Tommie Award nominee Mia Laube '22 grew up in Marion, Iowa, where she developed her love for basketball and journalism. Her love for both led her to St. Thomas, where she played basketball during her first two years and learned from an established journalism program.
Laube became student director of TommieMedia her junior year and recently published a poetry book called The Sea, the Stars and the Colors on the Floor. While she hung up her cap as director of TommieMedia, she continues to tell stories and will graduate this year with a major in journalism.
How do you feel about being nominated for a Tommie Award?
It was a very big honor. I was nominated by the professor who toured me around the journalism department. He’s been a huge advocate for me, professor Michael O’Donnell. He actually made an effort to connect with every single one of his students. And he was an editor, and I think that is what got me into loving editing. I’ve always loved writing, but because of him, I really found a passion for editing; so I was very honored to be nominated by him.
How did your passion for journalism start?
I was a very introverted kid. I was always looking for little projects. So when I was (in) elementary school, I started this neighborhood newspaper where I would just write the forecast and everybody’s birthdays and fun facts. And then I would walk around and stuff it in everyone’s mailbox. And I think I just loved that aspect of making something that would help other people.
I got into high school and as soon as I could I applied to be the executive editor of my high school newspaper. Somehow I got the job, and I got to learn everything really quick. So I did that. And then my newspaper ended up winning state. So that was super cool. I really love putting together a newspaper and writing these pieces for people that hopefully have an impact on people. Then I went into college looking for a good journalism program and really found a home (at St. Thomas).
How has St. Thomas helped you pursue your passion for journalism?
During my time at TommieMedia, I wrote a lot of stories that I wanted to uplift the human person and give people a voice. One of those groups I’m very passionate about is the LGBTQ community. I’m part of it myself. So I’ve always been very passionate about rights for queer people, and I wrote a big piece asking the University of St. Thomas to do more for its queer students and community members.
Sometimes the person with the loudest voice in the room often is the one who gets heard. And unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have the means to have their voice heard all the time. So I think it’s super important when you have the platform as a writer. To do that, you should uplift those voices.
Can you tell me more about your time at TommieMedia?
The best decision I made in my college career is joining TommieMedia. I got challenged in so many ways. I hosted and then produced a podcast. I had to do some technical work with the studio shows for TommieMedia, which was way out of my comfort zone, because I’m not usually a video production kind of person. And I had to write challenging stories. I’m just really grateful for the journalism program here.
Do you have any advice that you think other people should know?
I got a piece of advice from one of the professors here that said things usually work out better than your mind tells you they’re going to be, and I think that pretty much rings true.
A note about the author: Mariam Jabri, a student at Eden Prairie High School, is a participant in the ThreeSixty Journalism program. A version of this article was first published by ThreeSixty Journalism, a nonprofit of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas that uses the principles of strong writing and reporting to help diverse Minnesota youth tell the stories of their lives and communities.