Finding the Balance

An avid photographer and plant-propagation enthusiast, sophomore Amanda’s Wilkins spends her days with one foot planted knee-deep in foliage and soil and the other submerged in pictures and print as the editor-in-chief of Technician, NC State’s award-winning daily newspaper.

Wilkins always had an eye for photography but, until she arrived on campus, never saw her passion for the captured image leading into her role as leader of Technician‘s staff of student writers, editors and designers.

“I have always loved getting the story in picture form,” Wilkins said. “With my background, I’m able to facilitate discussions between the news writers and photographers. It’s a different perspective.”

So, when the Technician editorship was made available this spring, Wilkins – the only freshman to apply for the role – didn’t hesitate to make her interest known.

“I saw a need,” she said, “and I felt competent for the position.”

It’s that competence – and confidence – that belied both her age and time on campus and made Wilkins a perfect fit, said Bradley Wilson, NC State’s student media advisor.

“Amanda was selected because she has innate leadership abilities and is able to get people to follow her,” he said. “That’s why she was hired, and that’s what makes her good.

“She came in as a photographer and is putting it all together now,” he said. “It’s fun working with students who aren’t journalists, and it’s refreshing to see a horticulture major as editor.

“She takes it seriously and keeps it fun.”

In addition to her full-time class load, Wilkins’ days are filled with meetings (covering everything from budgets to photo and story selection) as well as page design and, of course, editing.

With her time and responsibilities divided between the Technician and the classroom, Wilkins works hard to maintain balance between her role as editor-in-chief and her role as a horticultural science student. The Belmont, NC, native is finding her way in combining her two passions – every plant in the Technician office flourishes courtesy of Wilkins’ green thumb.

“I’m still working it out,” she said. “I just dedicate weeknights to the Technician and the weekends are reserved for homework. It’s a routine.”

And as her personal routine develops, Wilkins is able to lead her staff members in their collective pursuit of putting out a top-notch newspaper each night.

“I love seeing everyone work together – the collaboration between the writers, photographers and designers takes work, but it’s fulfilling,” she said. “Seeing the final product is great, but there is always room for improvement. I’m constantly seeking ways to enhance collaboration.”

Beyond collaborations within the Technician staff, Wilkins also hopes to see greater partnerships formed between all of the student media groups on campus. She also aims to incorporate a broader community perspective into the backbone of the Technician, and aspires to eliminate communications barriers between our campus and the community that surrounds it.

While Wilkins does value media and its importance in today’s society, she sees her future in ecological rehabilitation and helping endangered and rare species to prosper again. But for now, she says, it’s all about putting out a great paper night after night, and helping create a vision that will help Technician meet its lofty goals and ambitions for the future.

“I spend about 12 hours per day with Technician,” Wilkins said. “It’s like a job – and every minute is worth it.”

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