Community Connections: Profile of former Times intern Leah Dufault

Mike Christopherson
Leah Dufault, far right, with her sisters, Jaclyn and Alyson, and her parents, Debbie and Jeff

What year did you work in the Crookston Times newsroom? 

• The start of my senior year, fall of 2010.

What was your favorite part of your experience at the Times? 

• My favorite part of my experience at the times was easily meeting the people of our crookston community and also being able to take photos for articles. 

What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself and/or the biggest life lesson that you took with you when you left the Times? 

• Working at the Times taught me that stepping out of the box is worth it, for whatever situation that may be.

• As well as if you have a platform to stand on, you should use it to do good. 

What have you been doing since? Give us an update on where you’re at, what you’re doing, who you’re with, etc. 

• I have stayed in crookston since. I attended two years of college at umc, worked for a few employers before coming back to umc to work in the dining services department. 

Tell us how the pandemic impacted you/continues to impact you…

• The pandemic has made me realize more of what I already knew and live my life as I did before but with even more knowledge that life is short and we should embrace the memories we can make with those we love while we can. 

• While it was hard for the first six months or so, being out of work and being unable to spend time with friends and some family, I found ways to stay busy: whether it was fishing, doing puzzles, being outside, taking walks with friends from the other side of the road or finding little projects. 

Among Leah Dufault's loves are the outdoors and the Minnesota Vikings

What are you passionate about these days? 

• I’m still very passionate about photography. 

You’re into photography, with sports photography a focus area. Did your time at the Times contribute to that interest? 

• Very much so. Just a year prior to landing the opportunity to be an intern at the Times, my brother in law Derek Martin who then was the sports editor, let me borrow his camera whenever our hockey team had away games and the rest is history. I’ve been taking sports photos, as well as generic photos ever since. 

Following you on social media, you seem like a person not afraid to touch on sensitive topics and make yourself vulnerable in the “public square,” so to speak, whether it’s talking about your faith or weight issues or any other number of topics. Is that more of a result of young people being exposed to social media basically their entire lives? Or is it just the way you’re wired?

• Its a bit of both for me. I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind when it comes to something I feel passionate about. 

• Social media exposes young people, yes, but it also is a huge platform we can use to reach people about specific things that matter. 

You seem very family-oriented, whether it’s your parents and sisters, or all of your nieces and nephews. Are you at your happiest and your best when you’re surrounded by family? 

• I’m most definitely the happiest when I’m surrounded by my family and close friends. 

• Between bbqs, bonfires, birthday parties, lake days or just a night out, I’m always down to make great memories. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

• I love the outdoors. I enjoy fishing, taking outdoor photos, bonfires, etc. 

 • I love spending quality time with my family and friends. 

• I enjoy a good workout.

• When I can, I try and dust off the skates and get back out on the rink. 

• During the football season I enjoy competing in fantasy football.

• Being born and raised a diehard Minnesota vikings fan, I love watching them, even if we don’t win. 

• I also love watching the Minnesota wild and the Pittsburg Penguins.

Look in your life’s crystal ball: Where do you think/hope you’ll be 10 years from now, and what do you think/hope you’ll be doing?

• My hope is to be even healthier and happier, within the company of good people.