A warm welcome from the Southwest
Allison Engstrom brings passion for storytelling to The Dickinson Press
My name is Allison, and I am eager to start my journalism career here in Dickinson.
For me, storytelling is one of the often-overlooked joys of life. Everything I enjoy every day is in some way a story. The music on my car stereo, the pages I flip through in my favorite book, the movies I have watched and re-watched until I have memorized every line, even my favorite meals to cook… they all tell a story. And what am I but a kaleidoscope of all these things? All of that is suffice to say, I love storytelling and I feel so fortunate to have found a career where I get to do just that. Typically, I like to be on the listening end of a story. I like to listen and watch and wonder. But today I want to share a little bit of my story with all of you.
I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Usually, once I tell someone this, their eyes grow confused or I get the occasional chuckle. And if you told me a year ago that I would be living in North Dakota, I would have probably chuckled too. I have learned that life has a way of taking you where you want and where you least expect - sometimes simultaneously.
Coming from the desert, I always had the desire to move and travel and see colors I’d never seen, plants and animals I didn't know existed, different shades of sunrises and sunsets, anything that existed beyond the desert, although the snow wasn’t quite on my radar then. Life provided me with that opportunity and so alongside my boyfriend, we drove from Arizona to Minnesota. I’ll never forget the red rocks in New Mexico, cows as far as I could see in Texas, BBQ in Kansas, shades of green that almost hurt my desert eyes in Minnesota, and now white snow that goes on forever that almost mimics looking out at the ocean.
It’s a transition going from one extreme to another - a massive city to a small town, triple digits to negative digits - but there is so much growth in the change. This journey has been exhilarating, terrifying, and profoundly meaningful, and about a million other emotions in between. But to me, that's living. We are fortunate to feel a wide range of emotions and to see and experience the breathtaking sights around us with the people we love.
I grew up the youngest in my family with three older brothers. Oftentimes people say “oh that must have been terrible”, but for me, that couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, admittedly they did trick me into eating a paintball once, but honestly, they have always been my best friends. Between them and my parents, I feel so supported during this transition. I miss my family daily, but I see glimpses of them in everything.
Back in Phoenix, I graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. After graduating, I decided to veer off path a little and take a job teaching middle school writing. The time I spent in education was overwhelmingly eye-opening and challenging, but also extremely rewarding. It wasn’t the right career for me, but it gave me so much perspective that I will always be grateful for.
Now that you’ve had the opportunity to listen to my story, I am eager to hear yours. I couldn’t think of a better way to get to know this town than through the people that call this place home. Thank you for taking the time to read a chapter of my life, and I look forward to writing a page of yours!