Creative Writing Alumna, West Coast Native is the Lifestyle Editor for LOCALpittsburgh Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Meet Julianna Bagwell
Job titles: Lifestyle Editor and Contributing Freelance Writer
Employers: LOCALpittsburgh and Thrillist
Degree earned: B.A. in Creative Writing/English, 2013
College activities: Work study student for the School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Natural Sciences and Engineering Technology and panel presenter at the annual Humanities and Human Sciences Symposium
Scholarships from Point Park: Transfer Presidential Scholarship
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
High school: Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Now living in: Wilkinsburg, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: I am an avid cook and food photographer. I dabble in photography. I also love event planning; I throw a lot of parties in my spare time. Also, my fiancé and I also run a small ceramics business called Paws and Tentacles. We sell on Etsy and at local craft shows.
LinkedIn: Julianna Bagwell
How did you become lifestyle editor and writer for LOCALpittsburgh and Thrillist?
I started working at LOCALpittsburgh almost four years ago while I was still in college. I did an unpaid internship for one semester after which they started offering me paid freelancing work. For a couple of years, I would do a couple articles here and there while working odd jobs to supplement my income. A couple months ago, the magazine hired an editor-in-chief who asked me to take control of our online content as the lifestyle editor. I have since been producing and organizing content on a weekly basis. My position with Thrillist started less than a year ago. After an admittedly long application process, I was brought on as a freelance writer for the Pittsburgh region. I write one to two articles for them every month.
As a West Coast native, what factors made you choose Point Park?
When I discovered Point Park, I was a freshman at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. After a month at Humboldt I knew it wasn't the school for me and that, as a writer, I wouldn't be able to thrive there. I started voraciously searching for schools that were in a major city, had a small student population and great English departments. I stumbled across Point Park when a friend from high school recommended it to me. I decided to transfer to Point Park when they offered me an amazing financial aid package that included departmental scholarships. I've grown to love Pittsburgh and Point Park is responsible for bringing me to the city that I now call home.
How has Point Park's Creative writing/English program helped you succeed as a writer?
Point Park provided me with amazing classes and mentors. During my three years at the school, I took a multitude of workshops that gave me the opportunity to share and critique creative work with my peers and professors. Professors Karen Dwyer and Sarah Perrier were both instrumental in my success at Point Park. I had to hold down full-time jobs while I was a student and, as a result, my course work sometimes suffered. But my professors always did everything they could to help me be successful in my studies and enjoy my time in college.
What are your favorite Point Park memories?
I had the chance to do independent research on Miranda July and her collective works and present my research at the annual Humanities and Human Sciences Symposium. Presenting on a writer/artist that means so much to me was incredibly satisfying and reminded me of why I was going to school. I enjoyed getting to know everyone in my department. After the symposium and other events on campus, I would often go out with a group of professors and students socially in the Downtown area. My professors felt like close friends who I could have an intellectual conversation with but also be very real with at the end of the day.
What are your career goals?
I always tell people I have my realistic goals and my dreams. My dream is to be someone like the aforementioned Miranda July. Essentially, someone who writes novels, short stories and screenplays but also directs, curates and puts together amazing community art initiatives. My more realistic goal is to have my own Pittsburgh publication. I would also like to get back to playwriting eventually by creating some kind of program that helps community members write and produce their original plays.
Pittsburgh and Point Park have presented me with many unique opportunities that I don't think I would've had elsewhere. But my advice to anyone going into this field is to constantly be seeking opportunities for yourself. Internships and jobs don't just fall into your lap. I regularly contact companies and publications to see if I can be an asset to them. At the moment, I also work at a daycare to supplement my income and sometimes it's difficult to convince myself that I've taken the right path. But at the end of the day, I know that pursuing my creative interests and getting paid to do so is amazing in this day and age.