Thursday, July 25, 2013

Taking Stock in Mary Clare

For Mary Clare Fischer, becoming a writer isn’t about interviewing big name celebrities like Ryan Gosling. She’s already done that.

Sure, the weekend in the Waldorf Astoria where she interviewed Gosling and Eva Mendez for The University of Maryland’s daily paper The Diamondback was fancy and fun, but Mary Clare likes her subjects a little less famous.

“I really like writing about random small town people who do really interesting things,” she says. And she does.

From stories about granola bakers and student filmmakers to a feature on a tattoo artist that pioneered 3-D nipple tattoos for breast cancer patients, Mary Clare writes about all kinds of people with all sorts of passions. For the summer, though, she’s writing about money for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

“At the beginning I was terrified,” Mary Clare says. She didn’t know anything about investing or the stock market before she began her summer internship and even emailed her editor before she arrived to warn her. But she's since learned a thing or two about the world of finance.  “I don’t think I could walk out of this internship at the end of the summer and know how to invest in the stock market,” she says, “but I’ve definitely learned a lot.”

She may not be working on the long form features she loves so much, but Mary Clare enjoys the adventure at Kiplinger’s. She switches departments every week, went on a staff outing to the printing press in rural Virginia and is even working on a piece about smart-home systems, which automate houses to do things like change the temperature or text owners when the front door opens.

Exploration is nothing new for Mary Clare. She loves other cultures, going on adventures and reading National Geographic. Her friend Naveed Siddiqui says that they went on exploratory adventures around campus every Thursday night of freshman year. Their first adventure, Naveed says, involved jumping the fences into the football stadium, climbing to the highest bleachers and laying on the ground at midfield chatting about life.

After she graduates, Mary Clare plans to go on “the stereotypical backpacking trip across Europe” with a good friend. In the meantime, her next year will be a busy one. She’ll head back to the University of Maryland to finish up her dual degrees in journalism and government with a couple of different internship opportunities to decide between.

“I’m very much ready to move into the point where I’m doing what I want to do all the time,” she says.

Even though she questions the future of long form and even her own ability to secure a job as an editorial assistant, Mary Clare never does anything halfway. When she decided she wanted to run in a race, she didn’t choose to do a trendy color run or a 5K. She ran a whole half-marathon. “If she decides she's going to do something she does it 1,000,000%,” Fischer’s roommate Caterina Marzella says. “It is one of her best qualities and I greatly admire her for it.”

Like writing a long-form narrative and running a half-marathon, choosing a career in writing is no easy decision. “We’ll see if journalism even has a place for long form features in the future,” Mary Clare says.

But whether she has 140 characters, 18 column inches or 4,500 words, Mary Clare Fischer will write stories about the people of the world who matter not on the silver screen, but in the lives and towns around us.

Written by Kelsey McKinney, The University of Texas at Austin, Reader's Digest
Edited by Colleen Connolly, DePaul University, Smithsonian

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