Meet the Storytellers


Madison Van Horn – Editor

Madison (Maddie) Van Horn is a Senior Communication major and is currently working as the Head Editor of Rising Rock Media and Editor in Chief at the University Echo. With a passion for writing and years of leadership experience, Maddie hopes to make a difference in her community through storytelling. She hopes to continue her education after undergrad and purse a career in multimedia journalism.  Maddie can be reached at for any collaboration inquiries.

Seth Carpenter – Assistant Editor

Seth Carpenter is a photojournalist and the photo editor of UT Chattanooga’s student-run newspaper, the University Echo. Seth has done stories on a nurse working through COVID-19, the life of a former prisoner, and much more. Seth hopes the stories they tell will make a difference in the lives of others. If you have a story that needs to be told, reach out to Seth at

Haley Bayer – Assistant Editor

Haley Bayer is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is currently majoring in Communication with a Women’s Gender and Sexuality minor. Haley is a storyteller with experience in social media, photography, audio, and design. In the future, Haley looks forward to working in Media Management. She is a hardworking and persevering individual who aspires to use her voice in Rising Rock to share moving stories. To contact her for work, email 


Kylee Boone

Kylee Boone is a visual storyteller studying Communications at UT Chattanooga. She utilizes her leadership qualities as the Social Media and Advertising Director for The University Echo and as the co-founder of her nonprofit organization with Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. She hopes to one day work in social media management and inspire others through her work in storytelling. For questions or collaboration, please contact

Cassandra Castillo

Cassandra Castillo is a junior Communications major with minors in Spanish and International Studies at UT Chattanooga. She hopes to give a voice to the voiceless through visual and written storytelling around the world. Cassandra works as a writer for the University Echo, video editor for Mocs News, and editor for the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs. For questions or collaboration with Cassandra, contact

Sarah Chesek

Sarah Chesek is a writer studying Communication at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She currently holds the title of Head News Editor for The Echo, UTC’s student newspaper. Sarah is a hard working and compassionate individual, who is passionate about civil rights issues and hopes to bring light to them through her writing. To contact her, email

Matt Cook

Matthew Cook is a senior at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is currently majoring in Communications with a Business Administration minor. Matthew is a photographer with experience in videography and audio recording. He is also a Staff Photographer for the UTC Echo publication. In the future, Matthew looks forward to working in some facet of the photography industry. To contact him, email

Allie English

Julia (Allie) English is an aspiring documentary photographer with a passion for storytelling. She currently studies both Communications and Environmental Science with the goal of bringing awareness to social and environmental injustices. Allie served as an Assistant Photo Editor with the University Echo and as an intern with Cypress Magazine. She believes in the power of visual storytelling to promote empathy and community. For collaboration, please reach out to

Jordan Harris

Jordan Harris is a senior Communications major with a background in social media, photography, and writing. In the future, she hopes to work in public relations or sports broadcasting. Outside of the classroom, she can be found at sporting events, the dance studio, or anywhere that serves iced coffee. She can be reached at

Kate Hixon

Margarette (Kate) Hixon is an entertainment writer and communication major at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Kate loves to immerse herself into pop culture, including everything from music to television to comic conventions. Her passion for writing and sharing what she loves with the world is what inspires her blooming career as a writer. Kate has written for the University Echo and plans to further her career in journalism. To contact her for work email her at vyq258@mocs.utc.ed

Hannah Blair Hurt

Hannah Blair Hurt is a final semester senior Communication major at UT Chattanooga. She is a writer and storyteller with special interest in feature and entertainment. She comes from a family of musicians and travelers, having been to 46 states before the age of ten. Hannah Blair has written for the University Echo and is currently interning at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. For questions or collaboration with Hannah Blair, email

Jules Jackson

Jules Jackson is a visual storyteller currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Communication at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has a passion for film as a way to share important, thought-provoking stories. In addition to his creative work, he also does videography for ArtsBuild, a grantmaking and fundraising organization for artists living in Hamilton County, Tennessee. He can be reached via email at

Madelyn McCrary

Madelyn McCrary is a Senior Communication major with a minor in Creative Writing at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Madelyn is a writer who enjoys multimedia storytelling that will entertain her audience as well and spark a discourse within her community. She has a passion for podcasting, photojournalism, and social media. For questions and collaborations, you can contact her at

Jake Redfern

Jacob (Jake) Redfern is a videographer and Director for Mocs News, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s broadcasting organization. With an experienced background in Adobe editing software as well as a capable team builder, Jacob strives to create community driven storytelling using every avenue available. When not holding a camera, he enjoys the arts as a creative pursuit including that of drawing and playing music. To connect or collaborate, contact Jacob at   

Eli Rushing

Eli Rushing is a Senior studying communications at UTC. He is a jack of all trades thanks to skills in writing, broadcasting, and audio editing. Eli has worked as a Sports Contributor at the Sparta Expositor and is currently covering prep and college football for The Chattanoogan. He hopes to continue in that field after graduation. He can be reached at

Brittany Santiago

Brittany Santiago is a UTC student double majoring in Communication and Sociology with a minor in Innovation. As a multimedia storyteller, Brittany  focuses on amplifying muted, oppressed, or otherwise disenfranchised voices. Originally from New York City, then Atlanta, and now Chattanooga, her cross-cultural experience allows her to make connections with a diverse set of people and gain insights that allow her audiences to feel those connections too. To connect or collaborate with Brittany contact

Anna Truss

Anna Truss is a senior Communication major at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with experience in writing, photography, and graphic design. She hopes to work in organizational communications or public relations. When Truss is not working, she can be found with a book. She can be reached at