Journalism opens eyes to environmental science

Welcome to Mastery Academics. My name is Tonya Whitaker aka Professor Whitaker, your partner in college and career preparation that works!

My Twitter friends at Lezawear said it best: “You have to do something that’s not ordinary to be extraordinary.”

When I was a 7th grader, I failed the reading section of a state mandated test. The results were not because of lack of effort, but due to chicken pox. So, during my 8th grade year, I was placed in a reading improvement class. It took one failure on a standardized test to make me realize I needed to do something different to improve my outlook for the future. Still a little shaky from the middle school experience, I decided to enroll in a journalism course my sophomore year. From that point forward, I never experienced academic failure.

What did journalism teach me that no other class could? Three skills: communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Biology class, for example, did not allow me to write and research about recycling and how it impacts the environment. Journalism did. One of my first stories was coverage of the Ecology Club newspaper and plastics recycling drive. Journalism to my learning one step further: I applied my interests in the environment in real life. My parents, the high school community, school board administrators read about my work.

After graduating from high school, I entered college and earned a degree in Sociology and immediately jumped into the workforce. After 13 years of working as a newspaper staff writer, I transitioned into technical writing and higher education instruction. No matter the career, I remained marketable for three reasons: communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Thus, this is why decades later, the mission of Mastery Academics is relevant. Our academic coaching exclusively concentrates on Texas students experiencing real-life connections to subjects and interests outside the classroom. Our process includes three components:

  • Communication — conveying messages in written, visual, and verbal forms
  • Critical Thinking — take the basis of your subject-level knowledge and expand it
  • Collaboration — all observations and thoughts are recognized through exposure to team members’ diversified intake processes

If higher education or the workforce is in your immediate future (or both), we highly recommend that you sharpen these marketable skills. With the proper guidance and support, we know that you will continue to contribute your talents at multiple levels with your industry of choice.

Tonya aka “Professor Whitaker” is a technical writer/editor with experience working in Telecommunications, Engineering, Aviation, and Information Technology. She earned a B.S. in Sociology from Lamar University and an M.A. in English from Texas Woman’s University. Whitaker spent 13 years as a newspaper staff writer, covering news, features, and high school, collegiate and professional sports.

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