A life punctuated by writing

For Aditi Nambiar, first-year student at the University of Washington Bothell, writing is more than just something she does as a student or even as editor-in chief for the University’s newspaper.

It is a part of who she is.

“I have always been a writer at heart,” she said. “Looking back, there have been these defining moments that prove writing is just who I am as a person — it’s a big part of me.”

Written in the stars

Aditi Nambiar smiling outdoors
Aditi Nambiar, first-year student and editor-in-chief of the Husky Herald

Nambiar’s writing journey began in second grade when she and her classmates were given an assignment to write and illustrate a book. “I remember thinking it was cool,” she said. “I put so much effort into creating it without realizing until later that it was a competition.”

The time and energy she put into her story about a “flower girl princess” was purely motivated by the joy of doing the work — that was the reward. Or at least, that’s what she thought. “I was doing it because I loved it, not because I wanted to win,” she said.

And yet, regardless of her intention, she ended up receiving her elementary school’s young author award. This was especially impactful for Nambiar who had only recently immigrated to the United States. “My family came here from India, and winning that award instilled confidence in me to succeed as a 5-year-old who had only been in this country for a year.”

The award motivated Nambiar to write more stories, and it wasn’t long before she was recognized once again. In second grade, she was given the honor of writing a feature in her school’s newspaper, The Grizzly Gazette.

“I was able to speak with the principal and write a story about her job. Halfway through the interview she paused, looked at me, and asked if I wrote the questions myself,” Nambiar said. “When I told her I did, she said that was amazing — that I was amazing. When I think about that now, I see that I have always been destined to be a writer.”

Finding fate

While Nambiar has been writing stories since she could hold a pencil, she began writing professionally her senior year North Creek High School.

To Nambiar, landing her first writing job seemed a lot like fate.

She said at the time she was struggling with her mental health. Applying to colleges and busy with classes, she felt the stress of being able to “do it all.” To cope, she turned to Psych2Go, a YouTube animation channel focusing primarily on mental health and psych education.

“I spent a lot of time watching their YouTube videos. Then one day, I noticed a link to its website in the description box. I clicked it, and it took me to a job application,” she said. “It was hiring for content writers and illustrators. I decided to give it a shot, and a few interviews later, I was offered the position of a content writer and illustrator.”

Since January 2021, she has been writing, editing and publishing articles and video scripts as well as designing social media posts for Psych2Go. Her favorite project so far has been creating a video script called “6 Less Obvious Signs of Depression.” Published in May 2021, the video has already gained more than 940,000 views.

“The work I do at Psych2Go is with the intention of raising awareness for psychology and mental health. It’s such an important topic to discuss in this day and age,” she said. “My goal is to help break down stigmas and generate community.”

Articles as activism

Now, as editor-in-chief at the Husky Herald, she has a similar goal of generating timely and important conversations.

“I want to bring more awareness to social justice and human rights topics especially in light of the very significant issues we have been faced with the last couple of years including the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ rights,” she said.

She hopes that covering these issues will advance diversity and equity on campus — and protect minority groups who attend UW Bothell. “I want the Husky Herald to be an open and welcoming space for anyone to come forward and share their stories,” she said. “I want there to be an accurate and diverse representation of identities with the primary goal of amplifying student voices.”

To help accomplish this, she started a new column in the paper called “Student Takes.” It poses a question on a current event and asks students to respond so they can have their thoughts and opinions published in the paper.

Standout student

Nambiar is among one of very few first-year students in the Husky Herald’s history to hold the title of editor-in-chief. Usually, the position is filled by someone who has been a UW Bothell student for at least one full academic year and so is knowledgeable about the community. Nambiar, however, was hired before she ever stepped foot on campus.

Husky Herald hiring manager and professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Dr. David Goldstein said he has always advocated for the selection of an editor-in-chief who already knew the campus. “But Aditi’s experience helping out on her high school newspaper and her poise and maturity gave us confidence that she could learn the campus quickly and would be an energetic, inspiring leader for the Herald,” he said.

“The first few months and the first issue confirmed we made the right decision. Aditi has been both creative and dedicated. I am very happy with her work.”

For Nambiar, being editor-in-chief is “a huge honor that represents the hard work and determination I have put into every opportunity,” she said. “This is a stepping stone in the right direction, and I still have a long way to go but I am enjoying the journey.”

Essays, articles and lyrics

When she isn’t busy writing or editing (or studying), Nambiar enjoys playing music which she says is another mode for self-expression.

A trained classical pianist, she received the Seattle International Virtuoso Festival bronze medal in 2017 and honorable mention in 2018. She also plays the guitar, viola and ukulele. “One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is play music with my loved ones,” she said.

She insists that her accomplishments would not be possible without the support of her family. “My parents are amazing and have provided me unconditional love and support throughout my life,” she said.

“I am so grateful to them — and to my teachers, professors and peers — who have motivated me to follow my passion and encouraged my ability to write and tell stories. They have positively influenced the way I view my own writing skills and, in effect, made me the person I am today.”

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