Alumni Spotlight: Myrka Moreno ’19

This week, Lorna Probasco ‘20, interviewed recent graduate Myrka Moreno 19’ who majored in Digital Media Management and minored in Journalism during her time here on the hilltop. Today she is a Social Media Engagement Fellow for “Grist,” a Seattle-based nonprofit news outlet that focuses on climate, sustainability and social justice. Utilizing the experience she gained from working with Hilltop Views as an editor, interning with the Texas Observer, working with Annie’s List, and her time with Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), Myrka has managed to transfer her skills and knowhow to aide and assist her during her fellowship.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

“My name is Myrka Moreno, I studied Digital Media Management with a minor in Journalism. I’m from Harlingen, TX in the Rio Grande Valley and was raised in a migrant farmworker family which earned me a place in the College Assistance Migrant Program at St. Edward’s.”

Recently you received the Grist fellowship. Would you share a little more about what the Grist fellowship is and what prompted you to apply for it?

I am working with Grist as their Social Media Engagement Fellow which is a 6-month remote position. I am very passionate about journalism and storytelling with a strong emphasis on digital aspects. Through my major I was led to Audience Engagement, which is the social media and community building aspect of journalism.

Beyond journalism, I am also passionate about social justice and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. That has led me to intern with several non-profits

including nonprofit newsrooms, like Grist, that focus on more justice driven journalism. After my internship with the Texas Observer, my supervisor pointed me toward Grist and I immediately knew it was the perfect match.

Environmental justice is often an afterthought in climate news, but Grist goes out of their way to share the stories of the communities, usually people of color living in poverty, that are disproportionately affected by climate change. I knew working with them would not be just another social media internship, but one that shares my values.”

Have you had a prior interest in sustainability? What drew you to apply to a sustainability and social justice focused news outlet?

“My interest in sustainability stems from my background in migrant work. When I was younger, I never thought of it that deeply, but once I came to college and was surrounded by a community passionate about social justice and met more migrant students through CAMP, I realized the importance of environmental justice and sustainability.”

How has your fellowship educated you or prompted change in your life or lifestyle?

“Working in a field like journalism, it can become an unfortunate habit to avoid the news outside of work. However, working with a non-profit organization surrounded by journalists that are genuinely passionate about the issues they cover has motivated me to remain informed on global issues, especially about climate change.”

You’ve previously been involved with Student Action with Farmworkers. Would you mind telling me a little about that organization, what you did, and it’s impact?

“Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) is a non-profit based in North Carolina that focuses on farmworker rights and food justice. The Into the Fields internship program brings 24 interns to the area each summer to be placed with local nonprofits that focus on different aspects within the farmworker movement. I interned with SAF in the summer of 2017 after my second year at St. Edward’s and it completely changed my life. Not only did my career objectives change, but I learned to think critically about our food and where it comes from. Even though I was raised in a farmworker family, through SAF I learned about social issues within the community more thoroughly and about the fight for economic and environmental justice and how they go hand-in-hand. Additionally I learned how the most popular movements don’t usually address race and ethnicity and end up leaving people of color at the end. Because of SAF, I am eager to continue in journalism with an emphasis on social justice and have also led a more sustainable lifestyle. As I mentioned before, I think more critically about where my food comes from and the people that it affects.”

The questions and answers in this article have been transcribed and condensed for clarification.