The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Senior column | A thank you note to the community

Shoutout to all the amazing individuals in this community whom I interacted with during my time at the DI. You made my college career memorable.
Jerod Ringwald
Photo of Grace Smith and Liam Doxsee contributed by Grace Smith

Following the matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks in the women’s basketball National Championship, head coach Lisa Bluder pulled me in for a hug and thanked me for documenting the team’s historic season-long journey.

Starting from Crossover at Kinnick where over 55,000 fans watched Iowa dominate to ending the season at the National Championship game in Cleveland, Ohio, I had the opportunity to photograph almost every game, away and home, for “More than a Moment,” the photobook the Daily Iowan Documentary Workshop and School of Journalism and Mass Communication is producing.

The end-of-season conversation was just one of the incredible moments I will always remember while working on the book.

But it wasn’t just the photobook where I’ve had great conversations and experiences in the community. Throughout my four years at the DI, I have shared stories involving women and families in my community.

In the fall, I spent 10 days with Liam Doxsee, Iowa baseball’s kid captain from Coal Valley, Illinois, who lives with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Although those were some of the most tiring days of my college career, I’m not exaggerating when I say those were also some of the best, most rewarding days.

Who knew a ten-day workshop would create long-lasting bonds between me, Liam, and his family? After that, I knew I never wanted to stop sharing significant stories.

I have had the pleasure of photographing women’s hardships and triumphs all around Iowa including Kara Krapfl and her flower business, Alexandra Frost and her son Mason who dealt with the national baby formula storage, and Megan Wichmann paving the way for future female firefighters, among others.

Numerous competitions recognized these stories including Liam Doxsee’s, which placed first in the 2024 Hearst Picture Story competition and 6th in the Hearst Profile Writing competition. Megan Wichmann fighting fires and being a light in the Cedar Rapids Fire Department placed first in this year’s photo story competition at the Iowa Newspaper Association awards competition.

So, thank you to the names listed above and more individuals, as you all helped me tell important stories of strong women during my internship at The Denver Post and will always stick with me in my future endeavors.

I came into college and the DI in 2020, the period when COVID-19 shut down many, many opportunities. After a long year of Zoom meetings and photographing community members from afar while masked up, I took the role of photo editor my sophomore year.

The year I fell in love with photography and journalism.

My time as a photo editor, a summer managing editor, and now a senior photojournalist and filmmaker has taught me many transferable skills like leadership, collaboration, and communication.

As I embark on my next journey, I’ll forever be grateful for the awards and the honors, but with me, I will take my experiences working in the field with incredible individuals and collaborating with other students and coaches in the newsroom and the workshop.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.
Jerod Ringwald, Creative Director
Jerod Ringwald is the Creative Director at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. He was previously a managing editor this past summer as well as a former photo editor. During his sophomore year, he worked as a photojournalist covering news and sports.