Capturing Dreams

Syracuse University nurtures a rising graduate student’s passion for photojournalism.

For Jiaxin “Joe” Zhao ’24, photography is more than a calling; it’s a way of life. One that she’s traveled more than 7,200 miles for. “I want to work as a photojournalist, focusing on social and political issues,” says the Shanghai native, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in art photography from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Zhao is so committed to her craft that instead of returning home or entering the U.S. workforce, she’s remaining on campus for another year. In August, Zhao begins master’s studies in multimedia, photography and design in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “It’s an intensive degree program that will help me launch my career in visual communications,” says the award-winning sports photographer. “I’m excited to study under such luminaries as Gregory Heisler, Paula Nelson G’21 and Bruce Strong.”

a person sits in an orange chair and looks at printed photos in front of them
An aspiring photojournalist, Zhao wants to focus on social and political issues. “The Newhouse School will help me launch my career in visual communications,” says the Shanghai native. (Photo courtesy of Syracuse University)

Being in the Newhouse School also enables Zhao to take advantage of special opportunities, like the four-day Alexia Fall Workshop (which brings in top professionals from around the world to collaborate with students), while working for The Daily Orange and Student Engagement.

Credit the Forever Orange Scholarship, which covers half of Zhao’s graduate tuition costs, for helping her pursue her dreams. “The scholarship makes everything easier,” she admits. “As a result, I can better focus on my studies.”