Impromptu “Sweetest Pie” dance-offs, fire spinning and not understanding a single U.S. sport or its rules ever.
And that’s not even the half of it when it comes to The Spectrum (or its beloved alter ego: “The Spectrussy”) and its staff.
My time as an editor has been so unimaginably lovely, from start to finish.
I remember feeling almost immediately at home at my first staff meeting, with Anthony DeCicco’s ear-to-ear smiles and “oh my god’s” at the newest NFL transfers and NBA stats, to being shown the unofficial, official frat and sorority gay-friendliness evaluation and Moaz Elazzazi almost kicking me in the face with his group photo handstand.
Then came my unofficial initiation a few days before the end of classes.
The all-knowing Zodiac guru Kara Anderson told me it was obvious I was an air sign and people-pleaser just by looking at my vest and shoes. Jenna Quinn stormed in to show me video after video of her high school acting days, where she stole the show with unnecessarily long spotlight solos (skip to 32:30).
I want to take the time to honor all the beautiful people and bloody legends I had the pleasure of meeting this year.
Starting with THE goated desk on the entire staff: sports.
From teaching me what an infielder is to Slicks nights out, my two fellow editors have been guiding lights.
Anthony DeCicco (aka future EIC!) is a ray of sunshine who couldn’t be more of a credit to himself if he tried. An absolutely brilliant writer, and an even better friend, always waiting with big bear-hug energy behind his quintessential cap and hoodie combo.
Then comes the other key player on our iconic Destiny’s Child/Three Stooges desk (depending on how you look at it): Kayla Sterner. This girl never takes her foot off the gas, sprinting lap after lap, before interviewing other athletes who share her awe-inspiring drive and success.
Moving on to my second favorite desk: arts (sorry, news/features, nothing personal).
This desk is run by two of the prettiest souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Alex Falter is the most unintentionally funny person in the room. His checked-out expression and chilled-out attitude made me feel right at home. His love for music, Bojack Horseman and everything in between highlight his soul and passion for the things and people he cares about. He wears his heart on his sleeve.
Now for the woman, the myth, the legend: The Kara Anderson. This woman is a complete and utter joy to be around; her booming laugh infectious and glowing, her quick sense of humor only scratching the surface of her intelligence. Words flow out of Kara like a diamond-encrusted tap, and I wouldn’t have wanted to endure ENG435 with anyone else.
On to the desk that can never take their eye off the ball: news/features.
Grant Ashley is a force to be reckoned with. Equipped with FOIL requests up to his chest and Marcella’s slut drops, this man is no joke. I genuinely can’t wait to see him blossom into the absolutely first-class journalist that he already is, and wants to become.
Julie Frey. Ah, where to even start. I knew about Julie even before I was on staff, and everything I have ever heard about that girl is golden (save for her “Save UB’s Geese” mantra), from her beautiful words to her caring nature. Dressed head-to-toe in pastels and bright yellows, she brings a much-needed vibrancy to our windowless office as her clothes radiate the depth of character and raw kindness she possesses.
Speaking of Taylor Swift fans, let’s talk about Kayla Estrada. Another absolutely gorgeous person whose ability to speak up about what matters is like no other. I’m so excited to see where she goes from here, and I hope she’s smiling the whole way through.
Kyle Nguyen is yet another person whose storytelling and wish to affect positive change is truly phenomenal. Kyle has a perceptibility for people and their hardships that’s breathtaking, and I know he’s going to keep shining. He also has one of the sweetest waves I’ve ever seen.
Now onto the “ESPORTS!” man of the hour, Jack Porcari. Where to even begin? The guy literally knows how to dance with fire and look badass while doing it. As one of the most welcoming people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, Jack makes new faces feel right at home. His passion and advocacy are inspiring, and his military-esque weed vaporizer is still one of the most iconic things I’ve seen during my year abroad.
But none of the great work The Spectrum does could ever be possible without its team of creatives on hand.
So without further ado, the staff menace has to be addressed.
Miss Jenna Quinn, even though you’re a plague to society and it terrifies me to think that your jokes are only going to get even louder and funnier, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t immediately love you. You make me laugh every day without fail and I love coming into the office to give you a big hug. Jack Harlow, if you’re looking for a social media manager, hit Jenna up.
Moaz, you’re an all-around star: From vibing with me about the concert we went to last week to shooting killer photos, all while acing a degree in engineering, he is an undeniable star. Your endless handstands and backflips provide a lens into the fun-loving person you are.
When it comes to color correction and taking a picture that tells 1,000 words, Sai Seethala is a master. His talent and kindness are genuine and he always brightens everyone’s day.
Sabrina Akter-Nabi is easily one of the kindest — and best-dressed — people on staff. Her warmth shines through in all the hundreds of beautiful photos she takes.
Paul Blanchi, the man with the coolest bucket hats ever and the sickest graphics, is another ray of sunshine. He never ever complains, despite our late articles pushing draft past midnight most weeks.
The other graphics genius, Jiayi Zhang, never fails to impress with stellar designs and warm nature.
OK, now onto the unsung heroes.
Andrew Lauricella joined the staff even after I did, and was immediately able to get everyone smiling every time he walked into the office. Here’s to a wonderful person, golfing partner for life and James Charles expert.
Dan Eastman, or “Hello, this is Dan for News 4” as he’d like to say, is the backbone of breaking news and fact-checking. His and Jenna’s torrid love affair and Dan’s constant sarcasm, donut-loving nature and Devil’s Advocacy is refreshing to say the least.
Justin Weiss. The brightest energy in every room, who’s constantly making time for and uplifting those around him. I’ve never met anyone with the same unstoppable optimism and work ethic. His writing and editorial work are second-to-none, he’s a marathon-running machine and he always has the biggest smile on his face no matter what. Anyone would be lucky to know him.
Now for the head of the show herself: Reilly Mullen.
Reilly is an inspiration to all as a phenomenal leader, writer and person. Her vulnerability in the way she both speaks and writes is outstandingly beautiful, and has inspired me to be able to write raw and candid pieces that speak to who I am as a person. Thank you for leading the way for the entire newsroom, and being a lovely friend.
The Spectrum has given me so much, allowing me to flourish as a writer and journalist. But above all else, it’s given me friends for life.
I could write about these people for days, and how lucky am I to be able to say that I met them.
Thanks for making a girl thousands of miles from home have an entirely new one.
Here’s to kicking ass.
Sophie McNally is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie McNally is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. She is a history major studying abroad for a year from Newcastle University in the UK. In her spare time, she can be found blasting The 1975 or Taylor Swift and rowing on a random river at 5 a.m.