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Katie Sarandou

Katie Sarandou is a powerhouse at Chatham—writing killer articles for Odyssey every week while still managing to run the student newspaper—Communiqué. This past summer she even interned at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. How does one manage to do so much and stay so cool? We decided to interview her and find out!
Her Campus Chatham: What are you studying right now at Chatham?
Katie Sarandou: I’m currently studying the highly specialized art of chronic procrastination, with a minor in functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep a night.
No, but seriously I’m double majoring in journalism and media arts, with a minor in psychology, because you never know when that might come in handy.
What organizations are you involved with at Chatham?
I’m ashamed to admit that my list of activities isn’t terribly extensive at the moment. In addition to being one of the Editors-in-Chief of Communiqué, I’m also a staff writer for Odyssey, a Chatham Scholar (if you want to call that an organization), and treasurer of the soon-to-exist Graphic Design Club.
In the past I served a brief stint on the editorial board for the Minor Bird, an equally brief stint as treasure of the Chatham Bake Club (Sophomore year was a strange and confusing time), and a semester volunteering for the ELP’s Conversation Partner Program – which I hope to get back into next semester when I have time to actually pursue non-academic interests again.
What got you interested in journalism?
I hate to disappoint, but it’s not really an exciting story.  I mean there was no moment of divine inspiration, or life-long dream or anything like that.  Basically I came to Chatham majorless, but knowing that I liked writing and photography, and that I wanted to travel. Over the course of my first year I got be friends with communications major, and her classes seemed like something I could get on board with, so I signed up for Tony Norman’s intro to newswriting class. And the rest, as they say, is history.
How did you get involved with Communiqué?
Well it seemed a bit asinine to be a journalism major and not be involved in the student newspaper, so I started submitting articles to Communiqué shortly after I took Tony’s class. They were a bit short-staffed, and Tony seemed to see some potential in me, so before I knew it I was Copy Editor, then Managing Editor, and Now Co-Editor-in-Chief with the lovely and talented Ivy Kuhrman.
What goals do you have for Communiqué this year?
I’d say our main goal is to boost readership and provide interesting and engaging content. We would love to be Chatham students’ first source for news about the University, and to be taken seriously on and off campus.
You interned at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this past summer. What was that like?
I can only describe it as equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. From day one I was on the move, scheduling interviews and figuring out my place in the well-oiled machine that is a daily newspaper. There was not training, no preparation – I had to be on top of my game from the first moment. That being said, they were more than willing to help me when I needed it, and everyone there wanted nothing more than to see me succeed. It was an incredible experience.
What was the most important thing you learned during your internship?
You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to be willing to work hard.
What would be your dream job?
International correspondent for the New York Times. 
Cliché? A bit. Impractical? Absolutely. But what’s the harm in aiming high? I am a Chatham woman after all.
Alternatively, I wouldn’t say no to a job as a researcher for John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. Seriously, they hire real journalists to do investigative work, and quite frankly I feel like more people (at least young people) get their news from shows like his than from traditional sources anyways.
What would be your ultimate goal as a journalist?
Change the world. Win a Pulitzer.  The usual…
Eh, maybe not, but if I can report the news with honestly and integrity, and maybe raise awareness about some of the issue facing the world, I will consider my career a success.
What are some goals you have for post-grad?
Immediate or long-term?
Regardless the main answer is travel. Admittedly it’s not a particularly groundbreaking concept, but it’s been the one goal that I’ve been consistently committed to since I was about four years old and my dream job was to be a ballerina/artist/astronaut/veterinarian/horseback rider/President. 
I’m kicking things off with the Maymester trip to Indonesia, and from there we’ll see what happens.
How has Chatham changed your life?
CLICHÉ ALERT: I genuinely wouldn’t be who I am today had I gone somewhere other than Chatham. 
I wouldn’t have inadvertently stumbled into the field of journalism, I wouldn’t have had teachers who cared enough to support me and push me to pursue my interests, I probably would be hesitant to call myself a feminist, and I wouldn’t have half of the confidence that I have now. 
First year I used to joke that Chatham was more like a really extensive summer camp than a college, and I stand by that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve received an incredible education, but more than that I’ve gained experiences, and learned who I am as a person, and that’s not something you get from most other universities.
What do you love most about Chatham?
Aside form everything I’ve already mentioned…I don’t know, the trees? Chatham has great trees. And benches. You should never overlook a good bench.
Probably not what you’re looking for, huh?
Honestly though, I love the campus.  I love that despite how small it is, you can walk across it a thousand times and stumble across something new every time. And I love Chatham’s history, and the sense of community and identity that we have here. I love the people, and the professors, and even though Chatham does something that drives me absolutely crazy at least once a week -- with it’s lost paperwork and inability to communicate effectively -- I think that the good things absolutely outweigh the bad.
What’s your favorite drink at Café Rachel?
Hmm, probably iced green tea in the summer and plain dark roast coffee in the winter.  I’m relatively easy to please.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a Chatham professor or faculty member?
I was meeting with my advisor the other day and we were discussing the merits of grad school vs. taking a gap year, and I can't remember his exact comment but it was something along the lines of  -- even if you end up working at Dairy Queen for a year, keep writing.  Write about the people you meet there, and the neighborhood, and your experiences. Those may end up being some of your most interesting subjects.
Though I don't intend to work at Dairy Queen after graduation, that really resonated with me.  The idea that I can find inspiration anywhere if I look hard enough, and that I should pursue my craft regardless of my circumstances.  I appreciated that. 
If you had to read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I typically don’t go for coming of age novels, but that one was a hallmark of my youth.
If you could meet one female journalist—dead or alive—who would it be?
Can I stretch the rules and pick a photojournalist? Because my answer would absolutely be Margaret Bourke-White. That woman was an indisputable badass, and way ahead of her time.
If not I’d have to say either Nellie Bly (faking insanity to expose the conditions in a mental asylum…talk about hardcore), or I’d have to pull a Rory Gilmore and say Christiane Amanpour.
All photos courtesy of Katie Sarandou.
Indigo Baloch is the HC Chatham Campus Correspondent. She is a junior at Chatham University double majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism and double minoring Graphic Design and an Asian Studies Certificate. Indigo is a writer and Editorial Assistant at Maniac Magazine and occasionally does book reviews for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She is also the Public Relations Director for The Mr. Roboto Project (a music venue in Pittsburgh) and creates their monthly newsletter. During her freshman and sophomore year, Indigo was the Editor-in-Chief of Chatham's student driven newsprint: Communique. Currently, on campus, Indigo is the Communications Coordinator for Minor Bird (Chatham's literary magazine), the Public Relations Director for Chatham's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, and a Staff Writer and Columnist for Communique. She has worked as a Fashion Editorial Intern for WHIRL Magazine, and has been a featured reader at Chatham's Undergraduate Reading Series and a featured writer in Minor Bird. She loves art, music, film, theater, writing, and traveling.
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