Poet to pursue journalism career

Whether it is a work of fiction, a news story, or a poem, Ally Pang (“22) has always loved writing. An English and journalism double major, she chose to attend WSU because it had opportunities for her to pursue both of her interests.

“I love journalism because I’m able to lift up other voices and hear from people who aren’t often heard from. Even though creative writing and multimedia journalism are two completely different types of writing, they’re also kind of the same,” Pang said. “Both of them are about capturing truth. Just being able to tell a good story is such a huge thing.”

Creative writing, Pang said, also it involves lifting up unheard voices. She loves creating her own worlds and characters and hopes one day to publish something that might appear on the shelves next to books by her favorite authors.

As a freshman, Pang joined the staff of the WSU student literary magazine LandEscapes; her senior year she served as editor-in-chief.

“The journal really uplifts student voices and gives people a chance to be artistic and create,” she said.

Pang was named as the 2020 WSU campus civic poet and enjoyed sharing her poetry at open mic nights, which helped her gain confidence in her public speaking and writing. She also worked at the WSU Writing Center during her time at WSU. At first, she thought the writing center was mostly about helping students with grammar and spelling errors, but she now believes it is about helping people improve their confidence in their writing abilities.

Her recommendation for future students is try to find events they would like to take part in and put themselves out there by actively looking for things happening outside of class, no matter how shy they might be.

Persevering through the pandemic

Ally is “one of the very best; she represents one of the highest quality of students I’ve worked with,” said Peter Chilson, faculty advisor for LandEscapes and professor of English. “She led the magazine through COVID-19. That’s an extremely important distinction about her. She kept the magazine going on Zoom, pulling together the editors and designers. She did a lot of hard work and heavy lifting during the pandemic.”

Among the classes Pang has taken, she said she enjoyed form and theory in creative writing (ENGLISH 446) because it emphasized examining your writing identity while working on your writing as well. Taught by Chilson, the class helped Pang and other students improve and feel supported and encouraged.

In addition to Chilson, Pang counts Ben Shors, Alison Boggs and Lisa Jones in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication among the WSU professors who most influenced her academic career.

Next steps

Pang said some of her goals for the future include becoming a published author, doing journalism in Seattle and going to Korea for a year to research a story she is currently working on.

Top image: Ally Pang in her home state of Hawaii (image courtesy of Ally Pang).

By Josiah Pike, The Daily Evergreen