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Spring 2012

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Louie the Lumberjack

Outstanding Alums!

We wondered what NAU graduate alumni were up to. So we asked the faculty to let us know who was doing splendid work that was making a difference for people, for disciplines, or for communities or country.

Here's what they told us.

Anthropology: Ann Heppermann

Ann Heppermann

Ann Heppermann (MA Anthropology 2001) is a Brooklyn-based, independent radio/multimedia documentary producer and educator. Her stories air nationally and internationally on shows from National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and others including This American Life, Radio Lab, Marketplace, Morning Edition, Studio360, and more. A Peabody award-winning producer, she also has received Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow, and Third Coast International Audio Festival awards. A transmission artist with free103point9, her work has been exhibited at UnionDocs, Chicago Center for the Arts, and other venues.

Heppermann has taught classes and workshops at Duke Center for Documentary Studies, Smith College, Columbia University, and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; for years, she was the director of radio at Brooklyn College. She is a co-creator of Mapping Main Street, a collaborative media project documenting the nation’s more than 10,000 Main Streets. In 2011 she was a Rosalynn Carter for Mental Journalism Fellow, partnering with Ms. Magazine and NPR, writing and producing stories about pre-teen eating disorders and perinatal mental health. More recently, she was named a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Currently, she is a producer for American Public Media's national program Marketplace.

"I know it's hyperbolic, but my master's work at NAU was truly life changing," Heppermann says. "The relationships I had with the faculty, particularly with Dr. Cathy Small, were like nothing I had had before. They were incredibly flexible with how I applied my anthropological training to documentary work and public radio. I feel as though my NAU education informs everything that I do—from being a USA Fellow to reporting for Marketplace. Just to give you a little story, yesterday I was out reporting a piece about the wealthiest and poorest congressional districts in the nation, which are less than a mile apart in NYC (Surprised? Not me!). It felt like a flash ethnographic exploration of two neighborhoods on the extremes. I was accompanied by two sociologists who had compiled and studied the data. They kept talking in awe about my ability to engage with people as we toured the districts. I told them, 'Well, you know I'm really an anthropologist disguised as a journalist.' As off-the-cuff as the statement may seem, I do believe it. NAU was key in making me who I am today."