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VisCom Ambassadors

Our students, our program

Every year, a handful of VisCom students are selected to represent the school at on-campus events and for tours. These students are our ambassadors — and they will be more than happy to answer your questions during your campus, and school, visit. Below, each ambassador talks about what drew them to VisCom and what they've learned from their experience here.

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Anne Baker

Ever since I was a kid, my parents would bring me to Athens, since they had attended OU, had many friends there, and couldn’t seem to stay away from the Athens atmosphere. I grew to find my own love for the city and the campus. I developed a love and passion for design and knew Ohio University was the right choice for me. Through VisCom, I have had the opportunity to meet so many kind, intelligent, and creative peers and professionals, all while strengthening my design skills and feeling right at home in such a great community of supportive individuals. Outside of working on projects for my classes, I love hiking, traveling, and simply spending time with my cat Liam. Ohio University and the School of Visual Communication is such a great place, and I look forward to showing others all that VisCom has to offer!

Anne is a senior majoring in Interactive Information Design.

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Madison Bryant

I always knew what I wanted to major in, I just didn’t know where to go. It only took one visit to Ohio University. After meeting with the School of Visual Communication staff and students, I instantly knew this was the right path for me. Everyone was very welcoming and focused on every student’s success. My decision to attend VisCom is one of the best decisions I have ever made. In this short time, I have gained new opportunities and connections through this program. Currently I am a photographer for The Post, a student-run media outlet. I am also an active member of the OHIO chapter of the National Press Photographers Association. 

Madison is a senior majoring in Photojournalism.


VisCom Ambassador Zoe Cranfill

Zoe Cranfill

When choosing schools Ohio University was on the top of my list, but I still had other options. When I came to visit, I knew it was for me because of the beauty of the campus and surrounding areas, but also the people I met in VisCom were so incredible. Since being here I have made so many lasting connections and memories. I have hands-on experience not only in the classroom, but in clubs throughout campus, which has improved my portfolio and increased my love of Photojournalism.

I am currently the Treasurer of the National Press Photographers Association at Ohio, the Staff Photographer for The Post, and a designer for Thread Magazine. I truly think coming to Ohio University as a Visual Communicator was the best decision I have ever made.

Zoe is a junior Photojournalism major, minoring in Anthropology and is an Ohio University Honors student. Check out her work at

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Mary Kate Dewees

I’m hoping to get a job in the sports world, either as a social media manager or graphic designer. I am originally from Cincinnati, though I plan on finding a job outside of Ohio after college. Besides being a Scripps Ambassador, I am also the Fundraising Chair for Women’s Club Volleyball. My favorite things to do outside of the classroom are cooking, photography, finding the best coffee in Athens, and golfing.

Mary Kate is a senior majoring in Interactive Information Design, and is also pursuing a Marketing minor.

VisCom Ambassador Aliza Dutt

Aliza Dutt

Photography has been my passion since I was in middle school. So, when it came time to look for colleges, I looked for schools that would aid me in creating a successful career in photography. I chose Ohio University because of its nationally ranked programs in the Scripps College of Communication.

I started my journey at OU as a photojournalism major, but I realized journalism was not my fit after my first year. However, all the professors and faculty members in VisCom were incredibly supportive, helping me figure out which path to pursue and making the transition to commercial photography incredibly smooth.

I plan to travel, and work freelance after college. Although I am still exploring career avenues, I know the School of Visual Communication at OU will give me the skills I need to be successful as a photographer and visual communicator!

Aliza is a junior Commercial Photography major, Check out her work at


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Julia Greenwood

I’ve always been a creative person and I knew that eventually I wanted to enter a career that utilized my fine arts background. I originally came to OU as a journalism major, and while I love journalism and the media industry, I knew I was missing something in my life. That is when I began looking into VisCom. By the end of my first year, I decided to do the only thing that made sense: double major. Through my classes in both majors, I have found my real passion for visual storytelling. 

I serve as the Multimedia Director for Thread Magazine and continue to design for Backdrop Magazine. My biggest piece of advice for incoming freshman, regardless of major, is to get involved. Find your sense of belonging and use your talents. I have no fear about what is to come after college, I know that OU has set me up for success. If you ever have any questions or want to connect, please reach out, I would love to hear from you!

Julia is a Junior Majoring in Carr Van Anda Journalism and Information Design: Publication. Check out her work at


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Ellie Habel

I have always been passionate about photography, but it was not until I came to Ohio University in high school for a journalism camp that I discovered my passion for visual storytelling. I knew I wanted to study at Ohio University once I saw all the opportunities and connections that can be made through the VisCom program. You will never meet professors more passionate or inspiring than those here in the VisCom program. I am the current photo editor for Backdrop magazine here on campus, and outside of school I enjoy hiking, camping, and anything outdoor-related. I have a passion for the environment and plan on using my skills to bring light to environmental issues around the world. 

Ellie is a senior Photojournalism major. Check out her work at


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Sarah Houpt

Ohio University was the perfect fit for me for many reasons — the biggest reason was how well VisCom is put together. There are countless opportunities this school offers all the students. We have a small community of students within the Commercial Photography major, allowing for more personal interactions with the professors. Unlike larger schools, I feel that VisCom has allowed me to gain connections through my professors in the field of photography. We also have updated equipment to check out, as well as access to on-campus studios. This is one of the aspects that stood out the most to me when comparing Ohio University to other schools. 

Sarah is a senior majoring in Commercial Photography.

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Natalie Isaacs

In the Interactive Design major, I have the opportunity to learn how to do all different types of design and use lots of cool software. It really has given me the opportunity to explore my interests and help me decide what I want to pursue for a career. I chose to attend Ohio University because this school provides an exciting and diverse environment with lots of opportunities to learn and have fun (and not to mention the campus is beautiful). I chose VisCom because I wanted to be able to apply my artistic abilities to something that is more modern and technology-based. My favorite part of being in the VisCom program is being in smaller classes, often with people I know and am comfortable with. I can get help from my professors directly and always have other students to work with. VisCom provides a great learning environment where I have created great work and made friends along the way.

Natalie is a senior majoring in Interactive Information Design.

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Patricia Porter

I’m very passionate about sharing stories of the people who don’t have a platform to do it themselves. I love photography for that reason — and also because it can also be very expressive. At Ohio University, I’m involved with a few different magazines. I am also a Young Life leader at Logan High School, which has been one of the best decisions I’ve made while being in college. VisCom is a place where people gather and share ideas on how to cultivate stories, with help from creative classmates and knowledgeable professors. I have fallen in love with this school, and it has turned into my safe place. There’s no judgment. With photojournalism and Young Life, the common theme is that I just want to help people, so at the end of the day I don’t mind whatever medium I use, I just want to make as much of a difference in this world that I can! 

Patricia is a senior majoring in Photojournalism, and is also pursuing a certificate in Diversity, as well as minors in Business and Marketing.

Headshot of VisCom Ambassador Pearl Spurlock

Pearl Spurlock

Ohio University was the first of many colleges that I looked at nationwide. I recall the car ride with my family, telling them, “This is where I’m going.” I felt at home in Athens from my first day here, and my fondness for the community here has only continued to grow.

Something I love about VisCom is the peer mentorship. Older students have taken me under their wings and have been there for me when I needed help. They have helped me find opportunities on campus, taught me about camera equipment, and sat down with me for photo critiques.

My professors also have gone above and beyond to help us learn. They’ve stayed after class for as long as we needed. We were encouraged to meet with them if we needed advice about anything.

I take pictures for several publications on campus, including The Post and Backdrop magazine.

Pearl is a sophomore Photojournalism major and is an Ohio University Honors student. Check out her work at