Auditions for All-Girls Media Team This Saturday, April 18!

KALAMAZOO (MICH.)- Girls from throughout Michigan who are in grades 4th-10th, are invited to audition for a spot on the media team of the 3rd Annual Travel Writers Academy. Those interested in interviewing for the academy are invited to register by phone to receive an audition time on Saturday, April 18th at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St. in Kalamazoo. Girls are asked to bring a cell phone, camera, video camera, or other recording devises (if available) for use during the auditions.

Students selected will participate in pre-trainings in June and the Travel Writers Academy July 12-18, on the campus of Kalamazoo College along with a magazine unveiling event in September. The week-long residential Travel Writers Academy is sponsored by area media, businesses, organizations, educational institutions and individual donors. The media team will have opportunities to travel and meet women who will inspire them to learn more about everything from entrepreneurship to international travel. In addition, girls learn the fundamentals of photography, videography and writing to produce the 3rd Annual Girls Can! Magazine and a video, which are unveiled in a public celebration in the fall.

The Travel Writers Academy is a program of the Merze Tate Travel Club founded in Kalamazoo in 2008, and named for Merze Tate, a 1927 graduate of Western Michigan University.  Tate, who died in 1996, founded a travel club in the 1920s when she worked as a high school history teacher at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana; the inspiration for today’s travel club.

Tate also was the first African American to graduate from Oxford University in England. The native of Blanchard, Michigan left millions to universities across the country such as WMU where the grant center in Sangren Hall is named in her honor. She also was an author, inventor, photographer and film maker in addition to being a university professor at such schools as Morgan State College and Howard University.

Since the inception of the Merze Tate Travel Club girls from throughout West Michigan have had hundreds of adventures that have led to them flying in planes to being part of the Geek Squad at Best Buy. The girls have met women in their own communities who work at such places as Stryker Instruments and have traveled as far as Indianapolis to shoot footage for a documentary they produced on Merze Tate in 2010.

Applications for the Travel Writers Academy are available on the Home page of: For more information or to register for the auditions, contact Sonya Bernard-Hollins at: 269-365-4019.

Sonya Bernard-Hollins

Administrative account for the Community Voices website.