Campus Celebrity: Professor Gina Chen

Gina Chen, a journalism professor at Southern Miss, has known since she was seven years old that she wanted to be a journalist.

“I had this little newspaper called Queen Anne Lane Times that I actually sold to people in the neighborhood,” Chen said. “The parents in the neighborhood were indulgent enough to pay, like, ten cents for my stupid newspaper. But I just liked writing and I liked knowing what was going on.”

Growing up, Chen considered other careers, but upon starting college it just clicked.

“When I went to college, I really, you know, formalized it and said this is what I want to do. I want to be able to write and I like to know what’s going on,” Chen said. “So that was kind of the perfect mix.”

Chen graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio with an undergrad degree in communications with a concentration in journalism. Before moving to Mississippi, she held many positions as a journalist, and offers some insight into that career path. 

“I think being a cop reporter was probably my favorite (job) because it was exciting and you were in the thick of things,” Chen said. “There was always something going on. It was not boring.”

Chen offered some great advice for students who are interested in going into the journalism field.

“My best advice would be to get as much experience as you can before you graduate, because that’s what’s going to get you the job,” Chen said. “I think that being a journalist, being a writer, is something that you learn about in school and practice in school, but you really have to do it, and you have to do it a lot to get better at it.”

Aside from being a professor at Southern Miss, Chen also enjoys gardening, running, and cooking.

“I’m obsessed lately with gardening. I’ve gotten into gardening since I moved to Mississippi because we have a great long growing season here,” Chen said.

She even started a gardening blog and joins garden chats online.

Chen also runs for fun, and she enjoys cooking. Her favorite things to cook are Cajun and Indian food.

“I don’t like to do just at the end of the day cooking. I like to do elaborate things,” Chen said. “It’s just, for me, a break from what else I do.”

Chen has been teaching at Southern Miss since August of 2012.