My name is Sasha Williams.
And I am Katie Jones.
Since the assassination of President Sadat in 1981, Egypt has been under emergency law,
and one of the elements of emergency law is censorship of the press.
The environment is not exactly welcoming for journalists;
however, Katie and I definitely had an advantage, in some respects,
because of the fact we were American and we were students --
we could report on incidents that, if Egyptians had been reporting on them,
they may have been detained or stopped, questioned, or at least harassed.
Like Katie, I had the opportunity to write about a lot of refugee issues,
water access, border problems--a lot of things related to human rights,
which I have been interested in for many years.
Katie: I started covering bloggers, Egyptian journalists who would write online,
and how the Internet was impacting the politics of what was going on.
The articles that I wrote--I am taking that and turning it into my senior thesis.
The Daily News Egypt being the only independent English-speaking newspaper in the country,
a lot of academics, analysts, people at think tanks, if they wanted to know about
Egypt, they would read the Daily News Egypt.
The press secretary at the U.S. embassy said this,
that our stuff was really pertinent to what was going on
and we were doing a good job and we were covering exciting stories, which was like,
"Cool, the press secretary at the U.S. embassy is reading my article.
"That's really cool."
Sasha: We got to review ice cream.
I went to a Red Bull soccer event also.
Katie: We also covered the Egyptian National Chef's competition.
I was covering this culinary thing, and Sasha was my photographer for it.
There's like a knowledge about food barrier, there's a language barrier,
and there's a gender sort of barrier because it's very male dominated.
So I'm trying to ask people questions and they either tell me about things I don't
understand, speak in another language, or ask for my number.
And so it was a little frustrating, but it was pretty funny
'cause I covered the Egyptian National Chef's competition.
Sasha: Right. Katie: No big deal.
Sasha: It really was great to be directly involved with politics in a society
through writing these articles.
Katie: Just taking everything we had studied and applying it...
Sasha: It really was. I mean like, French.
I had to speak French on several occasions and interviews.
Or geology. Things I learned in geology three years ago I applied to an article
I was writing about water access and sanitation at that UN information center meeting.
Also the one about the Nile Basin initiative. Also.
So I think definitely the benefits of a liberal arts college education,
whether we knew it or not, were visible in the work we were doing.
And the McCulloch Center did an excellent job with this internship.
Katie: The McCulloch Center really did well.
Sasha: We're both very, very lucky to have done this.
Katie: Yeah, really lucky.
Sasha: I am a senior, an international relations major and a French minor here at Mount Holyoke.
Katie: And I am also a senior, class of 2010, and I am an international relations major
and I am focusing on the Middle East and democracy promotion.