Sheila Tran | Credit: Courtesy

A Bay Area native, Sheila Tran recently graduated from UCSB as a writing and literature major in the College of Creative Studies, with minor degrees in professional editing and Asian-American studies. She’s been writing stories about restaurants and COVID-19 impacts since April, and she penned the piece about olive oil in this week’s paper.

What was it like graduating during the pandemic?  It’s definitely been bittersweet, and in a lot of ways, I feel like I didn’t completely get closure on the end of college since my last quarter was mostly spent inside in quarantine away from most of my friends. But I’m not too bummed because I definitely think I made the most of my four years at UCSB — I learned so much and made so many important friendships. Wouldn’t trade my experience for the world!

What have you enjoyed about the internship?  Learning about different cultures and their dishes, having the privilege to try so much delicious food, and helping to communicate that cultural background to readers. It’s really rewarding to craft a good story about good people and help those people a little in the process as well. My experience at the Independent has taught me so many invaluable lessons about interviewing, writing, and editing that I know I’ll take with me wherever I’m headed next.

What’s your next move?  I’m planning to take a gap year to work as a technical writer for a computer software start-up in my home of the Bay Area — and save up some money! — before pursuing journalism as a career.


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