On her grandfather’s electric typewriter, armed with plenty of White Out and scratch paper, Shoshana Hebshi hammered out her first short story at the age of five. The princess and the unicorn were likely heroes for the child, who preferred tutus to playing in the mud. But over the coming years she would evolve in her understanding of the world as she explored such topics as taboo tattoos, conflicting ancestry and the complexities of relationships.
A push toward pragmatism drew her to journalism in college. Writing took on the purpose of promoting democracy through an informed public. Politics became important. Social justice, the environment, struggles for humanity, equality and tolerance entered the radar. And through writing, Shoshana continued to explore the world and its complexities. Highlights included in-depth analyses on the campus’ student housing crisis and the contradictions of having a dry campus.
Photography became a complement. Shooting subjects for the school newspaper first for others, then for her own stories, gave her allowance to see the world through a 35mm lens. Color, composition and lighting all played a role. She learned the art of photo selection, editing and captioning, and soon she was taking photos for her own stories that ran in school publications.
Then came editing. A red pen. The delete button. Careful consideration. Combing and pinching egos. Strengthening an understanding of sentence construction, grammar, brevity—all tools that eventually enhanced her own writing.
After several stints at newspapers in northern and southern California, Shoshana became stirred by the notion of advocacy rather than objectivity. Working for the California Faculty Association provided an opportunity to write with purpose and point of view. With CFA, Shoshana gained experience writing in other formats, such as for the web, informational materials and press releases. During her years with CFA, the organization’s media presence and recognition dramatically increased .
A move to Iowa presented itself with the chance to study for a graduate degree in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University. This two-year program offered Shoshana the academic perspective of journalism through rigorous quantitative research, academic writing and testing theories. It was a perfect balance for her practical undergraduate education from Cal Poly.
After graduation, Shoshana was hired by the Iowa Department for the Blind–a state agency that works to help blind and visually impaired Iowans build confidence, find or keep employment and live independently. There she implemented a communications program intended to provide public education about the department’s services and boost referrals to the department. This position gave Shoshana the authority to build and execute a dynamic and multifaceted communications program. During her time at the IDB, Shoshana’s work contributed to a 10 percent increase in client referrals, which had been in decline for several years.
Shoshana, now living in northwest Ohio, continues writing and editing and working on various personal projects. As the mother of twin sons and wife of an emergency medicine physician in residency, Shoshana is kept quite busy with domestic matters. In her free time she enjoys swimming, running, biking and yoga, as well as painting, playing cello and, of course, plugging away on the keyboard writing…always writing.