Gun laws, education and civic engagement with Kansas Reflector interns

Hosted By: Noah Taborda - June 27, 2022


You may have noticed two new names making regular appearances on Kansas Reflector story bylines recently — Margaret Mellott and Lily O’Shea Becker. They joined Kansas Reflector this summer as interns and are tackling topics ranging from gun laws to teachers leaving the field to youth civic engagement.

Mellott, a recent graduate of Emporia State University with degrees in communication and journalism, spent all four years at ESU working at the student newspaper and, outside of collegiate journalism, worked on projects for Vintage KC Magazine and Humanities Kansas.

But before entering the journalism arena, Mellott wanted a career in education, inspired by a family full of teachers. Eventually, they wish to get back into that field as a college professor of journalism. It was this background that drew Mellott to a story on Kansas teachers ready to leave the field.

“I don’t think teachers really want to leave,” Mellott said. “They love the people that they work with, and they love getting to help impact kids is very much, so like my own experience. … But the job also comes with so many other complications.”

O’Shea Becker is a senior studying journalism at the University of Kansas with experience as a multimedia journalist, photojournalist, producer and copy editor for several news outlets in Lawrence and at the university. Partnered with freelancer Miranda Davis, she won first place in the Kansas Press Association’s annual awards for Best Story/Picture Combination, covering Protests at University of Kansas show culture shift on campus sexual violence for Kansas Reflector.

Among early stories O’Shea Becker has worked on was a peak inside the minds of high school journalists attending the KU School of Journalism Jayhawk Media Workshop.

“The thing that really stood out to me was that all of them said that they think it’s their duty to vote when they turn 18,” she said. “As somebody who’s interested in politics, that was just interesting to me. I just feel like this generation just has like a lot of motivation to go out and make a difference.”

Both of the interns also waded into the current state of gun laws in Kansas. Mellott focused on some of the state’s political leaders, candidates and activists about their thoughts on school safety, while O’Shea Becker covered an influx of new members joining Kansas Moms Demand Action.

Read more:

O’Shea Becker’s stories

Mellott’s stories


Margaret Mellott

intern, Kansas Reflector

Lily O'Shea Becker

intern, Kansas Reflector

Noah Taborda

reporter, Kansas Reflector