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Public Radio professor to say goodbye to Mills

Holly Kernan is leaving Mills for KQED in San Francisco. (Courtesy of Holly Kernan)
Holly Kernan is leaving Mills for KQED in San Francisco. (Courtesy of Holly Kernan)

After bringing her Mills student voices around Oakland for eight years, Professor Holly Kernan is leaving her position at the college, where she was the director of the award-winning Public Radio Reporting Program. 

Kernan, who has taught at Mills since 2006, will head the recently expanded news department at KQED, a multimedia news company that includes television and radio located in San Francisco. Before becoming a part of the Mills staff and joining her current job as Crosscurrents co-host at KALW, she spent six years as a producer and reporter for KQED. The news department now encompasses multiple forms of media.

“I am sad to be leaving Mills because it’s been such a lovely experience for me and the quality of the student work here is stellar,” Kernan said

In 2006, Kernan’s first class at Mills set the bar by telling various stories about redevelopment in areas of Oakland. That year, the class received the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists “Student Journalists of the Year” award for that series .

“Understanding the complexities of redevelopment is one of the hardest public policy issues you could choose,” Kernan said. ” And then finding the stories to tell is tough.”

Kernan’s classes have since won numerous awards including two Gracie awards for outstanding series and outstanding documentary radio series by the Foundation of American Women in Radio & Television.

Although Kernan’s replacement has yet to be confirmed, the beginning and intermediate classes will still be offered in the public policy curriculum.

Many of Kernan’s students are sad to see her go, but she hopes that through her classes, they have learned not only the art of radio reporting but have developed a love of journalism.

Sophomore and teaching assistant for Kernan, Erin Clark, believes that Kernan’s teaching is something unique that will be missed.

“Holly teaches something in journalism that most journalists just don’t get: the human aspect,” Clark said. ” You can’t take your bias out; it’s you writing the article, but you can stop yourself from pushing your bias down somebody’s throat. I’ll miss that.”

As fun as the class may have been for students, Kernan hopes they walk away with a better appreciation of journalism as well.

“I hope they are able to more easily hold opposing viewpoints in their minds without needing to be right,” Kernan said. ” I hope they always seek truth, beauty and laughter in all that they do.”