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I’ve been interested in journalism since my junior year of high school. During a school trip to Prague we were told to break into small groups and roam the streets of the old medieval city, asking strangers controversial political questions. At one point, our group asked an American tourist what he thought about President Putin’s recent movement of nuclear weapons to the nearby Crimean Peninsula. A German man, who had been fidgeting in his seat next to the American for most of the interview, took special exception to the question and suddenly exploded into a heated tirade.

Red in the face, he told us our questions were worthless because they were so obviously written with an American right-wing slant. He then went on to advise us that we ought to worry more about John McCain than Vladimir Putin. His answer and reaction were fascinating to me. When I learned later that you could make a whole career out of asking people hard questions, naturally I was all in.

I decided to study journalism because I believe that everyone has an interesting and important story to tell. I began writing for the Kentucky Kernel, almost two years ago now, because I wanted to tell the stories that are important to my campus and my hometown. I wanted to become the Kernel’s Editor-in-Chief because I want to serve our campus by leading a Kernel staff that is committed to telling the important stories of our community. Telling the truth, in an accurate and compelling way, is a public service. I’m excited to lead a staff and a newspaper that has a long tradition of doing just that.

I’m the son of a Filipina—my mom immigrated here from the Philippines when she was 20—and of a native Kentuckian in my dad. I’ve lived in Lexington my entire life and I decided to come to UK because it felt like home and because it was much cheaper than my other options.

College has taught me how to power nap and that there is never such a thing as too much caffeine. Aside from the Kernel, I’ve worked in a small factory, as a barista, as a middle school lacrosse coach and as a part-time assistant on the Lexington Herald-Leader’s sports desk.

I have the tremendous challenge of following Bailey Vandiver, our outgoing Editor-in-Chief. Under Bailey’s guidance, the Kernel has covered a wild ride of school year. Kernel staffers covered a historic football season, a car-flipping State Street, a bomb threat, the ever-pervasive issue of suicide on a college campus and many more truthful and compelling stories.

I look forward to next school year and I look forward to serving the UK community.