Kelsey Hughes is the first in her family to graduate from college—and she’s taken full advantage of everything Maryland has to offer, from winning a grant to covering the journey of the Special Olympics torch to performing in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
"There are so many different things you can do and so many different people you can meet," she says. "If I were at any other school I probably wouldn’t have been able to do everything I’ve done."
The journalism major, with fellow Design: Cultures and Creativity Honors College students and a professor, was one of the first to be awarded a Future of Information Alliance-Deutsch Foundation Seed Grant. Her team worked on a guidebook to help "citizen journalists" more effectively document and share news.
Writing a grant proposal, pitching and winning it was something she never imagined doing as an undergraduate, she says. It opened her eyes to new goals, including eventually earning a master’s degree in library and information science.
"She’s one of those students you know will be very successful, no matter what she decides to do," says Adjunct Professor Jon Sham, who taught Hughes’ introduction to multimedia journalism course. It sparked her passion for photography and videography and she wound up with the highest grade he’d ever given in his seven semesters of teaching the class, leading him to offer her an internship with The Baltimore Sun community papers.
That opportunity "gave me a lot of confidence," says Hughes, who went on to intern at the American Journalism Review and Federal Reserve Board of Governors. "It made me realize what my strengths and weaknesses are in a way I couldn’t do in a classroom setting."
She put those multimedia skills to good use at The Diamondback, as director of communications for the Pride Alliance and in her LGBT studies minor courses. In visiting Assistant Professor Julie Enszer’s LGBT art and culture class, Hughes created a video that gave her classmates a chance to talk about their experiences as LGBT students on campus.
"Combining a roundtable, poetry/spoken word and other video footage, Kelsey and her collaborators made a beautiful and moving film," Enszer says. "Kelsey embodies the hard work, determination, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that I believe we want to nurture and reward at the University of Maryland."
Hughes hopes to work for a few years before going to graduate school and eventually plans to be a librarian, focusing on materials about minority populations, especially LGBT- and women-focused literature and research.
|December 20, 2014|
|Campus-wide Commencement Ceremony, Xfinity Center|
|5:30 p.m. Doors open|
|6:00 p.m. Graduates report to the floor of the Pavilion (no later than)|
|6:40 p.m. Procession of graduates begins|
|7:00 p.m. Ceremony begins|
|December 21, 2014|
|Individual College or School Ceremonies|
|Various Campus Locations|
|Area Accommodations and Dining Information|
|May 21, 2015|
|Spring 2015 Commencement Ceremonies|