Who we are

Urban Plains is a student magazine publication at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The magazine is created and published by the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication multimedia capstone.

Mission Statement

Concierge to the Midwest

Values Statement

Urban Plains reflects the spirit of the Midwest in the stories we produce, bursting with ingenuity and charisma in every sentence, sound bite and broadcast. We showcase stories that focus on the region’s innovation and creativity with accessibility at the forefront of our values. We present stories sprouting from the region while staying true to our roots.

Executive Team

Claire Franksen

Claire Franksen

Executive Content Director | Lake Forest, IL

Auditioned for The Voice at age 16 with Britney Spears' "Oops!... I Did It Again." There is no video evidence.

Haley Guerdet

Haley Guerdet

Video Content Director | La Motte, IA

If you’re driving through my hometown, don’t blink. You’ll miss it.

Hannah Thomas

Hannah Thomas

Co-Articles Editor/Copy Editor | Tipton, Mo

I'm a proud cat mom and always have pictures ready to share.

Landon Hodges

Landon Hodges

Co-Articles Editor/Copy Editor | Portland, OR

No, I haven’t seen Portlandia. Yes, Portland is that weird.

Morgan Noll

Morgan Noll

Podcast Editor | Lawrence, KS

Lawrence is the Kansas family member who always brings up politics at the dinner table.

Mia Tirado

Mia Tirado

Co-Web Director | Chicago, IL

The only ‘L’ I take is Chicago’s transit system.

Alexis Cruz

Alexis Cruz

Co-Web Director | Lincoln, NE

We used to be the home of the "Good Life" but now Nebraska is "Honestly not for Everyone."

Ellie Hilscher

Ellie Hilscher

Co-Social Media Editor | Des Moines, IA

If I’m not at the horse barn, then I’m most likely petting dogs.

Sydney Kava

Sydney Kava

Co-Social Media Editor | Sioux City, IA

From the city once dubbed as “Little Chicago.” Now it’s just known as Sioux City.

Executive Team Assistants

Kalle Sorbo

Kalle Sorbo

Assignment Editor | Castle Rock, CO

Yes, there is an actual castle like rock.

Maric Salocker

Maric Salocker

Supervising Director | Fort Dodge, IA

My name is a combination of my parents names.

Cathryn Cheek

Cathryn Cheek

Line Producer | Dallas, TX

Things to remember: 1. Dez caught it, 2. The Alamo.”

Ayana Anderson

Ayana Anderson

Podcast Engineer | St Paul, MN

Proudly from the 651.

Content Producers

Nick McGlynn

Nick McGlynn

Content Producer | Stoughton, WI

Happily Perpetuating the Wisconsin/Minnesota Rivalry.

Jacob Reynolds

Jacob Reynolds

Content Producer | Sterling, IL

My town is surrounded by the Rock River on one side and corn and soybeans on the other sides, which, as it turns out, happens to be all you need to survive.

Abby Wallner

Abby Wallner

Content Producer | La Junta, CO

I'm a Colorado native, and an Iowa captive.

Erin Morgan

Erin Morgan

Content Producer | Aurora, IL

Just a typical millennial which means I have a YouTube channel and don't want to work an 8 to 5 job!

Zach Duff

Zach Duff

Content Producer | Des Moines, IA

The house words of the Midwest. Growing strong.

Daniel Helmee

Daniel Helmee

Content Producer | Malaysia

Am I a smart feller or a fart smeller?

Josiah Mielke

Josiah Mielke

Content Producer | Johnston, IA

I am a huge lover of movies and TV. I am able to memorize different facts about different movies and TV shows within a couple of days for each movie or TV show I like to talk about.

Hema Rengasamy

Hema Rengasamy

Content Producer | Malacca, Malaysia

I came on an adventure of a lifetime and somehow found myself in cornfields.

Josh Cook

Josh Cook

Content Producer | Oregon, IL

I adore the Midwest and have been shaped by it my whole life. Also, I’d like to leave the Midwest for a while and see how the coasts live. But I’m grateful; no sour grapes.

Jordin Wilson

Jordin Wilson

Content Producer | Moline, IL

Home to John Deere, and that’s about it.

Katie O'Keefe

Katie O'Keefe

Content Producer | Chaska, MN

Do I think Target and Caribou Coffee are superior to all other stores? You betcha.