Sophomore communication major Vinny Vella, Kresgeville, balances his collegiate life at La Salle University with his passion: writing.
He's the features editor of the university's weekly student newspaper, the Collegian, and co-editor of the university's literary magazine, the Grimoire.
"Going into my freshman year, I knew I wanted to be involved (with the Collegian), so I picked up a copy as soon as I could," said Vella, who received the Quill and Scroll International Gold Key Award for journalism while at a Marian Catholic High School in Tamaqua. He said the college newspaper looked interesting and he joined the staff.
"When I see the paper and the impact it has on La Salle, it makes my expended effort worthwhile," said Vella, who also works as a tutor at La Salle's Sheeky Writing Center.
Vella started as a copy editor for the newspaper, and wrote several stories. He was part of a team of Collegian reporters and editors who received top prize in the "ongoing news" category from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's college newspaper category.
When the business editor's position opened up he was offered the position.
Responding to suggestions from business majors, Vella increased the content in his section.
"I wanted to diversify what we offered," said Vella. Under his direction, the section published more than 20 stories on various international business topics and figures.
In April, he was chosen to be features editor by his predecessor, senior communication major Olivia Biagi. He has started many new features, such as the "Intern of the Week," column which details an intern and his or her position, as well as his or her future plans.
"I knew when Vinny started writing for features in the start of his freshman year that I wanted him to take over the position as editor of that section," said Biagi, who is now the paper's managing editor. "Vinny was always eager to write anything thrown his way. He was willing to listen to advice, as well as offer his own opinions and ideas. I am very happy with how Vinny has managed the section this year."
Vella's writing skills are also on display in his work as co-editor of La Salle's literary magazine, the Grimoire, a yearly publication that comes out in the spring semester. During a La Salle activities fair held during his freshman year, Vella saw a table for the magazine and decided to sign up.
"It kind of fell into place," said Vella.
He took an active role in the running of the Grimoire, virtually designing its layout himself. Now in his first year as a co-editor, his primary duties include choosing and editing submissions in addition to layout design. He plans to try writing some fiction for this year's issue.
"Journalism and fiction (writing) are very similar in that they both tell a story," he said, "but creativity is fickle, so you have to act on that spark. Although I would like to publish my work in the Grimoire, I can't force myself to write if I'm not inspired."
Vella juggles his classes with his writing by developing time management skills, and setting his classes around his schedule at the Collegian.
"At times it's tough; I try not to procrastinate. I give myself chunks of time. It's a skill that everyone should develop," said Vella, who has a 4.0 GPA.
While a student at Marian High School, Vella was also a writer for the TIMES NEWS' Young Voices section.