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April 24, 2017
Northwest Missouri State University student Hannah Woodson is fulfilling her dream of becoming an NFL photographer.
Woodson took advantage of an opportunity to make her dream happen while she was photographing the Fall Classic football game last fall for The Northwest Missourian student newspaper. The Fall Classic annually features the Bearcat football team and one of its MIAA rivals at Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs, in Kansas City, Missouri.
“It’s so funny how everything comes back to Northwest,” she said. “I was at Arrowhead Stadium, and I snuck backstage and asked about photographer internship opportunities.”
She learned the Chiefs intern’s contract expired was expiring and expressed her interest. Through social media and conversations with faculty and staff, Woodson built a web of connections to the Chiefs and applied for the internship.
Next fall, she will intern with the NFL team and be the only female photographer. She will photograph games, charity events, dinners, product releases and hype videos.
“If I hadn’t been at Arrowhead Stadium for the Fall Classic, I don’t know if I would have taken my talent to the next step after college and made the NFL happen for me,” she said.
Woodson, of Kansas City, graduates from Northwest this spring with her bachelor’s degree in an art education.
Prior to coming to Northwest, Woodson had dreams of being a teacher, and she completed her student teaching this spring at Eugene Field Elementary School in Maryville. After exploring her options and interacting with faculty, however, she realized her potential for success in the photography field. Last year, Woodson was named Photojournalist of the Year by the Missouri College Media Association.
“It wasn’t until I got here and started working with Bearcat sports, especially football, that I came to the conclusion that my dream job is to work for the NFL,” Woodson said.
At Northwest, Woodson became involved in campus organizations such as the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Northwest Missourian and Special Olympics. She also served on the executive board for Northwest’s chapter of Up ‘til Dawn, which supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“During my freshman year, I couldn’t wait to go home on the weekends,” she said. “But now, Northwest is my home. A lot of people think that Maryville is small or that it’s boring. I think that there is a ton to do here, and it’s what you make of it.”
Woodson also realized the number of opportunities Northwest offers for students to network and meet future employers. Students gain profession-based experiences by attending and presenting at conferences, holding leadership positions in one of the more than 150 student organizations or using faculty and staff connections to obtain internships.
“I was involved in student organizations because they are great platforms for networking,” Woodson said. “Working for The Northwest Missourian opened so many doors for me. I won multiple awards that I was able to include on my résumé. If it weren’t for those Saturday football games at Bearcat Stadium, I don’t know what experience I would have had.”
She believes her campus involvement, the networking opportunities and the family atmosphere has directly impacted her future.
“Everyone on campus is extremely helpful, really involved, and they want to get to know you,” she said. “Northwest is incredible at providing networking opportunities for students. Take advantage of them. It is because I pursued an internship that I have my dream job in place before I graduate.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468