EDITORIAL: Celebrating the achievements of the class of 2020 Justice seniors
The end of this year has brought countless unexpected obstacles, making it especially difficult to say goodbye to our seniors. Each of them has brought something special to the Justice, and we know they will bring their same strengths and passions to whatever it is they choose to pursue. Thank you to our seniors for all of your creative and thoughtful contributions to the Justice over the years.
Emily Blumenthal has made many great contributions in her time at the Justice. She began as part of the Copy staff during her freshman year, and then moved to the News section as a staff writer. Emily then became a News production assistant before moving on to become the editor of the News section. In her time as editor, she devoted much of her time to in-depth Student Union coverage and also found time to photograph many Arts & Culture events. Emily majored in American Studies and triple minored in French, Film and Journalism. She was always a welcoming presence in the Justice office and will be missed.
Trevor Filseth, a Forum senior staff writer, was the talented author of a plethora of balanced opinion pieces. Writing since fall 2018, his insights on both global and campus issues will be missed.
Jen Geller has contributed to almost every aspect of this paper and has helped make the Justice the institution it is today. After joining the Copy team, Jen quickly became Copy editor in spring 2017. While running the Copy section, she started to branch out, beginning to write News articles. In her time at the Justice, Jen covered some of the most important and relevant stories on campus, becoming a trusted member of the News team even as she took on other roles in the production process. Jen was also a skilled photographer and frequent cartoonist, and wrote for every section of the paper, demonstrating her commitment to every aspect of the Justice.
After a year of serving as Copy editor, Jen became the Online editor, and later the deputy editor in her junior year. She managed the Justice’s online presence, even creating the Justice’s Wikipedia page. As deputy editor, Jen proved herself to be an invaluable member of the paper’s executive board, lending her advice and wisdom to guiding the Justice’s future. Jen was also incredibly dedicated to recruitment initiatives.
In her senior year, Jen became managing editor, the culmination of years of dedication to the paper. Jen brought skill, experience and determination to the role, but most importantly, she brought enthusiasm and joy to the production process. She was always looking for ways to support and improve the Justice, and the office will not be the same without her. We know she will do amazing things after Brandeis, and we will honor the work she did to strengthen the Justice.
Devoting her years at Brandeis to the world of arts, Hannah Kressel was an asset to the Justice since the first day she joined the paper. As a first year, Hannah contributed consistently as a writer and covered a variety of events, proving her ability to transform different experiences to words on paper. After being promoted to the Arts & Culture section editor, she infused the paper with her appreciation for fine arts and our own Rose Art Museum, inspiring the addition of justArts Spotlight on the Rose.
Hannah continued to be a tremendous resource to the paper following her return from studying abroad. Not only did she continue to be a friendly figure who was always ready to chat, Hannah provided her expertise to the paper as someone who was deeply involved with the fine arts circle, both on the campus and the Greater Boston area, including covering the Yayoi Kusama show in Boston. While working on her honor senior thesis, Hannah still took time to participate in editorial board meetings and provide valuable opinions to the discussion. As she moves on to continue her studies, the Justice will surely miss her smile and wishes her the best.
Avraham Penso joined the Justice in the fall of 2016. He was a huge asset to the Justice, starting as a Copy editor and then advancing to become the editor in chief for the 2018-2019 school year. While he was quick to crack a joke with a fellow editor during weekly meetings, the commitment that he showed to the paper was admirable. Because of his commitment to following the Associated Press Stylebook, Avraham was given the nickname AP Style, a play on both his initials and the acronym for the Associated Press. He also wrote numerous News stories for the paper, including an exposé about the Google Calendars of members of the University community, revealing that nothing was private.
During his senior year, Avraham served the Justice as a senior editor, making the final say on major decisions about the paper. He will be remembered for his sense of humor and leadership.
Chaiel Schaffel, a senior staff writer for News, has been writing for the Justice since spring 2017. His passion and drive has led him to put together in-depth and revealing investigative journalism pieces that have kept the Brandeis community informed and up-to-date on happenings around campus. Chaiel worked tirelessly to get answers, and always made sure to be as thorough as possible in his reporting. He was also a huge help to the News editors by taking on anything from standard coverage to major investigations.
Yvette Sei has been an asset to the Justice since she began as a photographer in her first semester on campus. She quickly stepped up to become the Photos editor, bringing a joy and light to the photos corner with her infectious positivity, her keen eye for photography and her love for everything French, K-pop and old vines. After concluding her term as the photos editor, Yvette stepped into the role of associate editor where she played a key role on the paper with notable contributions as a member of the editorial board and as a mentor for other section editors.
Yvette is a journalism minor and has brought with her a strong knowledge of and passion for journalistic ethics. Contributing this knowledge to the paper and helping to pen a joint editorial with The Hoot, Yvette’s strong journalism background proved incredibly helpful outside of Photos as well. Yvette has brought a smile and warmth to the office for the last three-and-a-half years, and will be greatly missed!
Lily Schmidt-Swartz joined the Justice in 2018, quickly taking on the role of Copy editor and helping to lead the office in professionality and adherence to AP Style. After a semester abroad in London, she stepped in as Interim Copy editor, where she was instrumental in welcoming and training new members of the paper. During her final semester at Brandeis, Lily served as an associate editor, assisting her former section and continuing to provide a voice of experience and reason to our editorial board. Her witty humor, calming presence, and can-do attitude will be sorely missed, and we wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.
Judah Weinerman has been one of the defining faces of the Forum section, both in terms of high-quality written content and editorial prowess. As both a former Forum editor and senior staff writer, Judah’s “Chatterbox” column was easily recognizable due to its writer’s engaging, provocative and oftentimes hilarious writing style. Often writing, editing or submitting a Views on the News response on short notice, Judah has proven himself time and again to be an invaluable contributor to the paper. Having written an article that stayed on the Justice’s most popular list for over a year, on top of producing some of the best op-eds of the section, Judah’s influence over not only Forum, but on the paper as a whole will be missed greatly.
Natalia Wiater leaves incredibly large shoes to fill at the Justice in all of the positions that she held over her four years on the paper. Beginning with her time in the Photos section, Natalia was quickly promoted to the lone editor, playing a key role in many aspects of the paper, from coordinating staff to designing unique arts covers and much more.
As a result of her incredible dedication to her section and the growth it saw, Natalia became the managing editor of the Justice. Her passion for journalism and the paper itself equipped her to improve the paper and to defend journalistic integrity to its fullest. She faced challenges the paper saw with grace and always with the good of the paper in mind.
As a senior editor, Natalia continued to pass along all of the knowledge she acquired from her first three years to all of us. Her presence in the office ensured that the Justice maintained the highest quality, and we will miss her wisdom throughout the production process.
As we celebrate our senior staff here on the Justice, we also want to say a huge thank you to any graduating senior who has contributed to the Justice in any capacity during their time at Brandeis. The Justice would not be what it is today without you. Congratulations to the class of 2020!