Hometown: Portland, Oregon
High School: Cleveland High School
Major: Journalism and International studies
Minor: African studies
While in high school, Hannah cofounded several clubs, including the rugby team, the Math Club, the Jewish Student Union, and the Visible Warriors Club. She participated in an exchange program in France, was a student leader at Outdoor School, and graduated with a full International Baccalaureate diploma. Her interest in playing musical instruments motivated her to plan and organize Breakout Sessions, a successful music festival. In addition to writing for her school newspaper, she was also the art editor for her school’s literary magazine. Hannah has continued this passion for arts writing at the University of Oregon. In 2015, she interned at Today Newspaper in Accra, Ghana, and spent the fall term in Morocco writing feature articles on a visual artist and a political cartoonist. She currently writes and photographs for the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, Bitch Media, and Emerald Media. She is also the co-editor of Dressed Up Ducks, the university’s style blog and the managing editor of Ethos, the University's multicultural magazine. When not spending late nights studying in the library, Hannah enjoys taking photos at concerts, jamming with friends, and perfecting her bubble tea recipe.
What is the UO doing well? The University of Oregon gives students the freedom to pursue any and all of their interests without being confined to a specific area of study. In addition, the university encourages students to pursue their passions both in and outside of the classroom. As a journalism student, I have developed my storytelling skills through my classes as well as my involvement with campus publications.
What are you most proud of accomplishing since you started at the UO? My proudest achievement during my time at the UO has been my work with Dressed Up Ducks, the University’s style blog. When I joined the blog in fall 2014, we had a very small staff and were only able to publish content a few times a term. Since becoming an editor, I have seen the staff more than triple, and now we publish new articles on a daily basis. While I am proud to see our blog grow as well as our readership and outreach, what I am most proud of is that we have kept our core ideal of telling the stories of UO students through the clothes they wear. In addition, I am able to help first-year students get a sense of what working for an online publication is like while I improve my own editing and communication skills. Using the multimedia journalism skills I developed through my studies, I am able to produce compelling content while also helping others become better storytellers. What makes me the happiest is being able to help a staff member through the pitching, writing, and editing process to get to a final product they are proud of.
What are some things you’ve been doing outside of the classroom since you’ve been at UO? After covering the Sasquatch! Music Festival for my high school newspaper in 2012—where I was the youngest journalist—I’ve developed an interest in covering not only the global music scene but also the culture that surrounds it. I write music and cultural criticism for the Pulp Zine, for which I contribute album reviews and cultural trend pieces and interview bands such as Chastity Belt and La Laz. While serving as the editorials editor from August 2014 through August 2015, I worked with the international, diverse staff of 50 to curate innovative, multimedia content that reflects the zine’s ethos of supporting young female artists and content developers. I continue to cover music festivals each year for the Pulp Zine, including Sasquatch! and MusicFestNW.
At the UO, I report on Pacific Northwest culture as a freelancer for the University’s Daily Emerald newspaper as well as for the University’s multicultural magazine, Ethos. I’ve written about the opening of a feminist, eco-friendly sex toy shop and the fashion styles of international students, as well as produced band profiles and album and concert reviews. I also worked as a weekly columnist for Quackd, the Emerald’s essay subsidiary. I wrote about relevant issues through a personal lens, including dating in the age of Tinder, overcoming being a workaholic, and gender dynamics at concerts. In addition, I am an editor for the University of Oregon’s style blog, Dressed Up Ducks. Besides photographing and writing my own street style posts and longer fashion features, I manage the staff of 18, edit the blog’s written content, and help develop stories with the writing team.
As a former editorial intern and now freelance writer for feminist media outlet Bitch Media, I highlight the work of female creators through album and TV reviews, an interview with singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis, and a music feature on the history of girl groups. This past year, I dove into the global art world as an intern for Today Newspaper in Accra, Ghana, through the University of Oregon’s Media in Ghana program. I wrote and photographed stories on illegal mining, Ghanaian fashion trends, and up-and-coming Ghanaian DJ Sonny Lewis. I then traveled to Morocco and wrote a profile on Safaa Erruas, who was one of the first contemporary artists to explore gender in the country. I also wrote a profile on political cartoonist Khalid Gueddar, who has been persecuted multiple times for his drawings, yet he continues to be one of the few journalists in the country openly criticizing the monarchy. The reporting for these stories was mostly done in my second language, French. It was rewarding to be invited into these artists’ worlds and tell the stories of the contributions they are making to important dialogues in their country.
Since January 2016, I have worked as a writing coach at the University of Oregon’s new Writing Central through the School of Journalism and Communication. I coach journalism, advertising, and public relations students through the researching, writing, and editing process. This job has not only been an opportunity to help students become better communicators, especially students for whom English is a second language, but also to grow as a writer myself.
Describe a mentor or professor who has positively influenced your experience at UO. Leslie Steeves, who is a professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, is my international studies advisor as well as someone who has positively impacted my experience at UO. I met Leslie through the Media in Ghana program in which SOJC students have the chance to intern at media outlets in Accra, Ghana. Leslie is passionate about West Africa and getting journalism students outside of the classroom. Leslie was an incredible mentor and resource on the ground in Ghana and also now back at the University of Oregon. She is also my Honors College Thesis advisor and is helping me on a trip I am taking later this year to the Congo.
Describe your experience in Ghana. I spent the summer interning at Today Newspaper, a daily newspaper in Accra, Ghana, through the UO’s Media in Ghana program. I was part of a group of 14 journalism students who went to Ghana to learn about the country through crafting multimedia stories. Besides getting to travel around a new place, I got to meet a variety of Ghanaians through my internship, from stone quarry workers to a local DJ, to a popular journalist who uses radio to give a voice to marginalized groups. One of the most memorable and challenging parts of my experience was when the newspaper’s office caught on fire. For a week, we were forced to work in a cramped room in a neighboring building while the office was being fumigated. While this was a difficult experience, I bonded with my coworkers, and it was truly amazing to see how we all worked together to still put out a newspaper every day. I’m grateful for the Stamps Scholarship for funding this incomparable experience and will continue to support my adventures both at my University and abroad, as I will spend fall 2016 studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco.
Describe a couple of your favorite classes you've taken at UO. One of my favorite classes was on writing for the arts taught by music journalist Tom Wheeler. This was one of my favorite classes because it allowed me to develop my passion for arts writing. Another one of my favorite classes was a class on apocalyptic media taught by Casey Shoop through the Honors College. I enjoyed this class because it was a deep dive into an area of media that I didn’t realize had so much academic research devoted to it.
What are you hoping to do with your major, both while you work toward graduation and after? My goal is to work as an international journalist in the francophone world, particularly francophone Africa. I am focused in arts journalism and want to use writing, photography, and other multimedia platforms to tell the stories of creators around the world. While at the university, I want to continue developing my journalism skills both in and outside of the classroom. In addition, I want to devote myself to my research. This research will allow me to further my interest in African culture that I’ve developed both through my international and African studies classes as well as my experiences living in Africa.
How does your research fit with the broader research goals of your department/institute? My research is on Le Sape, a social movement of well-dressed men in the Congo who are strongly connected to the region’s cultural and political history. This research fits into the international studies department focus on getting students in the field to learn about cultures around the world. I will also be producing a multimedia journalism piece while in the Congo. This fits with the SOJC’s goal of encouraging international journalism and research efforts and telling the stories of interesting people around the world.
Any upcoming research projects you'd like to mention? I am planning on traveling to the Congo later this year to do field research on my topic. I will be interviewing and photographing Sapeurs, including Makouezi Elvis Guérite, the author of Dictionnaire de la Sape. I will also travel to Paris and Brussels to talk with Sapeurs who have moved to Europe and formed Sapeur communities there.