Carrying forward lessons, memories from behind the lens

At a young age, I learned how to see the world from behind a lens. Somewhere, buried among the old family albums, there is a photo of me with a “Little Tikes” camera in hand – clunky and colorful, unable to actually capture a moment. At 3 years old, I could not imagine that I would someday trade in that block of plastic for a real-life DSLR camera and an adventure in campus photography.

Working at The Miami Hurricane defined my past four years. From Homecoming to International Week, being a member of this organization welcomed me into an array of networks and involvements. A few of my most memorable shots taken while on campus: George Takei, Bill Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio. I traded spare time on weekends for photo shoots of new restaurants and local businesses. Instead of sitting in the stadium, cheering on our football team with friends, I stood on the sidelines as players ran straight toward me. And you know what? I would not change a single minute of it. I feel so lucky to have been front row for all the excitement.

I grew tremendously in my roles as photographer, assistant photo editor and photo editor. Whether it was communicating with staff or collaborating with fellow editors, I found my voice and learned how to be a leader. There were, of course, many late nights and a few hardships. Those, however, came with plenty of laughs and fond memories. Within the photo department and the paper as a whole, I am tremendously proud of all that we accomplished together.

It is hard coming to terms with what feels like the end of an era. I am sure this makes me no different from most seniors about to graduate. I know the paper will continue, and our new photo editors will undoubtedly produce fantastic content, making this transition a little easier. I will miss my time behind this lens but I will be forever grateful for the experiences I captured, the relationships I forged and the passion I found in photography.

Hallee Meltzer will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in ecosystem science and policy.