Senior Reflections Class of 2021

Stephanie Morales Macedo

Stephanie Morales MacedoMy parents sacrificed everything to leave Mexico and come to the United States for this moment right here. Being a first-generation American and a daughter of immigrants motivated me to pursue a college education because I knew that getting a degree was bigger than receiving a piece of paper. I am proud that I am able to now call myself an alumni from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. I have become a better news broadcast reporter because of the J-School, but most importantly, I gained so many meaningful memories. The professors, faculty and staff truly care about their students, and I personally experienced that. In my junior year, my world came crumbling down when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. At the time I was doing KUJH News and I felt tempted to quit, but my professors helped me regain my confidence and continue growing. To this day, my professors ask me about my mom’s health because they genuinely care. Since the first day I showed up to the J-School, I knew I belonged and was where I was supposed to be. Now that I graduated, I know that the J-School will always be a place with open arms because in some ways, it’s the little part of Lawrence that we get to call home. The future seems a little unclear for me at the moment, but I know that wherever life leads me next, the J-School has properly prepared me to excel and succeed.

Marena SeverMarena Sever

When it came time for me to apply for colleges, I knew KU would be one of them. My mom graduated as a Jayhawk and raised my two younger brothers and me on all things KU (but especially basketball). Even with that connection, though, choosing KU was a massive leap of faith. I’d lived my entire life in Arizona, and needless to say, Kansas is a very different state. I was nervous for such a dramatic change.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my decision had been the right one. My J-School professors went out of their way to get to know me, encourage me and present me with so many valuable opportunities. These positive relationships, combined with the curriculum and the friends I shared classrooms with, made my three and a half years as a Jayhawk Journalist so worthwhile. I have loved being a student, and I am thrilled to complete my two degrees and become a proud J-School alum. I will always remember and be grateful for where it all started. Rock chalk forever!

Lauren Hugo

Lauren Hugo I'm SO lucky to be a part of the J-School because it's given me amazing opportunities, connections, and most importantly, MEMORIES! The professors (Dr. Crawford, Professor Green-Blye, Professor Schlichting) have had an enormous impact on me, by taking the time to really get to know me and help push me toward my goals. The faculty at the J-School have so much experience and knowledge, yet when you take a course with them, they make you feel like you are already a professional in the field, too. It’s an invaluable experience. I've grown exponentially as a journalist and as an individual, and I'll always cherish my time here at KU. My next journey will be representing the KU J-School in Kansas City as a social media coordinator for Woodruff!

Olivia Noel

Olivia NoelBecause of the support of my professors, peers and advisors, I am proudly graduating from the KU J-School with much more than a college degree. I am ready to take on the next steps in my career with a sense of confidence in who I am, both as an individual and professional. Even amid the pandemic, the education I have received in classes and the experiences in campus activities, such as being president of KU Ad Cub and a member of KU Panhellenic, has allowed me to thrive during my 3.5 years at KU and shaped me into the person I am today. I am leaving a piece of my heart at Stauffer-Flint Hall and am eternally thankful for everyone who has been a part of my journey. I will always be proud to be a proud KU alumni and a forever Jayhawk. #RockChalk!

Sheyenne Denton

Sheyenne Denton

My time at the KU J-School has been nothing short of amazing. From the faculty to my student peers, I’ve been surrounded by such bright and shining individuals. I still remember my J101 class with Kerry Benson, sitting in Budig 110 wondering if I made the right decision to come to KU (I grew up in a K-State supporting family), but within the first week or two I knew that this campus was where I was supposed to be. It will forever a place I call home. These past 4 years have flown by and I will take every opportunity I can to come back and visit. Rock Chalk forever and always.

Jessica KahmannJessica Kahmann

Four years ago I had no idea what my end goal was. I walked onto the hill presented with endless opportunities. At the J-School I learned about the art of storytelling and the countless ways I could share the same message. The journalism program was presented as a structure and framework to find what I was interested in. Through the support of the J-School staff, faculty, and my peers I was able to cultivate a unique learning experience that led me to market research. I truly believe if it were not for the unique ability to find what I was passionate about through the J-School, I might still be searching for the right path today.  I will always cherish my time as a Jayhawk student but can't wait for a lifetime as a journalism Jayhawk alum.  

Jacob Allen

(Jacob Allen, left)

Jacob Allen

Everyone always says that time flies by. They weren’t kidding. During my time within the J-School and within the NROTC program, I have made lifelong friends and shared experiences that I will never forget. I feel extremely blessed to have been given so many opportunites to succeed and with the constant support from the university, I have been given the tools to achieve my dreams. To anyone currently at KU or planning on attending, my advice to you is to live in the present, make new friends and enjoy each and every day. Thank you, KU! Rock Chalk!

Lindsey Morin

Lindsey MorinMy four years as a Jayhawk have been nothing short of absolutely incredible. So many of the amazing memories and moments come from my experiences at the J-School. Each class I took was taught by amazing professors who truly cared about their students and encouraged them to achieve the best. Without the support of the community at the J-School, I would not have achieved the success and confidence in my future career that I have today.

KU introduced me to many connections that will help me be successful in my professional career as well. My senior year was not the way I pictured it, but I could not be any more grateful for the experiences that I still was able to have. I will miss the University of Kansas, but I know I will have a Jayhawk family wherever I go. I will continue to cherish all of the memories made here for life! Rock Chalk!

Angela Wright

Angela WrightWhen I think back on my experiences in the past three years since transferring from a community college to KU, I can't help but feel nostalgic and overwhelmed at how far my educational experiences have taken me. Three years ago, when I felt like an odd duck in classes because I was still undecided about whether to major in strategic communication or news and information, the J-School curriculum helped me to understand that there was no one set "path" for a journalism major and that all my experiences in both curriculums would serve me wherever I went! 

Even though I eventually chose to study strategic communication with a goal of working for charitable nonprofits, everything I learned in news and information still very much applies to my work, which showed in my internship and, eventually, in my first professional job with a local nonprofit. Whether it's writing, accuracy or thinking with a strategic mind in all endeavors, both sides of the journalism school gave me everything I needed to set me up for working in nonprofit communications and development. I cannot stress enough how much my classwork with the School of Journalism stretched my creative limits, while at the same time grounding me in solid strategy. I have professors who gave me such valuable career and life advice that I still to this day follow it professionally. In addition to the wonderful instruction the School of Journalism's professors gave me, The Agency was an incredibly valuable organization that taught me so much about the strategic communication world. 

I am so grateful for the education and experiences this university has given me. The past year has been full of personal life hurdles for me and so many others, but the understanding, compassionate, dedicated professors at the School of Journalism have done everything they can to help us succeed. Shout out to the rock star professors and mentors who give their all for each of us! We appreciate you so much more than you know. 

Ashleigh Lee

Ashleigh Lee and her dad at the beachBeing a Jayhawk twice over is one of the best feelings in the world. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to call the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications my alma mater again as I receive my master's degree from the Integrated Marketing Communications  program at the KU Edwards Campus.

A world of thanks to Dr. Matt Tidwell and Professor Angie Hendershot for all of the guidance in helping me navigate grad school and finding my passions as a strategic communicator, Dr. Yvonnes Chen, my undergraduate mentor, for always encouraging me to see my full potential and my fellow IMC classmates for always working together to create the best outcomes possible. You all made this experience something I will always remember.

I recently started a new adventure as a communications specialist at the Mississippi State University Foundation. My education led me down this path where I am able to apply the knowledge from my bachelor's and master’s degrees, and I am excited to show these Bulldogs the Jayhawk way! 

Alisa Agostinelli

Alisa AgostinelliMy time in the KU J-School summed up in one word is nothing other than grateful. Coming in four years ago, I had a completely different idea of what I wanted, and it wasn’t until I came into the School of Journalism that I began to feel "un-lost." It’s hard to believe how fast these four years have gone by, though I could not be more thankful and excited for the future and the opportunities I get to walk away with as a Jayhawk journalist.

KU and the J-School students and faculty filled every day with so many warm and familiar faces that I owe for being such a valuable part of my education and college career. It has given me the experience I wouldn’t have wanted to gain anywhere else, allowed me to intern and live abroad in London, and overall has given me memories that I’ll remember for a lifetime. Rock Chalk! 

Marcy Luttinger

Marcy LuttingerMy four years at KU were filled with the best memories. Many of those moments came from the J-School. From late nights at Stauffer-Flint to discussions with my professors has made me realize that KU is my forever home away from home. All the memories I have made and encouraging professors I have had have allowed me to strive for my best. KU has introduced me to work hard and to always aim for your goals.

My last year at KU did not go the way I wanted it to go, but I could not be more grateful for my experience. I have met many wonderful people and will cherish all the memories I have made! Once and for all, Rock Chalk!! 

Genna FosterGenna Foster

Time sure does fly when you are having fun. It feels like just yesterday I was walking in to Budig taking JOUR 101 with Professor Benson. Now, here I am ready to walk the hill and earn two degrees. When I think about a word that encompasses my time in the J-School, the first one that comes to mind is community. This school truly has become a family to me. From Doughnuts with the Dean to advising appointments to all the amazing professors I was fortunate enough to learn from, there was always a sense of community I felt. The past year has truly shown just how much of a community this school is. Between the faculty, staff and my peers, this pandemic has shown that perseverance doesn’t have to be done alone. This school has such a supportive, welcoming environment that allows each student to shine uniquely.

The William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications became my home away from home. It’s where I met some of my best friends and created lifelong memories with. This school has meant so much to me and has given me so much, I will forever be grateful for. I am confident to go out into this world because of my degree from this school. “Remember your nest; return to it often. And never forget this unique bird that has set you free.”

Nirali Desai

Nerali DesaiWhen I think back on my time at KU, I think about how incredibly grateful I am for all of the memories and connections made. I came to KU still deciding on my major and spent my first two years taking several introductory courses trying to find my passion. Within the first few weeks of JOUR 101 with Kerry Benson, I knew I would be spending the rest of my time at the J-School. No other path seemed to be as perfect of a fit for me. The strategic communication path allowed me to combine my interests in writing, graphic design and marketing/PR. I love that the J-School courses still prepared me to work in the news and information field, should I change my mind. 

Additionally, the J-School’s Career Center has allowed me to grow professionally. I’ve found multiple jobs and internship opportunities through the Jobs & Internships board which have prepared me for my upcoming full-time job as a copywriter. I also found this perfect opportunity through the Journalism Career Fair. The J-School truly provides great opportunities to help us put our knowledge to the test through the University Daily Kansan, The Agency, and the Career Center. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the resources the J-School provides. I will truly miss seeing my classmates and professors at Stauffer-Flint. A huge thank you to my friends, family, colleagues, classmates and professors for making my time here memorable and for preparing me for the future. 

Andrew Wagner

Andrew Wagner

I cannot believe my time as a Jayhawk is coming to an end after five years and two degrees. As I continue on my journey after graduation, I will not forget my roots and how transformative KU, the journalism school and the business school have been in my life. The skills and knowledge I have learned, connections gained and memories made will be with me for many years to come.

Looking back over my college career, the journalism school has helped build me into the person I am today. It’s encouraged me to be bold and not shy away from a challenge. I am thankful for my professors and classmates who supported and challenged me to continue striving to become better inside and outside of the classroom.

This place is definitely one of a kind and it will be missed. I’m excited to see where my journey will take me and all of the accomplishments of my classmates in the future. Thank you for everything. Rock Chalk!

Lauren HawkinsLauren Hawkins

I will never forget the moment I was admitted into the J-School. Extremely excited and justly anxious, I couldn’t wait for my four years in Lawrence. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected an experience so well rounded. Diverse courses and professors that care helped shape me into the person that will be walking down the hill. My time at the University of Kansas has been nothing short of memorable. The J-School played an integral part of my college career, and I am thankful for the professors and resources provided to all J-School students. I was forever challenged to be the best version of myself.

Stauffer-Flint will have my heart forever. No matter where this next chapter takes me, I will be proud to call myself a J-School grad. Rock Chalk, always.

Nicole Dolan

Nicole DolanStepping into the J-School, I had no idea what was in store for me. I knew that I wanted to tell stories and grow as a journalist, but had no idea how that would be executed. Little did I know just how many incredible people would come into my life — whether it was sources I came across, faculty or my fellow colleagues. My only regret is that I didn’t work with KJHK during my time here!

I’m forever thankful for the memories and the experiences I’ve had at William Allen White and can’t wait to see what the future has in store! 




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