Powering a Nation

A Project of the UNC School of Media and Journalism

2012 Staff

team photo

Pictured, from left to right: front row — Kelly McHugh, Stephanie Bullins, Jan Yopp, Kelly Izlar, Vanessa Patchett; second row — Spencer Bakalar, Joshua Davis, Laura Ruel, Dylan Gilroy, Chad Stevens; back row — Jon Kasbe, Cyrus Huneycutt, Terence Oliver, Daren Brabham; not pictured — Andy Bechtel, Bob Sacha, Matt Brozowski


About the 2012 project

Our 2012 Fellows present a Powering a Nation special report, “100 Gallons.”

“100 Gallons” explores how our most critical resource goes far beyond traditional power. More than fossil fuels, commerce or industry, water powers life.

The purpose of this project is to restore and encourage a sense of respect and wonder to our cultural view of water and to start a conversation about water problems and solutions in our country. We also seek to put those issues into a global context.

Content gathering for this project adheres to strict journalistic principles. Even for our centerpiece video, which takes a creative look at our everyday water usage, we photographed real people and real moments. The experimental element of “100 Gallons” is taking that creative concept presentation and using it as an interface to engage the user in an immersive exploration with a single click.

This presentation is an experiment in journalistic storytelling. We welcome feedback about your experience: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Our 2012 Fellows

Kelly Izlar



Kelly Izlar

For Powering a Nation, Kelly’s roles include editor-in-chief, writer, copy editor and researcher.

Kelly is a science communicator and writer. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Appalachian State University and recently completed her master’s degree in medical and science journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Roy H. Park Fellow. She spent much of the past five years writing about science, grappling with multimedia tools, and researching young solar analogue stars and exoplanet host stars at the Dark Sky Observatory on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Kelly likes swimming, hiking, eating good cheese and secretly reading young adult fiction.

Projects: Smelling the Rain || Beyond the Pale Blue Dot || The Purest of Them All || Tracking the Water

Connect: @kellyizlar || This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Stephanie Bullins

Stephanie Bullins

For Powering a Nation, Stephanie’s roles include marketer, social media editor and programmer.

Stephanie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in multimedia journalism and English. She was the managing editor and web designer for Uncharted, UNC’s first arts magazine, programmer for Carolina Photojournalism Workshop 2012, and web developer for Resound, an online music magazine. Stephanie received honors for her thesis on Ernest Hemingway and recognition as a public service scholar. She is also a recipient of the Phillips Travel Scholarship, allowing her to backpack Europe to take cooking classes in the fall. Though she never formally studied strategic communication, Powering a Nation has allowed Stephanie to pursue her love of Twitter and delve deeper into the fascinating world of marketing.

Projects: Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Google+

Connect: @sbullins || Blog || LinkedIn || This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis 

For Powering a Nation, Joshua’s roles include managing editor, videographer, video editor, social media consultant, writer and copy editor.

Joshua Davis is a May 2012 graduate and was a Roy H. Park Fellow in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His master’s thesis, the undocumentary, told stories about immigrant youth living without papers in North Carolina. While at UNC, Joshua produced award-winning videos for multimedia projects Reframing Mexico and Finding the Uwharries. He also coached photojournalism students in the 2012 Carolina Photojournalism Workshop.

Prior to graduate school, Joshua worked as an editor on news and documentary projects for RollingStone.com, PBS Frontline, Arte and the Travel Channel. He has served as adjunct faculty for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at New York University, and taught courses as an Apple Certified Final Cut Pro editing instructor. In his free time, Joshua enjoys traveling and practicing Spanish.

Projects: Fractured || The Cloud Juicer

Connect: joshdavis.org ||@joshabla || Vimeo

Dylan Gilroy

Dylan Gilroy

For Powering a Nation, Dylan’s roles include programmer, graphic designer and researcher.

Dylan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in graphic design and a minor in linguistics. Once a beautiful, vibrant baby, Dylan grew up to enjoy web coding and graphic design. Through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, he had the opportunity to take courses fostering both, and along the way got to develop websites for Living Galapagos, a UNC web-documentary project started in 2009, Reese News, the school’s day-to-day digital newsroom, and Powering a Nation. Dylan’s other interests involve playing piano, drawing, and wishing he were better at Spanish.

Projects: 100gallons.unc.edu || Sizing up Water || What does 100 gallons cost?

Connect: dylangilroy.com

Jon Kasbe

Jon Kasbe

For Powering a Nation, Jon’s roles include videographer and video editor.

“I like meeting people and finding stories. Video is a way for me to share the stories I care about.”

At least that’s what Jon says about himself when he’s asked to write a bio. Jon is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying communications. He has worked with Students of the World, Carolina Photojournalism Workshop, Reese Felts Digital Newsroom and Living Galapagos. Jon is the 2012 Hearst National Multimedia champion, and his videos have also won recognition from Pictures of the Year International, National Press Photographer’s Association and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Projects: Life Reflected || A Beautiful Waste

Connect: jonkasbe.com


Kelly McHugh

Kelly McHugh

For Powering a Nation, Kelly’s roles include visual editor, graphic designer, motion graphic artist and researcher.

Kelly is a graphic designer and motion graphic artist who recently was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in visual journalism. As an undergraduate, she was the managing editor of The Daily Tar Heel, where she led the first redesign in more than 10 years. Kelly was a graphics intern for National Geographic Magazine in 2011 and the art director of the Journalism School’s first iPad magazine, Bean & Leaf. She also researched color use in information graphics for her undergraduate honors thesis. Kelly has been the recipient of many awards, including the Stuart Sechreist Award for the outstanding graduate in visual communication and the first place award for infographics from the MSU student Society for News Design competition. When she isn’t designing, Kelly spends her time feeding her addiction to Pinterest.

Projects: Every Drop || What does 100 gallons cost? || Is it Safe to Drink?

Connect: http://www.kellymchughdesign.com || @kellymchugh ||

Spencer Bakalar



Spencer Bakalar

For Powering a Nation, Spencer’s roles as a student contributor include video editor, videographer, photographer and writer.

Spencer is a rising senior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studies visual communication and history. She is drawn to document the human condition — what drives us, what inspires us, what we live for each day. At UNC, Spencer has worked on award-winning team projects, from Badin, N.C., all the way to Uganda as a photographer, videographer and video editor. In 2011, Spencer was named North Carolina Student Photographer of the Year. She is currently preparing for a semester abroad in London where she will pursue personal projects before returning to finish her senior year.

Projects: Giving Way || Dry Promises

Connect: Portfolio || @spencermary214 || instagram: sbakalar || Vimeo || This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cyrus Huneycutt

Cyrus Huneycutt

For Powering a Nation, Cyrus’ roles include graphic designer and researcher.

Cyrus is a recent graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied journalism with a specialization in editing and graphic design. During his time at UNC, he explored various approaches to design and storytelling, from classes in infographics and multimedia programming to numerous projects for UNC Housing and campus organizations. He wrote a novel during his senior year, a step towards bringing a childhood dream of epic storytelling to life. Since earning his degree, he has done various freelance work for non-profit organizations Foster Friends of North Carolina and Kicking4Hunger, as well as ad development for corporations such as HondaJet in Greensboro, N.C.

Projects: Heavy Skies || Water Parks || Eating Water

Connect: Portfolio || This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Vanessa Patchett

Vanessa Patchett 

For Powering a Nation, Vanessa’s roles include video editor, researcher and copy editor.

Vanessa is a Roy H. Park Fellow and master’s candidate of visual journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in documentary storytelling. She has a background in anthropology and fine arts. Before attending graduate school, she worked in the non-profit sector for three years in the field of childhood-trauma treatment. Vanessa was a contributing producer to award-winning team projects Reframing Mexico and Finding the Uwharries. In her free time, when she is not dreaming of owning a puppy, she enjoys rock climbing, riding rollercoasters and grabbing coffee with friends.

Connect: @vpatchett || Vimeo

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