Senior Send-Off 2024: Breanna Emmett

When I joined the staff of The Reflector as art director in 2022, I never imagined that being a part of this team would mean so much to me. Prior to joining the editorial team, I had never felt passionate about journalism or visual communication. With a background in traditional painting, illustration and creative writing, I was very doubtful I would be able to succeed in a newspaper environment. Still, I had an opportunity to apply for art director, and I knew it would be a great way to grow as a professional and expand my portfolio. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and join the staff—and I am so glad I did.

Being a part of The Reflector has given me so much. For a long time, I had struggled with answering the question I had become all too familiar with: “What do you want to do with a degree in art and/or creative writing?” I did not have an answer. Joining The Reflector expanded my horizons and let me see how many professional opportunities were available for creatives like myself. My experience managing the visuals of this newspaper allowed me to see a potential path in graphic and publication design. 

Through this newspaper, I became friends with so many talented, hard-working and amazing people. Even when balancing my responsibilities within the newspaper with my academic responsibilities was at its most challenging, I had my friends on the staff to lean on. Many of us joined the paper at the same time, and it has been amazing to see us all go from co-workers to a genuine group of friends. Watching everyone grow as professionals and creatives was equally rewarding, and I am so proud of how far everyone has come.

I have so much love and gratitude for everyone who has contributed to this paper, and I want to give a special thanks to Professor Jeanne Criswell for her dedication to The Reflector, both in my short two years on staff and for the last 23 years she has been acting as adviser. Her kindness, guidance and unwavering belief in this staff has been so inspiring, and I am so grateful I was able to get to know and work with her before her retirement. Overall, I am so grateful for my time with The Reflector and the friends I’ve made through it. It was a pleasure to be the “Visual Wizard” (nicknamed the “Viz Wiz” by my friends on staff). It is so bittersweet to be graduating and leaving this era of my life, but I am so glad that I took a step out of my comfort zone and into the realm of newspaper.

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