Major: Associate in Arts/Associate in General Studies
At age 3, Hannah Deadman-Arnst’s favorite animal was a dolphin, and by 5, she wanted to be a marine biologist or dolphin trainer.
Her love for writing started around 9 or 10 when she created a monthly newsletter called “The Paw Press,” which she sold to neighbors and donated proceeds to organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the Ocean Conservancy.
“Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, my family frequently visited the Shedd Aquarium and the Brookfield Zoo, both excellent conservation-focused organizations, and we spent many summer vacations in Michigan on Lake Huron and Lake Superior,” she said. “I also grew up in a very creative family of musicians. My father is a Chicago-based professional trumpet player and music arranger, my mother is a music educator, my twin brothers both play piano and drums professionally, and I sing, play piano and dance ballet, tap, modern and jazz.”
During her senior year in high school, Deadman-Arnst was deciding between marine biology/environmental science and communications. Knowing she would be taking general education classes for most of her first two years in college, she decided to attend College of DuPage.
“It allowed me to save money while taking the same classes I would have at a university, live at home so I could continue dancing at my hometown studio, and decide what to pursue for my bachelor’s,” she said. “I greatly cherish those two years I attended COD. I value higher education so much, and I am incredibly grateful to my parents and grandparents for their support of my academic dreams and career.”
Deadman-Arnst took Introduction to Oceanography with Professor Diane Strode during her first semester, and that class solidified her interest in pursuing science. She also participated on the Forensics Team and danced in various COD concerts.
“I was given so many wonderful opportunities at College of DuPage to grow in both my academic career and as a person,” she said. “College is when you become even more independent than you thought you were, and you take every opportunity and every moment to learn and grow.”
After earning her Associate in Arts degree with High Honors, Deadman-Arnst transferred to Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. She also returned to COD to take relevant coursework for her minor in Oceanography and earned a second associate’s degree before finishing her bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
Deadman-Arnst initially took a job at Palm Beach Atlantic University in its University Relations and Marketing Department, where she gained valuable experience. For example, the University sponsored her on a study abroad trip to the Galapagos Island, which she documented through interviews with the students, photos and video.
Then she became the public relations and communications coordinator at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a nonprofit sea turtle hospital and ocean conservation hub in Palm Beach County where she interned during her senior year. LMC is located next to one of the world’s most densely populated stretches of beach for loggerhead sea turtles.
“I absolutely love media relations. It’s both an art and a science that you improve at the more you do,” she said. “I also served as the staff photographer, producing high-quality photos for print publication, web and social media. Because LMC is a nonprofit, I got to wear a lot of hats and produced various kinds of written content, which is always fun because it keeps you on your best game.”
She is now the public relations and social media specialist for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, where she oversees public relations and social media programs. So far, Deadman-Arnst has streamlined the Council’s PR efforts, planned various in- and out-of-market influencer and press events, and grown the Council’s social media channels.
Her love of science is still a part of her job, as she has showcased a variety of science/conservation organizations in Palm Beach County through the Cultural Council.
Deadman-Arnst is proud of her time at College of DuPage, a place she believes equips students for success from the moment they step on campus.
“From the hundreds of student clubs and organizations to the variety of classes and majors to the incredibly intelligent and supportive faculty members, there are amazing opportunities everywhere you turn,” she said. “During my two years there, I made lifelong friends and memories, and I can’t stress enough how excellent the faculty is at COD. I am so grateful to each one of my professors who significantly shaped me, especially to Dr. Kent Richter, Professor Joel Quam, Professor Diane Strode, Dr. Thomas Tipton, Professor Chris Miller, and Dr. Diane Wawrejko. Not only are they experts in their field, but they also genuinely care about their students’ success and well-being.
“I urge anyone to consider attending College of DuPage. Yes, you’ll save some money, but more importantly you’ll be in an environment that encourages you to grow and be your very best. Community colleges sometimes get a bad rep, but College of DuPage exudes excellence in all that it does.”