CLASS OF 2020: Meet Mariana Rivas

Name: Mariana Rivas
Major: Journalism
Hometown: Houston, Texas

Mariana Rivas always knew she wanted to be a journalist. “There was never really any doubt that this is what I wanted to study,” she said. “I like to write and I think it’s cool to be able to act kind of like a detective.”

Rivas has made the most of her college experience by becoming actively engaged in Texas Christian University activities, both in and outside of the classroom. She works as an intern with TCU Magazine and is the web editor for TCU 360, a student-led online news publication. She represents the Bob Schieffer College of Communication in the Student Government Association House of Representatives, is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Program and serves as a Frog Camp facilitator. Rivas believes that campus involvement has helped prepare her for the future. “I think all of these activities have given me great ways to apply more knowledge from the classroom, and I’ve been able to meet amazing people on campus,” she said.

Rivas’ favorite experience at TCU was when she traveled to Washington, D.C. for a journalism class. “We went to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy research organization in D.C., that hosted speakers for us to network with as we worked on our report,” she said.

Rivas was also on a team of 10 people that wrote an article on Russian interference in the U.S. presidential elections. “I learned so much about politics and was able to work with a group on an exciting, real-world story.”

Out of all of her courses, Rivas said the most noteworthy was Long-Form Journalism. She described it as another opportunity for her to apply classroom theory to real-world projects. Assistant Professor Jean Marie Brown has made a positive impact on Rivas’ TCU experience. “Whenever I go into her office stressed about a story, she always reminds me of my abilities and that I’m able to do much more than I think I can,” Rivas said. “Usually the only barrier to getting things done is my own stress and doubt.” The best advice Brown has given her is, “You’ll get it done.”

Rivas said a common misconception about her major is the amount of work that goes into producing a piece. “It takes so much more time to research a story, interview people and write a story than most people would imagine,” she said.

When asked what advice she would give herself as a first-year student if given the opportunity, Rivas replied, “I would probably say that there are so many amazing experiences at TCU to take advantage of and the only thing standing in the way of your full potential is yourself. Go out and make incredible friends and learn a lot!”

After earning her degree, Rivas would like to return to her hometown of Houston to work for the Houston Chronicle or a magazine like the Houstonian or Paper City. She is also considering the possibility of going to law school.

Click here for more information on the Journalism department.