Student places in top 10 of Hearst photo story competition

Student places in top 10 of Hearst photo story competition

Monday, April 4, 2016 - 10:15am
Allison Hess
Allison Hess

University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications student Allison Hess placed seventh in the Hearst Journalism Awards Photo II/ Photo Picture Story/Series competition.

Hess is a semi-finalist, so she will submit additional photography work to compete for a finalist place at the Championships in San Francisco in June.

The senior journalism major from Fulshear, Texas, placed for her story “Test of Faith,” (http://www.allisonhessphoto.com/a-test-of-faith/ ) which tells the story of a 7-year-old Ecuadorian girl’s battle with brain cancer and the toll it took on her family.

Five years ago, doctors in Guayaquil, Ecuador, misdiagnosed a tumor in Michelle Gallego’s skull as benign. After numerous surgeries, the tumor remained, causing her to be blind and nearly deaf. To help take care of her, her mother, Johanna, was forced to quit her job. In contrast, her father, Ricardo, would frequently walk home from work, delaying the situation that awaited him.

Their relationship was put to a test when she was diagnosed, with such concerns as they might have to sell their home in order to pay for her treatment. Over time, Michelle’s cancer brought her family together to help fight this battle. With deep roots in religion, Michelle considered her tumor a test of her own strength from God. On Dec. 17, 2015, Michelle died.

Hess produced this piece as part of the Global Eyewitness program, which gives students the opportunity to travel to places of great human need and document the stories of the people there.

She is also a senior photographer at the Daily Nebraskan, the university’s student newspaper, and held internships at ELLE Magazine, the Lincoln Journal Star and FotoFest International.

The 2015-2016 Hearst Journalism Awards Program is held in 108 member colleges and universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs. The awards program consists of five writing, two photojournalism, one radio, two television and four multimedia competitions. The program awards up to $500,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends annually.