Zach was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He studied journalism at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Throughout his time in college, Zach gained an interest in national affairs and had the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill with the House and the Senate. A writer by training, he also served as Editor-in-Chief for the GW Patriot, a journal of politics and opinion at GWU. He further developed his journalism career by working with The Daily Caller. While with the Caller, he wrote news pieces which gained widespread national recognition (Drudge Report, Huffington Post, etc.) and focused his attention on activism and protest reporting. Following the Occupy Wall Street movement for the Caller, he was able to travel to attend both the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions in 2012, documenting the clashes between police and demonstrators. During the course of his college years, he’s had the opportunity to photograph and report on numerous political protests, political conventions and speakers, musicians, and in both rural and urban landscapes in the Washington, DC area, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, New York, Paris, and London.
Zach is extremely excited about the Footnote project. This documentary is not only a means to further explore his interests in journalism, photography, and videography — it’s personal. Zach was born with severe bilateral clubfoot. As an infant, he had corrective surgery to re-align the bones in his feet. Without this surgery, he may have never been able to walk. However, the surgery was not completely curative. He still lives with a substantial amount of daily pain due to a lack of mobility. Despite his struggles, Zach feels incredibly thankful that he was born into a family that could give him the support he needs to accomplish all that he has today.
Zach is currently a Media Law dual-degree student (J.D./M.A.) at the UNC School of Law and the UNC School of Media and Journalism.
Hannah grew up in Summerfield, North Carolina, just a few minutes away from Greensboro. Early on, she was determined to help others and had a yearning to empathize with all sorts of people. Growing up, she worked closely with the mentally ill in a group home and was a fixture in the lives of many people struggling with schizophrenia. In high school, between studying in Israel, volunteering on trips to Moldova to help the struggling Jewish community, and reflecting on the grounds of WWII death camps in Poland, Hannah sought out opportunities to gain and cherish powerful new experiences.
She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in May with a degree in International Health. As a university student, Hannah experienced life in Africa – in the rural village of Dodowa in the south of Ghana. Studying the effects of government programs on the health of the villagers – whom she came to love as family – her colleagues and herself were able to report back to the Ghana Health Service and the International Labor Organization with meaningful analysis that will likely affect the programs when they are considered for renewal.
Since her time abroad, Hannah has worked with an international health consultant. She will graduate from the UNC Gillings School of Public Health at the end of this semester and will enter into the school’s Ph.D. program in August.
Hannah’s connection to clubfoot is not only through her relationship with Zach. During her time in Ghana, she saw so many people living with untreated clubfoot. She was particularly touched by one little girl, no more than four years old, sitting alone, hopelessly on a mat. Other children were playing around her, and she looked as if she longed to just be a part of the action. However, because the girl couldn’t walk, she was isolated from interacting with her peers and her family. It reminded Hannah how essential the ability to walk is to partake in the most basic forms of social interaction, and how lucky Zach was to receive his treatment.