Meet the Spring 2011 columnists

The Daily Northwestern

Samantha Booth

Samantha Booth may or may not be an illegal immigrant on the run from both the Canadian and U.S. governments. For that reason she grew up in the wilds of Montana – because quite honestly, why would anyone live in Montana if not for the anonymity of solitude? Samantha is a Medill junior but has to this day probably never conducted an interview that wasn’t at least moderately awkward. Yet at the tender age of 8-years-old she got a taste of literary fame when she wrote a letter to the editor of her local paper reprimanding dog owners for ignoring the leash law and she was hooked.

When not fostering a love-hate relationship with Medill, she also majors in U.S. history and international studies. In her free time she likes to recite the presidents, plan her vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and contemplate the ways to steal a full jar of Nutella from the Plex dining hall. Samantha cannot sing so she has compensated by becoming a world-class whistler. She also cannot interact properly with society, so she has compensated by becoming a world-class sarcastic-comment-maker. Samantha can often be spotted around campus listening to music and pretending her life is the opening soundtrack to a movie. And yes, she knows that you do that too.

Derrick Clifton

After a long Winter Quarter of dissing Ke$ha, angering most Republicans, introducing many to the word ‘fatphobia’ and barking about Prof. Bailey, I’ve been unleashed yet again. Like Miley Cyrus, I can’t be tamed.

Winter Quarter wore me out more than a pair of jeans on a hipster, but I’m happy to return and serve you all some different side dishes of my take on media criticism and unnoticed things about everyday life. And, no, I’m not holding the sass – or the double dashes – on this order.

Since we were introduced this time last quarter, I joined a frat, watched sports more than I normally do (Go NU, Bulls and Rafael Nadal…ow!) and became a newly single man. If you wish to hear the funny stories of guys attempting to hit on me since then, take me to BDubs and I’ll blab.

I’m excited about what Spring Quarter has to offer: Chicago without a ‘Daley’ mayor, jogs along the Lakefill and Dillo Day (please avoid the 4Loko). I’ll also be planning a much-needed late summer vacation out of the Midwest, and I’d love your emailed suggestions.

And somehow along this wacky rollercoaster, I’ll manage to luxuriate and deliver a fresh perspective of it all in print and through online videos just for you. Spring Quarter, you’re on!

Mike Carson

I’m about as stubborn and set in my ways as a person can be at 22 years old, so I guess it’s not surprising that I’m coming back for a fourth quarter of columns. Never mind that I’m technically not a student, since I finished up my last class at the end of Winter Quarter – old habits die hard, even in young columnists. I’ve spent the last three months as a field organizer on Chicago’s northwest side, knocking on doors and making calls and generally rolling around in the muck of municipal election politics. But anyone who reads my column regularly knows I’m not much for pounding the partisan wardrums in this space, and I’ll do my best to save my own politics for the campaign office or the bar stool and leave the punditry to someone smarter. My goal will be to keep up conversation on Evanston and Northwestern issues for one more quarter before I finally take my graduation walk.

If nothing else, I get 10 more weeks before I have to give up the column business entirely. I imagine it will be tough. Old habits die hard.

Ali Elkin

I was born in a crossfire hurricane. Just kidding. I was born at Albert Einstein Hospital in The Bronx. Then I was taken to New York’s northern suburbs (a euphemism which here means “Westchester”), where I grew up. As a kid I enjoyed the occasional theatrical pursuit, but a substantial lack of talent inspired me to give up singing the body electric and start writing. Here at Northwestern I study journalism and have been a reporter and editor for The Daily for the past three years. I have become hopelessly and nerdily enamored with covering Evanston city government, campus news and sports. I can discuss the stuff of Daily articles for hours on end. Unfortunately, not nearly as many people are as enthralled by the dynamic between Evanston’s aldermen as I am, so I seek to change that. In future columns I hope to reveal the myriad fascinating nuances that surround us at NU, as well as in the wider world. I promise to keep the musical theater references to a minimum. I hope to inspire discussion among my peers because I think people are starting to notice when I mutter to myself about Northwestern’s current state of affairs.

Tom Hayden

I grew up in New Jersey. It’s a nice state if you avoid the coast. I’m a senior linguistics major, which, before you ask, doesn’t mean I know a bunch of languages. What else can describe me? At this school you don’t need much more than that to get a sloppy hook up at The Keg, which, for 500 words a week, is probably an accurate way to describe this column.

Somehow I graduated early and thus have the ability this quarter to both find a job (unlikely, considering the aforementioned linguistics degree) and disappear without warning for days at a time. I don’t want this column to be about opinion and complaints about life at Northwestern, since I find that boring and I’m sure you could just listen to your roommate after a bio exam if you want that. Instead, I’ll go out on adventures and report back to you my findings. Hopefully these adventures will be funny and have a point, but I make no guarantees.

Michael Kurtz

Michael Kurtz is a sophomore history major in Weinberg. Born and bred in The Bronx, of Haitian and Jewish extraction, Michael’s main interests are politics, sports and bi-winning, á la Sheen. He was born two weeks early and has been late for everything ever since. On campus, Michael is an enthusiastic member of the Political Union. He is also a CA but will say no more because doing so might leave him homeless and unemployed. In his free time, he follows and plays tennis and soccer. He reveres Rafael Nadal and would catch a bullet for the Dutch National soccer team. Don’t talk to him about last year’s World Cup Final. He gets his news from The Onion and still reads Dr. Seuss. His two favorite TV shows are “The Sopranos” and the “The Golden Girls,” and his favorite movie is “The Departed.” And although he does not have the rest of his life meticulously planned out (unlike, apparently, everyone else at this school) he intends to seize major political power at some point or another. Life’s too short not to.

Vasiliki Mitrakos

I am a native Chicagoan, and for me that means I still live at home, unlike 99 percent of Northwestern’s undergraduate population. I am a political science major with an adjunct major in legal studies, and I would like to study abroad one day.

I have written for The Daily occasionally since last year and I write for several other publications.

I love to travel, and I have visited or driven through almost all of the United States of America.

Aside from my love for traveling, I am interested in foreign affairs and studying about international political and economic conditions.

I hope to one day to be an ambassador for the U.S. and travel abroad frequently. Finally, I wish I lived on campus so I can spend more time at The Daily!

Greg Swiatek

I am a 21-year-old junior in Medill, who after taking and enjoying an introductory economics course, and possessing an unquenchable thirst for mental punishment and exhaustion, decided to take on an economics double major. Now I split my time between reading magazines and newspapers and staring at funny charts.

I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio – a city called home to celebrities like Devo, the Black Keys, Jim Jarmusch and, of course, LeBron James. Growing up, sports (watchi
ng and playing them) were a big part of my life, and I have learned to embrace Northeast Ohio’s “There is always next year” perennial mind-set. It is a resilient yet self-deprecating attitude that I am proud to call my own.

Art films intrigue me and actions movies entertain me. I frequently root for the bad guys in movies and TV when they are clearly defined, and I think they should win once in a while to keep everyone honest. My bookshelf is a mixture of timeless classics and obscure titles that my sister recommended. There is also a section dedicated to the many books I have not yet read but assure myself that someday I will. I probably will not.