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Pictured is alumna Megan Guza. Photo | Stephanie Strasburg

Meet Megan Guza

Degrees earned: M.A. in journalism and mass communication, Point Park University, 2014; B.A. in journalism, minors in political science and criminology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2012
Job title and employer: Reporter (cops beat), Trib Total Media
Hometown: Scenery Hill, Pa.
Now living in: Pittsburgh's South Side
High school: Bentworth Senior High School
Hobbies/interests: Reading, running, spoiling my dog and attempting wildly ambitious home improvement projects
Twitter: @meganguzaTrib

Why did you choose to attend Point Park?

I really had no secure, long-term plan upon graduating from IUP. I had a 13-week internship with the Trib lined up, but beyond that my plan was simply to hope I'd get hired, as I wanted nothing more than to stay in Pittsburgh. Realizing that was a pretty terrible plan, I figured I would line up something more productive than just slinging drinks for my post-internship life. I went out on a limb and applied to Point Park's graduate program. I mean, what's more productive and valuable than education? Considering where I am now, I'd call it one of my best decisions.

What are some of your key responsibilities at your job?

Most days are completely unpredictable - my immediate responsibilities revolve around madness and mayhem, which don't exactly run on a strict schedule. Beyond that, I'm also responsible for spawning regional, wider-look enterprise pieces.

What are the advantages of going to grad school in Downtown Pittsburgh?

Point Park sits in the center of a city full of so many different types of media, and the University is highly regarded by professionals working within those media. Because of that, there are a multitude of working media members teaching at Point Park, and that is an experience like no other. I was able to learn from professors from all walks of media.

Plus, Downtown Pittsburgh is just a world of opportunity all on its own. Exploring the city never ceases to turn up new finds, experiences and stories to pursue.

Tell us about the investigative project you reported on as a grad student.

I spent about a semester and some change looking at crime rates in former Mon Valley steel towns, specifically Donora, Monessen and Monongahela. A lot of it was stat-driven with crime rates and population numbers, but much of it was anecdotal - longtime residents sharing stories from the towns' booming days. I spent a lot of time just talking with folks in these towns and collecting their stories - kind of capturing a snapshot of the past through the voices of the present. From there, it was a matter of weaving the voices and statistics together and pulling together all the components my editors and I had agreed upon. Then, a lot of refining and editing. A lot.

I knew how to report and write, but Point Park taught me how to tell stories. My professors there showed me how to take the information and voices I'd gathered and weave together a piece that would capture even those who are not directly affected. They helped me refine my eye for detail and learn to paint a meaningful portrait.

Megan's full report was published on 90.5 WESA, check it out here: In Mon Valley Steel Towns, Shrunken Communities and an Increase in Crime. Photos by Holly Tonini, M.A. in journalism and mass communication alumna.

What is one of your favorite memories as a grad student?

When a particular professor of mine made me cry and walked out of class because he was so disappointed with me, spurring something resembling a nervous breakdown in the rain on the side of Liberty Avenue.

No, really! It kicked me into gear big time. I realized I was only going to get out of grad school what I put into it, which up until that point - October of my first semester - admittedly hadn't been much. I dusted myself off and really put my heart into my time there. I ended up with a fantastic experience, a number of published pieces and an education that landed me the job I'd always wanted.


More About: success story, M.A. in journalism and mass communication, M.A. in media communication, M.A. in media communication/documentary, Downtown Pittsburgh, M.A. in Media Communication/Journalism