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Lizzie Hutchins' Many Vantage Points of SPNN

November 27, 2018

Upon coming to the Twin Cities, Lizzie Hutchins always heard mentions of SPNN--as a student employee at Macalester College’s Career Development Center, she came across myriad internship postings and students’ applications with SPNN splashed across the top. But it wasn’t until her junior year that she finally came into contact with the then elusive SPNN herself.  SPNN partnered with the Media and Cultural Studies Department to offer a class called Community Video. This was where Lizzie was introduced not only to SPNN, but to CTEP, which she ultimately served with for two years after graduating from Macalester. Lizzie jokingly mentioned how she helped SPNN move twice, “I think that helps solidify a certain bond!”

Since that first encounter so many years ago, Lizzie has found herself woven into the fabric of the SPNN community. “It’s been a long road,” Lizzie stated, recounting how after the Community Video class, she interned with the Doc U 2015 cohort, became an off campus student employee for the Youth Department in her senior year, and in the summer of her second year of service for CTEP, she joined the 2017 Doc U cohort. She produced a short claymation documentary focusing on different people’s experiences with grief. You can watch it here.

Now, Lizzie is a part of the first iteration of SPNN’s Doc U Fellows program, where she will create her first feature length documentary that will explore her understanding of her own family’s medical history, as well as delve into why the scientific study of women’s bodies has been slow coming and neglected for so long.

Lizzie spoke about how it was SPNN’s welcoming and warm community, and its programs like Doc U and Doc U Fellows that keep her coming back. “People just seem down to earth and honest. As someone who has been so involved from so many different vantage points. There’s that [connection with staff] and the opportunity to tell stories.”

Lizzie talked about her work as an intern with the 2015 Doc U cohort, “Witnessing everyone bringing their full authentic selves was really powerful...It gave me a real touchstone, here are these people just telling stories, and telling stories the way they want to tell them. That’s just so true.” Through SPNN, she came to fall in love with the Twin Cities, “I always felt comfortable that there were people I knew and were excited for me, and honest...Kinda like a professional family.”

“SPNN helped me truly have a sense of, not just community, but how I fit into that community. And that helped me build a sense of self.”