Stephanie Ramírez ’16 credits her time at UMass Amherst and her involvement with Amherst Wire as what helped to shape her interest and knowledge in social media. She is currently the director of social and new media at Amherst College, which has allowed her to be a storyteller. She conveys the stories of thousands of students, alumni, faculty and staff while also highlighting the importance of the liberal arts education at Amherst College.
Stephanie grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to Massachusetts, where she gained a love for journalism but felt like investigative journalism was not for her. When Stephanie joined Amherst Wire in 2015, she discovered her passion for storytelling, inclusivity and social media. She credits the Community Journalism Project class, with Professor Nicholas McBride, for creating the values she follows, not only in her professional life but in her personal life as well.
“That class shaped my experience both professionally and personally, and it made me think about how racism touches so many areas of our lives. It was eye-opening for me and is now really at the center of my values. Everywhere I work, I talk so much about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I come into work with that perspective every single day, and it even influences where I work because I try to find places that I know have the same values as I do,” Ramírez said.
The values and experiences Ramírez had as a UMass Journalism student has shaped how she views social media. She believes that creating a community using social engagement is so vital to the meaning behind her work.
“At the heart of everything I do is storytelling. We have a couple of series that we do, where we ask students to tell us their stories and then pull quotes from their stories to share with fellow students and our community. I find all these different projects and initiatives going on across campus and try to think meaningfully about the stories behind them. For example, when thinking about something like the Black Art Matters Festival, my first thought was about the students and what story it tells, and so those become the things that connect us on social media at the end of the day. Being able to tell those stories or rethink how we tell those stories is what builds community in a place like Amherst and certainly in a place like UMass,” Ramírez said.This profile was written as a part of the 2021 Alumni Spotlight Series by students in the Writing for Public Relations course.