Caitlyn Maginniss '19

Name: Caitlyn Maginniss

Hometown: Reston, Virginia

Year: Sophomore

Major(s): English and secondary education

Favorite book: Jazz by Toni Morrison

Hobbies: Reading and photography

Dream Job: First Lady of the United States

School Involvement: Alpha Delta Pi sorority, photographer for the JMU Athletic Communications Department, RA for Office of Residence Life


You chose JMU for its education program. Since making that decision, what has been your favorite memory here at JMU?

During my time here so far at JMU, I was most happy at the end of rush week this year. I saw in my envelope that I had gotten a bid from ADPi and I couldn’t wait to see meet all my new sisters. While this was already an exciting experience, I was so happy when I got to see who was holding my name as I ran out of Wilson Hall – my best friend, Kailey, who was already a sister in ADPi. It was truly a moment I won’t ever forget.

Greek life is obviously very important to you. What are some of your favorite things about your sorority?

My favorite thing about my sorority is that it made the campus feel smaller. I have been introduced to and have gotten close to a lot of incredible people. ADPi’s philanthropy, the Ronald McDonald House, is also very important to me. This organization allows us to help families of sick children stay together while the child is in the hospital. A close family friend of mine was actually helped by this organization when the daughters in the family were in the hospital for lyme disease. I have seen what good this organization has done and I’m happy to help this valuable charity.

Being an RA sometimes comes with a bad reputation. How has it been for you to be a Resident Advisor?

RA life is definitely challenging. Trying to balance out my life in and outside of the dorm can be stressful. But despite this, I have been provided so many valuable experiences. This job allowed me to be introduced to some pretty great people, like my residents and my coworkers. Working one-on-one with new Dukes like this really allows me to feel like I’m giving back to the school. It’s rewarding to see how my freshmen have grown already since being at JMU. I love getting to see how I have impacted them and I am excited to see what my residents will accomplish here at JMU.

You can often be found on the sidelines of most sporting events. What is it like to be an official photographer for our athletic department?

Being a photographer for JMU athletics is so exciting! I got the job the summer of my freshman year. It was my first real job so I was pretty nervous, however it involves something I’m really passionate about. I like how I am able to capture key moments not only for our school, but for the athletes themselves. Our athletes put in hard work and I am more than happy to take some nice shots of them doing it.

Working for this department allows me some first-hand access to sports photos from the past, too. We just had a JMU alumni who played for the football team over 10 years ago ask for some shots we had taken of him. Not only did I like getting to let that Duke relieve some key moments of his time at on the field, but I also got to see how much the style of JMU students has changed over the last decade. I am a very sentimental person and getting to see history captured in photos and share these moments over and over again is truly worthwhile.

How do you feel about your own personal photography?

As for my own photos, I don’t really like to publicize them. While I have gotten to do a few engagement shoots and while I would love to get to shoot a wedding or two, I love getting to just take photos of my friends in the city. I like to get to pick and choose what I get to do with my photography. Any shoot I get to do allows me to get more and more creative and to try out new things.

My role model in photography is Annie Leibovitz. She takes the subjects of her photos and shows everything about them – even their flaws. I feel like this is more important than the subject themselves. The flaws make the photo and the person seem more authentic. Being able to do this is very impressive and this concept is always a goal of mine during my time behind the camera.

When you graduate with your B.A. in English and after you’ve gotten your Masters in education, what do you dream to do with your degree?

I am hoping to use both of my degrees in tandem. As an English teacher, I really want to expose the kids I teach to writers and poets they can personally relate to. Literature is very important in my life, therefore I would like to try to make reading and writing important to kids. If I can inspire more children to embrace and enjoy reading and writing, I will consider myself accomplished.

All photos courtesy of Erin Scouten.