Posted May 3, 2017

Next stop: Rwanda

Klein College of Media and Communication senior Maggie Andresen is heading to Rwanda after graduation as a fellow with Princeton in Africa to pursue her passion for storytelling.


Video Production: Gina Benigno and Louis Peluyera

Receiving some of the world’s best photography and reporting at your doorstep every day can deeply impact a young mind. Born and bred just outside the Bronx, Maggie Andresen found just that in the form of The New York Times.

“Being able to see the best of the best from a young age and having that be normal to me was integral in the decision to pursue a career that involves storytelling,” Andresen said.

Drawn to photography and eager to get started, she took as many photo classes as possible in her first two years at Temple.

“Taking photographs is all about finding that opportune moment, the telling moment, that’s an accurate representation of what happened,” Andresen said. “For me, it’s all about finding an image that’s able to tell the story in the most honest way.”

As a senior journalism student, the course Philadelphia Neighborhoods enabled her to discover an extraordinary amount of those telling moments. In the Greys Ferry section of the city, there’s a boxing gym at 28th and Dickinson streets where she immersed herself in those moments—moments often dripping with sweat, waiting to be captured.

“What inspires me most when I’m working is knowing that there are more stories than I will ever have the ability to help elevate,” Andresen said.


And while it was The New York Times that helped influence her path to storytelling and spurred her interest in international issues, it was opportunities at Temple that helped make them reality.

In 2015, the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Scholarship allowed Andresen to travel to South Africa and document the changing narrative of HIV and AIDS in the country. Her photos—of children laughing and others just trying to stay warm while waiting in line to receive a hot meal—command compassion for those who are directly affected by the diseases every day.

“It was an informative, sobering, important experience that really solidified that I want to do international reporting,” Andresen said.

Following her desire to see the world, Andresen studied abroad at Temple University Rome. She remained in Italy to pursue an independent project exploring the lives and stories of West African migrant workers who have nothing more than rain soaked tents to call home on the southern tip of the country’s peninsula.

“I was honored to be there, but the biggest privilege that I had was being able to leave,” Andresen said. “That’s the privilege we all have as journalists, being able to enter a situation of abject poverty and then being able to get on a plane to go home, because we have a home.”

The arresting emotion found in each photo that Andresen takes makes it hard to believe that she’s only getting started. This summer, her next stop after Temple will take her to Rwanda as a fellow with Princeton in Africa. For a year, she will work as a content producer for the nonprofit Gardens for Health International, whose mission is to find solutions to malnutrition when foreign aid ends.

From her gripping images from a South Philadelphia boxing gym to her future work in Rwanda that we already know will be powerful, Andresen’s journey as a multimedia journalist is one to follow.