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The Storyteller: Soni Brown

The nontraditional student worked as a flight attendant and juggled motherhood as she discovered her path to becoming a storyteller.

People  |  May 9, 2018  |  By UNLV News Center

Soni Brown, '18 BA Journalism and Media Studies

Editor's Note: 

Soni Brown is one of the students we're featuring as we celebrate spring 2018 commencement. Join us in congratulating our newest alumni in social media with #UNLVGrad. Full ceremony details on the commencement website.


Her major

Sounds cliché but journalism chose me. I always wanted to tell stories but I didn’t know I could. I didn’t know how to tell stories. I attended a session at the school and met a professor and realized, “Oh, I can do this.”

Challenge

My dad died a few years ago. He really prompted me to go back to school and finish my degree. I’m from Jamaica, and we lived on the opposite sides (of the island) so we would communicate by writing letters. He would send me back my letter with edits in the margin. One of the last conversations I had with him, he asked me “What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Are you going to tell stories?”

On Getting Involved

It’s like steel sharpening steel. I’ve been able to become better because of the organizations I’ve become a part of. I’ve been able to meet outside professionals that connected me to an internship.” [She  was part of the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,  served on the advisory board for the Scarlet & Gray Free Press, and an editor for the Rebel Folio site. Read her stories.]

Advice

Show up every day, and I don’t mean just physically sit in the seat. Show up and show you’re ready to learn. Raise your hand. Try your best to connect with your instructors and your fellow students. Even if it’s just to give a rah-rah to the next person. Because you never know who needs it and one day you might need it too.

Inspired by

People whose lives are completely different than mine. My desire to tell stories is because I really believe human beings are connected. I’m inspired by the Dreamers who come to school even though they don’t know what this country is going to do to them. I’m inspired by the military people who come to school even though they have a job protecting us. I’m inspired by the teachers who could be making so much more than they do teaching us.

Being a Rebel Means

It’s exactly what makes Las Vegas, Las Vegas. It’s a place to come to start over, do something new, be something dynamic and forceful for society. … My stories will be able to illuminate some dark place in society and bring hope to the masses. I really believe that storytelling, being a journalist, is helping democracy to grow.