Leslie Ostronic

Major: Photojournalism

Minor: Psychology

Organizations: OHIO Honors Program, Margaret Boyd Scholars Program, National Press Photographer's Association, Ohio University Womxn's Club Rugby

Campus Employment: Outdoor Pursuits, Ohio University Communication and Marketing, Ohio Athletics

Awards: Hearst News and Features Semi-Finalist 2022, Hearst Picture Story Semi-Finalist 2021


MBSP First Year Seminar

Explored Ohio University's Archives and Special Collections. Discussed the lack of contribution by women, due to power. 

Our seminar created a presentation of archival pieces by women. I focused on a scrapbook about Treudley Hall, which was my dorm at the time. It used to be an all-women's dorm. 

MBSP Senior Seminar

Madeleine Hordinski was my senior seminar mentor. She was very helpful as I completed my photojournalism capstone project.

I researched and presented on the issue of mental health in photojournalism. 

Physiological Psychology

My final paper discussed the possibilities of exercise dependence. 

Intro to Honors

My first education about Appalachia. In Kansas, we did not learn about this area. 

21st Century Diseases

I created a presentation exploring the relationship between AIDS and photojournalism. 


4K for Cancer

For 49 days, I travelled with a team of runners and cyclists from Baltimore, Maryland, to San Francisco, California, with the Ulman Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports young adults with cancer. I participated as a runner and held a position as a social media coordinator. Runners average 8-16 miles a day.

Engaged with a new community at a new host site nearly every night. People are generous. 


Studied abroad at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in semester Fall 2021. I enjoyed the different course schedule that allowed for much more freedom. I completed two photo stories and a short documentary. 

Community engagement in Denmark is rarely sports-based. I lived with 11 roommates, representing 8 different countries. 

OHP Peer Mentor

Mentored for OHP Fall 2020, during the pandemic. Because of the virtual format, I had low expectations for the experience.

Positivity is great, but honesty creates relationships. We connected with each other by sharing our hardships during the pandemic. 

Teaching is a form of leadership. 

Lincoln County Record

Summer 2022, I interned at the Lincoln County Record, a newspaper in Lincoln County, Nevada. The county has around 4,000 people. I completed about four stories a week, while also working at Kershaw Ryan State Park. Community engagement was essential and constant. 

I wished for more mentorship, but learned a lot through the independent work. I enjoy rural journalism, but prefer working on a team.

Covid Reflections

I spent the pandemic back home in Lawrence, Kansas. This allowed me to spend more time with my four younger siblings, and build lasting relationships with high school friends. 

My photojournalism focused on my family.

Margaret Boyd Scholars

This program brought me lasting friendships with amazing women. I learned a lot through conversation about the history of women in society. 

I did not get to live with the scholars in Bryan Hall sophomore year, because of Covid. However, one is now my roommate and another my neighbor. 


January 2022, I joined the club rugby team. This was my first time in Athens since March 2020. When I joined, the team was about eight people, now we have nearly 30 players. 

I found a new community of people, and perhaps my closest community now. I continued playing until graduation and held a leadership position as Social Chair. 

Community Engagement

My photojournalism major guided me on a pathway of community engagement. Photojournalism is rooted in community engagement. Through photojournalism, the goal is to promote community engagement while attempting to accurately communicate within a community. 

The co-curriculars contributed the most to my community engagement. My first remarkable experience that I reflected on in OHP was the 4K for Cancer. This is a trip planned by the Ulman Foundation, a non-profit raising awareness for young adults with cancer. Throughout 49 days of travel, we stayed in nearly 45 different communities. From Baltimore, Maryland, to San Francisco, California, we traveled through big cities and rural towns. During this trip, I came to the conclusion that nowhere is special. This sounds cynical, but I mean it positively. It is not about the place. It is about the community. If you are able to find a community somewhere that is fitting for you, this is what makes a place special. 

While I was in Denmark for four months, I began to build a community with others there. My strongest senses of community were with my fellow classmates and my roommates. The course schedule, one week of class followed by a couple weeks of no classes, allowed us time to immerse ourselves in the community. Through late nights of editing and school lunch, I strengthened my relationship with my peers. Our class was only for the abroad students, no Danish students. Also, my 10 roommates represented eight different countries. Because most of my time was spent with other foreigners, I did not create many relationships with Danes. 

Last summer, I worked for a rural newspaper, the Lincoln County Record, in Nevada. I stayed with a local master guide hunter. Through this connection I learned a lot about the hunting community in the area. I befriended a local cowboy. Through him, I learned about the ranching community. Through my work with the newspaper, I met new people, from different spheres, every week. By the end of the summer, I felt like a true, respected member of the community. However, like in many rural areas, you are never truly a local unless you were born and raised there. But because of the newspaper, people liked me. I listened to many people that did not often get to share their stories. I enjoyed giving voices to a rural community. Overall, the experience encouraged me to pursue small-town, community journalism in the future. 

The OU Rugby community is one of my most prominent communities that I am a part of in Athens. I am proud that since I joined the team, the community has grown. When I was elected as Social Chair, I focused on the goal of growing the team. I can safely say that I am leaving the program better than I found it, and it will continue to grow. The team has given me so much support and friendship. OU Rugby is one of the hardest things for me to leave when I graduate. 

Through sports, journalism, university education, and nonprofits, I have engaged with many communities during my time at Ohio University and as a member of OHP.

OHP Experience

The first thing OHP granted me was an education about Appalachia. Coincidentally, some of our first discussion focused on how Appalachia has been documented in the media. There is a history of conflict and controversy on Appalachian news and media. I started my time as a journalist in the area with those teachings in mind. 

OHP’s impact on my experience as an undergraduate student has been inconsistent but significant. My entire undergraduate experience was similar. COVID-19 took away a lot of community engagement and leadership opportunities. However, all of the pathways are still present, pandemic or not. 

I am fortunate to have had many experiences that I did not directly reflect on in OHP reflection. While in Kansas during the pandemic, I took a job at my previous high school as a soccer coach. The switch in perspective between player and coach instantly made me much more grateful for all of my previous coaches’ time and efforts. Practice each day offered me the socialization that would otherwise be greatly lacking. 

During the pandemic, I focused my photojournalism work on my family, because our assignments had to be completed within our homes. I had to find ways to creatively document and photograph during the pandemic. I decided to focus on my little sister, Parker’s, experience during the pandemic. Her 10-year-old perspective of the pandemic contrasted mine as a bitter college student. I learned a lot from Parker, while completing a creative and research activity. 

Community engagement was the most challenged by the pandemic. However, once the pandemic ended, I found myself eager to surround myself with new communities. I went to a small, rural town as a newspaper intern, traveled across America with a team of runners and cyclists, and helped grow the OU Womxn’s Club team. 

I believe that the general education system and emphasis on interdisciplinarity and experiential learning in OHP will aid me in my future endeavors as a photojournalist. In journalism, like many careers, the most is learned through experience. I look forward to the day I work in a newsroom on a team, where I will learn the most in terms of journalism. My general education classes provide me with a broad foundation as I begin a career in photojournalism.

After graduation, I am doing a season of wildland firefighting. I believe that the more I broaden my experience, the better photojournalist I will be. I may continue with seasonal jobs for a couple years, before applying to full-time photojournalism positions.

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