Recent graduate used TU’s digital media program to become a well-rounded storyteller

Sean Hanner ’22 also received real-world learning experiences by working with TU athletics

By Kyle Hobstetter on July 14, 2022

Sean Hanner '22 inside the Media Center on campus
After graduating this spring, Sean Hanner credits the Towson University Electronic Media and Film Department for helping him continue his love for storytelling. (Alex Wright / Towson University) 

Growing up in Urbana, Maryland, Sean Hanner was always called the journalist of the family. That’s because he was always there to give a report on what was happening in the house.

So, when he started at Towson University in 2019, it wasn’t a surprise that he found himself majoring in electronic media and film.  

It was through TU’s Department of Electronic Media & Film (EMF) that Hanner was able to build his storytelling talents.

“There is something that just draws me to how creative other people are, and the awesome experiences that they have,” Hanner says. “Being able to share those stories with others, that’s just always been fascinating to me.”

While he grew up with a passion for storytelling, he also found a passion in high school for working behind a camera.   

As he was looking at colleges, Hanner decided he didn’t want to go the traditional route of either broadcast journalism or film school. He wanted to find a place where he can be a well-rounded storyteller.

That’s what attracted him to TU’s EMF program, where he was able to hone his digital media skills.

“I took a tour and went through the studio located in the Media Center, and I looked at that place and thought that this is where I wanted to be,” Hanner says. “This what I want to learn. I want to learn editing and cameras. But TU is where I started falling in love with film, which I initially distanced myself from.

“The whole film side that TU has is so immense. I barely scratched the surface of the film department, because I was so focused on broadcast. But I found how to tie the two together a little bit.”

Sean Hanner with Dr. David Reiss
Hanner credits working with EMF faculty members, like David Reiss, in getting him prepared for a life in video production. (Alex Wright / Towson University) 

Hanner was also able to take what he was learning in the classroom and combine that with real-world experience, all without leaving campus. During his time at TU, Hanner worked as a student employee with Towson University Athletics and the Towson Sports Network (TSN).

By working with TSN, Hanner was able to operate the cameras and direct broadcasts for many different TU athletic events.

Getting the opportunity to help broadcast Division I athletic events, which many other schools hire contractors for, allowed Hanner to take what he was learning in the classroom and put it into action.

“The opportunities I got at TU, I couldn’t get them anywhere else,” Hanner says. “It's incredible to go to class and learn about it through a lecture, and then I go to work the next day and immediately implement it.

“It's all the little details that you just learn by doing and Towson gives you incredible opportunities to just do.”

Learn how to be a storyteller behind the camera through TU’s Electronic Media and Film Program.

Electronic Media and Film Program

Along with taking advantage of experiential learning opportunities on campus, Hanner also was able to graduate in three years by taking advantage of the classes offered during summer session and minimester.

Thanks to his effort, Hanner graduated this spring and will be starting a master’s program in strategic communications at American University, all three years earlier than scheduled.

As he leaves TU to earn his next degree, he’s hoping to combine his EMF background with strategic communications to become an even better storyteller who maybe one day is a famous documentarian or even has his own production company.

And he can’t help but thank the connections he made at TU for getting him ready for whatever is next.

“All of our [EMF] professors are established people in the industry with incredible experience in knowing how to communicate with people and make connections,” Hanner says. “That’s the most valuable think here is just learning how to talk to people and make those connections.”