On par for giving at Kane event


Former news and managing editor for the Independent, Nic Anderson (right), interviews author and professor, Becky Sarwate. | Photos by Frannie Mendoza

Rebecca Denham, News Editor

Keynote speaker Becky Sarwate spoke about her path to becoming a published author at the 47th annual Chuck Kane Scholarship golf event. Interviewed by Nic F. Anderson, a recent NEIU graduate, Sarwate gave advice to students on how to utilize their degrees after graduation. 

After earning a masters degree in English in 2017, Sarwate, “stayed in close contact with NEIU ever since,” according to vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the NEIU foundation, Liesl Downey. “In fact, she came back to teach a course in the English department. She serves on the boards of the Chicago Writers Association and the Illinois women’s Press Association. She’s a freelance writer in politics and culture and theater.”

Liesl Downey hugs 2019 Kane Scholar-
ship recipient, Cecilia Hernandez.

Aside from all of these engagements, Sarwate also recently published a book called Cubsessions in 2018. It offers, “an in depth look at some of Chicago most famous fans, and I am talking about actors, comedians and musicians, athletes, journalists and others,” said Downey.

Sarwate explained that the road to this publication was a difficult one. She began teaching a course called “making your liberal arts degree work for you” to help bridge the gap between, “the skills you pick up in a degree program and what makes you employable. My class is about public speaking. It is about PowerPoint. It is about getting your resume and LinkedIn together. It is about social media for brands. It is about how we can turn that and monetize it and make a career out of it.”

That being said, Sarwate said that she always tells students, “I am both your example and also your cautionary tale,” because years after getting her degree, she still didn’t “figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up or how to get there.”

Anderson asked if Sarwate had any advice for aspiring writers. Sarwate responded, “do not wait for opportunities or a paycheck. If you want to be a writer, make it on your own. It is all right if you don’t know what to do. Go do it. That’s my advice.”

And “go do it” is what Nic F. Anderson did. Before graduation, Anderson earned multiple leadership awards as well as receiving the CMT distinguished scholar award and the Wilson media award. After graduating summa cum laude this past May, Anderson is working in her field as a general assignment reporter at the Journal and Topics newspaper, covering the Northwest side of Chicago. 

Similarly, this year’s recipient of the Chuck Kane Scholarship, Cecilia Hernandez, is working towards her degree. Thank you all for contributing to this scholarship because without you, I wouldn’t have found my calling,” said Hernandez.