Alum Interview with Emma Tomeo
By Emma Tomeo, published October 8th, 2021
Where are you from?
I am from right outside of Denali National Park, Alaska. I have Denali, the great one, in my backyard to one side, and the Broad Pass valley to the other. In winter, days are cold, nights are long, and the sighting of life is more often a moose than a person. Summer is a much different story, as the area can reach the mid-90s on a hot day and sees about 1/2 million people each year through the National Park in the on-season. While living between these two very different seasons can cause a bit of whiplash, it has taught me valuable lessons, from how to work with all sorts of people to how to survive a winter night alone in the snow. It has helped to cultivate who I am.
How does it feel to be a See Stories Intern?
All too cool! I am so thankful for the opportunity to practice and further develop my professional skills in the communications, journalism, and storytelling fields with See Stories. Inclusive communities, their creation and continuation, is an ideal that I believe has the strength to change our lives and world. Being able to contribute to the process of this mission is more than empowering, it is inspiring.
How are you connected with See Stories?
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic I participated in a remote See Stories workshop. This workshop allowed young people in Alaska and Uganda, geographically far from each other but united by quarantine in a time of COVID-19 uncertainty, to connect with each other via Zoom calls, journal entries, and creative projects. I got to know See Stories’ programs from that experience, and was inspired by its mission and projects.
What were some of the takeaways from your See Stories Workshop?
My biggest surprise, which turned into my biggest takeaway from the See Stories Workshop was seeing just how similar young people are across the world. While in theory this may sound obvious, it was enlightening to realize that the young people in Uganda were just as amazed by our stories of berry-picking and trudging through snow as we were by their tales of waking up early to farm their family’s lands and watching out for police on the way to the market.
There were other similarities as well. Most of us had decided to take classes from home during COVID, those in Alaska online and those in Uganda over their country’s radio system. Some people in the group were musicians, others writers, and others creatives of all types; on both ends of our calls. Overall the workshop taught me just how alike we are no matter our circumstances.
What are you most excited for about your internship?
It may sound cliché, but I am excited to learn! Writing has always been a passion of mine, and recently (as the daunting college and career search has begun to be ever-present in the near future) journalism and business communications have stood out as more than just an interest. I am excited to get the chance to explore this more, and especially with See Stories, an organization whose mission is something that I fully support, believe in, and have witnessed firsthand.