Kind Words

From editors:

“Kristal is blessed with genuine intellectual curiosity, along with the instincts and drive of an old-fashioned reporter. Both her and her work are truly special.”  –  Eugene Robinson, columnist and associate editor, The Washington Post

“We value her commitment to taking on even the most difficult stories in the interest of serious journalism.”– Diane Weathers, former editor-in-chief, Essence magazine

“Kristal has a good ear, a calm manner and high expectations. She knows exactly what works on the page and why.” – Jill Kirschenbaum, editor, Wall Street Journal

“Kristal is one of the best journalists in the business. I have hired her a number of times to write articles for ESSENCE. Each time she delivered. The stories are always well-reported, beautifully crafted and well-received. Kristal has an eye for good stories and spends time making sure her articles are factual. Like most talented journalists, Kristal is a pro who takes good direction from her editors.” – Tatsha Robertson, news editor, People magazine

From readers:

“I stumbled upon your book [I See Black People: The Rise and Fall of African American-Owned Television and Radio] a few weeks ago, and it serves as a prime tool in my research efforts. My goal is to help bring forth a more positive and balanced image of African Americans in the media. I thank you for already being a change agent in the field!” – Empress Varnado, New York, NY

“I actually met you a couple of weeks ago in K-Mart. I had stopped you to tell you how much I loved your book Black Women’s Lives. I appreciate writers like yourself, because you are informing us about us….I grew up in a small area in Virginia and not many people have heard of it. We all deal with important issues but the majority of us only hear abut the mainstream organizations or people; so it was very interesting to read about different black women and their beliefs or struggles. I picked up your book and I couldn’t put it down so I had to buy it. I just want to say thank you for writing…it meant a lot to me.” – Ronica Wynder, New York, NY

“Upon reading her article I heard the echo of my own voice calling beyond the wilderness…Zook acknowledges the necessity for introspection about our individual [and] collective needs, as women within a patriarchal society in general and as women of color in particular.”
 – Cassandra V. Miah, New York, NY

“I recently finished Black Women’s Lives…All of the women had truly dynamic stories, and I like the way you were able to let the subjects and their circumstances really shine through. Even when you were walking with them, I’ll be honest I forgot you were even there. I envisioned these stories as if they happened right next door to me.” – C. Levy, Pittsburgh, PA

“Thank you for writing the book Black Women’s Lives and sharing the stories of these phenomenal women with us. This book opened my eyes…Although I am African-Canadian, I identified with so many of the women…”  – a Chicago, IL reader

From students:

“Professor Zook challenged us all to reach the level we were capable of…The time she took after class each day to call myself or another student over and really urge us to take that next step towards reaching our potential made a world of a difference.” – Max Sass, Hofstra University alumnus

“What distinguished Professor Zook from my other professors was the investment in her personal time she made with me. Even after I was no longer her student she reached out to offer me help and guidance…Now I’m working part-time at NBC and as a staff writer for an online magazine. I am truly grateful she was there for me during such critical years of my life when someone my age is trying to find themselves.” – Vania Andre, Hofstra University alumna

“Professor Zook herself played a key role in my success. She guided me through my internship at Forbes, she offered me wonderful learning opportunities as her research assistant, and she challenged me as her student in the classroom. She has not only mentored me throughout my three semesters here as my advisor, professor and supervisor – but she has acted as a role model to me and my peers.” – Jacquelyn Smith,  Hofstra University alumna

“Dr. Zook is a woman who has helped me grow from student, to graduate, and now, to a prominent position at a national magazine. She is more than a professor to me but a mentor, someone I have continually reached out to for guidance during my evolving career…Currently, as the assistant to the creative director at O, The Oprah Magazine, I still find myself recognizing techniques and applications taught and reaffirmed by Dr. Zook.” – Nadeen Nakib, Hofstra University alumna

“I have not come across a professor who puts so much of herself into the class and the university. Not just for class-related matters, but as an advisor, as a link to the world of Journalism, and as an inspiration for future journalists.” – Rocío Ungría, Hofstra University alumnus

“I wanted to thank you first and foremost for this entire semester. I never felt so accomplished in any other class. You pushed me to do my best, and I am forever grateful for that.” – Samantha Abram, Hofstra University alumna

“My first article about The Hispanic Initiative was picked up by Long Island Wins. The online editor emailed me asking if I want to do freelance work for them. This is probably my first ounce of recognition as a writer, so I’m thrilled. You motivate us to seek stories and get them out there. Without you, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I just wanted to say thank you!” -Eleni Petrakos, Hofstra University alumna

Official student evaluations:

“Prof. Zook genuinely cares about how well we do. She encourages our work and pushes for our own success. You get a sense that she really wants us to discover how good we can be…”

“One of the things that I respect about Dr. Zook is that she is not a pushover. She’s strong, yet caring. She wants to see me do well and it shows in her teaching methods…she really preaches excellence.”

 “The grading was tough but that gave me the fire to give it my all…This class made me a better journalist.”

“I published my first stories this year because of the skills I learned in this class. Prof. Zook is a pusher. She’s tough, but if you keep up, skills develop quickly.”

“Her style of teaching is exactly what Hofstra should call for in every journalism class…there was no tolerance for light effort. Every student saw their grades drop if they were not engaging in the class.” 

“Thank you for being a great professor.”