San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Senior Farewell: Eugenie Budnik

Isabella Biunno
Eugenie Budnik holds a copy of The Daily Aztec outside of the Conrad Prebys Union on March 27, 2024.

If I could sit down with 18-year-old Eugenie Budnik, she would be utterly perplexed by the twists and turns of her undergraduate journey.

I arrived at San Diego State with dreams of becoming an elementary education teacher, eager to shape young minds and nurture the next generation of learners. 

Despite my major, I felt pulled toward the campus newspaper, The Daily Aztec. My high school days of dabbling in a newspaper — where I was often the sole female voice — instilled in me a desire to continue pursuing journalism, even when COVID-19 abruptly halted my junior year.

As I grappled with feelings of uncertainty and a sense of being out of place among my peers in elementary education, The Daily Aztec grounded me in a sense of belonging.

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I’ll never forget a conversation I had over lunch one day in the newsroom, where my former Editor-in-Chief, Catlan Nguyen, encouraged me to explore the world of journalism. While I was afraid of making changes to what I had drafted up as my “five-year plan,” Catalan encouraged me to pursue what inspired me the most.

I turned in the “major change request” form the next day.

With support from mentors like my former news editor, Katelynn Robinson, and fellow writer-turned-editor Christian Houser, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and professional growth. Together, we navigated the challenges of sustaining the news section. We took risks that 18-year-old me could never have imagined.

One such risk was baring my soul to the world through journalism, under the guidance of my former opinion editor, Katy Stegall. In this piece, I shared my struggles with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and disordered eating, laying bare my vulnerabilities in the hope of sparking connection and understanding. The overwhelming response from readers, who reached out to share their own stories, reaffirmed the power of storytelling to foster empathy and solidarity.

But my proudest moment was assuming the role of news editor alongside my talented co-editor, Hannah Ly. It was a milestone that would have brought tears of joy to freshman-year me — a testament to how far I’ve come since those initial days of uncertainty.

Throughout my three-year-long undergraduate journey, I’ve been privileged to have a wide support network that has weathered every storm with me. To my parents Nicole and Eugene, siblings Liam and Liz and my fiancé, Luke, whose unwavering belief in me has been a constant source of strength, I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude. 

To my grandfather, Rudy Oriol, I am thankful for the SDSU sweatshirt he brought to me as a tiny baby living all the way in Japan. It’s this purchase that I believe was the catalyst for my journey at SDSU… even if I didn’t know it yet. 

The Daily Aztec was more than just a campus extracurricular or a job — it was a space where I felt accepted and valued for who I am.

As I bid farewell to my undergraduate years, I do so with a sense of excitement for the future. While this may mark the end of one chapter, it also signals the beginning of a new journey as I prepare to return to SDSU in the fall for the master’s program in communication and mass media with JMS.

So, this is not a goodbye to The Daily Aztec; it’s a promise to continue writing my story, one byline at a time.

About the Contributors
Eugenie Budnik
Eugenie Budnik, '24-25 News Editor, '23-24 News Editor
Eugenie Budnik is currently obtaining her MA in Mass Communication and Media Studies from San Diego State University. Eugenie graduated from San Diego State University with a BA of Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising in Spring 2024. As an ex-military child, Eugenie spent time growing up in Japan, England, Colorado and San Diego. Eugenie joined The Daily Aztec in 2021, when she was originally an elementary education major. Eugenie's time spent reporting on news for The Daily Aztec developed her love and passion for journalism, ultimately leading her to change her major. Since then, Eugenie has written over 50 pieces for The Daily Aztec and is now serving as the news editor for the second year in a row. Outside of her work, you can find Eugenie jamming out to Taylor Swift, reading, or scrolling through Tik Tok.
Isabella Biunno
Isabella Biunno, '24-25 Managing Editor, '23-24 Photo Editor
Isabella Biunno (she/her/hers) is a photographer for The Daily Aztec. She is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada where she was a part of yearbook and publications for nearly six years. She is a first-year Psychology major with an emphasis in neuroscience, and she plans to go to graduate school for Occupational Therapy. She loves photography, editing, and creating, and she can’t wait to continue shooting content for the DA. One thing she is passionate about outside of photojournalism is being involved in the disability/Autism community. She is a part of SDSU’s Adapted Athletics club, and she worked as an Instructor at a company back home called Inclusion Fusion where she was able to work with people with disabilities. Although her career-related passions fall in the healthcare field, she enjoys taking pictures and covering photo events just as much. She looks forward to expanding her experience as a photographer as well as capturing some astounding shots this year.