Thursday, April 18, 2013

Words, pictures and adventures: Wyoming EPSCoR's Communications Coordinator

Earlier this year we started a series of blogs about the EPSCoR office. The following is part five of the series and focuses on Communications Coordinator, Kali McCrackin.
 

Kali at the Grand Canyon over spring break in March.
Our staff member, who quietly interviews, creatively writes and photographs, promotes and advertises and effectively communicates to a large and very diverse audience needs to be recognized herself!  EPSCoR’s Communication Coordinator, Kali McCrackin, leads a full and inspiring life definitely worth sharing.
Kali grew up in Laramie and is a graduate of Laramie High School.  To provide an idea of the motivated and go-getter attitude that Kali possess:  After her freshman year at the University of Wyoming, Kali went to Tanzania, Africa to teach English.  Imagine, an 18-year-old woman leaving her family, friends and the life that she knows and traveling alone to Tanzania for a month.
“Going to Tanzania is one of my proudest accomplishments,” Kali shares.  “Travelling abroad, and to Africa specifically, was something that I always wanted to do.  I feel like it is where I grew up and it was a life-changing experience for me.  It is also where I met my boyfriend, Andy.  Tanzania will always be a very special place for me.”
Currently, Kali is a senior graduating in May.  She is majoring in journalism and international studies and minoring in creative writing and French.  Additionally, she is in the Honors Program at the University of Wyoming, where she met her now closest friends during her very first semester.  Kali has studied French since she was in the seventh grade and also went abroad to Tours, France in 2011 during her junior year.  While in France, she studied at the Fran├žois Rabelais University.  She has also completed an independent study project on Africa.
Kali also works part-time for EPSCoR and the College of Engineering.  As the Communications Coordinator for EPSCoR, she accesses all multi-media forums, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters and video.  And, she does this with a large team of scientists, researchers and educators often joining – with camera, notebook and recorder - these folks in the field.  “I love working with EPSCoR.  I am so happy to apply my degrees and have the opportunity to write and meet people.  No day is ever the same, which is so unlike other jobs.”
Where does the creative writing come in?  “I got into writing through stories.  My mom always read to us [my brother and I].  I learned to write through reading.  I did a lot of creative writing in high school, including novels, which I now need to take the time to edit.”  Kali continues, “At the University, I mainly write short stories.”
Reading and writing hasn’t always been easy for Kali.  “I was a poor student in elementary school.  I didn’t learn to read until I was eleven and in the fifth grade.  My teacher worked really closely with me.”  Overcoming this challenge rooted Kali’s attitude, “I learned early-on that if I worked hard, I can do anything.”
Kali has proven that she can do anything.  Kali is one of twenty Arts and Sciences Outstanding Undergraduates and a nomination for the Spitaleri Award - the best female undergraduate award.  For this award, Kali was interviewed by a panel of twelve faculty and administration members from all over campus.  (The Spitaleri award will be named on April 26th.)  She is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society and the International Studies Honorary Society.
If not exhausted already just reading about Kali and her accomplishments, Kali is completing her Honors Program project about literature and photography.  This project is a combination of the history of the two working together and a series of four (yes, four) short stories (written by Kali) with pictures (taken by Kali).  The last story is told almost completely through photographs.  Kali will present this project on April 26th at the Undergraduate Research Day and the end of June at a presentation conference in Steamboat Springs.
In addition her scholastic and academic interests and accomplishments, Kali also likes to be outside running, hiking and road biking.  She was on the ski team in high school and still enjoys skiing. 
“I have to be busy,” Kali admits.  “I don’t know what relaxation is.  I thrive with a lot to do.  My mom is the same way and I think I learned this from her.”
Following graduation in May, Kali will spend the summer in Laramie.  She then plans to travel to Asia in August to teach English for at least a year.  “If I really love it, I will stay longer.  This is what I’ve looked forward to doing:  travelling abroad after graduation.  Maybe go back to Tanzania.  I want to travel and explore and experience before finding a real job.”
Surely, these travel adventures will enhance Kali’s already diverse and broad experiences.  She hopes to someday find a job similar to what she currently does, “A multi-media communication position with an organization that I believe in.   I want to be able to creatively get the information out!”


By Beth Cable
Photo courtesy of Peggy McCrackin


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