Alexandra Karlesses attends Michelle Obama campaign speech

alex-karlessesAlexandra Karlesses, a senior Honors English and French double major with a minor in journalism, has been chasing dreams she once thought were unattainable.

On Sept 28, Alex attended Michelle Obama’s campaign speech for Hillary Clinton as a journalist – press pass and all. This opportunity was presented to Alex by one of the university’s journalism professors and established journalist, Dawn Fallik, who was able to request credentials for her. Alex also live-tweeted the event as a representative for The Review, the university’s independent student newspaper.

The experience began with an intense security process, including pat downs by secret service and bag checks by bomb-sniffing police dogs, but getting to watch the First Lady’s speech from the press section made her feel like a legitimate journalist.

“Several people came up to me throughout the day to ask me if I worked for the White House, so that definitely helped make it feel real and hinted at what others saw me as,” Alex said. “I felt so official.”

If making strides towards becoming a journalist wasn’t enough, Alex is also currently ghostwriting a book for Melvin Fager Jr., a former semi-professional football player for the Chambersburg Cardinals and a close friend’s father. Ghostwriting has been a slow and steady process for Alex, but she considers it an honor to help bring Fager Jr.’s vision to life.

“Every time that I sit down to my computer, I have to remind myself that this is real, and that my dream ever since I was little is being realized,” Alex said.

Though she still can’t believe she’s a senior, Alex hopes to continue to pursue journalism after graduation at a magazine with a strong online media presence specializing in human-interest stories. She also hopes to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration at some point in the near future.

However, that doesn’t mean she’s ruling out the idea of traveling.

“My dream job would be to be a freelance travel writer, visiting romantic, picturesque cities, and even extremely exotic ones and document my experiences so that others may share in the memories that I have created,” Alex said. “My mother spent a lot of time abroad in Germany in her twenties, and became fluent in the language. I would like to do something similar to her. I have a French major so I would really like to put that to good use as well.”

Alex attributes her achievements so far to taking advantage of opportunities when they are presented to her.

“In high school, I felt that I was bound to the limits of what people ‘my age’ were supposed to accomplish,” Alex said. “Coming to college, and to UD and the Honors classes in particular, I was able to meet like-minded people both in and outside the Program that pushed me to do my best and believed in me enough so that I began to realize that my dreams weren’t out of reach or unattainable. With that support, I was able to push myself to seek out opportunities—and sometimes even create my own. Being a part of these Honors classes has enabled me to never settle, and that there is a way for you to accomplish whatever goal you are seeking. It’s invaluable advice that I was lucky to learn at a younger age.”

To read Alex’s full coverage of Michelle Obama’s campaign speech, check out her Review article.

Feature written by: Victoria Dellacava, ’17