment and education.

 At KU, she was a news and information student, working as a staff writer for Jayplay, a copy chief for The University Daily Kansan, an intern for Kansas City Homes and Gardens magazine, and studying abroad in Argentina. After Lewis’s junior year, she was selected for The New York Times Journalism Institute, as well as an American Society of Magazine Editors internship, which placed her with Essence magazine.

She moved to New York after graduating and was first employed by The New Yorker as an assistant to the general counsel. Then she went back to Essence as an editorial assistant and an assistant editor.  Throughout college she volunteered for organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, which rooted her passion for nonprofit work.

When I was about 13 years old, I saw the movie "13 Going on 30," and I thought that Jennifer Garner had the coolest job ever. So, from that point forward, I was like, “I’m going to be a magazine editor.”

In August after graduation I moved to New York, without a job, which my parents thought was very risky.

It was very surreal being at The New Yorker on a daily basis, seeing and hearing these legendary writers that you’ve been reading about for years. Their desks were right across the office. E.B. White’s grandson still works there.

Essence was the greatest environment. They welcomed me with open arms and I got a lot of fantastic hands-on experiences. Whenever I started working there for real, it was kind of a pinch me moment. Waking up and knowing I was going to my dream job only a couple years out of college was crazy.

I’ve always felt that it’s dangerous whenever any one person or any workplace just surrounds themselves with people who look like them, who believe the same things as them. You don’t learn anything and you just keep hearing what you already know. You can’t grow as a person.

It’s definitely fulfilling. Sometimes I get to work and I think about how I used to sit in a meeting for an hour trying to figure out what we wanted our Instagram page to look like. I just feel like I’m making a difference.

Don’t be afraid to go for it. I know that sounds really cliche, but sometimes you just have to take a leap and hope for the best because most likely, things are going to turn out for the best. 

Madi Schulz is a senior majoring in journalism from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been involved on campus in The University Daily Kansan as an arts and culture reporter as well as a copy editor. She has also interned for The Hollywood Reporter in Los Angeles.