Checking in with Haley Hnatuk '20A recent media & communication alum talks data privacy, documentaries and her role at Fastmail
By: Grace Oddo '22 Monday, January 9, 2023 02:00 PM
Haley Hnatuk '20, second from right, poses with those she partnered with to create the documentary "in love, in memory" about a mother's response to gun violence in Allentown.
During her time at Muhlenberg, Haley Hnatuk ’20 was, as most college students are, busy. During her senior year, she was taking two CUE (Culminating Undergraduate Experience) courses and working as a writing tutor. She also accepted a micro internship working on a documentary.
“I don’t know how I did it,” she says.
Now, as a media and communication alum, she is just as busy. After graduating, Hnatuk landed a job as a content marketing coordinator for Fastmail, an email company based in Philadelphia and Melbourne, Australia. Hnatuk started as an intern there in October 2020 and accepted a full-time position on the team in January 2021.
“As [content marketing coordinator], I’m responsible for creating the company’s organic content,” she says. “Our blogs, newsletters and social media copy are my main responsibilities.” Hnatuk receives the support of other members of the company’s marketing team, which includes two interns, one of whom is a Muhlenberg student (Maria Corradini ’24).
“When [Fastmail] announced their internship openings, I immediately reached out to Muhlenberg professors and to the Career Center,” Hnatuk says. “It’s great giving back to the Muhlenberg community in this way and to have someone from Muhlenberg on my team now. Being able to teach her what I know while I am learning from her has been a great experience.”
Hnatuk cares deeply about making the internet a better place through her work at Fastmail whether it’s by leading media literacy workshops for young people at Hopeworks, spreading the word about how to build healthy online communities or producing Fastmail’s podcast, called Digital Citizen. One of the company’s core values is digital privacy, and each episode of the podcast focuses on a different aspect of good digital citizenship. Digital Citizen tackles topics such as Zoom fatigue, good social media habits and data mining — all issues affecting technology users today.
“At Fastmail, we realize we have a community of people that are interested in the idea of digital citizenship. They embrace ways to stay safe online, like learning how to interact with social media in positive ways,” says Hnatuk.
The podcast has featured guests such as a web security consultant specializing in data breaches and critically-acclaimed authors. Hnatuk is responsible for contacting guests, scheduling interviews and coordinating post-production and release of episodes.
“We wanted to find a way to connect our audience with content that surrounds the topic of digital citizenship while simultaneously showing them that Fastmail is more than just a service provider. We have values we care about,” Hnatuk says.
When she’s not working at Fastmail, Hnatuk enjoys writing poetry or working on her storytelling certificate at the NYU School of Professional Studies. Hnatuk also still serves as an editor and assistant producer on a documentary called in love, in memory.
Set in Allentown, the documentary follows Shalon Buskirk, a mother putting the pieces of her son’s life together in the wake of losing him to gun violence. Buskirk also serves as a co-director, producer and co-editor of the film. Buskirk co-directs alongside fellow alum Drew Swedberg ‘17.
“It’s a really moving piece,” Hnatuk says. “In our film, we talk not only about gun violence but gentrification, the housing crisis and how this lack of care for the communities that live in Allentown really bubbles up and creates more systemic issues.”
In May, their documentary was selected to be a part of Film Independent’s 2022 Documentary Lab, which gave the team the opportunity to collaborate with and receive feedback from five other groups of documentary filmmakers. In June, they traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York, to participate in Skidmore College’s John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (MDOCS), a fellowship experience for documentary storytellers.
“Having participated in MDOCS virtually 2020, it was beautiful having Drew and Shalon get the chance to be there in person,” Hnatuk says. “Telling this story, too, has been a life changing experience.”
In reflecting on these new and exciting experiences, Hnatuk realizes just how much good has come simply from saying “yes.” Seizing opportunities characterized her Muhlenberg experience, as well.
“How will you know until you try?” she says.