Anna Ulrey gives readers an inside scoop on her upcoming tenure as the 2022-2023 Aura Editor-in-Chief.
O: Olivia Blanton, Managing Editor
A: Anna Ulrey, Editor-in-Chief
O: So, first things first. What made you want to be the next Editor-in-Chief?
A: This is kind of cliche but Aura gave me a home at UAB at a time when I felt like I really had no place of belonging despite being involved in so many things. It’s important to me to try to foster that sense of connectivity and family, and you know, kind of just having a hub for other people as well; being EIC would let me do that for everyone. There’s a lot of reasons why I did it [run of EIC]but that is the biggest one why I went out for [the position]in the end.
O: What about your current role [Aura Website Coordinator] in Student Media has prepared you for this position?
A: Definitely communication. In my job as Website Coordinator, I feel like a lot of it is based on the work of and collaboration with others, so communication is nothing short of a necessity. I also feel like I have learned how to be a better communicator specifically through times when I was definitely not communicating well at all; I really focus on learning from my mistakes. On another note, something else that has prepared me is time management. As Website Coordinator, I saw how easy it was to be swept up in the day-to-day work and lose sight of overarching goals and projects and I really want to avoid that as EIC.
O: That all being said, what are some things that the past EIC—Ashley Frith—did that you intend to replicate in your tenure?
A: This one is a hard one because I think there are just so many things that Ashley did incredibly well. However, the most impactful of those is probably just leading through compassion. I hate to repeat the word over and over again but I felt like, at a time when that should be like our leading characteristic, Ashley truly emulated compassion for each of us. Still now with COVID-19, the economy, politics, work and general student life, leading by compassion is probably the biggest thing that I think we need. In her compassion, Ashley always pushed us to be our best and I intend to do the same.
O: This past year, Aura has been focused on on-campus growth and collaboration. Do you have any intentions to do the same off-campus?
A: For sure. I think that was actually one of my goals as a Website Coordinator, yet I only did a handful of articles with people outside of UAB. It is definitely one of those things that I can learn from my mistakes to improve upon. This next semester, I want to reach out to off-campus organizations far more and utilize some of our new positions to strengthen those connections. I believe that streamlining our workload will really help with that.
O: What are some big things you hope to do as EIC?
A: This is cliche again, but I really want to inspire greater interconnectivity within the organization. I also want to develop more relationships with international and minority students here at UAB. I truly want to become a hub for these students because I feel like there’s not really much else on campus that promotes the arts and literature for these groups. I think it’s relevant to mention that I’m really wanting to potentially publish a piece or multiple pieces of work from a language other than English. It’s an interesting thing going on in literature right now, questioning whether we actually should be providing translations for work from other languages and trying to subvert the entitlement that everything should be in English. I think that all of this kind of comes into saying that I’m really trying hard to increase the diversity of our readership and membership. I want to keep our promises.
O: What are you most excited for next year?
A: You know I can’t say too much about it yet, but it’s the magazine. I was not able to be a big part of it as Website Coordinator, and I am absolutely over the moon that I will have such a hand in it as EIC. Our readers will know more soon enough, but they can expect things to be really changed up this year.
O: Okay, last thing. What is one word or phrase that you hope will define Aura’s next season and your stint as EIC? Why?
A: To be honest, I keep coming back to the word connectivity. I’ve probably said like 100 times just in this interview. Whether that’s connectivity between our members, other student media organizations, off-campus communities, or minority and international students, I want it all. So, connectivity is the word for me.