We can ‘make them laugh, then make them think’


Kernel Opinions Sig

Brianna Stanley

Ninth-grade Bri knew what she wanted to do for a living.

Back then, I was living in New Zealand and my dream was to attend the University of Auckland to study Journalism and Psychology. When I moved to the U.S. and spoke of my journalistic aspirations, however, my parents’ journalist friends were quick to caution: “Major in something science related. Then if you really want to, write about that.”

So, I did. I reluctantly changed my goals and put journalism on the back burner. I have been hopping between different science fields for the past three years, eventually settling on Environmental Sciences. As we discussed climate change, deforestation and the myriad of other issues that seem to essentially spell out “imminent doom,” I found myself becoming discouraged. What could we, as individuals, do about all this? That was my path to writing for the Kernel.

Last year, needing to vent about this environmental-angst, I haphazardly found my way to the Kernel’s semi-hidden, makeshift office in McVey to pitch an environmentally themed column. Our outgoing opinions editor, Sarah Ladd, asked if I had enough to write about for a series. I thought back to my list of relevant topics, spanning three pages, and just nodded. Lack of opinions has never been an issue for me, but the Kernel provided a platform where they could become useful to others.

As I wrote these opinions down, I realized the importance of starting an informed dialogue about issues that we feel strongly about. I not only gained a better grasp of the topics and why I believe what I believe, but I was also challenged by other’s viewpoints and comments. Through this, I grew. Sometimes I even changed my mind, and I always left knowing more about myself and the issue at hand.

My vision as the next opinions editor is to help foster an environment where we continue to fearlessly tackle the important issues and create useful dialogue. One of my favorite quotes that guides my writing, by the creators of the Ig Nobel Peace prize, is “First make them laugh, then make them think.” As an opinions desk, I believe it’s our job not only to entertain, but also to engage readers’ minds and spark discussion about the contentious issues of our time.

Sarah Ladd and the rest of the outgoing Kernel team leave some big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to be on staff, to finally fulfill some of my journalistic aspirations and to do my best to follow in their footsteps!