Senior Melissa Nieves-Torres, who is graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in journalism, has been selected to be the journalism student speaker at this year’s SBS Senior Celebration.
Nieves-Torres was recently inducted into the 2021 class of Kappa Tau Alpha, the journalism and mass communications national honor society, an honor that goes to the top 10 percent of this year’s graduating class.
She was a recipient of the 2020 Megan S. Daley Scholarship, and an intern in the New England Public Radio Media Lab, where she created audio pieces and developed podcasts. She was also a member of Journalism’s Student Advisory Board, where she represented fellow journalism students on topics such as course offerings, departmental events and professional development.
She says, “I feel extremely humbled and grateful to represent the journalism class of 2021 at our commencement ceremony. I hope that my story and experiences within the Journalism Department and in my personal life resonate with others.
Nieves-Torres’s speech was chosen from a number submitted to the Journalism Department by graduating seniors and will talk about how she came into the world of journalism and how many of the lessons and professors within the department have molded her into the woman and journalist she is today.
A native of Puerto Rico, Nieves-Torres began learning English soon after arriving in the United States at age five. “I would watch the news and copy the way journalists and reports would speak. My passion drew me to develop a love for public speaking and storytelling, truly learning more about people’s lives,” she said.
She is a first-generation college student and a Latina woman of color who hopes that the world will be able to understand people’s cultures through her writing and reporting.
After graduation, she hopes to spend the summer as a FASPE fellow at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics. She then plans to pursue work at a local news station, with a long-term goal of securing a multimedia journalist or anchor position at an NBC station and work on investigative journalism pieces, like the research she has done for her honors thesis.