Loyolan Centennial Experience Drives Students to Live a Life of Purpose

Olivia Palombo ’25 started working at The Los Angeles Loyolan during her first year at LMU and had the opportunity to join the team of writers, including Chris Benis, Jennifer Woo, Cat Galanti and Kylie Clifton and Amy Carlyle, on the centennial project. Palombo’s favorite part about working at The Loyolan is the camaraderie she has found among the student staff team. Working on the centennial project has also helped her cultivate her writing in a new way.

Olivia Palombo ’25
Major: Journalism
Hometown: San Diego, California

“The camaraderie that I feel is something that feels rare to me when I compare it to other experiences in my life,” said Palombo. “It comes from being pushed into more of a team setting and has taught me a lot about myself and how I can work and collaborate with others better. I think that a lot of times we’re forced into really stressful situations because it’s a newsroom, but it has this very real impact because we’re reporting on what is happening around us and in our community.”

Unknown 3 e1664667341928 291x300 - Loyolan Centennial Experience Drives Students to Live a Life of PurposeFor Palombo, the process of conducting interviews of past editors in chief and writing their stories allowed her to cultivate her writing in a way she had not been able to before. After looking for a summer job, Olivia was excited to learn more from alumni, but did not expect it to become thematic for her. She had received other opportunities, but kept coming back to how The Loyolan made her feel at home. The process of conducting interviews to capture each past editor’s story fueled what would become more opportunities to network, has pushed her to work harder at her craft, and has led to leadership opportunities. “This process really helped me in a lot of ways because I read my writing when I started and felt like I had a lot I could improve upon, but as I wrote more and as I kept going on this project it got so much better,” said Palombo.

“We looked at this long-running list of living editors in chief and divided them up in no particular order, more based on a little blurb about them or based on our interests,” said Palombo. “Tom Nelson, director of Student Media, including The Loyolan, specifically asked me to interview an alumna who currently works as an entertainment lawyer because I have expressed interest in doing media or entertainment law in the future.”

Palombo’s favorite piece from her work on the centennial project was working on a piece about Kenzie O’Keefe, who was 2011-12 editor in chief. “Her story is amazing; she hiked the Appalachian Trail, raised $1 million to launch a graduating scholarship for students at North Community High School, so that each student could be awarded a $10,000 scholarship, and on top of that her whole mission in life has been to give back to her community in the Twin Cities,” said Palombo. “I was most proud of the writing that I did for her piece because it did her justice and that was the piece, I was most nervous about – that my writing would not live up to who she is, but I think I was able to encapsulate her. And I was also able to interview her roommate Erin, who hiked the Appalachian Trail with her, and to hear their story of doing this after graduation was amazing.”

Another favorite piece for Palombo was interviewing Kevin O’Keeffe, 2013-14 editor in chief and current assistant director for Student Media with whom Palombo gets to work with weekly producing and editing pieces for The Loyolan. “Interviewing Kevin for his story, changed my perspective on him greatly. I have also respected him, but this process connected me with him on a different level because they have shared their life with me,” said Palombo. “Kevin is also so funny and I really wanted to infuse that comedy into his piece to make his personality come through in my writing, which can be hard to convey.”

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One of her favorite pieces she’s reported on during her first year was the power outage in April 2022 because “it showed me a whole other side to journalism, where as a group of students we were able to be a voice and guide people,” said Palombo. “We were the first group to let students know that they could get flashlights from Public Safety.”

Unknown 1 242x300 - Loyolan Centennial Experience Drives Students to Live a Life of PurposeSome things you may not not about Palombo is that she’s a 21 time world champion martial artist and cheerleader. When asked how she would connect this experience to the five pillars of the student experience, Palombo said for her this experience has been about living a life of purpose. “Each of the alumni that I’ve had the chance to interview have been prime examples of what it means to live a life of purpose,” said Palombo. “It showed me firsthand that my college experience will be really short, and I should soak up all of the experiences I can now while I still have a few years left at LMU.”