Friday, August 2, 2013

Going Against The Grain

She zipped and zagged in the trees while staring out at nothing but a jungle of green. Morgan Grain has been to 10 countries, but, for her, no experience compares to ziplining in tropical Costa Rica. With a passport as impressive as her resume, Grain is a perfect match for the diverse concrete jungle that is New York City.

A rising senior at Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Grain is finishing up her summer internship at inStyle. It hasn’t been easy for the Atlanta native, who lives with her aunt and uncle in Brooklyn. Grain was raised by a single mother because her parents divorced when she was just a baby. Despite Grain's endless athletic events, her mom Stephanie always found a prominent seat in the stands.

Lucky for Grain, she has a tight-knit family with two little sisters and two brothers. She comes from an athletic household and is the third generation in her family to attend Florida A&M. Her dad and grandfather, who emigrated from Panama, both played for the school's baseball team, The Rattlers. Grain is no slouch herself. She played basketball and ran track at Druid Hills High School, even reaching states in the triple jump.

Sports have always brought her family together. Her dad asked her two years ago if she wanted to do a triathlon with her entire family. Grain, in her typical can-do style, said "yes, of course."  

That fearlessness has carried over into the office, where she has gone outside her comfort zone at inStyle. As the Editor-in-chief of The Journey, the campus magazine at Florida A&M, Grain has always dealt more with the news side of journalism. Although she has never considered herself a fashionista, her favorite T.V. show is “Sex in the City.” She owns all six seasons. “I see myself in everyone except Samantha," she says. "I can be stern and moody like Miranda, and she’s very blunt and sarcastic—I’m that. Then, I’m kind of like Charlotte because I want to get married and have a family, which was her big thing. I’m like Carrie because she is a writer and is everywhere. She is really independent and a hopeless romantic. She likes to have fun and is herself. She doesn’t care about what people think about her, and that’s me too.”

Being an independent thinker helps her run the campus magazine and go after stories nobody would touch. Robert Champion, a Florida A&M drum major, died in 2011 while participating in a hazing ritual on a bus. The incident sparked controversy and ignited conversation across the country.
Being the go-getter that she is, Grain chased that story with a fresh angle. She wanted to interview the band members not involved in the incident to find out how this has affected them. While the story didn’t materialize, it showed a drive that has permeated in all aspects of her life.

Raymond Love, a recent Florida A&M graduate, served as managing editor of The Journey for the past two years. When Grain earned the top job, she wanted Love as her second-in-command. He didn’t want the gig, but couldn’t say no to her persistence.

At one point last year, the staff didn’t want to produce their last and fourth quarterly issue of the magazine. The administration held back for two months on releasing their anticipated sex issue, which lowered the staff morale. Leave it to Grain to get her colleagues to turn an issue around in three weeks, and to make it a great issue at that.

“Morgan is a sweet girl, but when there is something she really wants to accomplish, she is going to go for it,” Love says. “This tenacity comes out of nowhere. Once she sets her mind to it, she is going to get what she’s trying to get.”

There doesn’t seem to be anywhere Grain won’t go. While ziplining in Mexico, another family approached hers talking about how much better the ziplining in Costa Rica is. So her family went. Grain, a fearless world traveller, should have no problem zigging and zagging through the concrete jungle.

Written by: Adam Pincus, University of Florida, Field and Stream
Edited by: Allison Pohle, University of Missouri-Columbia, Ladies' Home Journal

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