Yes, we all know journalism advisers are great: they’re smart, they know all about reporting the news, and they probably wear matching socks without even having to think about it. But they get like, all the glory. So we thought we’d shine some light on the real stars of the journalism game, at least as far as we’re concerned: the students. This week, we’re profiling student journalist Nina Elkadi. She’s a junior at Iowa City West, and she’s pretty cool.

Nina’s been in the newspaper game forever. Or at least, for a significant portion of her life so far: she started her own newspaper when she was just a kid. The elementary news start-up revolved around stories about Nina’s school and about Shadow, the class fish. And people liked the paper–– Nina can still remember the pride she felt when people would talk about the “Shadow Books” that lived next to the fishbowl.

As a teenager, Nina’s interest in journalism is a bit more sophisticated–– both of her parents were raised in countries where the news was censored, so they’ve taught her to appreciate and take advantage of the freedom of speech and press she enjoys as an American citizen. And she does: she doesn’t know for sure what she’ll study in college yet, but her dream is to become an international reporter. “The entire world should care about journalism,” she says, “because it’s how we learn.” One thing we’d put money on? Nina’s going to be keeping us informed, long into the future.

When she’s not Lois Lane, she’s a bit of a naturalist. If you can’t find her on a day off, she’s probably unplugged, paddling down the river on a kayak. She’s a bit of a purist, too. Her favorite bugs are leaf bugs, because, “they just look like they’re supposed to be in nature.” And when it comes to sandwiches, keep your mayo and mustard, man, she’d rather taste her food than drown it in condiments.

Ultimately, she says, “telling the stories that aren’t always easy or happy is so important, and allowing those that are usually in the shadows to have the chance to tell their story is what I love.” And so even though she’s come a long way since those first stories about the school fish, she’ll still there, a voice for the Shadows.

To read some of Nina’s recent stories, visit the following links: