Photojournalism Student's Portfolio Earns Several National, Regional Honors

Photo students at Kent State consistently develop portfolios that stand up to national and regional competition. One student, Nathaniel Bailey, ’21, a journalism major with a concentration in photojournalism, has a robust portfolio under his belt and several significant honors.

He was recently named the Ohio News Photographers Association’s (ONPA) College Photographer of the Year, one of the top regional honors for college photographers. Earlier this year, he received national recognition by White House News Photographers Association as Runner-Up Student Photographer of the Year.

His portfolio also earned him a grant in Harrison County, Kentucky, this upcoming summer as part of Boyd Station’s 306.36 Visual & Writing Documentary Project. Bailey was one of three photographers selected from a competitive pool who will document and photograph Harrison County during summer 2019. The grant will provide Bailey and the others with portfolio pieces, mentors who will review their work, housing and even a small stipend for their contributions.

Bailey transferred to Kent State after deciding against a career in law. He decided to follow his passion of telling stories through photography, and through Kent State’s Hagedorn Scholarship in Photography, he’s been able to focus on documentary photojournalism.

Over the past year, Bailey has worked on two main photo stories.

One of them was a documentary experience in which he photographed a Palestinian child, Abood, who grew up in Gaza. In April 2018, Abood lost his leg during a protest when an Israeli soldier shot him while he was playing soccer. Through funding with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund he was able to travel to America in order to heal.

Abood’s host family happened to be members and former members of a Kent State branch, which led Bailey to the story. Over the course of a few months, Bailey began creating a visual experience of Abood’s healing and connection with the host family. Bailey happily reports Abood is now back at home playing soccer again.

The second story Bailey worked on was about a tent city in Akron. A private property owner was housing roughly 50 people in tents behind his house. Bailey tasked himself with documenting what life was like for these people. He followed the tent city until January 2019 when the last tent was pulled down. This story was recognized with a Documentary Award of Excellence from College Photographer of the Year.

Bailey plans to continue his documentary photojournalism career for many years to come. He appreciates his time spent at Kent State.

“I have gotten so much help from Kent. I’ve had professors who are so wiling to give me feedback and who sit down and talk to me whenever. Its been really helpful,” says Bailey.

The Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship in Photography is Kent State’s largest scholarship fund. The scholarships support both tuition and student photography experiences, like Bailey’s, that help students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Visual Communication Design develop strong portofolios. To learn more about Hagedorn scholarships, visit

To take a deeper look at Bailey’s work go to:

POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 3:02pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 9:56am
Audra Gormley, '19