By Sydney Hauer
Sofia Legaspi, junior digital media journalism and interactive digital studies major with an emphasis in imaging and visualization, had journalism in mind as a potential career before she was even conscious of it.
“When I was younger I always had my own little newspaper that I would write and layout in Microsoft Word, and email to all of my friends and family. So I think that journalism has been in my blood a little longer than I realize,” she said.
Legaspi's parents made the decision to move to the United States from the Philippines, where she was born and raised for the first seven years of her life, so they could homeschool her and her brother.
“If we had stayed in the Philippines, both of my parents would have had to work to support our family, so the only way that we could homeschool and my mom could stay home and teach me and my brother was if we moved here,” she said. “I think the reason my parents wanted to homeschool us was because they’re both Christians, believers, and they wanted to have more of an influence over what their kids were learning and be able to have more of a hands-on role in parenting.”
After briefly living in Chicago, her family moved to Waukee, a suburb of Des Moines.
Her favorite memory from her childhood is the days she spent at home with her brother.
“It was my brother and me at home every day, and I think it was really fun just because we were always together. We were each other’s best friends and we would take little field trips during the day to the Science Center in Des Moines or the zoo.”
With homeschooling, Legaspi was able to work at her own pace and stay in her pajamas all day.
“I never really changed unless I had to go outside,” she laughed.
She described the experience as very independent.
“It was very reading based, so I just read a bunch of books on science and history, and then my dad taught me math, and that was very frustrating. I would do math when he got home from work, and a lot of the time I would cry just because I am not a numbers person,” she said.
Legaspi attended the School of Classical Ballet and Dance in West Des Moines until she graduated high school. By the end of it, she was spending about 11 hours a week there.
Now in her junior year at UNI, Legaspi is practically applying her degree as the Campus Life Editor for the Northern Iowan student newspaper.
She decided to apply at the Northern Iowan as a staff writer initially because she thought it made sense for her major.
“Most of the experience that I’ve gained is from working here,” she said and encouraged others not to wait to apply for jobs that are directly applicable to their majors.
By the end of her sophomore year, Legaspi decided to apply for the Campus Life Editor position when it opened up.
“I knew it would be out of my comfort zone and push me grow more. I liked interviewing people and writing stories, but I also wanted to be able to find ideas and not necessarily write them myself but let other people develop them.”
Legaspi is involved in Salt Company and the IDT Dance Company outside of her jobs at the Northern Iowan and as a desk assistant in Hagemann Hall.
When she’s not working or going to class, she enjoys taking naps.
“That’s pretty much what I do for fun,” she said. “I call my family a lot; we Facetime. I feel like that’s a Filipino thing but Facetime is such a big part of our life. Even with our family still in the Philippines, that’s how we spend time with each other.”
Post-graduation, equipped with her experience and love for Adobe InDesign, Legaspi hopes to do design work and create content for a magazine.
Of her time here at UNI, Legaspi is most proud of what she has accomplished at the Northern Iowan.
“I think from working at the paper I’ve gotten to interview some really cool people and tell some stories that hopefully made other people who read them a little happier and made their day a little better.”