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Davis, California

Monday, June 10, 2024

From science to city, thank you, The Aggie, for everything

“Yesterday brought the beginning, tomorrow brings the end, though somewhere in the middle we became the best of friends.” — Unknown


Reflecting on these past three years, it’s hard to put into words how much The Aggie has given me. When I walked into my first city news desk meeting as a nervous English major in October 2019, I remember eagerly taking in all the details of Lower Freeborn Hall: the walls decorated with the names of current and past editors, the stacks of newspapers being prepared for distribution and the sheer number of people working together to get a newspaper published every week — everything seemed so professional and official to sophomore me. I was intimidated yet excited at the thought of covering real events and being published in a newspaper, but never did I imagine that I would be walking into an organization where I would meet some of the most incredible and life-changing people, ones I have the pleasure of calling my best friends.

That day, I met the first person at The Aggie that had an impact on me: the city news editor at the time, Stella Tran. Through editing sessions and Slack messages, Stella taught me about what it meant to be a journalist and instilled confidence in me about my writing. Without her as a mentor, I would have never been able to apply to the Editorial Board the following year, eventually entering her role as the city news editor — thank you, Stella!

One quarter later, I was given the opportunity through The Aggie to cover a breaking news story on the first case of COVID-19 in the country. I remember feeling intimidated as a 19-year-old standing at a news conference next to reporters from national organizations like CNN and Politico, but it was invigorating knowing I was reporting on something critical to the Davis community and the world. This experience inspired my interest in science journalism, eventually leading me to change my major and follow a career path in science communication and public health. 

So much has changed since that school year, not only for me, but also for The Aggie. The wall-quote covered walls of Lower Freeborn have turned into the wall-quote covered walls of 116 A St., both us and the paper have transitioned to and from a virtual setting while surviving a pandemic and I’ve been lucky enough to serve two years on the Editorial Board as the science editor and city news editor, the best opportunity I’ve been given as a college student.

We used to joke that it’s not often you get to work with some of your best friends, but as we enter the last few days of our spring quarter, those words have never rung more true. This experience of serving on the Editorial Board — spending countless hours editing, writing and interviewing every week — has flown by because spending time with you all just doesn’t feel like work. From weekly phở dates to backpacking trips in Point Reyes, from attending Aggie formal to tournaments on the pickleball courts, I’m grateful for every second that we’ve shared together, whether it was at the office or out and about in Davis; this community is the one I dreamed to find as a freshman, and I’m so lucky that my favorite college memories have been surrounded by the people I used to call coworkers, but now call best friends. 

To Omar, Allie, Anjini, Margo and Michelle, thank you for not only pushing me to be a better writer and editor, but also a kinder, stronger and more thoughtful person and friend. I have loved learning with you and from you in all our experiences together, and I can’t wait to see where the next chapter of life takes us. To Eden, thank you for being there for me for the entirety of our Aggie journey. You’ve always been someone I can count on and I can’t wait to hear about everything, from your small business endeavors to gardening work, for years to come. To Katie and Sophie, I know you two will be excellent leaders next year and I look forward to seeing you flourish in your roles leading this organization — you got this! To Calvin and Sabrina, thank you for always being two people I can look up to and showing us soon-to-be-graduates how to enter the world of post-grad so gracefully (we miss you). To Levi and Chris, thank you for being such excellent writers to work with and congratulations on your roles for next year; I know you both will make strong editors and leaders. To all the editors, writers and staff I’ve been able to work with at The Aggie, thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me this incredible experience — it’s one I will treasure for a lifetime. And for one final time, die in, go Ags and grED!


Madeleine Payne is The California Aggie’s current city news editor. She joined The Aggie in fall 2019 as a staff writer on the city news desk. In winter 2020, she took on the role of assistant city news editor, serving in that role until becoming science desk editor in July 2020. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a biological emphasis and a minor in public health sciences.


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