My New Job as an Obituary Writer is the Opposite of Depressing

I am a few weeks in at my new job as the Obituary Writer for The Reading Eagle newspaper. I know, I know, the job sounds depressing. That was my first reaction as well and I initially wasn’t very excited about my first job post-graduation.

First of all: death. Everyone is uncomfortable talking about it, but my job is actually positive. I get to read about the most impressive accomplishments these men and women have achieved in their lives and all their great and great-great-grandchildren who love them.

My job title is also misleading because I don’t actually write the obituaries. Family members often write them and funeral directors e-mail them to me. I edit the obituaries for AP style rules and style rules that are particular to the newspaper. I am also a fact-checker in a sense. For example, I check that a World War II veteran was born within dates that makes serving in the war possible.

Obituary Writer is also an interesting position because although I work in the editorial department, I mainly work in the computer program AdBooker since obits are technically classified death obits.

Yes, my busy days at the paper rely on people dying, but I enjoy editing the obituaries. They make me wonder what I will accomplish in my life.

I never thought that I would be an Obituary Writer after college. I was hoping for a more exciting job title like Investigative Reporter or something where I could write more than I am now, but I am happy to have the opportunity to be working in the journalism industry. I applied to marketing positions and other jobs related to my communication major, but more than anything I wanted to end up at a newspaper or magazine, so I’m very thankful to be where I am.

One of my professors started out as an Obituary Writer and she has accomplished so much in her life as a journalist, author, and professor. So I know that this is only the first stepping-stone to my journalism career ahead of me.

I started at the bottom of journalism in high school and again in college and I know I can work my way back to the top to one day be an Editor-in-Chief again. But for now I’ll be working as hard as I can to shine as an Obituary Writer and welcome the next steps in my career that come my way.

From the Editor’s desk: Sexism in the workplace

Originally published in Issue 11, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 23, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

A recent Twitter thread about an email experiment has been going viral and caught a lot of attention, including my own. If you haven’t seen it, the thread was from Martin R. Schneider who worked at a small employment service firm with Nicole Pieri, whose boss complained took a long time working with clients.

Schneider recalls having accidentally sent e-mails under Pieri’s name and having clients being rude and dismissive towards him. After changing back to his own email signature, he received positivity and gratitude from the same client.

Schneider and Pieri then began an experiment where they switched email signatures for two weeks.

The results? Schneider tweeted, “I was in hell. Everything I asked or suggested was questioned. Clients I could do in my sleep were condescending. One asked if I was single.”

As for Pieri, Schneider tweeted, “Nicole had the most productive work week of her career. I realized the reason she took longer is because she had to convince clients to respect her.”

This experiment reveals that sexism still exists in the workplace today and is a daily obstacle for women.

“I wasn’t any better at the job than she was, I just had this invisible advantage,” tweeted Schneider, who realized his unearned privilege of being a male.

Twitter users were also quick to bring up the fact that if Pieri had a black-sounding female name, she would face additional struggles.

This incident also reminds me of the Howard/Heidi experiment. Half of a Harvard class was given the case study of Heidi Roizen, a real-life entrepreneur. The same case study was given to the other half of the class except the name was changed to Howard.

Both groups found Heidi and Howard equally competent, as it should be since the accomplishments were identical. However, Howard was seen as more likeable while Heidi was seen as selfish and not someone you would want to work with.

It is sad that while success and likeability are positively correlated for men, it is negatively correlated for women. Additionally, women are often sexist against other women, so it’s not like sexism exists solely because of men. Women and men both need to reflect on the respect, or lack of respect, they give others.

I have been applying to jobs and I wonder if my resume is perceived as less strong because of my gender. Will that affect my job opportunities in the future? I sure hope not, but like Pieri, I will work twice as hard to get the job done.

This issue is full of successful (and likeable) women such as alumna and business owner Anne Gurtowski, CSSJ volunteer of the month Erin O’Neil and the women’s lacrosse team who will be making DeSales history all season long.

Peace, love & DeSales

Kellie Dietrich

From the editor’s desk: Discrimination is not dead

Originally published in Issue 10, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 2, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

In November, The Minstrel published my article “‘Sexual orientation’ missing from non-discrimination policies.” Seeing this article published was a proud moment for me as a journalist. I’m glad my article is still leading to faculty discussions four months later, and was glad to see “sexual orientation” being included in the NSSEE survey, which DeSales did not include in any previous years.

The Notice of Non-Discrimination found in the student handbook and faculty handbook says, “DeSales University will accept and make available to all students, faculty members or employees on a non-discriminatory basis, without regard to age, sex, race, color, disability, veteran status, national origin, or ancestry, all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students, faculty members, and employees.”

Clearly, sexual orientation is missing (and many non-discrimination policies list gender expression and gender identity as well), but it’s about way more than adding words to a list.

It’s about the students.

It’s about the faculty and staff.

It’s about equal treatment.

One of the key reasons same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. is because of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It says states should not deny any person “the equal protection of the laws,” so I don’t think it is fair for DeSales to deny recognition to the LGBT population in their policies.

However, do you notice anything else missing from the non-discrimination clause?

Ironically enough, the nondiscrimination policies of this religious-based institution are lacking religion, which most non-discrimination policies include.

The students and staff at DeSales have diverse religions. Of course, Catholicism is the majority on campus; however, people practicing different religions may feel like the odd man out and unable to express their views.

Discrimination is not dead.

According to Pew Research Center in 2015, anti-Muslim assaults in the U.S. were at the highest level since Sept. 11 era levels. In 2001 there were 93 reported aggravated or simple assaults motivated by anti-Muslim bias while in 2015, there were 91, and that number most likely increased for 2016 and still increasing today. Additionally, there were 257 anti-Muslim hate crimes incidents in 2015, which is 67 percent higher than the previous year.

Sexual orientation and religion need to be protected by the University.

I have de nitely made my opinions clear on the subject, but read Father Dailey’s “Letter to the editor,” which also relates back to my sexual orientation article and gives context to the most popular DeSales’ phrase: “Be who you are and be that well.”

I appreciate hearing the feedback and different voices at the University. If you would like to send a “Letter to the Editor” for a future publication, e-mail me at

Peace, love & Desales,

Kellie Dietrich

From the editor’s desk: Online health information, abortion inaccuracies

Originally published in Issue 9, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (February 16, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

At this point in the semester, you’re either one of three things: about to be sick, sick or just got over it. Unfortunately, I currently fall under the “sick” category.

When I’m sick I do two things. First, I Google my symptoms and nd out from WebMD that I have cancer. Then I panic and text my sister, who is an RN, and nd out that WebMD is wrong and I’m not dying.

Most likely, you also fall under the category of googling your symptoms. According to a Pew Research Center 2013 survey of online health information seeking, 77 percent start with search engines like Google or Yahoo instead of going to a health-oriented site.

This may not sound problematic, but most people do not try and decide if the sources they are looking at are credible and trustworthy. They most likely choose the first source on the page and work their way down.

Additionally, many people have confirmation biases. If they believe they have the flu, they are going to look for websites telling them they have the flu in order to confirm what they already believe.

Most people are satisfied with their searches; however, many websites contain inaccurate health information. Once a lie is told on the Internet, it tends to spread. Health information is sometimes syndicated, so it appears on multiple sites. This means they are verifying their information with multiple sources, but they have really read the material from the same syndicate on two different websites.

Information is often misleading to set certain agendas and one of these is the pro-life agenda. In December 2016, the French Senate signed a bill criminalizing the posting of misleading pro-life information online. They believe it is unlawful for sites to pose as neutral sources of information but promote anti-abortion agendas.

In the last issue the article “Pro-Life Club attends 44th March for Life in D.C.,” quoted a student who stated that having an abortion could cause their mental and physical health to suffer such as damaging reproductive organs, causing infertility and leading to emotional trauma like PTSD.

As the editor, I read every article before the issue is sent to the publisher. After reading this, I was unsure if the information was true or not and a quick Google search confirmed what the student said, or so I thought. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of inaccurate information being falsely spread around the Internet. I’m not trying to argue for or against abortion here, but as a journalist, it is important to me that the facts are presented accurately and that lies do not spread out of control (i.e. for the hundredth time, vaccines do not cause autism).

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, abortion is a low-risk procedure. Fewer than one in 100 women have complications from an abortion performed before 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to two in 200 women after. Additionally, the risks from an abortion are less than the risks of giving birth.

Going back to abortion inaccuracies, a 2010 study “Informed or misinformed consent? Abortion policy in the United States,” found that one-third of informed consent information is inaccurate. Most states have informed consent statutes, which require that a woman seeking an abortion receive a state-authored informational packet before an abortion is performed.

Researchers found that 31 percent of the information was medically inaccurate ranging from 15 to 47 percent across states with Pennsylvania averaging to 24 percent. Most of the inaccuracies were about the first trimester of the pregnancy, and among women who have abortions, 90 percent do so in the first trimester. The patterns of inaccuracies included accelerated fetal development, especially size and weight.

Similarly, a 2014 study, “Crisis pregnancy center websites: Information, misinformation and disinformation” looked at a total of 254 websites of crisis pregnancy centers (348) referenced in state resource directories for pregnant women. A total of 203 out of 254 websites had at least one false or misleading piece of information. The most common being mental health risks, preterm birth, breast cancer and future infertility.

Now that the facts are straight, you should de nitely check out The Minstrel’s new “Volunteer of the Month” section honoring students dedicated to service. There’s also an ice hockey double feature on the back page and lots of great reading in between.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich

From the editor’s desk: life is waiting

Originally published in Issue 8, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (February 2, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

I ended last year’s letter from the editor with a quote so I feel like it’s only appropriate to come full circle and start this year’s letter with a quote too.

“As long as you live, there’s always something waiting; and even if it’s bad, and you know it’s bad, what can you do? You can’t stop living.”—Truman Capote, “In Cold Blood”

I love this quote because I think it’s perfect for entering 2017. There is so much waiting for us this year. We will learn, laugh, cry, love, make mistakes, try new things, meet new people, discover ourselves, have good days and have bad days.

Whatever is waiting for us, it’s there. It’s waiting. You have to keep living and taking chances. There’s no one who doesn’t experience hurt and pain in the world, so do your best to make each day brighter for yourself and others.

One thing that has already been affecting everyone this year is the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Most of the country has accepted the fact that he is our president; however, citizens aren’t sitting back and waiting to see what happens. On Trump’s rst full day in of ce, an estimated 2.5 million people united together at women’s marches in the nation’s capital and cities around the world.

Many are already infuriated that pages on the of cial White House website,, have been disappearing. Some of the pages include those on climate change, civil rights, health care and LGBT rights. It is important that America does not move backwards on these issues and citizens have a greater responsibility now than ever to be informed.

A lot of people have strong views for or against Obamacare with many believing Obamacare is better than the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and vice versa. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” recreated a 2013-segment where he asked people on the street which they preferred. Four years and a lot of media coverage later, people do not realize Obamacare is the nickname for ACA.

While funny, the video is also horrifying, speci cally because the reason most people gave for not liking Obamacare was ecause they don’t like Obama. So let’s concentrate on the facts. We can’t believe every word and fear Trump puts inside our heads because we like him and we can’t dismiss every word he says because we don’t like him. The most important thing is to continue to educate yourself on important issues.

So give 2017 a chance. There’s going to be highs and there’s going to be lows. Most of us have witnessed both already. CJ Bamert talks about his experience at the Women’s March, Jaci Wendel covers the Kraft lecture and Steve Manzo predicts the winning team of Superbowl LI.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich

From the Editor’s Desk: Finding Christmas Spirit Despite a Terrible 2016

Originally published in Issue 7, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (December 8, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue. 

I didn’t know what to write this letter about so I asked my mom. Since it’s the last issue before winter break she said, “Isn’t it suppose to be about Christmas?”

I mumbled some sarcastic comments back to her, but I love Christmas and have no ideas. So, here goes nothing Mom.

Stereotype me as a “basic white girl,” but Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love that I get to spend time with my family and hey, presents never hurt anyone. I also love the decorations: putting up the Christmas tree and our train and village that reside underneath it. Green, red and sparkly decorations throughout the house and glittering lights outside courtesy of my “Bah-humbug” saying Dad. (We know you secretly love Christmas, Dad)

Christmas transforms everyday places like your living room, DeSales’ campus and most importantly, people. In my opinion, everyone’s a little more cheerful with Christmas music, decorations and holiday spirit. (Christmas music is great and if you disagree, try not to smile while my sister Katie and I duet “Dominick the Donkey” for the hundredth time.)

During the Christmas season, I can almost forget how terrible of a year 2016 was. Shootings in Orlando, the bombing in Brussels, Hurricane Matthew, outbreak of Zika, the presidential election and other events have made 2016 so terrible that basically everyone can agree on the fact that this year sucked. On a personal level, I had a pretty great year, but with everything happening in the world around me, I am hoping 2017 has better global outcomes.

So while I am fearful for the future of America and the rest of the world, I can pretend that we live in a happy, joyful place during the month of December and also regain hope that America will thrive and become a place filled with equality.

I hope this letter has given everyone a little bit of hope and willingness to embrace Christmas and the New Year ahead of us. There is no greater feeling than knowing that my writing has reached people and that I have impacted their lives. If I have made someone laugh at my letters or considered new points of views in my editorials, I did my job. If I can be a voice for LGBT students or sexual assault victims, I did my job.

I write because I love writing, but most importantly, it is because of all of you. I don’t want to get too mushy because I’m saving all that for the end of the spring semester, but thank you to everyone who has supported me and everyone who let me tell their stories.

This issue, The Minstrel leaves you with many stories to take with you for winter break. Some of these stories deal with terrible circumstances like the stabbing on campus but most of them, like the feature on Dr. Focht and No Shave November, are filled with hope and silver linings. Be sure to find your hope and joy over the holiday season.

“The day will be what you make it, so rise, like the sun, and burn.”—William C. Hannan.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich

DIY Crafty Christmas Gifts

Get out the hot-glue gun and ribbon; Christmas season is here and it’s time to get crafty. Check out these low budget Christmas gifts people will actually want to get. (Or keep them for yourself.)

Christmas in a Jar

This jar not only smells like Christmas with oranges, rosemary, cranberries and mulling spices, but it also looks adorable! For full directions, click here.

Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrubs are a gift for the people in your life who need some relaxation. It is also a great way to moisturize and soften up dry winter skin. For full directions, click here.

Wood Slice Ornaments

These quick and easy ornaments add a rustic touch to any Christmas tree. For full directions, click here.


Who can resist a hot cup of cocoa? Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Hot Chocolate Kits

Who can resist a hot cup of cocoa? Fill plastic tubes with hot cocoa mix, crushed candy canes, marshmallows, wafers and anything else that goes great in hot chocolate. Add a finishing touch by tying the tubes together with a ribbon. For full directions, click here.



Snowy Wreath

Liven up an old floral wreath with pinecones, hydrangeas, faux snow, glitter and more to make a welcoming winter wreath. For full directions, click here.

Illuminated Snow Scene in a Jar

What’s better than a snow globe? A snow globe that lights up. Repurpose a mason jar to make a magical snowy scene. They also make great nightlights for the little ones. For full directions, click here.

From the Editor’s Desk: U.S. Lacks Paid Maternity, Paternity Leave

Originally published in Issue 6, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (November 17, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue. 

As I contemplate my life after graduation, which seems to be an everyday occurrence, I often wonder about my future family. Women consider this issue more than men because women are still seen as the primary caretakers of children.

Yes, the U.S. is becoming more progressive and there are stay-at-home dads but that’s not really what I’m concerned about. Did you notice I called my future family an “issue?”

I would say that I want to have children when I’m older because let’s get real, any child that is half me is going to be awesome. But when I really consider how much time and attention children need, I think, “Mehh, kids ruin your life.”

So far, all I’ve known is school. It is this wonderful and terrible constant in my life; summer is over and I go back to school. All of my education has led up to college and my career. I’ve been essentially working toward it my whole life. My career is extremely important to me (I’m in a lot of debt because of it), and I don’t want kids to mess that up. However, to be fair, it’s not the kids that mess it up; it’s the system.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not provide paid maternity leave to mothers, which means there is definitely no paid paternity leave for fathers.

This past September, Pew Research Center analyzed 41 nations, and countries such as Australia, Czech Republic, Norway, Hungary, Japan and many others have over a year’s worth of paid leave for new parents. Estonia offers the longest amount of paid leave at 82 weeks (over a year and a half).

According to Pew Research Center, most countries use a social-security-type system to fund the paid time off, but in some cases, the employer also pays part of the bill. Additionally, while the U.S. does not have a national paid leave mandate, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have state-mandated paid leave plans.

While the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave, there are requirements to fulfill, such as working for a company with at least 50 employees and having worked at the company for at least one year. Many workers that do qualify for the leave do not take it because they can’t afford it.

The lack of parental support provided by the U.S. and its businesses forces many women to choose between taking care of their families and earning an income. However, I don’t want to have to choose, and I don’t want to have to compromise between my children or my career. The U.S. needs to up its game and catch up to the rest of the industrialized world.

Speaking of upping games, the environmental committee at DeSales has been making great improvements on campus, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams are ready for a successful season.

Additionally in this issue, The Minstrel covers Ben Long’s campaign, a how-to article on sleeping, which I’m sure we could all use a lot more of, and a large A&E section covering everything from movies, music, books and dance. I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as my staff and I enjoyed writing it.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich

From the Editor’s Desk: Unearned Privilege and LGBT Rights

Originally published in Issue 5, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (November 3, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue. 

Grandparents are fantastic; they’re always trying to feed you, give you money and provide you with unconditional love and hugs. But one thing many of them have in common is that they’re slightly racist. It’s not exactly their fault either. It was a different time period when they were growing up.

I grew up going to public school and I had friends of all different kinds of nationalities. I had friends who identified as Indian, Chinese, Dominican and even if I wasn’t friends with some of them, there were so many ethnicities in my classrooms. I grew up and treated them all the same. I had group projects with them and it never dawned on me to treat them differently because of their ethnicity. The same thing goes with sexual orientation. Why discriminate against people based on this?

I was very happy to be alive on the day the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in 2015. It was a beautiful day about love and equality, and especially meant a lot to me because I just attended Philly Pride that month to support a friend who identifies as a lesbian. And to be honest, before I was friends with her, I didn’t have a wide perspective on lesbians and gay.

The truth of the matter is that fighting for LGBT equality is not over. Whether you identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, questioning or other categories, there are differences between each. Yes, we are all human beings, but it’s our differences that make us unique and we need to be able to understand and support each other.

In 2015, the Solidarity Initiative scheduled an LGBT forum that was cancelled. However, don’t we need to talk to the LGBT students in order to understand their needs? DeSales does a great job of making a welcoming and inviting atmosphere on campus, but some students are not willing to speak out against these issues individually. We need to hear what LGBT students have to say before we can put a plan into action.

Another danger is that many of you reading this have unearned privilege and privilege is often invisible to those who have it. Men may not think about women’s issues because they are the superior group with privilege. The same goes for economic status, race and sexual orientation. You may not think there are issues with LGBT on campus because you are straight; however, you must broaden your perspectives. You can start by reading the news piece on the front page where we hear perspectives from a professor and a student who both identify as gay.

The Minstrel also has perspectives on Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate running for president, and much less weighty topics including DeSales hosting the NCAA cross country regionals and student Adam Desseyn who is developing a video game. Enjoy this issue and keep widening your perspectives.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich

Writing Portfolio as Editorial Intern at Lehigh Valley Style

I had a great experience building my writing portfolio as the editorial intern at Lehigh Valley Style magazine. Here’s some of the work I wrote during my time there.

February 2017
In the Issue:
Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Benincasas, Cetronia Ambulance Corp.

Web Extras:
Home: DIY Valentine Treats
Life: 6 Valley Super Bowl destinations
Style: Menswear-Inspired Fashion for Women

January 2017


I interviewed Sarah Hinsch, owner of Greenmouth Juice Bar + Cafe to write “Everything You Need to Know About Juice Cleanses.” Photo by Kellie Dietrich

In the Issue:
Ask the Expert: Everything You Need to Know About Juice Cleanses
Volunteer Spotlight: Ashanti Littlejohn, St. Luke’s University Health Network

Web Extras:
Home: Local Ways to Fill Your Wedding Welcome Bags
Life:Winter Mountain Destinations
Style: What to Wear: Wedding Guest Edition

December 2016
In the Issue: 
Volunteer Spotlight: Logan Houptley, Mikayla’s Voice

Web Extras:
Home: One of a Kind Lehigh Valley Experience Gifts
Life: Volunteer to Spread Christmas Cheer
Style: Must-Have Winter Accessories to Keep Warm

November 2016
In the Issue:
Decadent Dish Restaurant Awards 2016
Volunteer Spotlight: Nick Ogutu, Amnesty International

Web Extras: 
Home: What to Make With All Your Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey
Life: Brush Up on Your Lehigh Valley History
Style: Shop for Fashion that Gives Back

October 2016
Pop-up Run in Bethlehem, Runner’s World Festival & More

Additionally, I wrote the Calendar of Events, Life in the Valley, Books and New In Town sections in each print issue Nov.-Feb. Click here to view full issues of Lehigh Valley Style.