Malissa Tem is a 4th year Literary Journalism major at the University of California, Irvine. Her early interest in the journalism field began in high school when she founded her own newsletter. Similar to every start up publication, she faced the issues with gaining funding to print and getting enough reporters to cover stories. While the newsletter did not gain the backing of school officials, she was driven to find the back-stories of why funding was cut from the creative courses offered at her school. In her discovery, she was able to gain access to confidential information linking a large grant offered to the school with a remodeling project that went sour due to vandalism. This lead to her new found love with the journalism field. In college, she has covered stories that took her out of her comfort zone into the lives of retired professional photographers, The Fast and the Furious hopefuls, Cambodian refugees, and former gang members. With this experience, she has been able to write stories that touched on the private lives of people who struggle to find their place in society.
A story that highlights her fairly young writing career is the story about two young friends who went on a hike to the Bridge to Nowhere at the East Fork in the San Gabriel Mountains. The hike ends tragically when one of the friends falls into the cold river leading to a widespread search by family members, friends, and strangers organized by the social networking website, Facebook. In the story, Malissa is able to capture the intimate moments of a friend struggling to find closure with the death of his childhood friend.
Aside from finding these interesting stories, Malissa enjoys blogging about her experiences as a 2nd generation Cambodian-Vietnamese-American in the ever-changing climate of ethnic and racial relations in the very diverse Southern California. On her spare time, Malissa loves trying out different ethnic foods throughout L.A. county, Orange county, and Riverside county. In addition, her guilty pleasures are reading through wedding blogs like StyleMePretty.com and learning new techniques for her aspiring career in portrait photography.
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