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Hannah Johnson: The merits of moxie

As a production intern at “The Daily Show,” Hannah Johnson ’13 was asked to prepare a fruit tray. So she went all out: Banana palm trees with kiwi leaves shaded a beach-themed arrangement. Jon Stewart, who hosts the comedy program, examined it and said: “What are they teaching you there at Transylvania?”

Hannah Johnson

Creativity, ingenuity, and independence. Obviously.

A political science major with a communication minor, Hannah was a fan of the “The Daily Show,” which delves into politics and current events. She thought, “Why not apply?”  And even though she didn’t have any TV background, she was hired.

Hannah has taken that same attitude into her first post-graduate adventure. She will spend two years in Hawaii working for Teach For America, an organization that strives to reduce educational inequalities among low income students.

When Hannah first came to Transylvania, some people warned her not to get too involved—just focus on your school work, they advised. She ignored them and joined the dance team, the Student Government Association, and Chi Omega sorority. She also served as a student orientation leader, worked in the financial aid office, and participated in the Alternative Winter Break program, during which she helped orphans improve their reading skills. And, finally, she delivered her class’s commencement speech.

As it turned out, embracing a wide variety of interests and responsibilities worked well for Hannah. She graduated magna cum laude…and showed those nay-sayers.

“I believe in trying anything you’re interested in and not being scared to go for it,” she said.

That kind of confidence comes from testing yourself in a lot of arenas. And, as Hannah shows, it can take you from New York City to the islands of Hawaii.

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