2014 in Review

Without a doubt, I know this is the year I've matured the most both photographically and personally. 

November marked my one year anniversary with Trib Total Media, my first staff photojournalism job in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Saying I have been blessed to be hired, especially on the Greensburg staff, would be an insulting understatement. 

Not only was I trusted in my rookie year with big assignments-- the USS Somerset commissioning in Philadelphia, six state championship basketball games in Hershey, two days of state track in Shippensburg, September 11th service at the Flight 93 memorial, a school stabbing that gained national attention, most West Virginia football home games, the noted Penn State vs Ohio State football rivalry, and more-- but I felt overwhelming love from the four guys on staff. 

Barry, Brian, Sean and Evan always extend their experience and eye when I need mentoring. And sometimes their liver when venting is necessary!

I look up to them as models I hope to grow into in a few years, just like a little sister in a family of older brothers should.

Another obvious highlight of my year was my acceptance into the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop where I met true heroes of photojournalism and stupidly talented students from all over the world. Though I still feel like I am digesting every ounce of wisdom shared at this incomparable all-you-can-eat buffet of an educational experience, it was a rejuvenating gust of humbly appreciated inspiration.

Personally, my biggest accomplishment this year was knocking out a miraculous amount of debt: $36,576.39! This time last year when my husband's student loans kicked into repayment, I felt defeated by the realization of taking 10 years to pay off over $100,000 in loans and always financing cars. I simply chose not to live by Sallie Mae's repayment schedule, but to take control of my future by the throat. Our success of untangling a financial pile of s*** is owed to the discipline, trust and love Keven and I have for each other. I simply feel we love each other too much to be enslaved to debt for a decade. Yes, these next three years will not be glamorous since we choose to live at the poverty line with our remaining money, but we will have more fun with finances later if we handle it well now. Meanwhile, I am baking bread, learning to be content with my old clothes and enjoying the oftentimes overlooked details in life.

Thankfulness proved to be a constant theme of the year, and I hope to never lose humility throughout my entire life. A sincere "thank you" is due to everyone who has encouraged and prayed for me along the way. I am forever indebted to reciprocate your steadfast love.

Wishing all another year of growth, friendship and storytelling imagery,

-Steph 

Beaver's Jaydaline Justice warms up in a nearby field before the WPIAL AA softball championships on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at California University of Pennsylvania's Lilley Field.

Beaver's Jaydaline Justice warms up in a nearby field before the WPIAL AA softball championships on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at California University of Pennsylvania's Lilley Field.

Annie, a one-eyed American Saddlebred with Dream Horse Stables in Mt. Pleasant, makes her way down Main Street during the City of Greensburg Holiday Parade on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

Annie, a one-eyed American Saddlebred with Dream Horse Stables in Mt. Pleasant, makes her way down Main Street during the City of Greensburg Holiday Parade on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

Jan Rinker of Keyser, W.Va., hugs her granddaughter Sydney Metz, 10, of Western Port, Md. during the 13th anniversary service at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, the crash site of United Flight 93, where 40 passengers and crew lost their lives fighting back against terrorists believing to be targeting the U.S. Capitol. 

Jan Rinker of Keyser, W.Va., hugs her granddaughter Sydney Metz, 10, of Western Port, Md. during the 13th anniversary service at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, the crash site of United Flight 93, where 40 passengers and crew lost their lives fighting back against terrorists believing to be targeting the U.S. Capitol. 

From left to right, officials Larry Hoover, Gary Heinrich, Tim Layton and James Matthews prepare their notes inside a school bus as they stay warm before the Blairsville and Portage PIAA playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 in Blairsville.

From left to right, officials Larry Hoover, Gary Heinrich, Tim Layton and James Matthews prepare their notes inside a school bus as they stay warm before the Blairsville and Portage PIAA playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 in Blairsville.

Dean Reed, a worker with Hempfield farmer Alquin Heinnickel, who has been raising cattle for about 45 years, tends to a slow moving steer after he was castrated on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. Heinnickel said the federal data may be undercounting the number of farm injuries because often times farmers are injured on the job but “you don’t hear much about it.”

Dean Reed, a worker with Hempfield farmer Alquin Heinnickel, who has been raising cattle for about 45 years, tends to a slow moving steer after he was castrated on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. Heinnickel said the federal data may be undercounting the number of farm injuries because often times farmers are injured on the job but “you don’t hear much about it.”

Karson Williams, 3, of Mamont watches hundreds of men, including her father Joe Williams and grandfather Bob Knabb, inspect 97 confiscated guns before bidding during a public auction at Westmoreland County Public Works in Greensburg on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. The guns had been in the coroner’s office evidence locker for as long as 30 years. Some of the weapons are high-quality, some collectible and many were used in suicides, Coroner Ken Bacha said. State law requires the coroner’s office to sell off unclaimed property, including guns, at public auction. This sale is the first the county has had since Bacha’s father, Leo, was coroner in the 1980s.

Karson Williams, 3, of Mamont watches hundreds of men, including her father Joe Williams and grandfather Bob Knabb, inspect 97 confiscated guns before bidding during a public auction at Westmoreland County Public Works in Greensburg on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. The guns had been in the coroner’s office evidence locker for as long as 30 years. Some of the weapons are high-quality, some collectible and many were used in suicides, Coroner Ken Bacha said. State law requires the coroner’s office to sell off unclaimed property, including guns, at public auction. This sale is the first the county has had since Bacha’s father, Leo, was coroner in the 1980s.

Lily Elkins, 2, of North Huntingdon measures herself against sunflowers at Bushy Run Battlefield in Penn Township on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Elkins and her grandmother Kate Zingarelli were watching reenactors set up their camps for Saturday's battle.

Lily Elkins, 2, of North Huntingdon measures herself against sunflowers at Bushy Run Battlefield in Penn Township on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Elkins and her grandmother Kate Zingarelli were watching reenactors set up their camps for Saturday's battle.

Jeannette's Julian Batts reacts after draining a three-pointer against Serra Catholic on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 at Jeannette High School. Jeannette won their senior game 59-39.

Jeannette's Julian Batts reacts after draining a three-pointer against Serra Catholic on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 at Jeannette High School. Jeannette won their senior game 59-39.

Gerald and Karen Bingham, parents of Mark Bingham who died on Flight 93, cry during the USS Somerset Commissioning on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. The USS Somerset is the ninth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock and honors the 40 passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93, which crashed in Stonycreek Township. The Binghams live in Plant City, Fla.

Gerald and Karen Bingham, parents of Mark Bingham who died on Flight 93, cry during the USS Somerset Commissioning on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. The USS Somerset is the ninth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock and honors the 40 passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93, which crashed in Stonycreek Township. The Binghams live in Plant City, Fla.

Jeannette's Tony Mash uses a cell phone to apply eye black as he prepares to take the field inside the locker room before playing Greensburg Central Catholic on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at McKee Stadium in Jeannette. Jeannette won 36-0.

Jeannette's Tony Mash uses a cell phone to apply eye black as he prepares to take the field inside the locker room before playing Greensburg Central Catholic on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at McKee Stadium in Jeannette. Jeannette won 36-0.

The Hempfield Area girls 4x100 meter relay team, (from left to right) Bridget Guy, Maddie Holmberg, Jasmine Jones and Gabby Holmberg, poses for a portrait on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at the high school. The team won the PIAA AAA state championship for the second straight year with a time of 47.74, which is the fifth fastest time in WPIAL history.

The Hempfield Area girls 4x100 meter relay team, (from left to right) Bridget Guy, Maddie Holmberg, Jasmine Jones and Gabby Holmberg, poses for a portrait on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at the high school. The team won the PIAA AAA state championship for the second straight year with a time of 47.74, which is the fifth fastest time in WPIAL history.

Greensburg Central Catholic stretches prior to playing Jeannette on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at McKee Stadium in Jeannette. Jeannette won 36-0.

Greensburg Central Catholic stretches prior to playing Jeannette on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at McKee Stadium in Jeannette. Jeannette won 36-0.

United airlines flight attendants Christina Nixon hugs Anna Stover as Michelle Lea leans over to place flowers, all based in Washington, D.C., during the 13th anniversary service at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, the crash site of United Flight 93, where 40 passengers and crew lost their lives fighting back against terrorists believing to be targeting the U.S. Capitol. 

United airlines flight attendants Christina Nixon hugs Anna Stover as Michelle Lea leans over to place flowers, all based in Washington, D.C., during the 13th anniversary service at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, the crash site of United Flight 93, where 40 passengers and crew lost their lives fighting back against terrorists believing to be targeting the U.S. Capitol. 

One Eastern Gray Squirrel chases another as they search for food in the snow on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at Legion-Keener Park in Latrobe.

One Eastern Gray Squirrel chases another as they search for food in the snow on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at Legion-Keener Park in Latrobe.

Greensburg Central Catholic warms up prior to playing Jeannette on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at McKee Stadium in Jeannette. Jeannette won 36-0.

Greensburg Central Catholic warms up prior to playing Jeannette on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at McKee Stadium in Jeannette. Jeannette won 36-0.

Max Agate, 7, of Murrysville catches water from a fountain while waiting for his brother Ethan, 9, to finish his Fisher tennis clinic through the Murrysville Recreation Department on Wedesday, July 9, 2014 at Chambers Park in Murrysville. 

Max Agate, 7, of Murrysville catches water from a fountain while waiting for his brother Ethan, 9, to finish his Fisher tennis clinic through the Murrysville Recreation Department on Wedesday, July 9, 2014 at Chambers Park in Murrysville. 

Derry goalkeeper Zack Geary makes a save over the head of Mount Pleasant's Zachary D'Amico on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at Mount Pleasant High School. Derry won 2-1 in overtime.

Derry goalkeeper Zack Geary makes a save over the head of Mount Pleasant's Zachary D'Amico on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at Mount Pleasant High School. Derry won 2-1 in overtime.

Homeowner Bill Pedder, center, shakes hands with Larimer firefighter Bill Hardy after a garage fire that spread to multiple homes on Monday, March 24, 2014 near the intersection of Cavittsville Road and Western Avenue in North Huntingdon township.

Homeowner Bill Pedder, center, shakes hands with Larimer firefighter Bill Hardy after a garage fire that spread to multiple homes on Monday, March 24, 2014 near the intersection of Cavittsville Road and Western Avenue in North Huntingdon township.

Anna Marie Stevenson of Salem township, playing Mary, holds baby Jesus as she makes her way through the security entrance of the Westmoreland County Courthouse after changing into costume before a live Nativity on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 in Greensburg. Christian Leaders Mentoring, which Stevenson started 14 years ago, runs the Nativity scene in front of the courthouse every Thursday and Friday through Christmas.

Anna Marie Stevenson of Salem township, playing Mary, holds baby Jesus as she makes her way through the security entrance of the Westmoreland County Courthouse after changing into costume before a live Nativity on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 in Greensburg. Christian Leaders Mentoring, which Stevenson started 14 years ago, runs the Nativity scene in front of the courthouse every Thursday and Friday through Christmas.

John Chearney, a commander of Post 446, carries an American flag while an attendee is reflected in a headstone after a public ceremony honoring 129 Civil War soldiers buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. The event was held by the Westmoreland County Historical Society and the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society. It’s the historical society’s fourth in a series honoring Civil War veterans buried in county cemeteries.

John Chearney, a commander of Post 446, carries an American flag while an attendee is reflected in a headstone after a public ceremony honoring 129 Civil War soldiers buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. The event was held by the Westmoreland County Historical Society and the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society. It’s the historical society’s fourth in a series honoring Civil War veterans buried in county cemeteries.

Anglers Caleb Ackerman, 16, and John Filetic, 17, both from Derry Township, prepare to fish along Loyalhanna Creek on Saturday, April 12, 2014, opening day of trout season.

Anglers Caleb Ackerman, 16, and John Filetic, 17, both from Derry Township, prepare to fish along Loyalhanna Creek on Saturday, April 12, 2014, opening day of trout season.

Khloe Lloyd, 2, of Kittanning hides while helping her sister Meagan, a senior at Armstrong High School, find a prom dress on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at MB Bride in Greensburg.

Khloe Lloyd, 2, of Kittanning hides while helping her sister Meagan, a senior at Armstrong High School, find a prom dress on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at MB Bride in Greensburg.

East's Malik Lewis scores a touchdown against West during the PSFCA East-West All-Star Football Game on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at Franklin Regional High School. East won 35-25.

East's Malik Lewis scores a touchdown against West during the PSFCA East-West All-Star Football Game on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at Franklin Regional High School. East won 35-25.

Dew sprays off the club of Pittsburgh Central Catholic's Bill Boehner as he takes a shot during the Boy's WPIAL AAA Championships on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2014 at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon.

Dew sprays off the club of Pittsburgh Central Catholic's Bill Boehner as he takes a shot during the Boy's WPIAL AAA Championships on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2014 at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon.

Blake Spillar, 8, (in blue) and Adelyn Auen, 4, (in stripes) both of Latrobe, watch the airplanes during the Westmoreland County Airshow on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe.

Blake Spillar, 8, (in blue) and Adelyn Auen, 4, (in stripes) both of Latrobe, watch the airplanes during the Westmoreland County Airshow on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe.

Alex Elizeus (left), 19, holds her ribbon next to her horse Zoey as the two wait with Brooke Zitkovich, 17, and her horse Rio after the showmanship event in the 4-H horse show at the Westmoreland County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The two girls ride with G&G Quarter Horses in Irwin.

Alex Elizeus (left), 19, holds her ribbon next to her horse Zoey as the two wait with Brooke Zitkovich, 17, and her horse Rio after the showmanship event in the 4-H horse show at the Westmoreland County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The two girls ride with G&G Quarter Horses in Irwin.

Logan Hurwitt, 11, of Bergen County, N.J., touches the name of his uncle Jeremy Glick at the Flight 93 National Memorial during a luminaria on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near Shanksville.

Logan Hurwitt, 11, of Bergen County, N.J., touches the name of his uncle Jeremy Glick at the Flight 93 National Memorial during a luminaria on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near Shanksville.

Greensburg Central Catholic's Leah Bisignani reacts as she is stuffed by Freeport's defense during a game on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 at Greensburg Central Catholic. GCC won 78-33.

Greensburg Central Catholic's Leah Bisignani reacts as she is stuffed by Freeport's defense during a game on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 at Greensburg Central Catholic. GCC won 78-33.

Thomas Jefferson's Janelle Allison celebrates with her team their win over Mars Area during the WPIAL AAA softball championships on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at California University of Pennsylvania's Lilley Field.

Thomas Jefferson's Janelle Allison celebrates with her team their win over Mars Area during the WPIAL AAA softball championships on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at California University of Pennsylvania's Lilley Field.

The setting sun illuminates a distant thunderstorm as Mount Pleasant's Brandon Leeder heads the ball against Derry on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at Mount Pleasant High School. Derry won 2-1 in overtime.

The setting sun illuminates a distant thunderstorm as Mount Pleasant's Brandon Leeder heads the ball against Derry on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at Mount Pleasant High School. Derry won 2-1 in overtime.

Connor Sowers, 9, of Fairfield blows on his frog in an attempt to push it past the finish line during 45th annual Frog Jumping Contest at the Fairfield Community Center Grounds on Saturday Aug. 2, 2014. The event fundraises for the Fairfield Boys Club.

Connor Sowers, 9, of Fairfield blows on his frog in an attempt to push it past the finish line during 45th annual Frog Jumping Contest at the Fairfield Community Center Grounds on Saturday Aug. 2, 2014. The event fundraises for the Fairfield Boys Club.