Marrian Zhou developed a passion for writing and an interest in journalism during her time at California State University, Los Angeles.
Zhou started out at Cal State LA with a desire to improve her communication skills. Along the way, she found a professional calling—to become a foreign correspondent.
In August, Zhou will be attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Columbia, which administers the Pulitzer Prizes, is the only Ivy League university to offer a graduate journalism degree.
Zhou credits her achievements to Cal State LA’s “amazing faculty who are inspiring and supportive” and the “wonderful friends I’ve met here who dream big and work hard for it.”
“Cal State LA made me believe that it is up to you to make the best out of [your college education], and it is you that determines where your future leads,” says Zhou, who lives in Arcadia.
Born and raised in Beijing, China, Zhou came to the United States when she was 16 years old and graduated from Temple City High School in 2012. She was accepted to Cal State LA with a Freshman Honors at Entrance Award.
Once she completed her general education courses, Zhou decided to explore a global perspective in her areas of interest. In 2014, she studied marketing and music in Rome for one semester. The following year, she studied public relations in London for another semester.
Upon returning home to Cal State LA, Zhou sought out internship opportunities to enhance her communications skills while completing her baccalaureate program in communication studies. She landed an internship as a newsroom assistant for Cal State LA’s University Times student newspaper.
That was a defining moment. While working on an international news story, she discovered her passion for writing articles and communicating information.
She applied for an editor position and was hired as the University Times’ managing editor. The paper received second place for Best Newspaper from the American Scholastic Press Association during her term as managing editor.
She is currently serving as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, and has worked as an intern reporter for Beijing Today for one summer.
Zhou, who plays the saxophone, is also a music major. She has performed with the University’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and Saxophone Quartet locally and regionally.
This May, she will achieve a bachelor’s degree in communication with an option in organizational communication/public relations and a second bachelor’s degree in music with an option in instrumental performance.
“I’m very excited to study at Columbia University,” Zhou says. “I’ve never been to New York so I can’t wait to work with professional journalists in the city, running around every corner of the neighborhoods to report on stories.”