As a child, Briza Perez remembers hearing an ad on the radio from a Mexican station encouraging young people to vote and denounce government corruption.
“(The woman speaking in the ad) was from Mexico and spoke about the importance of truth,” Perez said. “I had no idea other places don’t appreciate the truth. It got me to write (about this).”
The 16-year-old Carlsbad High School senior believes she has a responsibility to pursue factual and authentic stories, which has piqued her interest in journalism.
Born in the United States, Perez heard stories from her Mexican-born family about the seriousness of journalism as a profession in their home country: difficult and sometimes deadly.
“My mother always said that being a journalist in Mexico is one of the most dangerous things to do – it has always marked me,” said Perez.
For the past three years, she has pursued journalism, developing her writing by publishing opinion pieces in her school newspaper, The Lancer Express. She has explored topics ranging from censorship and body image issues to speaking out against her school’s delay policy.
Perez hopes the UT Journalism Scholarship Program will help him improve his news and writing.
“I wanted to gain experience in real journalism and in areas other than opinion writing,” Perez said.
Journalism is not his only passion. She is an award-winning sculptor and illustrator who animates her designs and draws pages of doodles and sketches in her journal.
“I’ve always been a creative person,” said Perez, whose art focused first on animals and then on people. “The human eye is something I have found soothing to draw. “
Perez enjoys traveling with his family, having visited the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.
“My parents always said I was doing more with my life,” Perez said. They encourage “to go see the rest of the world”.
Art, travel and journalism allow him to observe the world and discover it in a unique way.
“The more we know, the more power we have,” said Perez.
Mia Rollins is a member of UT’s Community Journalism Scholarship Program.