Hanna Ritland

Hanna Ritland, 21, graduated in May 2018 with a degree in journalism/strategic communication. She is from Omaha, Nebraska. She was the director of internal branding for The Agency, the School of Journalism’s in-house ad agency, and a media intern for Callahan Creek, an advertising agency in Lawrence, Kansas. Ritland also has interned for the Fossil Group in Dallas, National Advisors Trust Company and the National Kidney Foundation. Hanna now is large customer sales associate at Google in Chicago.

I actually was looking at a couple of different schools as a senior in high school. This one just happened to be where my dad went, so I toured it. I ended up falling in love with the campus and that’s pretty much what led me to KU. 

The best advice my parents gave me was to be happy. Put in the effort. Everything will work out in the end.

It’s exciting that my dad gets to come down for basketball games and relive his glory days.  

Over these past four years, I have grown as a basketball fan. It’s been incredible. It’s something that’s really cool to share with my dad. I’ve made it a point, especially this year, to go to every game or watch every game. 

I went to Prague the second semester of junior year. It was definitely the place that made my experience. I think that Prague is just so off the charts that people somewhat overlook it. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t liked it.

Prague is such an incredible city because it’s been preserved so well from World War II. It’s this great home base in Europe. I loved it. I finished up my business minor there and got to take some great classes. I met my best friends.

As the director of internal branding at The Agency, my job is giving the organization a voice that is much more polished and up to par with agencies that aren’t necessarily student-led. So we’re looking at places that we want to work and then finding inspiration from there.

My media internship for Callahan Creek was my foot in the door for figuring out what media is. I was able to reach out and snag that opportunity and worked on one of their biggest media budgets. 

Every single position I’ve ever gotten has been because I’ve networked. LinkedIn is your best friend.

My advice for strategic communication students in the J-School is to get involved with The Agency. I think it’s the best hands-on experience you can get, from an advertising agency perspective. 

I like big cities. I thrive off of the energy, the culture and the environment.

It's amazing how far the Jayhawk network extends. People who graduate from KU are always willing to connect. I will never underestimate the power of holding a degree from this school.

There’s something to be said about knowing how to do your skills and also knowing how to manage people. I think in 10 years, I’d like to be in the position where I get to learn leadership functions on a larger scale from what I’ve done in the past.


Ashley Hocking graduated in May 2018 with a degree journalism and a minor in global & international studies. She is from Lawrence, Kansas, and is a copy editor at the Lawrence Journal-World. Ashley did a study abroad internship in London, England. She participated in a variety of activities at KU, including the University Daily Kansan, Media Crossroads, KUJH-TV, Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society and Order of Omega Honor Society.