Discover, learn from and relate to articles written by students of all ages which share first-hand encounters with vital student endeavors, such as scholarship search and college admissions processes, which matter most to you.
Get to know each of this year's student contributors below!
Katalia Alexander, High School Senior
Katalia is a senior at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, Washington. She currently serves as the Editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and is a reporter and columnist for a local online newspaper, the B-Town Blog. She plans to study journalism in college and hopes to someday write for a major daily newspaper.
In her free time, Katalia enjoys running on her school's Cross Country team, reading, and hanging out with her friends. She also leads a weekly afterschool club at a local elementary school and volunteers in the children's classes at her church.
Franco Camacho, College Junior
Franco Camacho was born in Callao, Peru and came to the United States back in 2007, when he was only 10 years old. He can speak, write, read and understand fluent English and Spanish. He loves politics and his dream is to become a legal aid for the people of Westchester, NY.
He is a college junior at SUNY Oswego, starting fall of 2017.
His ideal topic for writing is about new technology and how it can help a high school senior with their college application experience, and current college students survive college life. Every day, he goes to websites like Fastweb and Engadget to read articles that will him expand his knowledge in both topics. His dream is to write for at least one of them, and now it is close to become a reality.
His hobbies are chess, tennis and knowing the latest scoop in politics. He's an Independent, meaning he agrees with ideals from both the Democratic and Republican Party. Academically, he likes journalism, law classes, and will be taking a criminal justice class in the fall, which he's very excited about it, even though there will be 200 students in the class.
Emma Lynch, College Freshman
Emma Lynch is a college freshman at Appalachian State University. She's pursuing a bachelor's degree with a double concentration in literary studies and creative writing with minors in German and marketing. She is interested in working in the publishing industry and would like to be published herself. Her favorite genre to write in is magical realism, and she enjoys incorporating historical details into her stories. In her spare time, Emma enjoys photography and hiking and she's looking forward to being surrounded by the beauty of the mountains.
Nicole Manges, College Senior
Nicole Manges, an Ohio native, is a senior at Huntington University in Indiana, where she studies English writing and English literature. When words on the page make her go cross-eyed, she switches to music notes and practices violin or conducting techniques for her minor in music. On the weekends, she and her friends enjoy figuring out who they would be in their favorite movies and television shows.
Since the end of her freshman year in college, Nicole has served as a student assistant to Huntington University's campus visit coordinator in the Admissions Office. This usually part-time job turned into a full-time summer job in the break before her senior year, and the added time in the office only reinforced what Nicole was starting to understand: Helping college students figure out who they are and what they want to do in life is her desired career path.
Now, to find a job to fit that desire, all the while maintaining a passion for language, grammar, and syntax.
Until a career or grad school appears, Nicole is enjoying all the opportunities life in Huntington has to offer, from theatre performances to literary magazines to academic conferences.
Amber Phillips, High School Junior
Amber Phillips is a junior in high school who plans on going to college to double major in English and African American Studies. Amber has a strong passion for writing, creative arts, and politics. Amber hopes, in the near future, she will be able to publish a novel but as of now, is working on a book of poems and short stories. Amber also contributes to a variety of online writing platforms and zine publications.
Along with writing, Amber also has a strong passion for activism as well. She writes about issues uprising throughout her community and around the world to spread awareness to individuals. Amber also plans on organizing activism events throughout her school and community to get her peers more involved.
Amber believes that a perfect way to advocate universal issues to individuals (more specifically, her peers) is to present these issues through different art forms (writing, paintings, dance). "Not only is it a beautiful sight to see but it is also and effective and creative way to gain awareness about the world around us."
Kaylen Phillips, High School Senior
Kaylen (they/them pronouns) is a senior at Mill Creek High School and a dual enrollment student at Georgia Gwinnett College. They are passionate about writing, politics, social issues, and fandoms. As a member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community, Kaylen is part of their local GLSEN SHINE student-leader chapter, as well as their high school GSA. They hope writing for fastweb.com will provide both insight and hands-on experience to pursue a career in non-profit work, advocacy, and/or publishing.
Kaylen is co-president of their high school's poetry club, and their main writing project includes scripting a sci-fi table-top adventure game with a friend.
Lauren Rabold, College Freshman
Lauren is a freshman at the University of Evansville. She is a dual-major in computer science and political science, and hopes to one day write about the tech industry. In addition, she has an interest in attending law school in the future.
In 2016, Lauren won the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, which granted her a full-ride at any Indiana institution. She is excited to share her scholarship expertise with others and hopes that she can aid them in their scholarship search.
Lauren has been writing for as long as she can remember. She's the author of Shout Aceborn and the Bane of Goodwill, and she hopes to finish her second novel within the coming year.
When she isn't busy, Lauren likes to read, play video games, and act as Dungeon Master in her own Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Her favorite book is The Hobbit, and her favorite game is Portal 2.
Cherish Recera, College Freshman
Cherish is a freshman at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She's an English major, but she intends to add the Integrative Biology major since she's interested in a public health career.
Cherish greatly values the power of communication. She believes that meaningful writing can make an effective impact, and she wishes to improve her skills in order to educate and assist people who need guidance.
Apart from her studies, Cherish enjoys exploring the world. She visited Spain and Portugal with fellow classmates during her spring break, which definitely honed her Spanish-speaking skills! She also spent a month in the Philippines to spend time with family before heading off to college. Surprisingly, she's more fluent in Spanish than she is in Tagalog.
She is passionate about theatre and debate, but she always makes time for coffee, music, friends, and as much sleep as she can get. She's also a self-proclaimed foodie who loves eating just about everything (except for bitter melon and olives).
Stella Santa Ana, High School Senior
Stella Santa Ana is a senior at Hillcrest High School. She finds joy in writing anything from stories to poems to notes to essays. Aside from writing, her free time is spent playing the piano, listening to music, running and lounging around with her dog. She is also a proud Trekkie, Studio Ghibli fan, and Yan Yan addict.
At school, Stella is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate and takes Advanced Placement and honors classes, and is a member of National Honor Society, Health Occupation Students of America, and the music outreach club.
In the future, Stella plans on going to medical school to become a doctor. She wants to live a life where she is able to help and give back to people, all while writing some epic novels on the side of course! She believes anyone can live their best life by doing what they love.
Ryan Smith, High School Junior
Ryan is a junior at Cuthbertson High School in North Carolina. Originally from New Jersey, Ryan is an aspiring sports journalist. During his time in school, he is taking classes to help him fulfill this career goal. At school, Ryan is involved with the Beta Club. He takes time to volunteer at a local shelter which allows him to help others in getting the resources they need.
When Ryan isn't busy, he passes the time by spending it with his friends and family. He is an avid sports fan who enjoys watching sporting events. He wants to take up sports journalism due to his enthusiasm about the topic. Ryan is very happy to be gaining some experience to help him on his path.