Deputy photo editor will tackle Master’s program after graduation

Hailee Speir hopes to pursue a career in teaching while keeping her passion for photography alive



Deputy photo editor Hailee Speir in graduation regalia.

SAYDEE PHOTHIVONGSA, Evergreen news editor

Hailee Speir is a Coug through and through — even though she did not want to come to WSU at first.

“I think she really embodies that trite cliche ‘Cougs help Cougs,’ Hailee helps other Cougs, she really gets that sense of community,” said Kate Watts, Department of English associate professor.

As someone who is from Spokane and the daughter of two Cougs, Hailee, a senior English major, wanted to go to school somewhere far from home, she said.

When Hailee was younger, her family lived in Oregon and would go to watch WSU when they played Oregon State University, so some of Hailee’s first WSU memories were made in Corvallis, Hailee’s mom Kristie Speir said.

Although she was not particularly interested in WSU to begin with, Hailee quickly learned that she could not deny the connection she had with the school.

“As I started touring these other schools, I just felt like I didn’t have a connection with them as much as I did with WSU,” Hailee said. “So that kind of connection I had built through my childhood by coming down here is what motivated me to go to WSU.”

Some of Hailee’s favorite things about WSU include the positive atmosphere of the campus, the plethora of sporting events to go to and all the different communities one can get involved in, she said.

Hailee has accomplished a lot in her time here, balancing her school work with her job as a sports photographer and deputy photo editor for the Daily Evergreen.

Kristie has loved seeing her daughter succeed not only in her academics but in work with the Evergreen as well.

“I think a lot of times we can get caught up in our career but she has this passion for photography and for sports photography in general and she’s been able to do that and have a lot of fun doing that,” she said. “I think in a short amount of time she’s been able to do a lot and I’m really proud of her for all of that.”

The fact that Hailee’s mom is a teacher influenced her decision to pursue a career in teaching, she said.

“I kind of grew up volunteering in her class. Getting involved with school and I’ve always been that student that teachers had asked to help other students and I just enjoy helping and teaching people,” she said.

Specifically, Hailee wants to teach high school English, a subject she fell in love with in high school.

“I like how with English, you’re teaching about narratives that students can relate to, and that students might find reflections in,” she said. “I feel like it’s easy for students to connect and engage.”

Hailee’s abundant positivity and caring nature are attributes Watts has observed while having her in class.

“Hailee really challenges herself to think about students in as many diverse ways as possible,” Watts said. “She thinks about that variety in complicated ways, in ways that people who haven’t been in the classroom often don’t.”

Starting in June, Hailee will be attending WSU Spokane to pursue a Master’s degree in teaching, she said.

“This is where I’ll really dive into what it means to be a teacher and the different aspects of that. I’ll do my student teaching, and then after that, I’ll be searching for a job and trying to get a teaching position somewhere,” she said.

While focused on becoming a teacher, Hailee still plans to make time to keep her passion for photography alive by taking senior photos in Spokane and potentially teaching a yearbook or photography class in the future, she said.

“I kind of developed a love for photography, and it’s been my escape and so I don’t really want to give that up,” Hailee said.

Hailee’s biggest piece of advice to other Cougs is to go out and get involved in anything and everything that is interesting, as it will make the college experience much more meaningful.

“Get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, do new things,” she said. “This is the time to explore those things. So yeah, do it.”