Success Stories: Class of 2009
MJ Lee graduated from Georgetown in 2009 with a degree in government and Chinese. She took Introduction to Journalism with Professor Athelia Knight in the fall of 2008, and she will always be very grateful to her mentor for her continued support and advice. Throughout college, MJ held a number of journalism internships, including at the Washington Post and Washingtonian as well as the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.Lee is now a financial services reporter at POLITICO in Washington, D.C. She started working at POLITICO in September 2009 as a web producer and then became a reporter covering the White House for the 44 blog. She spent a year on the breaking news desk before joining the financial services team in 2012.
My Georgetown professors are, without a doubt, the reason I’m a journalist today. My freshman year at Georgetown, I took the Intro to Journalism course with Alec Klein, a former investigative business reporter at the Washington Post. Professor Klein shared his enthusiasm for the well-researched narrative and helped me to actually enjoy writing, which I had considered a chore before. I took his investigative reporting course the next year. When I spent a semester in Argentina my junior year, I remained involved with journalism, writing for the Café Abroad newsletter. Then, the following semester, I found the Pearl Project. The Pearl Project was by far the best class I had in college. I learned how to be an investigative reporter first hand as our team worked to reveal the details of a horrific international crime, the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. I was able to work alongside my professors, Barbara Feinman Todd and Asra Nomani, observing their techniques for everything from calling strangers in Pakistan to launching a series of FOIA lawsuits against the federal government.
The summer before senior year, Barbara introduced me to her former Georgetown student, Erika Niedowski, who offered me an internship working at the Washington bureau of The National, a then brand-new English-language paper based in Abu Dhabi. Finally, my senior year I took Media Techniques with Linda Kramer Jenning. In that class, I was able to interview another Georgetown alum, Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News & World Report. When an internship opened up at U.S. News in August, Professor Kramer Jenning recommended I apply. I got the internship and within a year was offered a full-time reporting position in the Politics & Policy vertical. After another year, I had become the publication’s only reporter covering foreign affairs and energy. I learned so much at U.S. News, and during that time–also at Linda’s urging–I joined the Journalism and Women Symposium, an incredible professional network for female journalists. I’m now a member of their board of directors. Late in 2011, I left Washington and my job at U.S. News to pursue freelance writing opportunities in Colombia, and I have plans to attend graduate school in global trade and economics in Fall 2012. Thanks to my mentors at Georgetown, who encouraged me to stay out of law school and stick with journalism, I’ve had so many amazing, eye-opening experiences during my short career.