Many people have a desire to better the environment from a young age, yet some keep the spark while others lose it. For Brianna Baker, KLN '19, her spark was reignited in May 2018 when she became an editorial intern at Green Philly.
As a journalism major, Baker was originally interested in the internship for the editorial experience. By the end, however, Baker's environmental activism that she had as a kid in the form of encouraging people to take shorter showers and not use plastic straws came rushing back.
After adding a minor in environmental studies her senior year, Baker pursued an internship at Broke in Philly where she further narrowed down her passion to environmental solutions journalism.
After graduating from Klein in 2019, Baker freelanced but frequently checked to see if climate justice organization Grist had any applications open. When she saw an opening, she jumped at the chance to apply. Now, Baker is finishing her year as a climate solutions fellow on the Fix team that focuses on storytelling and the human stories behind environmental solutions efforts.
"As a person and a journalist, she's pretty inquisitive and does a lot of research so that she learns about a topic," Baker's friend and roommate Caroline Davies, FOX '19 said. "She's interested in getting to the bottom of the topic or consolidating a ton of information about something so that it's easier for someone to understand."
Baker and Davies met while working at the Fox School of Business's Business Communications Center their sophomore year. Davies noted that even though they were pursuing completely different paths of study, the two had a lot in common, and enjoyed talking about the things they didn't have in common.
In addition to tutoring at the Business Communications Center, Baker was involved in several publications while she was a student at Temple. She was a section editor and copy editor of the Templar yearbook, wrote for Temple News and was editor-in-chief of 14th Street Magazine. Baker, however, did not note the last achievement, something that journalism professor Larry Stains attributes to her humility.
"She's just modest by nature so she wouldn't be forthcoming about it immediately, but it's all true," Stains said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker took time to volunteer with Mighty Writers, a writing program for Philadelphia youth. She originally became interested in the program because she wanted to be a tutor, but when the organization became a food distribution hub in order to adapt to the needs of the community during the early days of the pandemic, Baker still volunteered to help.
Baker's work at Grist ends in August 2021. Though she does not think she will continue working there when her fellowship ends, she is interested in pursuing activism and isn't afraid to veer away from the journalism path she always thought she would pursue.
"I've just been thinking about ways that I can find jobs that would maybe let me write sometimes on the side but where I'm also doing things that are more hands-on," she said. "It's okay to change your goals and dreams because journalism is something I'd been wanting to do since I was in eighth grade."
"Her mindset is that doing your best is a good thing and you won't always be perfect," Davies said. "She gives herself and other people grace."