I have two story pitches:
The first revolves around dealing with a pain condition or recurrent pain in college. I think it would be fascinating to get a glimpse into the life of people who seem fine on the outside, but are struggling on the inside, and students walking by might not even notice.
For the story, I would interview people who experience regular pain, as well as representatives from disability services and/or staff at the health center. Josh Lepson, a junior with a pain condition, would be my first subject. Despite his condition, Josh is an extremely successful student academically and someone with many friends and extracurricular interests.
Sample questions I’d have would be: What pain condition do you have? How have you balanced the condition with your rigorous academic schedule and extracurriculars? Has your attitude changed over time in relation to your condition? Have friends been supportive at Brandeis? Professors? Administrators? What is the hardest aspect of dealing with the condition in college? What do you study? Why? What clubs are you involved with? Why did you decide to get involved with those clubs? Do you feel the condition is well understood by students and professors? By the medical community?
I would also interview Rage Hezekiah, whose title is Student Accessibility Support at Brandeis. Sample questions would be: How much of the student population deals with pain issues? (IE how often have you seen these cases?) What sorts of chronic pain conditions do you see? How is support given? What are limitations to support? Do you suspect that there are students with pain conditions who do not report it or ask for disability services? How do you think Brandeis compares to the “real world” in its response to students with chronic pain?
My second story idea is to interview students who feel the effects of recent hurricanes because they have family who live there. I would interview, as two examples, Isaac Kurtz and Chila Haber. Both of them have immediate family who live in Florida where the hurricane hit to some degree.
Some sample questions are: Where are you from? Where does your family live? Is your family okay? What did they decide to do? How were they affected?
What is it like to be at Brandeis while this was and is happening at home? How have you dealt with it? Is the campus community supportive? How do you see Brandeis’s response and the support efforts happening on campus? What, if anything, would you like to see done by the Brandeis community?