Affinity Magazine

Affinity Alumni Yearbook 2020

Can you believe it has been seven years since the launch of Affinity Magazine? We decided to take a look back at some of our past writers and what they’re up to now. One of the great joys of Affinity Magazine is we have had the pleasure of having hundreds, even thousands of writers from all over the world. Let’s take a look at where life has taken some of them.

Marcus Cooley, 18, NYC

How long were you an Affinity writer?

MC: August 2017-July 2018

What are you up to now?

MC: I am currently studying at Columbia University

How has Affinity Impacted you?

MC: It gave me real experience with time management and deadlines.

What are your future plans?

MC: I hope to work in publishing! Maybe pursuing journalism but mostly interested in publishing right now.

Jamie Turner, 22

How long were you an Affinity writer?

JT: 2017-2019

What are you up to now?

JT: I am currently interning for U.S. Senator Tim Kaine

How has Affinity Impacted you?

JT :It developed me as a writer and gave me the criticism I needed. They gave me a Cretaceous outlet to express myself.

What are your future plans?

JT: I plan to enroll in a joint JD/Doctoral program at a law school in 2021 and study Human Rights and International Law, while getting a doctorate in Government.

Balkis Hmida, 20, Paris

How long were you an Affinity writer?

BH: 2017-2019

What are you up to now?

BH: Finishing my bachelor’s degree in English and applying for master’s in journalism and writing! Also a freelance journalist.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

BH: It was my first experience in writing for a magazine and being part of something I was so proud of! Gave me so much confidence and showed me that I had a voice. 

What are your future plans?

BH:I want to publish my first book, take my web magazine to the next level and hopefully live off of my projects.

Alex Brown, 20, Missouri

How long were you an Affinity writer?

AB: October 2015 – October 2019

What are you up to now?

AB: I’m a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis

How has Affinity Impacted you?

AB: Affinity has definitely opened so many doors for me — it helped me get into my dream school, and it helped me get an internship with NBC News.

Yasti Ranjith, 15

How long were you an Affinity writer?

YR: August 2018 – February 2020

What are you up to now?

YR: In in my second-last year of high school!

How has Affinity Impacted you?

YR: I’ve learned so many life skills from Affinity, truly!

I’ve learned to work and network with many different types of people, brands, representatives etc., and that experience has been invaluable.

I’ve learnt so much more about myself as a writer and my writing style, as well as valuable communication skills that I couldn’t have learned from anywhere else at this point in my life. This has translated into my high school life, too; I’ve become ten times more confident in my writing and myself!

What are your future plans?

YR: I’d like to graduate from high school with excellent grades, and then hopefully go on to do something good for the world. Affinity has taught me that my opinion matters and my voice will be heard. I hope to continue living through that kind of experience in the real world.

Jessie Graham, 21, London

How long were you an Affinity writer?

JG: Since 2015

What are you up to now?

JG: Managing digital content and social media at Mother of Pearl London

How has Affinity Impacted you?

JG: The team inspired me to listen to other voices, and develop my own using more than just research – most importantly it made me realize you don’t have to be any age to have a voice that matters.

It made me see power in inexperience and awareness in people outside my own myopia. If you go through life not listening to others, you aren’t not really living to your full potential.

What are your future plans?

JG: Be kinder and keep listening to people no matter what happens I have more to learn. And that is a grand opportunity.

Giovanna Trabasso, 22, NYC

How long were you an Affinity writer?

GT: Apr 2016 – Sep 2017

What are you up to now?

GT: NYU senior – Live Nation intern

How has Affinity Impacted you?

GT: It was a wonderful writing experience and set me apart from my classmates for being a published writer and involved in various topics.

Affinity was also the publication that got me into music writing, which I am incredibly grateful for.

What are your future plans?

GT: Stay within the music industry, working with venues and events, in New York City.

Aishvarya Singh, 22, South Africa

How long were you an Affinity writer?

AS: 2017-2018

What are you up to now?

AS: I have obtained my law degree and currently working as a candidate attorney.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

AS: Affinity helped me cultivate excellent language and research skills, and helped me become a more knowledgeable individual. It inspired my activism.

What are your future plans?

AS: I hope to one day become a successful attorney with a future in politics, so that I can make the changes I want to see in South Africa.

Tatyana Williams, 20, North Carolina

How long were you an Affinity writer?

TW: January 2017 – October 2019

What are you up to now?

TW: I am a Junior at UNC Wilmington, Producer/Creator of a documentary series, Content Creator

How has Affinity Impacted you?

TW: Affinity helped me find my voice and talk about things that were bothering me.

Many of my articles have gotten seen by people I never expected and it’s helped a lot with internship applications

What are your future plans?

TW: I hope to work for a digital media company and/or a editing studio for films. My dream is to win an Emmy and an Oscar.

Jilleen Barrett,19, NYC

How long were you an Affinity writer?

JB: August 2018-October 2019

What are you up to now?

JB:  I am the assistant editor of arts and entertainment for the Quadrangle newspaper at Manhattan College as well as a staff writer for Lotus Magazine at MC.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

JB: I got writing experience and learned how to properly write a magazine article. This is useful because I write for a newspaper and a magazine in college and need to know the difference!

What are your future plans?

JB: I hope to write for the A&E section of a newspaper.

Charlotte Yung, 17, London

How long were you an Affinity writer?

CY: 2018

What are you up to now?

CY:  I am a first year student at University College London studying International Social and Political Studies specialising in International Relations and Spanish.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

CY: English isn’t my first language (it’s French) and writing for Affinity helped me strengthen my english skills which are definitely a must now that I’m studying in the UK. My experience writing for the magazine has also helped me choose what field i wanted to study and work in and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

What are your future plans?

CY: Given that I will only graduate in 2023 I want to keep my options open but I’m thinking of doing a gap year and then a masters in human rights or journalism. I also plan on doing an internship in a uk or french newspapers next year.

Mina Johnson, 18, Philadephia

How long were you an Affinity writer?

MJ: October 2018-July 2019

What are you up to now?

MJ:  I’m a freshman studying Music Industry and hoping to minor in journalism at Drexel University. I’m an intern for Drexel’s student run record label, Mad Dragon Music, an ambassador for goPuff, a member of The Bowery Presents – Philadelphia’s Street Team, and a contributing music writer for online magazine, Uniquely Aligned

How has Affinity Impacted you?

MJ: Affinity definitely gave me the real life experience necessary for a career in journalism. It gave me a platform to speak about music and of course boosted my resume so that I would be able to find more work in music journalism.

What are your future plans?

MJ: I’d love to write for Billboard or Rolling Stone, as well as continue work with up and coming artists to boost their music careers

Nabila Ghani, 20, Central Florida

How long were you an Affinity writer?

NG: 1 year

What are you up to now?

NG:  I attend the University of Central Florida. I’m currently in the ACE Greater NYC Mentorship Program.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

NG: Affinity has helped me fix my writing skills which has been handy in presentations and paper.

What are your future plans?

NG: I want to get my bachelors in aerospace engineering and obtain an internship at NASA or Lockheed Martin.

Alexandra Batiș , 20, Romania

How long were you an Affinity writer?

AB: December 2016 to Summer of 2017

What are you up to now?

AB:  I am in my second year of university studying journalism at University of Bucharest (Romania).

How has Affinity Impacted you?

AB: Made me realise that I want to keep writing and pursue a career in journalism.

What are your future plans?

AB: I want to have a (well-paid) job doing what I like in a diverse and inclusive environment.

Emira Ben Amara , 18, Tunisa

How long were you an Affinity writer?

EA: April 2018 – December 2018

What are you up to now?

EA: I am currently a senior at an American high school I go to in Tunisia. After I graduate, I plan on studying sociology and social policy in the UK; I’ve gotten offers from universities that seem great.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

EA: Affinity helped me in so many ways. Being given a platform to speak out on issues I found important and express myself creatively in a way that felt meaningful was really empowering and helped shape my identity. It made me more politically and socially aware, a better writer, and a more self-disciplined person (juggling school, Affinity, and other extracurriculars definitely gave me better time management skills!). It was also useful when applying to university since many of the articles I wrote explored issues related to what I want to study (sociology).

Another way Affinity helped me was by giving me an idea of what it would be like to work as a journalist. Even if I found being a writer interesting and fun, it also made me realize that I probably wouldn’t want to do it as a full-time job. If I hadn’t joined Affinity, I might not have gotten that insight and would potentially still pursue a career in journalism, not knowing it wasn’t right for me. So getting a trial of what being a journalist is like was really important to me.

What are your future plans?

EA: My main goal right now is graduating high school in May, getting my IB-diploma with a score I’m satisfied with, and starting university. In terms of my long-term goals, I’m not entirely sure what I want to work with, but I know I want to do something that feels meaningful and contributes to positive social change in some way.

Farah Hatem , 21, Egypt

How long were you an Affinity writer?

FH: January 2017 – December 2017

What are you up to now?

FH: I’m studying Human Resources and Strategic Management at the German University in Cairo

How has Affinity Impacted you?

FH: Affinity was the first magazine I ever wrote for. It gave me a lot of experience, exposure and fulfillment in my work and my abilities. Working for Affinity really ignited my passion for writing and getting what I think/feel out there and it made me very interested in the field in general.

I worked for 3 other online magazines after Affinity, and it was all a result of me learning from it.

What are your future plans?

FH: I want to be a part time/freelancer writer in a purposeful magazine like Affinity! 

Martina Rexrode , 19, Delaware

How long were you an Affinity writer?

MR: Feb. 2017 – April 2018

What are you up to now?

MR: Right now, I am in my second semester as an English major at the University of Delaware. I’m part of my school’s chapter of Her Campus, a worldwide online publication much like Affinity aimed towards empowering women on campus. I’ve written a couple of articles, was a co-chair for the Facebook account, and just took on the position of editor for the first time.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

MR: Affinity made me realize that I have a voice and that my opinions and passions deserve to be shared with others. I feel at-home with Her Campus because of the physical sense of community I felt virtually through Affinity.

What are your future plans?

MR: In the future, I hope to join my school’s newspaper staff, explore photojournalism, and write a young adult novel. My goals aren’t set in stone, but I want to develop each of my passions over my four years in college.

Catalina M. Gorbitz, 21, France

How long were you an Affinity writer?

CG: Sept 2016-Sept 2017

What are you up to now?

CG: I am studying at University Jean Jaurés (Toulouse, France)

How has Affinity Impacted you?

CG: It helped me realize I wanted to continue studying Communication with an emphasis on International Relations with the purpose of giving a voice to my community

What are your future plans?

CG: Graduate and make sure I can work on giving the Latinx community a voice internationally and show the potential we have to change the world.

Elizabeth Ruth Deyro, 22, Phillipines 

How long were you an Affinity writer?

ED: March to September 2018 (as Newsletter Editor for Race and LGBTQ+); January 2018 to September 2018 (as Writer)

What are you up to now?

ED: I graduated from college: University of the Philippines Los Baños, Class of 2018, BA Communication Arts (Major in Writing). Soon I will be an Associate Editor at CNN Philippines

How has Affinity Impacted you?

ED: Affinity helped with training me for remote work in culture journalism and editing, which I was able to use rather well as a freelance journalist.

What are your future plans?

ED: Shift to investigative journalism and cover human rights; be promoted to chief editor and reporter

Ayanna Stark, 20, Florida

How long were you an Affinity writer?

AS: March to September 2018 (as Newsletter Editor for Race and LGBTQ+); January 2018 to September 2018 (as Writer)

What are you up to now?

AS: I attend Broward College, soon I will transfer to University of Florida

How has Affinity Impacted you?

AS: Affinity has encouraged me to stop doubting my skill and share my thoughts and feelings with the world through my writing

What are your future plans?

AS: I plan to finish the publishing process of a novel I recently completed. I hope to enter my writing into numerous contests as well as being signed by a publishing company.

Tharushi Hetti, 19, Ontario 

How long were you an Affinity writer?

TH:  January 2017-June 2018

What are you up to now?

TH: Almost finished with my second year majoring in Marketing in a Bachelor of Commerce at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. I’m also an executive member of a club where I help to plan fundraising events. I take part in business case competitions whenever I can and am currently working as a tutor for different students. I’m in the midst of applying for summer internships in order to prepare for an internship position I will be receiving in my 4th year as part of my program.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

TH: Affinity helped build my writing skills, which proved to be incredibly useful for me in my program. A lot of my work has to do with writing up research reports and presentations, so writing weekly articles for Affinity gave me experience and knowledge that I need for many of my courses. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with the magazine because it allowed me to discover an interest I never knew I had and I met some truly wonderful people through Affinity.

What are your future plans?

TH: Right now my main goal is to find internships in my field. My program also has a semester-long exchange program that I am currently looking into because I have always wanted to travel more. But, for now, my short-term goal is to just get through my midterms.

Quinn Bicer, 18, India

How long were you an Affinity writer?

TH:  Summer/Fall 2017

What are you up to now?

QB: I am currently taking a gap year volunteering in India! I am teaching (English, theatre, choral music, world culture) at Project Why, which provides school support to children living in the slums of Delhi. While I’ve been here I’ve been working on a project discussing poverty in Delhi and its relationship to educational access. In the fall I start college at Portland State University, majoring in International Studies with a specialization in Middle East Studies and minoring in Elementary Education.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

QB: Affinity helped introduce me to journalism and helped me learn the ins and outs. This has been incredibly helpful with my project as it is, in a way, a larger scale investigative journalism piece.

What are your future plans?

QB: I am going to be traveling abroad and doing as much work as I can throughout college, and afterwards I plan to come back to India for a longer amount of time. It is a major goal of mine to become fluent in Hindi, Arabic, and Turkish. I will also be obtaining my TEFL certificate. I am aiming to become a foreign correspondent or an EFL teacher abroad. I would love to do both at some point.

Arushi Tandon, 23, India

How long were you an Affinity writer?

AT: From March 2016 to September 2017

What are you up to now?

AT: I’m working full-time as a Teaching Assistant and Assistant Manager for the department of entrepreneurship at Ashoka University, Delhi NCR

How has Affinity Impacted you?

AT: A huge aspect of my job is content creation and longform writing for which my experience at Affinity has definitely helped me a lot. I have become a more confident and aware writer as a result of my experience with Affinity. This, combined with my experience as an editor at Affinity is also helping me with various academic analysis’ and reviews.

What are your future plans?

AT: I plan to work in this university for a few more years and then apply for my masters, for which I’m sure my experience with Affinity will boost my application.

Phanesia Pharel, 20, NYC

How long were you an Affinity writer?

PP: Oh my goodness! A year my sophomore year of college.

What are you up to now?

PP: I am at Barnard College of Columbia University in NYC and I have had several internships.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

PP: Affinity connected me to a greater network of people and helped me write some things I needed to write. I definitely made some mistakes while at Affinity but hey! You learn from them.

What are your future plans?

PP: I am a writer. I would like to continue writing books, plays, and hopefully venture into film and tv.

Hannah Ireland, 21, New Zealand 

How long were you an Affinity writer?

HI: December 2016 to April 2017

What are you up to now?

HI: I have just started my Master of Philosophy, Political Science and Economics (MPPE) programme at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand

How has Affinity Impacted you?

HI: Affinity helped me realise my passion for politics and ethics. It helped me develop and refine my writing skills and allowed me to be part of a community that made me more aware of a range of social, economic and political issues in domestic and international society.

What are your future plans?

HI: At the end of my Master’s is an opportunity to intern in Congress. I hope to work in a government or diplomacy role or in political journalism.

Cassie Baker, 19, Georgia

How long were you an Affinity writer?

CB: August 2015 to April 2017

What are you up to now?

CB: I am pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Literature, Media and Communications at Georgia Institute of Technology

How has Affinity Impacted you?

CB: Affinity has helped me to develop time management skills as well as critical thinking and accountability. Working with Affinity and working with other young writers and editors in my younger teenage years allowed me to begin development for a set of skills that I am now continuing to develop professionally. Affinity has also been a very valuable addition to my resume!

What are your future plans?

CB: I hope to graduate in four years (fingers crossed!) and then continue my education through a Graduate program.

Samantha Lutes, 19, London

How long were you an Affinity writer?

SL: August 2015 to April 2017

What are you up to now?

SL: I’m in my 2nd year at City, University of London studying journalism

How has Affinity Impacted you?

SL: Affinity really helped in the way I got a sense of what it’s like writing articles from home and taking editing and feedback on a digital platform, which is key for journalism and also most careers and education! I’m sure affinity was also a massive boost in my CV and personal statement for university.

What are your future plans?

SL: I definitely want to have a career in journalism and I’m thinking of something to do with broadcast and TV!

Georgia Addo, 18, NYC

How long were you an Affinity writer?

GA: 2017

What are you up to now?

GA: I attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications. This spring I was offered an internship at The FADER magazine.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

GA: It allowed me to connect with a wide range of people. My article about colorism went viral on social media and it let me know I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. When I wrote the article I was only a high school sophomore, so at the time I didn’t feel I had many channels to articulate my thoughts. Affinity allowed me to get on a platform and uncannily “talk my s***”, and for that i’m forever grateful.

What are your future plans?

GA:  I want to get an internship at PAPER Magazine and VICE. I want to creative direct more photo shoots and turn it into my full-time job. I would like to attend fashion week.

Ronel Chandrasekera, 19, California

How long were you an Affinity writer?

RC: April 2018 – October 2018

What are you up to now?

RC: I am currently a second year student at UCR(University of California, Riverside) majoring in Biology. In terms of extracurriculars, I am an Events and Activities Chair for a club on campus, called SAF (South Asian Federation). Which is an on-campus organization that’s purpose is to culturally, politically, and socially unite the South Asian student population at UC Riverside. It also aims to serve as the umbrella for all organizations that identify as South Asian.

How has Affinity Impacted you?

RC: It has helped me as a brown boy, tremendously in allowing myself to be more creative and be more open. Also Affinity has allowed me to speak up and find my voice.

What are your future plans?

RC: To be the best version of myself 🙂

Carina Ortiz, 22

How long were you an Affinity writer?

CO: August 2017-2018

What are you up to now?

CO: Created my own music centered online magazine! MUSICMUSEMAG.COM

How has Affinity Impacted you?

CO: Affinity gave me the extra boost I needed to practice writing & getting good at it.

What are your future plans?

CO: Keep on working on musicmusemag, hopefully we can expand our reach & potentially start a YouTube channel for the mag!

Eva KW, 19, Ecuador 

How long were you an Affinity writer?

EKW: Aug 2017-March 2018

What are you up to now?

EKW: Gap year! Living in Ecuador, but will start at University of Virginia next year

How has Affinity Impacted you?

EKW: Provided practice + confidence with my writing (I applied undecided but I will likely study something in writing, whether it be journalism, English, etc)

What are your future plans?

EKW: Be regularly featured in various important publications

Abeeda Hussain – Kasim, 18, Pennsylvania 

How long were you an Affinity writer?

AK: Almost a year!

What are you up to now?

AK: I’m a public health major at Temple University!

How has Affinity Impacted you?

AK: The way I collaborated with people, how I got inspired, and allowing me to get to know and network with other amazing people was all due to Affinity. Thank you! 

What are your future plans?

AK: Internships but mostly focusing on myself!