Stephanie Rivera grew up shy and sheltered in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate. As one of six siblings in a tight-knit-but-chaotic family, Stephanie was taught to show compassion for others, to strive for public service and to fight for justice. But it wasn’t until she changed her major from history to journalism while studying at Cal State Long Beach that she dedicated herself to a career covering her community. After graduation, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service as their budget editor before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. As the only bilingual staff member, she is currently the Post’s immigration and diversity reporter, covering the issues that affect a large portion of the city, including Central, Westside and North Long Beach. Throughout her work, Stephanie strives for fairness and balance above all else, and she loves to explore all sides of a story, especially those that get overlooked by others. “When you understand other perspectives, it goes towards peace and understanding and conflict resolution,” she says. “There are more similarities than differences between everyone.” A former South Gate Parks and Recreation Commissioner, longtime volunteer poll worker and near-obsessive Harry Potter fan, Stephanie left her childhood home and moved to Long Beach two years ago. She lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin. Most of their vacation time is spent road tripping across the country together to attend comic conventions.