Established in 1986, the Ohio University chapter of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPAOU) is an organization dedicated to helping photojournalism students develop the skills they need for a successful career. In 2018, the organization won National Outstanding Student Chapter, marking their fourth time earning this reward. Their mentor/mentee program helped prospective photojournalism students strive to be their very best. I sat down with the president of the organization, Madeleine Hordinski, to learn more about the organization.
Q: When did you become president?
A: I was selected at the end of the spring semester and my term will last a year.
Q: I saw on your organization page you have photo contests in the organization; what are those like?
A: We’re trying to have one every month. The first contest was a summer photo contest and the second month we did OUPOI, which is based on an International Photography Contest they have for college students; we just made it OU-related. It was one of the bigger ones we’ve had with over 500 submissions. It was judged by the Columbus Dispatch and then the winners are in the paper.
Another contest we had recently was one that was judged by a guest speaker we brought in named Kitra Cahana, who worked for National Geographic, COLORS magazine and The New York Times.
Q: What is your mentor/mentee program and how does it work?
A: Anyone in the organization can sign up to be a mentor or mentee- we have some graduate students who are mentees. We have 20 mentors with 20 mentees, and they meet once a month to talk about portfolio reviews, resume editing nights as well as cover letter reviews. There are social events as well, like mentor/mentee dodgeball and kickball nights. The focus of our organization is to be successful.
Q: What do you enjoy most about the organization?
A: I have met all of my closest friends in the program. And it’s really cool to have, like, the whole photojournalism community, and even the commercial students joined us. It’s really cool to be a president and to plan events for the community, and making sure everyone feels comfortable within the photojournalism squad.
Q: What made you become president?
A: One of my closest friends was president last year and she’s kind of the same as me—reserved in public spaces. So she was the one who told me to really think about being president. [She said], “I’ve had a really great experience meeting all the speakers and I really enjoyed planning events for people,” so I decided to run.
Q: What are your future plans for the organization?
A: I’m going to continue doing the mentorship program and we’re planning on having another photo contest as well as I’m planning to bring in another speaker next semester—it’s like a networking opportunity for the students and even more so for our organization, because we spend a lot of time with the speakers. When Kitra Cahana (their first speaker this semester) visited this semester, we had to pick her up from the airport. Then we spent most of the day with her; we had breakfast, lunch, and dinner with her. She did portfolio reviews, taught a workshop, gave an artist talk and signed prints afterwards. It was like a huge event for our program. That week was really crazy, but it was really fun!