When Natalie Van Hoozer came to the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014, she knew that she wanted to make a difference. Four years later Van Hoozer is getting ready to graduate and she can say that she’s one step closer to her ultimate goal.
Van Hoozer, who is graduating with a major in both journalism and Spanish in the honors program, has distinguished herself throughout her college career with her passion for combining bilingual reporting and research and maintaining a GPA so stellar that she has been named the 2018 Spring Senior Scholar for the Reynolds School of Journalism.
In addition to being a standout student, Van Hoozer is well-known for her dedication to, and advancement of, bilingual reporting at the Reynolds School. She reports in English and Spanish for Noticiero Móvil and KUNR and completed her honors thesis on the changing landscape of Spanish-language reporting in the United States. According to Van Hoozer, the Reynolds School’s emphasis on Spanish-language reporting and bilingual media made it easier for her to pursue her passion.
“There aren’t that many undergraduate journalism programs that let you have an emphasis, working in Spanish language in different capacities,” Van Hoozer said. “That’s something that’s helped me tremendously. Other programs are just starting to do Spanish-language journalism where this started a couple of years ago when it was really formative for me and not that common for journalism schools.”
As Van Hoozer developed her bilingual reporting skills, she found that sharing Spanish-language stories about the Latino community in northern Nevada came most naturally in an audio format. She made this discovery after producing an audio piece on a local day laborer community for Noticiero Móvil.
“I fell in love with audio after that Noticerio Móvil project,” Van Hoozer said. “It’s an intimacy that is easier to build with audio than other mediums because people aren’t worried about how they look on camera. Yet, it’s a challenge because you don’t have the visuals to show people what you’re talking about, so you have to try to figure out how to get that visual across to people through sound.”
Van Hoozer then landed a spot in the Next Generation Radio Bootcamp in the spring of 2016. Van Hoozer’s work in the boot camp led to an internship as a student business reporter at KUNR Reno Public Radio in the summer of 2016. In this internship, she applied for a grant with the International Center for Journalists to create a multimedia piece that highlighted Latina entrepreneurs as they navigated the U.S. business world and the challenges they faced.
Not only does Natalie keep herself busy with work and school, but she also leads the Spanish Club and Online News Association as club president. For Van Hoozer, her experience in those clubs, which spans her time at the Reynolds School, allowed her to expand her knowledge and practice of both the Spanish language and journalistic skills.
Natalie’s drive and ability to give her all to a project speaks volumes of where she is headed in the future, according to Reynolds School Associate Dean Donica Mensing.
“I first met Natalie when she took my JOUR 107 course in fall 2014,” Mensing said. “Over the next two years, I watched her – with her attention to detail, drive to excel and willingness to try anything and succeed at everything. She is an incredibly hard worker, humble, kind, unassuming but possessing a confidence that will make her a real leader in the future. We are going to miss her at the school, but I have no doubt she will make us very, very proud in the future.”
While Van Hoozer’s ultimate goal is to become a foreign correspondent for a major news organization where she can report on Latin American issues, she’s currently working as an ambassador for SembraMedia, an international nonprofit that provides support for independent, Spanish-language digital journalists. She plans on continuing her work with SembraMedia until she lands her first reporting job.
For more information about the Reynolds School of Journalism program, visit journalism.unr.edu.