TILF Success Stories: Meet Kasi Dickerson

Posted by Trudy Richards on 11/05/2013


 Editor-in-Chief Kasi Dickerson said the staff of the The Pine Log newspaper at Stephen F. Austin State University work together for a common goal--producing the best product possible.

TILF Scholar Kasi Dickerson was bitten by the journalism bug early in life.

Jeanette Germany, a journalism teacher and Kasi’s mother, said she used to call the dark room the “magic room.”

“She loved watching the images appear on the photo paper,” Germany said. “Without even knowing it, I think [that’s where] her passion for photography began.”

Kasi took her first journalism class in 8th grade and continued in high school. As a junior and senior, she was co-editor of the Van High School yearbook, a position that helped her perfect her photography skills and grow more comfortable with design.

“I was big into photography, so I was into all the sporting events like football and basketball,” she said. “Banquets and the theater productions that I wasn’t in, I would go to those.”

There weren’t many theater productions Kasi wasn’t in, though. She was cast in One-Act Play productions that made it to state all four years of high school, including The Elephant Man, Man of La Mancha, The Devils, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

“One of my most memorable moments was performing in the Bass Concert Hall in front of hundreds of people,” Kasi said. “I loved the whole OAP experience from bonding with the cast during competition to being backstage.”

She also competed in journalism and speaking events.

“One year it was really awesome because I did advance to region in Prose and it was really fun,” she said. “Mine had a little taste of comedy in it, basically about being a teacher and all the different students and the problems you have.”

A recipient of the Red Oak Foundation Scholarship, Kasi looks forward to teaching journalism at the high school or collegiate level after earning her degree and work experience as a reporter or photographer.

“I don’t have big set plans, but I know I’m going to graduate school, get my Masters and then possibly teach journalism after I’m in the field for a while,” she said.

Kasi admits that while “college isn’t cheap,” it’s worth the costs.

“I have been very blessed to receive this scholarship because it has helped put a dent in my college expenses,” she said. “Because of scholarships like this one, I am able to continue my education.”

In May 2012, Kasi earned Associate of Arts degrees in Teaching and Journalism from Kilgore College. She chose to transfer to Stephen F. Austin State University for the mass media program, which she hopes to continue with in graduate school.

“I just knew that ‘ok, this is probably where I need to be,’” she said after meeting with a SFA advisor. “The campus is super inviting and everyone was so friendly and it just felt like home. I definitely made the right choice.”

Through three semesters at SFA, Kasi has taken on a challenging courseload and plans to graduate in December. The rest of her time as a student has been devoted to The Pine Log campus newspaper.

“I’ve just been so blessed to be in this program,” Kasi said. “I transferred in and immediately became features editor my very first semester and now I’m the executive editor.”

As with most publications, The Pine Log is changing with the times and recently made the transition from being a biweekly newspaper to printing weekly editions.

“We’re paying a lot more attention to our online site and we’re working on our social media,” Kasi said. “We’re trying to be more active with that and more involved on campus and letting students know that ‘Hey, we’re not just publishing every Wednesday. We’re here, everyday.’”

She enjoys working with others and loves “being hands on” as a leader.

“I like helping them learn how to do things,” Kasi said about her staff. “So that kind of made me wonder ‘hmmm...maybe I should be a teacher with journalism because it’s something I’m interested in and I can help people get into the field as well.’”

To help hone her skills as an editor, writer, designer, and photographer, Kasi competes at the Texas Community College Journalism Association and Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conferences. She has placed in numerous events, from feature and news writing to winning first place in magazine design.

“It’s basically like UIL, but you send in work and then you also do on-site competitions,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun and a good way to network because you get to meet people from all different colleges.”

Last year, Kasi was a finalist for the Associated Press Reporter of the Year award and placed third in the nation. She was recognized for her diverse work while writing for Kilgore College’s newspaper, The Flare.

“I was humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award by doing what I love,” she said. “Journalism is an ever-changing field and this excites me.”

Kasi describes herself as a person who likes variety and enjoys the fast-paced freedom journalism gives in terms of subject matter and schedule.

“You have a lot of different opportunities and that’s one thing I love about it,” she said. “You never know where it’s gonna take you. One day I was interviewing someone on a ranch and the next day I’m in a board meeting.”

Jeanette Germany recalls her daughter’s achievements, ever since her first ILPC award for photography in junior high.

“It's hard to believe that Kasi is really kind of a shy person, but when she puts her "journalist" hat on she takes on a whole new persona,” Germany said. “Suddenly, she is not afraid to interview anyone or set up a photo shoot.”

Germany said Kasi’s love of young children drives her to combine education and journalism as goals in life.

“She has come full circle with her passion and her talent,” Germany said. “Even though the ‘magic room’ no longer exists, her enthusiasm for journalism has grown even stronger. I could not be any prouder.”

Read Kasi’s work:

The Pine Log Articles

Study Abroad:

The London Log

Recognized by the Associated Press: 

KCPD Chief remembers deadly standoff in Waco
Abuse shatters family structure
English instructor lives among homeless to learn the lifestyle, how he can help


Watch an interview with Kasi:

SFA Now Interview (14:40)


Written by Jan Ross Piedad

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