Wilkes University senior Cabrini Rudnicki likes the challenge of assembling the weekly campus newspaper, The Beacon. “It’s really like putting the puzzle together,” she explains. “Putting together the elements to make one cohesive issue each week.”
As editor-in-chief of the student-run publication, she’s worked her way up the staff list. The communication studies and psychology double major began as a staff writer, moving up the ranks to news editor and now editor-in-chief.
But her future in journalism wasn’t always crystal clear. “I was a neuroscience major before I decided I wanted to do communication studies,” the Hanover Twp., Pa., native explains. “When I wrote my first article, it was like I went into this Zen state. It was a state of relaxation and focus I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I knew this was for me, I wanted to do some type of writing.”
And Rudnicki’s done just that. Though editing, designing and managing a staff are major parts of the job description, Rudnicki is true to her first passion—writing. During summer 2018, she was an intern with the Wilkes-Barre based daily newspaper, The Times Leader.
She’s even been able to combine her involvement with other co-curriculars in the communication studies department. Rudnicki reports for WilkesNow, the student-run television broadcast. She delivers Beacon Briefs which highlight what’s happening in the news. She’s also a member of the student—run public relations agency, Zebra Communications, assisting with the creation of the newsletter, The Medium.
Rudnicki has also found a love in research. Last year, she completed her communication studies capstone, studying the para-social relationships created by YouTube personalities and their audience. This year, she’ll complete her psychology capstone where she is analyzing environmental consciousness in men.
Rudnicki is making plans for the upcoming issues of The Beacon including new columns, comic strips and placing priority on mainstreaming student events. “The Beacon always has the same general idea,” she explains, “but it’s interesting to see how new leadership brings in new ideas and emphasis.”
While the skills she’s learning as a leader, a writer and editor are imperative to her future, Rudnicki is also gaining comradery. “Growing up, I was never on sports team or involved with anything. But being on The Beacon, I finally get why people like teams,” she says. “I understand the bonding experience. Everyone on the staff is family and I want them to succeed.”
As a first-generation student, Rudnicki is familiar with the importance of having a support system. Something she was able to experience as a participant in Upward Bound at Wilkes University. The program helps students choose a college and complete applications and provide college counseling and guidance.
“I didn’t have a lot of information about college. But because of Upward Bound I figured it out,” Rudnicki explains. Growing up, there was never a question that she would attend college. But now, as she nears graduation, Rudnicki can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. “I know my entire family is going to cry– graduating will be a big change for them and for me,” she adds. “It’s nice to be able to make my family proud.”