During her freshman year, Zipporah Osei took a journalism class—Washington Beat: The First 100 Days—that set the tone for the reporter she hopes to be one day. When she enrolled in the class, she was doubtful of her preparedness. However, by listening to guest speakers and receiving encouragement to do reporting that was out of her comfort zone, Zipporah says, “I learned that I had the skills and the motivation to be a real reporter.” Now Zipporah, a first-generation college student, is preparing to graduate with a BA in Journalism and move to New York City to begin a one-year, highly competitive fellowship at ProPublica, the country’s premier investigative news site.
The road to graduation has been filled with distinctions and achievements—and also challenges. Being a first-generation college student has impacted every step of her academic career. She didn’t have the benefit of navigating higher education with advice from her family. Yet, she used the rigor and empathy she developed during her studies to help others. Her legacy at Northeastern is likely to be a volunteer newsletter she initiated to help other first-gen students get through the culture shock, offering candid advice articles, humor and links to resources. To date, 300 students have signed up for the newsletter—including some at other universities.
Zipporah has spent her time at Northeastern doing what she loves: writing and reporting on issues that can make a difference to people and the community. As an intern for the Boston Globe, Zipporah investigated the secret court system in Boston. As an intern for Chalkbeat NY, her reporting about the mismanagement of the free summer meals program for kids led to a reexamination of the program. She interned for the Chronicle of Higher Education and won the D.W. Miller Award for stories she wrote—all stories that she pitched and developed.
Zipporah also served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, the e-board of the Huntington News as managing editor and opinions editor, and regularly sits on panels for prospective students and underclassmen.
Jonathan Kaufman, Director of the School of Journalism, calls Zipporah “a first-rate journalist” who is “giving back in ways that help other students, prospective students and the university as a whole.”