Michelle Millhollon Guilbeau
HOW I GOT TO LSUS: My best friend and I both got scholarships to LSUS. We thought we would stay home for a year and then transfer to the bigger campus in Baton Rouge. Needless to say, part two of our plan never happened. LSUS was a good fit. I grew up in Bossier City so the small campus was comfortable.
FOND MEMORIES OF LSUS: I worked on the campus newspaper and really loved that. It's something to see the entire operation from writing the stories to laying them out on the page. It also opened a lot of doors. I used my campus newspaper clips to get a summer fellowship at the Society of Professional Journalists in Indiana. I worked as a stringer for The Times in Shreveport. It's all about the clips! I have a lot of positive memories about LSUS from the friends I made to the moments I got to experience. I joined the drama club during my freshman year. We dressed up as Santa and his elves for Christmas and visited a children's hospital and schools. I'll always remember how the kids' faces lit up when they saw us.
LSUS FACULTY WHO HELPED ME: Suzanne Bright, Jack Nolan, Mr. Tabor and Dr. Coleman were great mentors. I actually looked forward to Dr. Finley's history lectures. It's a cliché, but he really made history come alive. I was petrified of public speaking until I took Jorji Jarzabek's speech class. Now I'm just mildly petrified of public speaking.
HOW LSUS HELPED ME SUCCEED: I feel like I got a very solid foundation at LSUS. Small colleges often are overlooked, but they're hidden gems. The small class sizes make it hard to get lost in the shuffle.
WHAT I DO NOW: I am a capitol reporter for The Advocate in Baton Rouge, LA.
ABOUT MY JOB: My main beats are the governor and the state budget. I've witnessed an execution and been part of the press pack that follows the president. But what I will never forget is the stench of New Orleans after the hurricane. It smelled like death and water and rot. Everyone's seen the pictures of the flooded houses and the bodies floating in the water. But you have to smell it to know how bad it really was.
MY TOUGHEST PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE: Every day is a challenge! I always think I could have asked better questions or written a better story. Recently, I met a woman in her 90s who lost everything in the hurricane. She's living in a tiny trailer while she rebuilds her home. For 11 days, she sat in the attic of her flooded home waiting to be rescued. It was dark and hot. She fretted about her cats, which ultimately died. Rescue workers had to cut a hole in her roof to get to her. It's an amazing story. The challenge is to convey that to the reader.
WHAT I'D BE DOING IF I HAD ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: My husband and I both wish we had more time to travel for fun. Traveling for work never gives you enough time to see the sights, sample the cuisine and just relax.