By Melinda Munson
The Skagway News’ summer intern, Krizelle Solidum, was supposed to be a pharmacist. Traditionally in her family, young people have three career choices: medical field, engineer or accountant.
Solidum chose medicine. She spent over four years working full time at a credit union and attending college half time, majoring in health science. Then she had a realization.
“I couldn’t imagine myself as doing this the rest of my life,” Solidum said. She enjoyed writing and “wanted to work with people” so she settled on journalism.
This December, she will graduate from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications with a concentration in strategic communication.
Solidum moved to Anchorage from the Philippines at
the age of eight.
“I grew up an only child but I didn’t ever feel like an only child,” she said. Her grandmother had 14 children which meant Solidum was always surrounded by cousins and extended family.
Solidum, who is part Filipino and part Arabian, said she was raised “immersed in Filipino culture.” She learned to cook from her grandmother and aunties. Her mother, who she currently lives with, doesn’t cook, she cleans. It’s a good match for Solidum who loves to bake. She is currently learning breads and facetiously described herself as “carb glutting” during quarantine.
When Solidum started applying for internships in early 2020, she learned that most of the programs had shut down as a result of the pandemic. Larry Persily, previous owner and publisher of the Skagway News, suggested she contact his former paper.
Normally, the Skagway News intern lives in the small newspaper office apartment and receives a stipend. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and budgetary concerns, Solidum will report from Anchorage and work for free.
Solidium said she isn’t daunted by the distance and lack of pay. She was grateful to find a way to earn credits towards graduation. Even though she won’t have a traditional graduation ceremony or internship, “I was lucky enough to be able to go to college,” she said.
Solidum who will be graduating at 25, slightly older than the traditional college student, wouldn’t change her journey.
“I have a better appreciation for the opportunities I’ve been given,” she said.
Solidum hopes to become a traveling journalist. Her family, leery at first, is now proud to see her work published and hear her on the radio.
The soon to be graduate said her favorite part of being a journalist is “you get to give a voice to those that don’t have a voice, or a platform.”
Solidum will submit three articles for each Skagway News issue. She just started her long distance Skagway experience but she is already charmed.
“I’ve never met so many people that have been so welcoming,” she said.
Solidum is excited to “learn what it’s like to live in rural Alaska … I’ve only known Anchorage.”