March 15, 2023

In his sophomore year at Shawnee State University, English & Humanities major Ian Hillman has found a place to call home. Born in Bremerton, Washington, Hillman’s family moved multiple times as he was growing up.

Ian Hillman

“I’ve lived in Virginia, Louisiana, Abu Dhabi, the UK, Canada, Houston,” said Hillman, listing off a few of the places his parents’ work took their family to live. 

Because of his moves, Hillman had a hard time defining a path to college. Once he moved back to the United States, he received his General Education Diploma but did not decide to attend college for another six years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his mother shared her desire to return to school and encouraged him to enroll as well.

“I think it was hard for her to see me year after year not doing what I want to be doing,” he said. “Ever since around the age of twelve I wanted to be a lawyer.”

Joining his mom at SSU’s Orientation, the idea to pursue a college degree became a reality to him.

“We were walking around campus and it just seemed so attainable,” he said. “It seemed like anyone could do this if they want to, and I really want to.”  

Choosing a degree in Communications was easy for Hillman, relying on skillsets he already had to influence his decision. His plan is still to pursue a law degree, and he believes building his communication skills at SSU will help him get to that goal.

“I wanted to pick something I was good at,” he said. 

In the classroom, Hillman has been able to connect with his faculty members because of the small class sizes offered at SSU. Throughout his two years on campus, he’s connected with two of them in particular that have been able to give him advice along the way.

“Ann Linden has been great and is great at her job, without a doubt,” he said.  “Christy Zempter has also been incredible and has a ton of experience in her field.” 

Reflecting on the long path towards his decision to pursue a college degree and his next path towards becoming a lawyer, Hillman is looking forward to continuing to pursue his career.

“My degree has definitely prepared me for my end goal,” he said. “It gets me reading a lot and writing a lot too. No matter how good you think you may be, this program will make you better.” 

SSU’s Bachelor of Arts in English & Humanities with a Communications concentration helps students develop theoretical and practical communication skills in all the main areas of communication studies – including public speaking, interpersonal communication, journalism, public relations and marketing, organizational communications, and publication editing and design.

To learn more about English & Humanities at Shawnee State University, visit