Reading her way to writing

With a passion for writing and reading, it’s no wonder Julianna Joyner is one of the sixteen students chosen to be a part of the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, a weeklong journalism workshop at Stony Brook University.

Julianna Joyner

Julianna Joyner / Photo by Wasim Ahmad

A junior at Longwood High School, Julianna started writing around sixth grade. She has always been an avid reader, but she says the novel “Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke sparked her interest in learning to write stories, as well as the process of bookbinding, which she is now capable of doing. “I learned it off the Internet and through books and tapes at the library,” she said “It was self-taught.”

She is involved in her school’s literary club. “I love to write poems and short stories,” said Julianna, 16. “We just did a poetry slam at my school three months ago which was perfect for me.” She cites William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and J.K. Rowling as her favorite writers. “Shakespeare hooked me with ‘Hamlet’, and J.K. Rowling has the kind of writing where the words just come off the page, which is really fun for me,” she said.

In addition, she keeps busy as part of her school’s sign language club, karate club, gamer’s guild, cartooning club and orchestra, in which she plays viola. She is also the leader of a pop dance group called Divine Chaos. “We’re not really known that well, but we plan to change that when we enter our school’s talent show and dance off this year,” Julianna said.

One of her biggest passions is music. “Music is a big part of my life,” she said. She’s seldom found without her iPod and one of her favorite hobbies is playing instruments including piano, guitar, drums, violin and viola. “I listen to a wide range of genres” she said. Some of her favorite genres are alternative, Korean pop, and Japanese rock. “I like a lot of foreign music,” she said. Listening to foreign music helped her to learn to speak parts of different languages including Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, French and German. In her leisure time, she enjoys composing her own music and remixing her favorite songs.

Journalism has all the elements of her dream job. “You get to talk and meet new people, you travel a lot, and it’s a field where there is a lot of competition,” she said. She is considering pursuing journalism after high school, though she is also interested in the medical field or culinary arts. She hopes this program will teach her the techniques for writing a persuasive piece.

She is confident in her ability, and describes herself as an “objective” writer. “I can step away from a situation and write based solely on the facts,” Julianna said.