As the semester moves forward, you will see articles published by the Optimist Editorial Board. Such pieces are not indicative of one persons opinion, but rather a combination of opinions and beliefs of the Optimist Editorial Board. We felt it was beneficial for you to get to know us each individually before you hear our voice collectively.
Sydney Varner, Editor in Chief
I am junior journalism major and professional writing minor from Edmond, Oklahoma. I joined the Optimist as a staff writer my freshman year and worked as the assistant managing editor my sophomore year. I have an innate love for storytelling and a passion for helping people make their voices heard so naturally journalism was the path I chose to pursue in college. My current goals as Editor in Chief are as such: Make sure everyone on campus feels represented and bring the Optimist to the forefront of the students’ news sources. As someone who will also be writing consistent columns for the publication it’s important to note I politically align with primarily libertarian viewpoints, but have opinions across the political spectrum. As a Christian, I believe Christians shouldn’t be able to identify fully with one side or the other, but rather focus on loving one another is all ways possible. I hope to reflect that in my columns this semester. I am always open to discussion, and always welcome to ideas from anyone within the ACU community.
Maci Weathers, Managing Editor
I am a sophomore journalism major and public service minor from Amarillo. I joined the Optimist in the fall of 2020. I have been involved in newspapers and journalism since my freshman year of high school, so it felt natural to join in college. My current plans as an editor are to expand the Optimist to cater to all walks of life on campus as well as bring in new ideas to push in our stories. I am an Independent politically, and I tend to lean certain ways when it comes to certain topics. However, I am an open book and okay to people disagreeing with me.
Hannah Maniscalo, Assistant Managing Editor
I am a sophomore political science major and journalism minor with a pre-law concentration from Houston. I started the Optimist last semester, as a second semester freshman, and have really enjoyed it since. I am new to journalism but I think accurate and truthful reporting is critical in any community. The people at ACU deserve to hear about the activities and events that interest them. I want to make that everyone feels represented in the news here. Though I am a political science major, I do not stand firmly on either side of the aisle. I am always open to having political discussions and talking about topics in the news.
Carrie Johnston, Sports Director
I am a junior journalism major and a business administration minor from San Antonio. I started at the Optimist the spring of my freshman year on a whim, and I have loved every second of it. I have a huge passion for sports, so having the chance to be this year’s Sports Director is such a tremendous blessing for me. It is my goal to cover as much as possible when it comes to ACU athletics, but also tell the stories of those on and off the field. I want to be sure to represent the diversity in the athletics world. In terms of politics, I identify as Libertarian, and if anyone wants to talk to me about stories or tell me stories you would be interested in, I’m always one email away.
Connor Mullins, Assistant Sports Director
I am a sophomore journalism major with a business minor from Abilene. I am the Assistant Sports Director for the Optimist this year, and I was a sports writer last year as a freshman. A fun fact about me is that I worked for Dave Campbell’s Texas High School Football as a student correspondent for Abilene High Football during the fall of my senior year of high school. My goals as an editor are to write stories that I am proud of and help the rest of the sports staff do that as well. I want our staff to feel proud of their work because they work very hard for the Optimist. I want to tell the stories that need to be told about ACU athletics because there’s a lot that goes on. I try to stay out of politics, but my political persuasion tends to lean left. I try to have an open mind when it comes to politics. However God’s love is more important than a political argument, and I’d rather show God’s love than argue.
Riley Fisher, Chief Photographer
I am a senior theatre design major and a business and multimedia minor from Abilene. At the encouragement of a friend, I joined the Optimist as a staff photographer when I was a freshman knowing very little about photography or journalism. I became an editor in the second semester of my freshman year, and I’ve learned countless valuable lessons about life and work since then. I’m passionate about creating and I enjoy using what I’ve learned at the Optimist to share that with the ACU community. My goals as a member of the editorial board center around making sure the people I work with have the same opportunities I did to learn, grow and dive into all that life on campus has to offer. I want to make all people and groups on campus feel seen, recognized and included in our coverage and I want to help that coverage reach as many students as possible. I’m not going to lie, when it comes to political discussions I lean into the liberal arguments more often than not, but I believe that there is more to a person than beliefs and arguments and I want to greet people with Godly love and understanding. With that in mind, I consciously make an effort to remain open to others’ opinions and I want my work this year to reflect that.
Allie Jones, Video Director
I am a senior advertising and public relations major from Rule. I joined the Optimist my freshman year as a staff writer before studying abroad, and after I came back from Germany, I returned to staff as a videographer. During this time I fell in love with listening to people tell their stories, and then packaging it into a video to share with our audience. I am thrilled to be a part of growing Optimist video department and weekly newscast. When it comes to political alignment I do not align myself with a specific party, instead base my decision around the ideology that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. The beauty of telling stories is being able to hear every side of the story, and see past my own opinions to the person on the other side. I will always welcome a discussion from someone with differing beliefs.
Nathaniel Chisholm, Newscast Executive Producer
I am a sophomore journalism major and a communications minor from Keller, Texas. I originally began working for the Optimist last year, helping with video production as we ramp up our online presence, but now head the weekly newscast. This will be my eighth year working for a multimedia company and taking journalism classes and chances are you will see me working with ACUTV in our productions there. Working this year I want to help develop an easy to consume platform for college students to receive ACU news no matter where you are in the world. In terms of political and social matters, I tend to have absolutely no interest in them. However, I am a firm believer that we were all created by the same God and should love as he does, unconditionally.