Carolyn Blackburne Reporter

I am a Broadcast and Digital Journalism senior with minors in political science and information management and technology.

During my time in college, I’ve interned with PBS, Cox Broadcasting, Time Warner Cable News, NPR and ABC radio. In the 2014 Hearst Journalism Awards competition, I placed 14th in the country for the best feature TV news coverage. I was born and raised in rural New Jersey, where I spend most of my time playing tennis and water skiing with my family.

I hope to begin my career as a reporter after graduation.

My favorite room

A door and about six inches of drywall separated my parents in the living room, trying to watch “Friends,” and the thwack, thwack, thwack of my tennis ball colliding with the garage door. My parents said they learned to tune out the agonizing noise after about the third hour.

I was 6 years old and I desperately wanted to become a professional tennis player. As soon as my parents heard the thunderous bump, bump, bump, of my tiny white tennis shoes bolting down the stairs, they knew their hopes for silence were over. There was nothing that would stop me from learning how to become the best tennis player I could be — not even the time I accidentally dented the garage wall or the countless number of potted flowers I killed.

Before tournaments, I would spend the entire night in the garage, fantasizing about what it would be like to be the next Billie Jean King, stretching my little muscles and practicing as much as my mom would let me, which was usually until the third and “final” time she called me in for dinner.

Even though my parents missed some key scenes in their favorite TV shows and my sisters had some distractions while studying, my family was supportive of my dream. And it’s a good thing, too, because I never left the garage until I left for college.

The hours I spent in the garage took me to county and state championships, but most importantly the garage taught me hard work, optimism and persistence pays off. It’s a lesson I try to use in relation to every story I tell and every problem I face in life. I may have put down my racquet for now, but I’ve picked up a pen.