HomeAlumniFormer Carmel Sandpiper editors use journalism experience in post-high school lives

Former Carmel Sandpiper editors use journalism experience in post-high school lives

Published March 7, 2024

BY TULLAH McCOLL

Last May, Danny Funt was interviewed on CBS News by John Dickerson about his freelance writing on the sports betting industry. Just 13 years earlier, the 2010 Carmel High School Alumni was sitting in the editor’s chair for The Carmel Sandpiper.

In graduating from Carmel High School within the last 15 years, past editors of the newspaper class have spent their time furthering their academic studies and following their passions.  

“I feel really blessed that I was able to have something that I was very passionate about in high school,” 2021 CHS alumna Alicia Krueger says. “It was something I was willing to put in a lot of work for, which can be rare.” 

Following their introduction to news writing in high school, several former editors of The Sandpiper have followed a path of journalism in their professional lives.

Josh Marcus has not stopped his journalistic work since graduating from CHS in 2013. After attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a Creative Writing major, Marcus began to pursue writing and reporting as a career. After working for Minnesota Public Radio and writing for the Monterey County Weekly prepared, the future freelance writer worked in New York City as a writer for Vice and Rolling Stone magazine on and off for two years.

Marcus is now back on the West Coast, living in San Francisco, and is a reporter for UK newspaper The Independent. The reporter is also currently working on a book about Jeff Bezos and his 10,000-year clock project. 

“I always really liked to write and was always pretty good at it, but I was kind of just doing it on feel and hadn’t really thought that deeply about it,” Marcus explains. “I think a lot about the things I learned in that time [writing for The Sandpiper] to this day.”

Danny Funt was interviewed on CBS News in May for his writing about the sports betting industry. (courtesy of DANNY FUNT)

Funt also continued writing professionally after serving as editor for The Sandpiper. Although initially unsure whether he wanted to pursue journalism as a career, Funt wrote for The Georgetown Hoya as an undergraduate and wrote for the Monterey Herald during summer breaks. The Georgetown alum went on to complete a year-long graduate program at Columbia University in journalism. 

Funt excelled in his writing career while working for The Columbia Journalism Review, a magazine the university publishes. Now a senior editor for The Week magazine, Funt is also a freelance journalist who has been published in several newspapers, including The Washington Post. After writing about recent legalization in the sports betting industry, the journalist received a book contract to write about the topic more in depth, and he expresses excitement to see where this takes him. 

Also advancing in her writing career is 2020 CHS graduate Athena Fosler-Brazil, who is studying Journalism and Environmental Studies at the University of Missouri. Writing for her school’s magazine with a focus in science led Fosler-Brazil to do a semester abroad in Brussels, Belgium, for a journalism internship.

“The work I did at The Sandpiper had a big impact and strong influence on what I am doing now,” the environmental enthusiast says.

Athena Fosler-Brazil traveled to Amsterdam multiple times during her journalism internship in Belgium. (courtesy of ATHENA FOSLER-BRAZIL)

The internship in Europe allowed Fosler-Brazil to write for a science communications company magazine that worked for an environmental campaign. 

Also writing about the world and its ecosystems is Michael Montgomery, who graduated from CHS in 2016. Montgomery went on to get his bachelor’s degree in Marine and Coastal Science and a minor in Professional Writing at University of California, Davis.

During college, Montgomery was able to take science journalism courses where he used the skills he acquired while working on The Sandpiper. The environmentalist and writer was later given the opportunity to become an editor of the Monterey Audubon Society’s newsletter following the request to publish one of his papers. 

“Journalism lives in the real world and values people’s individual perspectives in a way that I think science should do as well,” Montgomery explains.

Now continuing his education in graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara, studying Marine Biology and Oceanography, Montgomery applies historical methods to marine ecology in studying how species geographic spreads have responded to past environmental changes like heat waves for his PhD. A big part of his study is interviewing fishermen around southern California and looking through old newspaper reports to investigate rare sightings during El Niño, a climate pattern that impacts tropical and subtropical marine species habitats. 

“I realized that I think more like a journalist than an ecologist…. I liked to crowdsource the data which is what you do as a journalist,” Montgomery says. “Surprisingly, few working marine biologists think to do that, and I feel lucky to have gotten that appreciation young, which is really due to The Sandpiper.”

Anna Gumberg followed a similar path after graduating from CHS in 2017 when she went on to attend Yale University and write for Yale Daily News for two years. Although Gumberg graduated college with a degree in Philosophy, she then received a grant to go to Europe and write a piece about her grandmother’s hometown in Bugnara, Italy.

Josh Marcus speaking on a panel at the 2023 American Workforce and Justice Summit in New York about ways storytelling, including the media, influences the movement for criminal justice. (courtesy of RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS INITIATIVE FOR JUSTICE)

“It didn’t feel like I was straying from what I learned at The Sandpiper,” the Yale alumni shares, “rather I just took those skills in a different avenue.”

After spending four months in Europe writing about the place her family immigrated from in the 1950s, Gumberg returned home in December 2022 and started a new job in Wisconsin last April as a technical solutions engineer for a medical software company. 

Other past editors of The Sandpiper staff chose to take their knowledge to the legal field. Kylie Yeatman found an interest for policy and investigation when working on The Sandpiper her senior year in 2020 following her stories about administrative policy. 

“You can devote a lot of time to something to the point where you have been looking at it too much, and realize nothing is ever going to be truly perfect,” says the Cornell law student. “One thing I definitely learned is having to be okay with that and knowing it was really just your best effort.”

Yeatman continued her interests at University of California, Irvine, while getting her bachelor’s in criminology, and has now begun her first year at Cornell Law School. Whether it be time management or the ability to talk to authority figures, Yeatman continues to use the skills she learned from high school newspaper in her professional life today. 

Similarly, 2018 CHS alumna Becca Goren has furthered her education at California Polytechnic State University studying Sociology and Comparative Ethnic Studies. 

Working as a legal assistant and independent consultant for nonprofit organizations during and after college, Goren is now at Berkeley Law school and writes for Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law. Throughout the time the current law student spent writing for the newspaper in high school, she learned the importance of producing something that will affect others. 

At Ventura Country White Seabass Enhancement Facility in Oxnard, California, Michael Montgomery is studying the threatened species for his PhD. (courtesy of MICHAEL MONTGOMERY)

“Newspaper taught me to feel really responsible for a team and made me want to do well for people other than myself,” Goren says. 

2016 CHS alumna Delaney King went to Bryn Mawr College, outside Philadelphia, where she studied political science with a concentration in American politics and environmental policy. During college, King worked in Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s office, State Senator Bill Monning’s office, and then for the James Martin Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation at Middlebury Institute of International Studies of Monterey. 

“I wanted to be a part of things worth writing about and not the one writing about them,” King explains. 

After college, King attended University of North Carolina’s School of Government and graduated with a master’s of public administration last May. The UNC graduate started working for North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, primarily working in outreach and education, grant management and technical assistance for local governments, state agencies and colleges. 

Additionally using her knowledge elsewhere, once graduating CHS in 2017, Melissa Pavloff took her education to University of Notre Dame where she got a bachelor’s degree in Science. Pavloff then received a master’s degree in Education through a teaching fellowship program where she taught elementary and middle school science and math.

During Pavloff’s time with her fifth and sixth grade classes, she brought a new elective to their school inspired by her time at The Sandpiper where students learned the process of writing news and putting a paper together.

“I continue to take comfort in knowing that my experience in journalism has shaped me into a more informed and critical reader and media consumer,” Pavloff says, “even if I did not choose to pursue it professionally.”

Sandpiper alum Carly Rudiger and her dog, Tex, are enjoying their new life in Austin, Texas. (courtesy of CARLY RUDIGER)

Another former editor of The Sandpiper who continues to want to educate through non-writing tactics is 2011 graduate Cassie Bishop, who attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Bishop, who uses the pronoun they, wrote for their school newspaper as one of the art and entertainment editors along with being an opinion editor for three years. 

Bishop’s journalism career concluded after writing a feature piece about sexual violence at Lewis and Clark. Graduating with a degree in international relations, the advocate started working as a case manager with a program that worked with unhoused youths.

Bishop did general advocacy work for two years, and transitioned into working with a long-term shelter where they then became a case manager for people who identified within the queer community through an agency that supports survivors of sexual violence and trafficking.

After helping their family during the pandemic, Bishop is now in graduate school at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles, California, working in student government and doing other school projects within their program. Bishop’s goal for after graduate school is to continue to work in prevention and education that was inspired by their work in Oregon.

2015 CHS graduate Carly Rudiger went on to major in Marketing and minor in Global Social Enterprise at Northeastern University in Boston. Working in software, technology and advertising guided Rudiger to work remotely and move to Austin, Texas, with her boyfriend and dog, Tex. The artist found a love for making ‘do it yourself’ projects during the remodel of her home in Austin. Being able to make mistakes within these kinds of projects is the part she loves most. Rudiger is starting her own interior design company this month. 

Krueger, who has been at New York University since graduating CHS, is focusing her studies in public policy and minoring in business while pursuing a Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Public Administration. As she takes a year abroad in Madrid, Spain, the CHS grad looks forward to the opportunities waiting for her back in the US. 

After leaving CHS in 2020 and writing for The Sandpiper for all four years of high school, Ellah Foster will be graduating from UCSB this June with a BA in Communication and a minor in Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice. 

2023 graduates Emma Brown, Sophia Bone and Riley Palshaw have all continued journalism since publishing their final edition of The Sandpiper in June. (courtesy of THE SANDPIPER)

Foster found interest in other fields after writing for the Daily Nexus, UCSB’s publication, for her first two years of college. Foster, now a writing intern for the UCSB Alumni Affairs Association, a children’s literacy tutor for the United Way and a writer for a public relations professional resources company, says she is content in her decision to move away from journalism.

Past editors and Class of 2023 graduates Sophia Bone, Riley Palshaw and Emma Brown have all continued their education and furthered their writing careers. Bone started at UCSB in the fall as a Communications major and has recently applied to be an assistant editor in the menu section of UCSB’s school newspaper, Daily Nexus, along with joining a sorority and the Women in Business Club. 

Palshaw is attending University of Missouri while majoring in Journalism, is involved in Mizzou’s student-run newspaper, The Maneater, and is her sorority’s director of electronic communication.

Brown is now studying English and political science at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She also writes for her student paper, The Miscellany News, primarily working on the features and news sections. 

“Writing for my college newspaper having written for The Sandpiper has been incredibly helpful,” Brown explains. “I have no idea what I would be doing without that experience. The Sandpiper gives you a launching pad for the rest of your writing career.”

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  • CHS Sandpiper staff bring me great pride in the future of journalism. Keep up the good work, congratulations to Mike Palshaw for his teaching leadership.

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