Lauren Santucci

Lauren Santucci, a graduate student at Ohio University, won the Bob East Scholarship.


This year, I filmed and produced a feature documentary for FRONTLINE PBS about the challenges low-income families in Ohio face during the pandemic. From the film’s initial research and development through post-production, I built and sustained relationships with several families that the film’s director and I followed for months. Over time, the access we developed with each family in the film allowed us to document their experiences with sensitivity and journalistic accuracy. The film can be viewed at the following link:

Since pursuing a career in visual journalism, I’ve been extremely grateful for the awards and fellowships that have supported my work.

In 2020, two of my images were recognized by College Photographer of the Year (CPOY): Silver – Feature and Award of Excellence – Interpretive Eye. 

I was a 2018 Facing Change: Documenting Detroit Fellow, 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentee, and 2019 Detroit Equity Action Lab Race and Justice Reporting Fellow. My work has been published by FRONTLINE PBS, NPR, The Guardian, The Columbus Dispatch, OkayAfrica and has exhibited at Photoville and the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

I received my undergraduate degree in international relations and art history from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and I’m currently pursuing a Masters in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking at Ohio University. This year, I’m honored to serve as the Vice President of NPPAOU.

Career Goals

For me, the greatest privilege of visual journalism is collaboration and the constant exchange of experiences, knowledge, and traditions. I truly believe in the ability of visual journalism to foster social change by using a collaborative approach where trust and communication is paramount. 

Upon graduation this spring, I hope to complete a photo and video journalism internship to gain more hands-on experience with daily assignments and longer term projects. My long-term goal is to create in-depth visual stories as a staff photo or video journalist at a large market newspaper or freelancer for national and international media outlets. I’m also interested in pursuing opportunities as a photo editor researching, developing, and assigning visual stories. Whatever my role in the industry becomes, my goal is to employ the best medium to create work that humanizes social issues through personal stories.



Click on pictures to see stories. 

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Growing Up Poor in America (2020)

Growing Up Poor in America (2020) follows three children and their families in the battleground state of Ohio as the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies their struggle to stay afloat. As the country also reckons with issues of race and racism, the children share their worries and hopes about their futures.

Project role: Producer, Additional Camera

In His Image (2020)

In His Image is the story of Dr. jw Smith’s unique way of seeing as a blind professor at Ohio University.

Project role: Director, Producer, Videographer, Editor