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Uniting Narratives

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Senior Nadya Ellerhorst incorporates different cultures, media to bring unique stories to life

Nadya Ellerhorst

​​​​

Above all, University of Delaware senior Nadya Ellerhorst is a storyteller.

At the heart of her time at UD has been her work for the student newspaper The Review, where she served as managing arts and culture editor before moving her way up to executive editor this past year. Ellerhorst is double-majoring in international relations and Russian studies and minoring in museum studies, but it was her decision to also minor in journalism that would reshape her career aspirations. Once set on a future in diplomatic work, Ellerhorst now plans to become a producer and documentary filmmaker.

Reading through her Review articles and their easy familiarity with peculiarly Delawarean phenomena (such as the itinerant Delabear), one would never know that Ellerhorst was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. What would bring a native Ohioan to The First State? Originally, it was UD’s selection of majors, which fit Ellerhorst’s pre-college goal of a future in diplomatic work, as well as the easy access it offered to the cultural hubs of D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

Going into college, Ellerhorst said she envisioned ”a very traditional career,” she said. “I really wanted to spend my life bringing people together.” However, it was Ellerhorst’s journalism minor that would spark a desire to pursue a different career field. While always knowing she had a talent for writing, Ellerhorst discovered a passion for storytelling, which only grew as she gained media expertise. And while she no longer envisions a future as a diplomat, her ultimate goal remains the same: bringing people together.

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Ellerhorst behind the camera

​Ellerhorst filming a night of square dancing during The Smithsonian's 2023 Folklife Festival​​​

“I had come in set on the journalism minor because I had done newspaper in high school,” she said. “I love writing and I love communicating.”

However, one class in particular was an inspiration, she said. In her sophomore year, Ellerhorst took Field Television Production with professor and veteran broadcast journalist Nancy Karibjanian, director of UD’s journalism program. Learning to craft news packages — the self-contained video segments that are the staple of every news broadcast — piqued her interest in using video as a storytelling and communication medium, she said.

Ellerhorst drew on those production skills for a project she began during an independent study course with Karibjanian during her junior year. A World Inside Another is a short documentary that traces the history of UD’s English Language Institute’s Women’s Group. The theme closely aligns with Ellerhorst’s overall mission — bringing people together.

“I realized that video is such an interesting way to tell people’s stories and bring them together in the way that I had wanted to throughout my career,” Ellerhorst said. “So I like to say that my goals are still the same, but the way I plan to execute them has changed a bit.”

​After A World Inside Another, Ellerhorst was certain that she wanted to continue pursuing the medium of video storytelling, she said. She hopes to become a producer, eventually ending up a filmmaker in the documentary field — or “any people-focused video sphere,” she said.

Internships and the University’s opportunities for independent study have given Ellerhorst a wealth of experience during her time at the University. As a sophomore still intent on majoring in international relations, Ellerhorst interned with the Sister Cities of Wilmington. “I loved Sister Cities as organizations in general because they have this people-to-people focus that I personally just value overall,” she said.​

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Ellerhorst filming

​Ellerhorst behind the camera during her 2022 internship with Public Media Connect​​

Ellerhorst handled the organization’s social media pages, helped organize International Coffee Hours at UD, developed membership recruitment strategies and reached out to potential organizational partners. In May 2023, she was elected to their board as communications secretary.

Ellerhorst later landed a summer internship with PBS’ Public Media Connect in Cincinnati in 2022, documenting her experiences as a communication and production intern. However, her most recent internship with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., combined all of her academic scholarship, talents, and interests.

During her internship, which began in summer 2023 and was extended until May 2024, one project in particular tied together all of her disparate academic concentrations, Ellerhorst said. Working with the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Ellerhorst edited and helped film a video about Kazakh artisans who had appeared at the 2023 Folklife Festival, and — courtesy of her dual major in Russian studies — found herself doing her own subtitle translations for the interviews conducted in Russian.

“There I was, engaging interculturally, for a public-facing institution that is a large set of museums, using something I learned in the journalism minor and my other experiences in the language I was studying,” she said.

“So for me, that was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, it's all going to be okay,’ ” she said. “That was the moment where I thought, ‘Okay, I think things are going to work out.’ ”

Article by Erin Tanner

Photo credit​ Jordan Rosales​ and CET/ThinkTV​​​

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Senior Nadya Ellerhorst incorporates different cultures, media to bring unique stories to life
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