Westmont College grad Caleb Rodriguez joined the Indy’s intern staff this past month, and right off the mark he pitched an intense and uplifting story concerning Kendra Chan, one of the victims of the Conception boat fire.
“I was particularly nervous for this project because of how deeply Kendra’s community loves her and my desire to encapsulate her story accurately,” Rodriguez said of covering the Kendra Chan Conservation Fellowship, which preserves the memory of the wildlife biologist. “But speaking with the various witnesses to Kendra’s life introduced me, in a way, to who Kendra was as a person and helped enormously with the writing process. It was an incredible privilege to have a hand in telling Kendra’s story, and I’ll never forget it.”
Originally from Fresno, Rodriguez has a day job in an oncology clinic and just completed a paralegal certificate at UCSB; he’s now considering whether to go into the law or stick with journalism. “In my spare time, I dabble in long-distance running, yoga, thrift shopping, and raising houseplants, especially the ones with fun colors or leaf patterns, like the polka-dot begonia.”
While double majoring in English and biology at Westmont, a research project placed him on Santa Cruz Island and at Eagle Lake in Northern California catching and ultrasound-scanning pregnant female garter snakes. “It was the longest I’ve ever tent-camped — two weeks — and the longest I’ve been covered in snake poop.”