Pre 2018/2019 Alumni Updates
Writing and Rhetoric Major
Are you an alum? Bring us to date on what you've been up to by filling out this form or just send us an email at email@example.com!
The Class of 2018: Lark Allen, Alice Chen, Callie Chute, Doris Ann Dorval, Elizabeth Elton, Allison Epstein, David Fitzpatrick-Woodson, Sadie Goodrich, Kamet High, Thomas Hogan, Tyler Howcott, Kathryn Kawasoe, Ibijola Lagundoye, Malea Lamb-Hall, Michaela Marano, Coreen Mason, Nur Balqis Binti Mohd Sabri, Alex Piagentini, Katie Randall, Destiny Reyes, Sarah Russek, Larry Stansbury, Abigail Welles, Janice Wilkins, Avonna Zheng, Madelaine Zoldan. Not pictured: Yoonjung Jang, Katie Reed, Annabelle White (May 2018)
Elizabeth Elton—Outstanding Major Award 2018: "My passion for writing began in grade school but was mostly isolated to creative writing and literary analysis. Still, there were times when my teachers assigned rhetorical writing assignments. In those moments, I found myself fervently arguing and reveling in the act of using my words in order to illuminate relevant issues to my audience. When I transferred from an English Education major at another university to SU, I knew that I wanted to keep writing as part of my major somehow. I joined the Writing and Rhetoric Major because I knew that it would challenge and expand my abilities as a writer. Through the major, I found a deeper passion for research through writing. I found a love in the act of discovery through writing, and I found wonder in the arrangement of words to reach an audience
And so, I feel truly honored and humbled to be recognized with this award—especially when I consider the rigor of the Writing & Rhetoric Major. The last three years studying in this department have not only challenged me as a writer, but as an individual too. Of course, as a writing program, my classes emphasized writing tropes, tools, and style. This was invaluable to my writing as a whole. However, more importantly, I found that my writing improved and expanded in depth because of the way the professors in this program pushed every student to think and research beyond our comfort zones. By this, I mean that writing in the Writing and Rhetoric Major is more than a discussion about tools and style. (May 2018)
Maggie Swift ('10) is an Account Executive at Wiesner Media, managing advertising accounts for Mountain Living, a luxury home design magazine. She works “closely with top architects and designers to build a comprehensive marketing solution for their businesses that includes print and digital advertising, event sponsorships, b2b partnerships, and PR.”
When she first got her start in publishing, Maggie had to decide whether to "pursue the editorial side or the publishing (business) side of a magazine brand." She says, “I went with the publishing side because I was excited by the prospect of business development, working closely with clients, and learning the ins and outs of a magazine that went beyond the editorial scope.” It’s safe to say she made a great decision, as Maggie was recently named 2018 Wiesner Media Salesperson of the Year, along with being accepted into the 2018 New Leaders Council Elevate leadership program.
Maggie attributes much of her success to the writing and argumentative skills she built while studying Writing & Rhetoric at Syracuse. She says writing helps her with email proposals, sales and marketing sheets, as well as business plans. The SU alum believes her writing major “allowed me to utilize my skill of writing in a practical way, and allowed me to visit different career opportunities that was outside the realm of being an author or writer.” (April 2018)—Liam Burns, Writing Studies Intern
Update: Since we posted this update a few weeks ago, Maggie has been promoted to Director of Sales & Advertising at Mountain Living. (April 22, 2018)
Kali Mehrotra (‘14) has immersed herself into the world of “Beauty PR.” She is currently a Global Communications Associate for The Estēe Lauder Companies. Approaching her third year with the brand, she “was excited to join the North America Public Relations team after working on the Global team.”
Kali, who was also a English and Textual Studies major, looks forward to propelling her career through the ever-changing landscape of public relations and the dynamic social media scene that comes with it. Kali loves working with media and influencers, “from daily digital communication (emails, emails, emails!), to in-person meetings, to getting the opportunity to write for Estēe Stories, to writing an Instagram post. I’m constantly using the skills I learned from the Writing Major in my life.” She adds a shout out to the Writing Department “for making me think creatively and out of the box!”
Outside her professional life, Kali hit her 2017 New Year's resolution head on, running a 5K in support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, an organization that is “super close to my heart, after losing my uncle in January 2017.” Now she has her sights set on making 2018 “all about mind, body, and soul.” (March 2018)—Liam Burns, Writing Studies Intern
Bodeline Dautruche ('16) is currently a Master of Science candidate in the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at Northwestern University—Medill. She lists moving to Chicago as a personal milestone.
In her spare time, Bodeline has been writing for a variety of blogs to keep practicing and exploring writing as a career, although she has recently taken a step back from her blog work in order to pursue “a personal project that blends culture and music into a podcast.”
Having built a valuable foundation of knowledge between her days as a Writing & Rhetoric Major at SU and her graduate classes at Northwestern, Bodeline believes she will be a "marketer who thinks ethically. The idea of everything, from words to messages, to design having meaning and conveying a message has helped me in forming ideas of the type of marketing career I want. I truly believe at the basis of everything in society is a good conversation, and in order for it to be good, the conversation should be strong and connect people, brands, etc.” Looking back, she thanks her Writing professors at Syracuse, particularly noting classes with Tony Scott and Krista Kennedy, as they inspired this motivated and conscious mindset as she pursues her professional goals. (February 2018)—Liam Burns, Writing Studies Intern
Mahogany Aminzia, Phelicia Ball, Jessica Bowden, Tiarah Brown, Rosheada Davis, Cassidy Farrelly, Terrance Jones, Aidan Kelley, Julia Mannino, Veronica McCarthy, Brandon Mixson, Joy Muchtar, Ashley Powless, Alexa Roberts, Alexandra Ruiz, Nedda Sarshar, Sakura Tomizawa, Molly Velazquez-Brown, Zoey Woldman, Rachel Young, Annie Zeina. Not pictured: Maria Janos.
Sakura Tomizawa—Outstanding Major Award 2017: "I’m so grateful and honored to have won this award. This award is also really a celebration of all the faculty and staff in the Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies department who provide all these opportunities for their students to thrive and learn! I admire and look up to each and every one of them, and it’s a department that I’m proud to represent. I switched over to the Writing & Rhetoric major my sophomore year.
To be honest, I was feeling a little lost after finishing my freshman year as a film major, and uncertain of what kind of career I wanted to pursue. I chose the Writing and Rhetoric major because I knew I liked to write, but I didn’t feel that majors like journalism or English were really for me. I liked how the major was a broader approach to writing, and that choosing this major didn’t mean that I had to commit to a specific industry of work. Everyone says that writing is crucial in every line of work, so all I was hoping to gain from the Writing and Rhetoric major was some practical writing skills that would help me get a job after college. I sure learned how to write, but I also gained so much more; because of the major’s humanities approach and focus on human culture, the major really helped me become a more reflective, empathetic, and critical thinker—both in and outside the classroom. (May 2017)
After graduating with her BA in Writing and Rhetoric, Rania Kaouadji completed a Masters in New Media Management from Newhouse in 2016. She is currently a Sales Assistant at Complex Networks; she says she is "part of a top-notch sales team, providing support to a team of Account Directors and internal teams to drive revenue through advertising and sponsorship sales. My responsibilities include organizing insertion orders, proposals, and recaps, maintaining workflows with advertising proposals, including providing comScore data and Google Analytics. I work closely with the marketing and advertising operations teams." She adds, "I am working at the top digital media platform for millennials and urban culture, out of college. Doesn’t get better than that!"
Rania's words for current majors: "The Writing Program taught me how to think. It allowed me to tap into my creativity, think beyond the scope, and produce quality work all while defending my thought process. I took a variety of courses that challenged me to develop a unique writing style. My advice to fellow majors is to take advantage of that freedom. Take the time to develop a style that suits you well. Your writing is a part of your brand. Your writing is your thinking. Learn to think." (April 2017)
Mavis Lee (’16) is a currently a first semester student at New York University, pursuing a MS in Publishing, a program that "helps students master the key skills required for success in today’s publishing workplace . . . . focuses on the creative and content development components of the industry, including editing for print and for a wide range of the content-rich digital sites and video, as well as key business functions such as marketing and publicity, sales, and business development."
Among her recent accomplishments, Mavis lists: "Met Mindy Kaling's editor last week, finished George Saunder's new novel in 2 days, and finally learned how to use the dishwasher." She adds, "Huge, huge shout outs to all of the wonderful humans in the department for convincing me that my voice is valid since the first day I walked into HBC. Special thanks to Professor Nordquist for being one of the most patient and encouraging souls on campus. I guess the days spent eating mac and cheese outside of Gifford while catching up on readings are finally paying off because being surrounded by people who share the same dreams as you is the best gift any college grad can receive!" (March 2017)
Sheri Bhirdo (’13) is currently a Marketing Coordinator and Business Development Analyst for Levin Management Corporation. She works directly with the Vice President of Marketing to create unique campaigns and marketing strategies to promote and support the Levin brand and its business goals. She also conducts research, collects data and demographics, and assists in the company's acquisitions and business development.
Sheri has also recently been accepted to NYU's Masters of Social Work program and will attend in the Fall of 2017, studying to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She enjoys Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, yoga, cooking, traveling, and volunteering; she recently traveled to Bali for a yoga retreat and is completing her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. She is also certified to teach Children's Yoga.
"The Writing and Rhetoric major undoubtedly prepared me for the workforce upon graduation. The skills I carried from the classroom to the 'real world' have been tremendously valuable. It has given me the knowledge I so needed to refine my skills and has helped me gain recognition in my current career." (February 2017)
Maura Buckley (’15) is a Literary Agent Assistant at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. "I work with Kelly Sonnack, a literary agent who mainly focuses on children's, middle grade, and YA books. We work together as the intermediaries between authors and publishers, taking in manuscripts and providing some initial editing before selling them to publishing houses. We stay with the authors from the first draft to contract negotiations to cover designs to the finished product, making sure that every step goes smoothly. I use the skills I learned in the Writing and Rhetoric major to help authors hone and polish their manuscripts to make it in the big bad world of publishing. Plus, I get lots of free books, and that's the dream, right?"
Maura says, "I love the Patriots, dance, and horror books. I also love to hike, bike, and get out on boats as much as I can. Since my move to California, I've started to collect sunglasses and fill mason jars with teeny tiny shells. I drove cross country from Boston to San Diego with everything I owned crammed into my tiny 1997 Nissan Maxima. As squished as it was, it was also amazing, so if you get the chance: DO IT!" (January 2017)
When we last heard from Caitlin Heikkila ('09) in November 2013, she was beginning to plan her wedding. She is now happily married to Paul Fusco, with whom she often travels to the Catskills. Together they delight in their cats and foxhound, while Caitlin invents content for her dog's hashtag she has created: #wallacethepup.
At Syracuse, Caitlin was the second recipient of the Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award, and since then she has only become more successful. She won Folio's 30 Under 30 Award in 2015, and she is now the Director of Social Media and Audience Development for DuJour media.
Caitlin’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric at SU has helped her become a force to be reckoned with within the competitive writing world. She recently came back to Syracuse for an event sponsored by the Writing & Rhetoric Student Organization to present, “How to Brand Yourself and Why You Should Do It.” A true testament to the message she presented to students, she has created a professional and highly successful brand of her own, thanks in part to the Writing Major.
The major, she says, helped her “master the art of a getting a point across in a short and concise copy” in order to make something that she refers to as “social-media friendly.” The major also helped her learn how to effectively communicate results from campaigns to new initiatives, and to think critically about the content that is published at DuJour. Eileen Schell said it best herself when she introduced Caitlin at her presentation at Syracuse: “She was branding herself before she even knew what branding was.”
Syracuse University kick-started Caitlin’s success and happiness through academia but also through the relationships she fostered with her professors. She wants to thank Eileen Schell in particular who officiated her wedding: "From writing my WRT255 analysis essay to my wedding vows, I can’t thank her enough for empowering me to let my personality shine through in my writing and to take chances in essay form and in my career path.”
—story by Katy Kawasoe (November 2016)
"I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award. Whenever I tell people I'm a Writing Major, they always say, "Oh, so like English?" I love using that opportunity to explain what the writing major is all about. Writing is a crucial skill for, well, everything. So knowledge of how to write well, and also how to read others' writing well, is essential. I genuinely believe that the Writing Program does incredibly important work. I am so proud to be a part of it." —Morgan Conover
In nominating Morgan Conover for the 2016 Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award, Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition chair Lois Agnew writes, "Her intellectual curiosity and thoughtful engagement with important questions are evident in her coursework. Her work in my WRT 424 course was stellar. She was thoroughly prepared for each class, engaged critically with challenging readings and topics of inquiry, and continually pushed herself as a writer and thinker. She is also an excellent colleague. Her open and generous attitude toward other students helped to foster respectful class discussions and productive peer review sessions. Agnew adds, "In addition to her academic strengths, Morgan has been an important leader in our program. As president of the Writing Program Student Organization*, Morgan has played an extremely important role in maintaining the ongoing vitality of this new group. I am confident that the WPSO has been significantly strengthened as a result of Morgan’s leadership style, and I am confident that she has helped to instill a vision that will sustain the group for many years to come." (September 2016)
Naomi Falk ('14) recently completed her second year as an MFA Candidate in Creative Writing with a focus on nonfiction at Columbia University. Having finished coursework, she will stay one more year to complete her thesis, a collection of essays. She also received a teaching fellowship and will be teaching an undergraduate nonfiction workshop this fall.
Naomi interned at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux this summer, reports that she recently deleted her social media accounts out of rage, and says, "A book I'm loving right now is The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa translated by Sawako Nakayasu."
"Shout outs to Rhinehart, Schell, and Brooke. Wouldn't have been a writer if I wasn't taught that it was a viable option. One thing I retroactively realized about the program was that the classes helped me to understand the hustle of writing. Because I came into my current program with that knowledge, I can ultimately ignore the industry and work on my craft, on what matters to me." (August 2016)
Kortney Kavanagh ('12) is Social Media Coordinator with Brownstoner. "I handle all of our social media accounts, working alongside our editorial team. My main goal is to ensure that our content is fresh and engaging."
She says Brownstoner was launched in 2004 with the goal of "chronicling Brooklyn's rapid evolution through the lens of real estate and renovation. Over time, it has evolved into a media company that handles everything including sponsored content, website creation, and event production for real estate companies."
Kortney says, "Not only did my writing major give me confidence in my abilities, but an array of techniques—in both digital comunication and writing—that have changed my career." She also offers a reading suggestion: "Right now I'm loving the author Hannah Pittard. Readers, check her out!" (August 2016)
Kyle Basedow, Ivy Burruto, AbbyLeigh Charbonneau, Morgan Conover, Bodeline Dautruche, Quinn Fitzpatrick, Caleigh Gran, Arianna Greenbaum, Patrick Griffin, Samantha Harrington, Courtney Hytower, Lauren Keller, Mavis Lee, Matthew Rhodin, Eric Riter, Ian Romaker, Nina Rondon, Madison Schleicher, Nicole Shapiro, John Turner, Tess Wilkerson.
As an Associate Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in the Financial Markets Group of Economic Research department, Timothy Larach ('15) studies clearing and settlement operations in Chicago derivatives exchanges and clearinghouses. "I am responsible for assisting senior economists with their research which can include anything from cleaning Excel spreadsheets to writing long summaries of economic reports."
Timothy, who dual majored in Writing and Rhetoric and Economics at Syracuse, says "There are connections between my work and courses I took in the Writing Program every single day. On a concrete level, some of my responsibilities include helping write Chicago Fed Letters that discuss aspects of the current state of the regional economy. On a more abstract level, learning how to produce and structure coherent arguments has helped immensely in my ability to learn and write code for data analyses. It's weird, but there's a pretty significant connection there. Overall, the Writing Program was a great experience and taught me that writing is about much more than just words on a page." (April 2016)
"In short, I create headlines, descriptions, and manage metadata for content featured on Verizon's new app, go90," says Shanelle Drakeford ('15) of her work as a Digital Content Specialist. "Additionally, I pitch ideas and solutions that pertain to the content, functionality, and user interface of the app. I've contributed to new marketing plans and overall improved the user's experience and knowledge of the app."
Shanelle also reports that her work has been published on VIBE.com and AllHipHop.com and she is currently working on her blog, undertheleather.com.
"There are tons of connections between the courses I took and what I do now. I learned how to be a versatile writer in WRT 308. Tim Dougherty really pushed me to go beyond my comfort level and adapt any writing style. Patrick Berry's WRT 340 really forced me to be a better writer, overall. The heavy editing we did helped me pay more attention to details and mechanics, as well as the content." She adds, "Special shoutout to Lois Agnew for getting me through the four years I spent in the Writing Program." (April 2016)
In her position as Manager of The Center for Academic Success at The Universities at Shady Grove, Mary Gallagher ('08) works in the "academic support center (basically your writing center, tutoring center, learning center, etc. all folded into one department) at a unique institution which serves a 100% transfer student population. Within CAS, I plan, customize, and provide a variety of support services geared to our transfer students, from one-on-one writing consultations to eight-week GRE preparation workshop series. I plan strategic programming and train and supervise student leaders who provide peer-to-peer support, including Writing Fellows, supplemental instruction programs, graduate writing groups, etc. I also lead my department's efforts to quantify our impact through research. It's a healthy mix of strategy and direct service, and lots of fun!"
Mary earned her MA in Bilingual Education from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in May 2014 and recently began an interdisciplinary PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture at UMBC.
The first ever winner of the Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award says, "I absolutely loved my experience in the Writing & Rhetoric major and can't begin to identify all the many ways the faculty and curriculum prepared me for what I do, both in my job and in my new role of PhD student. My career thus far began, quite literally, on my first day of WRT 331. Years later, I've read works in my PhD classes that I read in WRT200 [now WRT 255] , and am so often reminded of philosophies of power and privilege and civic engagement that I tackled in so many of my WRT classes."
Away from work and academics, Mary says, "I have quite possibly the most adorable and well-mannered dog in the history of the the planet, Capone, who enjoys long naps and never-ending belly rubs, as well as a lovable orange tabby cat, Melville. I volunteer as a board member on the Montgomery County Literacy Council and as a grants panelist for the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy. In my (albeit limited) free-time, I enjoy trying out the many wineries and breweries in the Washington, DC area." (March 2016)
Padraic Kane ('15) is currently a graduate student in SU's Media and Education Program, a joint master’s program with Newhouse School Of Public Communications and the School of Education’s Cultural Foundations of Education program.
He also serves as the Academic Consultant for Mentoring Programs, a position in which he works with Office of Multicultural Affairs staff to support the fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program, a "program designed to assist its participants in effectively adjusting to the different challenges of college life . . . . "
Padraic says he "really enjoyed the Writing Program as an undergraduate. It helped me to think more critically about my writing and develop different ways to present it." (February 2016)
Brianna Edgerley-Dallal ('14) is a Proposal and Marketing Writer at Novitex Enterprise Solutions, Inc. She says, "I participate in the writing of all outbound language to ensure it meets compliance and brand standards. I work mostly with sales and technical solution teams to design sales proposals for document management clients."
Of her move from IBM, she says, "Leaving my first full-time job out of college for another company that recruited me was a scary decision. But I decided now is the time to take risks and take on more responsibility in my career to accelerate it further and faster."
Brianna adds, "It is amazing how many writing jobs there are that you wouldn't even think about. The critical thinking I learned in my WRT courses has definitely helped me along the way." (February 2016)
Rose Loren Aschebrock ('15) is an Assistant Editor at Loverly, a website devoted to simplifying the process of wedding planning. Rose writes buzz and celebrity stories as they break in the wedding industry, as well as sponsored content. She also manages Loverly's social syndication relationships and assists in managing their freelance writers.
Rose ran the 2015 New York City Marathon—her first marathon— raising money for the Robin Hood Foundation, a group that fights poverty in NYC. She has recently gotten into pilates and yoga and loves "cooking, reading, and exploring the city."
She also reports, "My boyfriend (who I met at Syracuse!) actually just proposed to me before Thanksgiving." (January 2016)
Emily Gilson ('14) is currently a second year law student at American University Washington College of Law, with interests in international law and intellectual property law and an intern for the US Department of Commerce Office of Intellectual Property Rights.
She says, "The Writing Program definitely taught me how to analyze and see connections between different fields and points of view QUICKLY. I also highly recommend that, regardless of whether or not you decide to go into law, you network and socialize with everyone and anyone—you never know what opportunities may arise!"
Emily lists "long distance running, rookie dodgeball, French, and haute cuisine" among her other interests. (December 2015)
Michelle Polizzi ('14) is a Content Coordinator for a branding and design blog at Brandfolder, a tech startup in Denver. "I oversee all editorial content and frequently conduct interviews with the marketers and designers at top companies like Mapquest, OpenTable, and Suja Juice. I also find time to freelance on the side to build my writing portfolio."
Michelle says that living in Colorado has been a dream. She spends a lot of time outdoors and reports she has seven friends in Denver that she met in Syracuse. She recently completed her first "fourteener," hiking a mountain over 14,000 feet in elevation.
"My next project is to launch a professional website to help showcase my freelance work and search for new opportunities . . . . All of my writing professors had a significant impact on who I have become as a writer and a person. I'd like to say a special thank you to Professor Schell for believing in me and giving me the confidence to pursue a career in writing." (November 2015)
Danielle Kolodkin ('14) is a Sales Support Assistant in the Special Markets department at HarperCollins Publishers. She says, "Working in publishing has always been a dream of mine. With a passion for reading and writing, it is great to work in an industry that values storytelling and the written word."
Danielle adds, "I highly recommend that any Writing and Rhetoric student interested in pursuing a career in publishing take WRT 440 (Community Writing Group) and WRT 340: Intertext. Both of those courses encouraged me to enhance my skills and learn techniques to succeed in the industry. I gained invaluable experiences from these courses and the teachings from Professor Stephen Parks and Professor Patrick Berry."
Danielle currently lives in New York City. (November 2015)
Since we last heard from Kylie Daniels-Diehl ('14), she has been promoted twice from Account Coordinator to Junior Account Executive and recently to Account Executive at Creative Media Marketing.
"I work with eight beauty and lifestyle clients . . . client communication, event planning, securing placements for my clients in long and short lead media, broadcast and regional publications. I write every single day, whether it's a creative pitch to get media coverage, a press release, or just every day client engagement.
"I've recently had the opportunity to rescue two kittens from an animal adoption center; they're brother & sister, named Cooper & Elle, and they're adorable.
"Taking a variety of writing courses at SU really helped shape my writing portfolio. Branch out! Knowing how to write a creative piece when needed and then a memo the next day is an extremely desired skill in the real world—trust me!" (October 2015)
Chelsea DeBaise ('14) is a Development Coordinator for the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.
"I work in the development office of the NAUDL, a nonprofit that focuses on bringing top notch debate leagues to urban, low-income school districts. I help fundraise, research and write grant proposals, event plan, and create newsletters, flyers, anything the organization might need."
Chelsea calls herself a "civil rights activist, avid home cook, jazz singer, and lover of comic books and graphic novels" and considers moving to Chicago a personal milestone.
"I was actually offered the job because the organization was impressed with my writing background, and they needed someone in the development office with a strong written voice. I absolutely credit the Writing Program with my current job!" (October 2015)
Joanna Rozansky ('10) is a Brand Associate Manager at Tumblr—a first-of-its-kind position in the organization. As the title implies, she manages Brand Associates, a group she describes as supporting "the Tumblr Sales team from pre-sale to post-sale. We also work with the Creative teams, Marketing, and AdOps to develop strategies to sell through deals, manage active campaigns, and also act as key players providing necessary audience/data insights throughout the entire process."
When we last heard from Joanna in 2013, she had recently packed up her life in Manhattan and moved to California. Now, she's reversed that process and moved—just this week—back to NYC to join Tumblr's NY office.
"I still find so much value in the courses I took at Cuse, especially the integration of the digital age and how much impact that has on business, language, and communication." (September 2015)
Charlotte Horton ('14) is an Executive Assistant with Mitch Schneider Organization, a music PR firm in Sherman Oaks, CA. Her focus is on their EDM clients—deadmau5, HARD Events, Destructo, Steve Aoki, Above & Beyond, Electric Zoo: Transformed, Adventure Club, Beatport.
"Working in PR has been quite the shift from the music journalism type stuff I did in college but has truly been a dream come true. I send out press releases on our clients' upcoming EPs and tours, network with journalists, attend client shows, and all the odds & ends related to making sure our artist is in the public eye and being talked/written about. PR is all about relationships and being able to tell/sell a story.
"I would like to thank the entire Writing Program for preparing me as not only a writer, but for giving me the opportunities to explore the things I have found my passions in throughout my college career. Particular shout outs are necessary for Prof. Stephen Parks and Prof. Patrick Berry.” (July 2015)
After completing a 6-month Digital Marketing and Communications Internship with the Fiesta Bowl Dan Kitchen (’14) accepted a position with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February.
As a Public Relations Associate, Dan is responsible for writing and editing content for the media guide and press releases; producing player auxiliary bios, lineup sheets, and game notes for media personnel and on-air talent; managing credentialing; monitoring media coverage; coordinating player and coach interviews; drafting and editing daily media clips for all Dodgers staff; and updating roster sheets and daily training schedules. He also manages LA Dodgers special events (including autograph signings and community events).
Dan says he misses being on campus, but adds, "I moved out here to LA after Spring Training ended and love it!" (June 2015) —Kyle Basedow, WP intern
Maryann Akinboyewa, Rose Loren Aschebrock, Zachary Auerbach, Maura Buckley, Roland Cody, Andre Douglas, Shanelle Drakeford, Camille Francis, Emily Goldberg, Akili Humphrey, Alec Jacobson, Tevion Johnson, Padraic Kane, Rania Kaouadji, Renata Kleifgen, Tim Larach, Abby Louisa Legge, Victoria Luyckx, Hanna Mallette, Danielle Martin, Johnathan McClintick, Ben McCrone, Chamelia Moore, Yevgeniya Muravyova, Gilmarie Perea-Ruiz, Christiana Pigott, Olivia Schultz, Emily Scribe, Katrina Sotiropoulos, Michaela Thorley, TJ Tree, Eric Weyand. Not pictured: Kelsey Laing.
Al Ortiz (’09) writes media advisories, press releases, CEO remarks, web news stories, and more in his position as Assistant Vice President, Corporate Communications Specialist, at BBVA Compass Bank in Houston. Outside of the office, Al follows his Dallas Cowboys, competes in barbecue competitions (he recently reached finals for sauce), enjoys his dogs Brisket and Delilah, and recently completed the San Antonio Rock and Roll Full Marathon.
"I owe so much to the Writing Program at SU. Every day at work, I think about who my audience is, how my writing will connect with them, and how I can present my product to get them to care about what I'm saying. The Writing Program opens up a lot of doors in different fields. I especially want to thank Dr. Lois Agnew, who not only was one of the most influential professors I had at Syracuse, but who I still list as a professional reference. Take any class you can that she's teaching, writing majors. You won't regret it." (April 2015)
During her Masters program in Public Relations at Newhouse, Candice Celestin ('10) interned with the United States Department of Agriculture office in Syracuse; she has now been with the USDA for 4 years, and her current title is Public Affairs Director.
"I oversee all internal and external communications for our New York offices. While I was working in Syracuse, it was my writing skills that lead me to opportunities in the DC office. I was detailed to assist senior leadership with talking points, speech writing and media relations on a national level. It is a phenomenal opportunity that allows me to use my writing degree."
"As a Writing major, I had no idea what was in my future or the level to which my degree would make a difference. Today, I can proudly say that I am public servant using writing as a tool to deliver powerful speeches through some of today's most influential people." Working in both Syracuse and Washington, Candice lives in the DC area. (April 2015)
As an Assistant Editor for Springer Science+Business Media, Hayley Kang (’13), is the primary development/ managing editor for four review article journal titles. "I'm responsible for these journals from the initial signed contract to the final online publication. Much of my time is spent coordinating between researchers and practitioners and acquiring new content for my four titles.
Huge thanks to Professor Berry and Professor Brooke! Both of their classes were intensely relevant as I'm currently working in online-only publications which require aptitude with writing and technology as well as well-rounded knowledge of the publication process from start to finish."
Hayley lists navigating a career change, moving to Philadelphia, and buying a new car among her personal milestones. (March 2015)
Alexander Nelson's ('14) job, as a Proposal Writer for IBM, calls for him to edit business documents for potential clients. He says he writes in a prescribed style that adheres to specific language restrictions, but after that may personalize the prose, providing it stays on message.
“Most of the job is editing work, which I enjoy. I see many connections between my current job role and WRT 307. My advice to writing majors is . . . to befriend professors because they are incredible resources.
I'd like to give a shout out to Patrick Berry, Lois Agnew, Steve Parks, Ben Erwin, and Molly Voorheis!” Alexander recently moved to within commuting distance of NYC. When he isn’t working, he likes to listen to live music, watch baseball, read, and "write a bit on the side." (March 2015) —Kyle Basedow, WP intern
Paola Benevento (’13), recently completed her Masters in Elementary Inclusive Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and is a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher in the Bronx.
"My studies in rhetoric and writing are at use in my daily life. The analytical skills the WP helped me develop influence how I view the things around me in society (thank you, Emily Dressing! :))"
She adds, "Having a strong background in writing helped immensely in graduate school and continues to be a key asset in my professional work. Many professors in the WP, especially Kevin Browne, helped me infuse and blend my interests in society (race, social justice, African American studies, and education) with writing. I aim to do the same with my 5th graders; helping them express themselves and their interests so that their writing is representative of them." (February 2015)
As a writer and editor for College Spun, Dan Lyons (’12) says he is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work in an industry that allows him to combine his love of sports with writing. He describes College Spun as "a start up college sports website that specializes in covering football and basketball with a distinct social media bent."
"Through the Writing Program, I really feel that I was able to tap into my creativity and explore different styles and strategies for writing pieces. I think that the diverse experiences and breadth of courses offered in the major helped me become a much more well-rounded writer and has served me well so far in my career."
Dan recently moved from his home in Stamford, Connecticut to New York City, which he says has been a personal goal for some time. (February 2015)
As a Proposal Writer at IBM, Brianna Edgerley-Dallal (’14) works within the supply chain and sales group to write proposals for potential clients outlining IBM's solutions to their needs.
Brianna also majored in Entrepreneurship and Retail Management and says, "Because what I'm doing is very business and tech heavy, my business school background supports my work, BUT all the foundations of how to write, write fast and well, comes from the WP and has made this job transition much easier than I originally thought it would. A tip for anyone going into corporate writing: learn grammar, these people are the definition of grammar Nazis."
Brianna says she's been reading a lot, "It's amazing how much time you have when not doing homework. I am also getting back into biking, baking, and cooking. And I have recently started teaching myself to crochet." (January 2015)
As an Editorial Associate, Katie Richards (’14) writes for Adweek and is in charge of putting together a daily news roundup and for assigning and editing freelancer posts.
"My other responsibility is to pitch exciting story ideas for the Advertising & Branding vertical and write up posts that will interest our readers."
She says she feels very lucky to have the opportunity to combine her love of writing with her interest in advertising. The WP, Katie says, "gives you this amazing gift of allowing you to draw connections in your courses to things that you value and care about. So find that thing that gets you fired up and let it shine through in your writing. And take advantage of your professors for advice and guidance. They are the most invaluable resource that you'll have at SU, and they know what they're talking about!" (January 2015)
Naomi Falk (’14) has recently begun the two-year MFA program in Creative Writing at Columbia with a focus on nonfiction, and she has started work on a compilation of short pieces. "I don't think I would have been able to get into any of these writing programs without the 'Cuse Writing Program." She adds, "Grad school is wonderful! I get to read and write, and read and write more, which is all I've ever wanted to do anyway."
Living on the Upper West Side, Naomi says, "is a far cry from Seattle. I think living here is giving me a new perspective on the Pacific Northwest . . . . In my free time, I keep a notebook of endless amounts of ideas for short Noir-type fiction." Naomi also recently became a Nonfiction Board Member for Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. (December 2014)
David Swenton (’14) is currently pursuing a Juris Doctorate at the Wake Forest University School of Law. "On my first day of law school, my legal writing professor said, 'Lawyers are first and foremost writers.' I firmly believe my experience in the Writing Program has fully prepared me for my coursework and for the writing-intensive career that lies ahead of me." He says, "A special shoutout to Professors Agnew, Berry, and Howard. I miss being your student more than words can express.”
David adds, "I have successfully adapted to life as a Yankee in the South. As much as I miss Syracuse, I'm going to enjoy the winters down here immeasurably. When my nose isn't buried in my casebooks, I like to spend time golfing and writing for fun." (December 2014)
In August, Taylor Baker (’14) began her first year as a Juris Doctorate student at the New England School of Law in Boston. Taylor is interested in health law and malpractice and hopes to one day represent a hospital. She says her dream is to practice internationally, working in civil rights in South Africa.
As a senior at SU, Taylor interned at the Elliot Stern Calabrese, LLP, law firm in Rochester, NY, where she became familiar with a range of legal specializations; she will intern with them again this year while continuing her studies.
To Writing and Rhetoric majors, Taylor says, "Take risks. Get outside of your comfort zone. Be daring in your research and writing. Always be passionate and genuine in whatever you're creating." (November 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern)
As an Assistant Editor at Skyhorse Publishing, Amy Li (’13) is currently editing cooking, lifestyle, and health and fitness titles. She spends her days communicating with authors and literary agents and acting as a liaison between authors and other departments (publicity, production, sales, etc.). She is also working to acquire additional titles, most recently a pop-history book on the Tudor Dynasty. She says she is eager to see Skyhorse "grow bigger and better in the near future."
Amy says, "My experience as a writing major has been invaluable. Being able to write well is so important in every job, but it is especially important for an editor to have a firm command of the English language, and my courses and professors in the Writing Program have played a vital part in my understanding of language and style." (November 2014)
After graduation, Jalisa Wright ('13) applied to TNTP Academy, a "national nonprofit committed to ending the injustice of educational inequality," which prepared her for her current work at Langston Hughes Academy in New Orleans. She currently teaches 5th and 6th grade social studies in which "literacy and close reading are the main objectives." She says, "I teach literacy: the ability to read and write. What's most rewarding about what i do is knowing the impact of my work."
Jalisa cites the move from New York City to New Orleans as a milestone in her life, saying "NOLA is truly a city of expression." She credits WRT 307 (Professional Writing) and her internship—which exposed her to the demands of the classroom—as particularly helpful in her current career. (October 2014)
Kylie Daniels-Diehl (14’) says she “absolutely loves” her job as an Account Coordinator for Creative Media Marketing, a beauty PR firm in NYC. "I write every single day in my job—[the major has] helped me in more ways than I can count. To be taken seriously and represent yourself well, it's very important to know how to effectively communicate. I email editors of very well known magazines and blogs daily; to gain a response from them, I have to know how to write and what type of writing the situation calls for."
Kylie has just moved into her first NYC apartment and plans to start writing her own blog soon. To current writing students she says, “don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Take a variety of classes. You want to be well rounded when it's time for the real world.” (October 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern
Ally Abrams (’12) is the Marketing Communications Manager for the Sponsor Finance group with GE Capital in Chicago. Ally’s days are spent writing press releases, managing web content for their external sites, creating print and digital advertisements, planning events, and pitching stories to key media outlets.
Ally says, “It was not emphasized enough in school that writing is a major part of any job. Being able to effectively communicate ideas, needs, message, etc. to others is a core skill.”
In the near future Ally hopes to ace her GREs and be accepted to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, enabling her long-time goal: "become the Chief Marketing Officer and change private equity lending through predictive analytics!" (September 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern
In our November 2011 update, Andrew Farah (’09) and his three partners had just created a mobile web application agency Rounded. Rounded has just turned three, has nine full-time staff based in Syracuse, and is launching new offices in San Francisco for its newly developed mobile application company Density.
Density is a counting app that monitors the number of people that travel through a door or enter a room and then generates the accompanying analytics and predictions.
As CEO of Density, Andrew will be one of the Rounded partners making the permanent move to San Francisco with his wife Dori and dog Indiana Jones to open new Density offices. Andrew and his wife are looking forward to the move, which they plan to road-trip, making sightseeing stops along the way. (September 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern
Alesha Davis (’13) is pursuing a 3-year graduate degree at Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut. She accepted a scholarship from Quinnipiac over other schools because it offered her "an intimate classroom environment with accessible professors, great externships, clinics and fellowship opportunities."
Alesha is interested in corporate media entertainment law and family law—specifically marital law. She continues to be passionate about writing, saying "always be honest with yourself and your audience, say what you mean and mean what you say."
When not studying, Alesha has been taking trips to the homes of family and friends in Miami and Atlanta, and she hopes to visit Texas and Jamaica soon. (August 2014) —Rose Aschebrock and Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP interns
Braden Becker (‘11) is currently an editor for Skyword, a Boston-based content marketing firm that matches “brands with writers who specialize in industry news that these businesses can publish to improve their exposure online.”
Braden also enjoys his involvement in health and wellness. “Distance running is as much a passion now as when I was on SU's cross country and track teams, and I hope to eventually establish a byline in that fitness field. I'd be thrilled to combine a voice in health with a full-time gig in the big leagues such as WIRED or Google.” Braden has made his debut in marathon distance running in the NYC Marathon. He tells us, “Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is my next goal, but it shouldn't be a problem.” (July 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern
After earning her Master's degree in Inclusive Special Education from SU, Veronica Boehm ('11), was hired by Homer Central School District in Central New York. She is currently a Special Educator at Homer Junior High, where she teaches English Language Arts and Math courses with two Resource sections.
Veronica tells us, "My writing degree has enabled me to produce quality Individualized Education Programs for my students, communicate effectively with parents and teachers, and share my love of writing with my ELA students on a daily basis."
Veronica is also recently engaged and planning to be married next summer in Vero Beach, Florida, near her hometown of Melbourne.(June 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern
Taylor Baker, Alara Basul, Stefanee Brody, Lindsay Cameron, Kylie Daniels-Diehl, Chelsea DeBaise, Brianna Edgerly-Dallal, George Edinger, Naomi Falk, Sara Freund, Sam Funk, Emily Gilson, Charlotte Horton, Ceasia King, Dan Kitchen, Danielle Kolodkin, Emily Latainer, Annie Licata, Samantha Mangovski, Kali Mehrotra, Alexander Nelson, Teresa Nigolian, Michelle Polizzi, Katie Richards, David Swenton, Katherine Tull, Nicky Zamoida.
Since we last spoke to Cory Ferreira (‘09), he has started a new job with Nielsen Catalina Solutions as a business development manager. He provides data consultation to Apple and Facebook as it pertains to their advertising platforms. “It's been fun to try more of the commercial side of things instead of doing pure marketing and brand management as I was at my last company.”
Cory still aspires to have his own company someday, hopefully in the not so distant future. “One of the best parts about my current job is that I get to network with senior execs at top internet companies, which will be super useful when I finally do take the plunge and commit full time to my own gig.” Until then, Cory is enjoying learning about how the web functions commercially as well as developing a strategic consulting skill set. (April 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern
Mary Dickinson Jensen (’13) is currently working for GEAR UP as a mentor at Skyview High School in Vancouver, WA. Her primary work includes assisting English and science teachers with their classes, tutoring students, and working to help students to succeed in high school while preparing for college.
Mary says that being a Writing major has given her the skills to teach both English and technology classes. Outside of the classroom, Mary works freelance web design jobs and plans to start a web design certification program next fall. She is also active as the Vice President of Events for the Stumptown Orange Alumni Club in Portland, Oregon. Current and upcoming events include March Madness watch parties, April day of service, and Kentucky Derby party at Portland Meadows horse track. (April 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern
After interning at Writers House, Marina Charny ('11)was hired at Hilsinger-Mendelson, a boutique literary public relations firm that handles book campaigns for writers like Suzanne Somers, Harry Evans, Reggie Jackson, and Erin Brockovich. Marina began as a publicity assistant and has been promoted to publicist, working one-on-one with clients and media. She is also a contributing writer for Racked NY, which covers fashion news, sales, and store openings in the NYC area.
Marina writes, “In an industry as competitive and crazy as PR, a good writer gets ahead of the game . . . . We live in a highly visual, fast-paced, 140-character society, and you have to always work at finding the best way to put your ideas right out there in a relevant and provocative way.” (March 2014)
AJ Willingham ('09) has recently been to LA to cover the Daytime Emmys and to New Orleans to cover the NBA All Star game for HLNtv.com. Since we last spokewith her, she has taken on a role in expanding HLN and CNN’s social media presence; she helps handle social media initiatives such as live-tweeting events and arranging promotional opportunities.
AJ's work is regularly featured on CNN.com, and she still covers everyday "feel good" news, such as animal stories, military news, and everyday heroes for HLNtv. She tells us, "Sometimes I get a lot of weird stuff when I Google my name. It's pretty cool."
AJ also has big plans for the future: "I live in Atlanta, just bought a brand new truck, and am getting married in May." (March 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern
Roxanne Bocyck (’10) has founded Back To School, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that offers customized safety training for school transportation departments. Profits from the organization help adults go “back to school” to continue their education.
As a part-time student through University College, Roxanne was inspired by the stories of many of her classmates who, like her, returned to school to continue their education as adults. She writes, “These stories, along with my passion for education and how it helped me to learn so much about myself, made me want to help others, and [they are] part of the reason I started the not-for-profit.”
Roxanne is also currently working on a book about her experiences. (February 2014)
Freelance and editing positions have kept Brooke Leone (‘13) busy since graduation. She manages the websites of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the Belhurst Estate Winery. Brooke also writes for Seattle Backpackers Magazine. Brooke says, “In both my freelance and internship positions, I constantly use techniques and tools I learned from the Writing Program . . . . All of the digital media courses (Digital Writing, Intertext, Digital Identities) I took play a huge part in my career thus far.” Brooke suggests that Writing & Rhetoric majors take a variety of writing courses: “the media world is constantly changing and you never know what will be useful!”
Brooke has also recently accepted a full-time postion as a Brand Strategist with Terakeet, and we hope to get an update on her work there in the near future. (February 2014)
As an Assistant Media Buyer and Planner with Crowley Webb in Buffalo, NY, Samantha Stark (’11) works as part of a team to create and implement media plans for advertisements. Sam also blogs on the company’s site. Sam writes, “My background in writing and rhetoric and my time spent as an intern for the Writing Program landed me an editing internship at a start-up news company right out of college; this experience . . . landed me a full-time job in public relations at Cantor Fitzgerald; this experience helped to land my current position. I don’t know if I’ll end up in Buffalo forever, but right now I am enjoying the festivals on the waterfront, the great food, and the kind and warm-hearted people.”(January 2014)
2012 Outstanding Major Benjamin Zender just completed his first semester in an MA PhD program in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric at UMass Amherst. He is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies.
As part of his acceptance to the program, Benjamin received funding for seven years as a Teaching Associate, as well as a Herrington-Moran Fellowship that reduced his teaching load for his first year. This fall Benjamin taught College Writing 112, in which he worked to help first-year students understand that they were already writers with writing fluency across multiple contexts.
Benjamin lives in Northampton, MA and is learning the banjo. (January 2014)
- Stephanie Belk Prats ('09) recently celebrated her third year as the Senior Spanish Editor for Stylesight, a global trend forecasting company that serves professionals in the style, fashion, and design sectors.
Working in New York City since 2010, Stephanie edits and translates fashion-focused trend reports, marketing content, newsletters, and press releases for an international client base.
Stephanie also produces trend topics, updates content on social media sites, and curates content on the Spanish live site. In additon, she maintains a style guide to set branding and language standards, manages and assigns work to freelance editors, and trains new employees. (December 2013)
- Allison Clark ('13) is the in-house graphic designer for Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY, where she designs ads, t-shirts, and other materials for the adjoining Ommegang store and café.
Though she works primarily with design, Allison reports that her work with Writing and Rhetoric has been an asset in both landing and performing her job: “During literally every single interview . . . the potential employer has been impressed by the fact that I was a Writing major. I don't say this to brag, but to emphasize just how important it is for people in ANY profession to know how to write.”
This summer Allison spent a month tutoring in South Africa with an organization called Inkululeko. She hopes to continue this work by tutoring writing in her spare time. (December 2013)
- Caitlin Heikkila (Outstanding Major, 2009) has been busy since we last caught up with her in 2010. In December 2012, Caitlin opened her own content and community-building agency , Social Spoon. The agency provides social media content, web writing, event production, and community building strategy for lifestyle brands like Bed Bath & Beyond, Necessary Clothing, and LURK Beauty.
Living and working in Brooklyn, Caitlin continues to write for her own site, Becoming Brooklyn, as well as contribute to Brooklyn Styled and Blend About. She reports, “My local audience has grown and I've had a lot of opportunities to report on new restaurants and the Brooklyn food scene, as well as travel for food events like the Austin Food and Wine Festival.”
Caitlin is engaged to Paul Fusco, and the two are planning a June 2014 wedding. (November 2013)
Imani Wimberly ('13) is pursuing an M.S. in Higher Education at Syracuse University. After completing his master’s, he hopes to work in a setting where he can help underrepresented groups stay in college and earn their diplomas. Imani’s long-term goals include working as a high school administrator.
“The Higher Education program is very rich with writing so getting my bachelor’s degree in Writing & Rhetoric has put me at an advantage,” writes Imani. “Being a Writing & Rhetoric major gives me a leg up on some of the students in my cohort who haven't written papers . . . in their given undergrad majors. Also the work ethic from the Writing Program taught me a lot in how to handle my graduate course load. I have a lot of reading and I can manage it fairly well because of the strategies I learned when handling my undergrad reading load.” (November 2013)
2011 Outstanding Major Kuan Luo has recently left a position at The Washington Post to move to Brooklyn and work with a small group of seven passionate folks on Grand St., a curated marketplace for creative technology and electronics.
"I write with pixels, grids and typography most of the time." Kuan is responsible for all of the visual design and information architecture work for the website and the mobile app. The Android app, which was launched in June, has been recognized by Google and many other sites for its innovation and ease of use.
Kuan writes, “I am the solo designer in the company, and I do everything related with visuals . . . . Aside from making things look good, I also work on projects that are rather invisible—I am involved in building the company's design-centric culture by implementing weekly design meetings and encouraging everyone to sketch and bring ideas to the table.” (October 2013)
Since we last caught up with Brandon Linn (’10), he has moved to Philadelphia and completed a certificate in human resource management. Brandon currently works as the Human Resources Representative for St. Luke’s Physician Group, a network of 115 medical offices.
Brandon explains that his work in Writing & Rhetoric has been an asset in his field: “Companies are looking for quality corporate communicators. As an HR professional I am dealing with talent management and finding cutting edge ways to attract and retain human capital. My writing skills have come in handy when I am analyzing resumes or applications to determine how candidates match up with company needs. I know that my. . . experiences in this incredible major will take me very far.”
Brandon is still playing music and collecting vinyl records, and he writes that he has “finally given in to attempting (and now loving) yoga.” (October 2013)
Olivia Tormenta ('13) was recently hired as an account coordinator at Rubenstein Associates, Inc. in Manhattan, where she works in the Real Estate Group and assists with media research and outreach, presentations, and project coordination. Her job includes everything from writing pitches to compiling client reports, building media lists, and proofreading press material.
Olivia loves working in the fast-paced world of PR, and she says that “being a good writer/editor is essential for establishing an influential voice and sending a powerful message to the public.”
“I always planned on using my writing background to break into the communications industry,” Olivia writes, “and it really has been so helpful in every aspect of what I'm doing now. Having a liberal arts degree gave me competitive leverage among other applicants and an invaluable foundation for my future and career plans.” (September 2013)
After a year with City Year in Baton Rouge, Meghan Donohue ('12) is back for a second year and a new level of challenge and responsibility. She is serving as a Team Leader in a middle school, where she will provide leadership, guidance, and support. In addition to her work with students, Meghan regularly contributes to the City Year Baton Rouge Blog.
"Writing and Rhetoric is a terrific foundation, and it just so happened to lead me down the path of teaching . . . . My professors in the Writing Program modeled leadership, student engagement strategies, and approachability . . . constructing safe spaces for me to take creative (and often unconventional) risks in my academic and personal communication."
Meghan says she is "taking full advantage of the Louisiana seasons: Mardi Gras, Football Season, and Crawfish Season." She has also adopted a stray kitten and named him after one of her favorite basketball players, Charles Barkley. (September 2013)
As a Communications Specialist at the Syracuse Rescue Mission, Amanda E. Rockwell ('13) is a member of the marketing team—an integral part of its development efforts—and is responsible for the written material that represents the organization to the community, donors, and potential clients. "To be a part of an organization like the Rescue Mission that serves the most vulnerable members of our community is truly inspirational. I am grateful to the Writing Program for arming me with the ability to effectively communicate the amazing work that is being done right here in Syracuse, where I grew up."
Outside of work Amanda is working on her personal writing and enjoys camping and hiking. She is currently planning a September wedding. Her advice to Writing and Rhetoric majors: "Be confident that the right career is waiting for you!" (August 2013)
As a freelance assistant at Detailsmagazine, Lauren Tousignant (‘12) writes for the Daily Details Blog and assists the Style Director, Market Director, and Market Editor. On weekends, she takes classes in improv and sketch writing at The People's Improv Theatre.
Lauren says, “I can't express how beneficial WRT 331 and 430 have been, particularly in my improv and sketch writing classes. The brainstorming, expansion, and editing techniques I learned there and afterwards while working in the Writing Center, I apply to all my draft sketches and stand-up pieces. I will forever rave about how much better a writer I became while working in the WC."
Though Lauren lives in New York City, she still keeps Syracuse close: “I still bleed orange and frequent the sports bars downtown whenever the Orange are on TV." (July 2013)
As a medical student at the University of Nebraska, Margaret Spinosa ('12) says that life in medical school is "Digest. Memorize. Repeat, repeat, repeat."
The Writing Major, she says, "is a versatile toolbox that gives you what you need to navigate real world situations where communication is imperative. Employment and graduate studies are often painfully focus specific. My suggestion: take in all that you can, especially with regards to the breadth of the courses offered. And most importantly, enjoy your time in the WP. Learn with all the effort you can muster and relish in having a space for discourse and dialogue. You may not get the chance to do so again." Among her personal milestones since graduation, Margaret lists moving halfway across the country, making bread pudding, and discovering the "hot, spicy condiment goodness of Tabasco sauce for the first time." (June 2013)
Charles Akinboyewa, Alyssa Austin, Paola Benevento, Sheri Bhirdo, Jayme Brown, Allison Clark, Alesha Davis, Mary Dickinson Jensen, Shelby Epps, Nicole Fair, Tenaysia Fox, Hayley Kang, Matthew Kovac, Heather LaPeer, Brooke Leone, Amy Li, Jamie Peraza, Brianna Sander, bottom row: Jillian Siegel, Red Thomas, Olivia Tormenta, Jordan Walker, Imani Wimberly, Jalisa Wright, Rachel Zaporowski, Brittany Zar
Jocelyn Baird (’10) is a copywriter and editorial assistant for Virtucom Group, a full-service publishing and strategy company that creates custom content for clients, in Syracuse.
"I strongly suggest all WP students take advantage of the internship opportunities. My internship with SU Press put me ahead of the competition because it gave me real professional experience in the working world—something you can't duplicate in the classroom . . . . I also think [WRT 307] is a course that every writing major should take."
Jocelyn has also been writing fiction and working on a collection of essays that she hopes to put together as a memoir. She is also training to run a 5K. (April 2013)
Since we last heard from Francesca Merwin (’11), she has completed her Engagement Fellowship and moved to Rhode Island, where she now serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. In this one-year position, Francesca works as Assistant Director of First Star URI Academy, an innovative college prep program for foster youth. Her job includes working on the academy’s four-year plan, collecting data, maintaining regular check-ins with the high school students, recruiting, and advertising.
Francesca hopes to continue with social justice/nonprofit work once she completes her AmeriCorps year in June. Though she misses Syracuse, Francesca says that she is in love with Rhode Island, where she lives with her boyfriend, Alex, and their foster dog, MoMo. (April 2013)
Former Outstanding Major Kim Wolfe (’10) was married in July, moved to Brooklyn in August, and is now working at Hudson Guild as a Youth Leadership Development Specialist with Teen Services.
Kim’s position includes working with high school and GED students on resumes, cover letters, and job and college applications. She also develops dialogue and leadership initiatives, and her most current project focuses on providing tools to students in a Manhattan high school that is being phased out due to not meeting academic standards.
Life in the city is exciting with many great opportunities, Kim says. She is currently applying to grad school for Public Administration with a focus on Education Policy and hopes to begin in the fall. (March 2013)
As a graduate student at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, Cassie White (’11) is pursuing a degree in Public Administration/Sports Administration. She plans to graduate in December.
In addition to going to school full-time, Cassie also works as an administrator at Hockessin Soccer Club, a nonprofit youth soccer organization, where she enjoys handling registration, communications, sponsorship, and fundraising, as well as co-leading soccer tournaments.
Cassie hopes to work in collegiate athletics after she completes her degree. She lives in Delaware and is recently engaged to SU alum and Newhouse graduate student Griff Graves. (March 2013)
As a graduate student in Communication Studies & Rhetoric at Baylor University, Jaclyn Bissell (’10) is working on a thesis that examines the intersection between the rhetoric of public memory and tourism studies. She plans to begin a PhD in the same field this fall and looks forward to a career in academia.
Jaclyn also serves as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Rhetoric & Public Affairs, spends time working on articles for submission to various communications journals, and researches new public memory projects. Jaclyn was recently engaged and is planning a wedding for Fall 2013. She quilts, knits, is "still a rabid Orange basketball fan," and enjoys spending time with her border collie/husky, Kodah. (February 2013)
Update: 3/8/13: Jaclyn reports that she has successfully defended her masters thesis—"Public Memory, Tourism, and Galveston’s Selective Heritage: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Elissa"—and will begin Phd work at the University of Maryland in the fall.
Josh Albert (’12) is working as an advertising sales manager for Harrison Scott Publications, a mid-sized financial news organization. In his position, he manages the advertising sales for a weekly newsletter called Hedge Fund Alert. Josh lives in the East Village in New York City and enjoys a “reverse commute” to Hoboken, NJ every day.
“I am really happy with where I ended up following graduation,” Josh writes. “I am enjoying working for a small news organization and learning about how that process works.”
Josh’s brother Greg was recently accepted to SU, and Josh is excited to return to campus to visit him next year. (February 2013)
Currently working in the editorial department at The Root, "the leading online source of news and commentary from an African-American perspective," Celeste Little ('09) writes primarily about African American television, music, and culture.
Since earning her Master's in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism in 2011 and moving back to NYC, Celeste has also worked for CBS Eye Productions, mediabistro.com, and The Jersey Journal, where she had a front page story published.
Outside of work, Celeste volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NY and has taken up running. Of her time in the Writing Program, she says it was "definitely a joy."(January 2013)
Looking for "a little more sand, a little less concrete," Joanna Rozansky ('10) left NYC behind last summer and made the jump to southern California, where she is now an Account Manager with CitizenNet, a startup company developing software tools that optimize Facebook advertising campaigns.
Of her work she says, "Basically I'm the client lead across a few different accounts/brands/ studios, . . . but at a startup, so I wear many hats!"
"It's so funny, whenever I talk about our major (and all the digitally-related components), everyone is really so impressed Cuse was already moving in that direction . . . it's so valuable now . . . can't believe it was already 3+ years ago." (January 2013)
As Director of Marketing for green technology distributor Energy Squad, Soriana Stern (’12) blogs, shoots and edits videos, and manages web and social media for Energy Squad and for partner company, Bethesda Systems.
Though Soriana didn’t always see herself working with green technology, she is really enjoying the job, learning the industry, and considering pursuing an MBA to expand her qualifications and training in project management.
Soriana credits her experience in the Writing Program with much of her success, noting the influence of Kevin Browne, Krista Kennedy, George Rhinehart, and other teachers: “The major has taught me to see in a different way. Because of this, I can communicate out of the box, and it's really been working. I am loving my life right now, and I definitely wouldn't be where I am and who I am if it weren't for the major.”(December 2012)
In her work as legal assistant for Berger and Green, a Social Security Disability law firm, Julie Nascone ('12) reviews potential cases to find good candidates for the firm to assist in obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, and she serves as a liaison between clients and the firm during the process, from the initial hearing to the final decision.
Julie writes, "Most of what I do is interact with potential clients and clients—all things that working with students in the Writing Center has helped prepare me to do! It's definitely not something I expected to be doing when I started college three years ago, but I absolutely love that at the end of the day I get to go home feeling like I made a difference in my clients' lives."(December 2012)
Sable Nerette ('10) recently completed a fellowship in which she worked as a Writing Center Director and teacher at North Lawndale College Prep High School in Chicago.
The work was challenging but rewarding, Sable says. "I had to create a culture/ atmosphere of writing . . . . I had to persuade inner city students who lacked resources beneficial for their academic growth that writing was a necessity." Her position also included teaching students how to be peer coaches, helping to produce literary magazines, organizing poetry slams and writing contests, and coordinating university visits.
With the completion of her internship, Sable is working outside academia and devoting time to her music, which she describes as "neo soul, r&b, hip hop, and lyrical." (November 2012)
A Communications Specialist in the Communications Leadership Development Program at GE Capital, Ally Abrams ('12) is currently serving the first of three eight-month rotations and working with organizational communications in Norfolk, Connecticut.
Ally works to support communications for various campaigns and initiatives, drive usage of new digital tools to engage employees, and showcase GE Capital's corporate citizenship via social media, intranet, and video. Ally has received three Above and Beyond awards for her work to date.
"In my role, innovation is encouraged," Ally writes. "It's exciting to work with so many talented people to come up with new and better ways of doing things." (November 2012)
Despite several scholarship offers to top 20 law schools, Eugene Park ('11) decided to take a year off from that goal to get some work experience. He considers that decision a personal milestone.
He says, "My writing degree and the skills I learned as a writing major were instrumental in my being offered a job—seven days after graduation—and succeeding at my current position as Editorial Associate at MindEdge Inc."
Eugene also started a pre-law blog to provide tips, guidance, and current news regarding the law school application process and the legal profession. He is in the process of reapplying to law schools this fall. (October 2012)
Veronica Boehm (’11) was recently one of 18 graduate students accepted into SU School of Education's Syracuse Urban Inclusive Resident Teacher program. She is currently working as a full-time resident teacher at Hughes Middle School and will be at Nottingham High School in the spring, while taking classes at night.
Veronica says, "My writing degree has already helped me through my resident teaching experience; I've written lesson plans, letters to parents, and soon I will co-write Individualized Education Programs for my own caseload of students. I'm excited for a future career as an inclusive teacher in urban schools because it's an underrepresented—but rewarding—area of education." (October 2012)
Since Cory Ferreira ('09) began heading up LSAT marketing efforts at Manhattan Prep, they have doubled their revenues and continue to grow. This summer their goal was to help over 500 students prepare for law school.
"Writing is still my passion. I've been a guest writer for the Deebs On TV blog for the last few months. I have also helped with the development and launch of a mobile app that helps users to embark on curated adventures around New York City."
"Landing a job in an industry I'm passionate about (education) and moving to New York City have been real milestones for me. My next goal is to start my own successful company—I can't think of anything more rewarding than creating meaningful jobs in a recovering economy." (September 2012)
Kirsti Maurer (’10) is currently a buyer with JADAK Technologies and says, "A degree in writing truly can take you anywhere. I've also been pinged to write blogs, activity reports, and step by step instructions for business (thanks to my WRT 307 teacher for that and all the other professional writing skills he taught us). My customers have praised my professionalism and courteous nature via email—which in corporate America is a must."
She considers her greatest personal accomplishment the work she and her certified therapy dog, a Saint Bernard named Guinness, do at nursing homes and schools for hard to place and disabled children.
Kirsti is starting a Masters program this fall in Health Care Administration at Utica College, with an ultimate goal of opening a non-profit animal therapy center for troops suffering from PTSD who may not qualify for a personal service animal. (September 2012)
Currently a copy editor, Braden Becker (’11), works at TMCnet, Technology Marketing Corporation. Braden has gained experience with shooting and editing video, as well as continuing to blog on a variety of topics. His goals for the future include staying involved in competitive running—he competed in varsity cross country and track and field at SU—in addition to working towards clinching a job with companies such as Google and Nike.
"As a writing major, style and grammar are your best friend. For me, it’s really put into perspective how high a pedestal you may stand on relative to others already in the business field. Though many writing-based positions require skill-sets and industry knowledge that you learn more in the field than in school, I genuinely feel like the Writing Program has given me an invaluable foundation for everything else that comes later. I almost don’t feel like the rookie or the ‘new guy’ sitting at my desk.” —Soriana Stern, WP intern (August 2012)
Wes Epstein (‘10), has been living and working in Miami as a Production Coordinator with Triangle Entertainment, a sports and entertainment investment firm with a diverse portfolio of entertainment productions and international sports enterprises.
Wes has worked on developing and producing various reality shows, scripted dramas, and indie movies. The company's most noteworthy current production is the movie "Girl In Progress" with Eva Mendes.
Wes says, "I have definitely found success in my creative and writing contributions to our team’s various projects, as well as on set for a variety of different shoots, both in South Florida and New York City. Check out our website. I've edited most of those videos!" (July 2012)
Samantha Stark ('11) works as a Corporate Marketing and PR Assistant at Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. in NYC. In addition to updating internal websites, Samantha organizes corporate conferences and does other PR and marketing work. This year she helped organize Charity Day, an annual event begun to support the families of the firm's 658 employees lost on 9/11 and now benefits dozens of charities around the world.
As a student, Samantha was PR intern in the WP and says that the skills she developed in the major have been essential to her work now.
Samantha writes, "I recently applied for a PR Corporate Image award for our work with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and was nominated as a finalist . . . my writing background assisted in the success of our application. Each day I try to find new ways I can use skills I honed at Syracuse and apply them to my corporate life." (June 2012)
An English teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, Alonna Berry ('11) is working for Teach for America, where she works with 150 ninth graders every day. Her long term goals include attending law school to become an attorney, and eventually, a judge.
“I left the Writing Program knowing I could do anything I wanted and wasn't afraid to move forward. The Writing Program opened my eyes of the injustices of the education system through my Auburn Prison internship.
The most important lesson the Writing Program gave me is to take risks. I don’t think I would be in Teach for America if it were not for the Writing Program and tutoring inmates at Auburn Correctional Facility.” —Soriana Stern, WP intern (May 2012)
As an AmeriCorp Academic Advisor for the University of Rochester's Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in the Arts, Sciences and Engineering, Audrey Burns ('10) has developed a College and Career Center at a Rochester high school and coordinates tutoring and programming with University of Rochester staff, students, and faculty.
She says, “The Writing Program has given me the experience and skills that make me stand out professionally and have the drive to develop innovative programming for the University of Rochester community.”
She also maintains her love of writing and has been published in the Chicago literary magazine Children, Churches & Daddies and featured in the Democrat and Chronicle's Young Professionals Series. (May 2012)
Alexandra Abrams, Josh Albert, Katherine Belding, Allie Ditkowich, Meghan Donohue, Kortney Kavanagh, John Luposello, Daniel Lyons, James Markowitz, Julie Nascone, Danielle Quigley, Maria Sanfeliu-Cruz, Ghilianie Soto, Margaret Spinosa, Soriana Stern, Nathan Wellner, and Benjamin Zender (May 2012)
Living in NYC, Justin Simon ('10), is a Media Planner at Universal McCann and creator and editor of men's lacrosse blog College Crosse; he also recently took on the role of editor in chief of Sportsideo, a new social networking site for the sports world, tracking over 100 different sports. In this new role, he is in charge of all the bloggers on the site and oversees all the written content on the site.
His long term goals include learning more in advertising and seeing Sportsideo grow into the premier destination and social networking site for the sports world.
"We want to redefine what is possible inside the sports community." Justin says, "The Writing Program truly opened my eyes to a lot of types of writing that I never thought I would see myself doing . . . it broadened my horizons and made me a stronger writer . . . and I thank all the professors for that." (April 2012)
As an academic tutor at SU, Michelle Giordano ('11)works with the Athletics department, assisting students enrolled in the Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) program, and she also tutors privately in a variety of subjects.
Michelle will begin graduate study in CRS this fall. Her long-term goals include pursuing a PhD in composition and rhetoric, teaching higher education, and continuing to write.
She encourages writing majors to "make diverse choices in their electives (creative writing, professional writing, etc.)." In her work as a tutor, Michelle employs strategies and theories that she learned in WRT 331 and other writing courses: "The analytical and composition skills I developed in the Writing Program help me to help students—no matter the subject matter." (April 2012)
As an Editorial Assistant for Cengage Learning, an educational publishing company based in Boston, Alicia Landsberg ('10), says her responsibilities include coordinating manuscript reviews, communicating with authors, and overseeing the development and production of textbooks and accompanying ancillaries.
Alicia credits working with Steve Parks and New City Community Press with encouraging her to pursue a career in publishing: "The Writing Program equipped me with the creative and critical thinking needed to work through the mulitfaceted publication process, where the rules are scarcely set in stone and solutions to problems are rarely black and white."
Alica also makes time to blog regularly and to publish travel articles about Boston. (March 2012)
Al Ortiz ('09) works as a senior staff writer for Ballotpedia, an interactive almanac of state politics that seeks to cultivate thriving citizenship through the free and open sharing of information.
Reporting on different kinds of direct democracy in states such as California, Arizona, and Oregon, Al has worked closely with state governments, writing about developments in news articles and analysis reports.
He also writes a weekly report called the “Tuesday Count,” which offers more than 1,000 subscribers descriptions of developments regarding state ballot proposals. Al writes, “I am always excited to see my articles and my colleagues' articles cited by amazing publications like the New York Times, LA Times, and Wall Street Journal.” (March 2012)
Brandon Linn (‘10) says “Perhaps I am an example that a Writing degree can take you anywhere” and offers as evidence the variety of work experience he’s gained before and after graduation.
While a Writing and Rhetoric major, Brandon completed an internship at Lionsgate Studio. After graduation, he worked for Patch.com, an AOL owned company doing Digital Advertising, which allowed him to interview, photograph, and profile local businesses.
He also worked for a short time as an Affiliate Relations Manager at Envision Radio Networks in Cleveland, OH. Currently, he is “being certified in Human Resource Management and shifting my career once again!” (February 2012)
Shanté Booker ('11) is currently an editorial intern for a film distribution company in New York City.
Her duties include editing, publishing her own clips, creating software manuals for interns and freelance writers, as well as helping to manage the website.
Shanté credits the Writing Program with equipping her "with the research, argumentative and critical thinking skills that are pertinent to being a journalist."
She also reports she is in the "stressful, yet exciting" process of applying to graduate school in journalism. —Cassie Marie White, intern (February 2012)
AJ Willingham ('09) lives in Atlanta, GA, which suits her just fine. After working as a Video Journalist at CNN for a while, she now writes for the brand new HLNtv.com website, covering "silly things like reality TV, political squabbles, and woodland animals stuck in swimming pools," she says, "Thankfully, the world is full of silly things."
She also sings with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and performed at Carnegie Hall in Fall 2010.
AJ says she has preserved "all of the delicious knowledge the incredible people at the Writing Program were kind enough to share with me" and promises to use it at a later date. (January 2012)
Victoria Arnold ('10) sends her best to the WP from Thailand! After graduation, Victoria worked with Steve Parks as a Community Research Fellow on community organizing and advocacy projects, including the establishment of the Gifford Street Community Press.
She moved with her fiancee to Thailand in July 2011 to explore opportunities in Asia and to be closer to her father and the Thai branch of her family.
Victoria was hired as the Assistant Marketing Communications Manager for the Royal Cliff Hotels Group in August. She says, "During the interview they were extremely impressed with my background as a Writing major . . . . I was hired over other candidates who were PR and Marketing majors because I could write and work well in a challenging and changing environment." (January 2012)
Celeste Little ('09) recently earned her Master's in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. During the summer of 2011, she wrote for Syracuse Woman magazine and was published in the May/June and September/October issues.
After graduation, Celeste was accepted into SU's College of Law and spent a year (2009-2010) there before deciding to pursue graduate work in journalism.
She is now back in her hometown, New York City, and on the job market: "I'm looking for a job in magazines for a while, but eventually I want to be in broadcasting. I'm hoping to be in front of the camera once I get a little bit more training. Ideally I'll end up working on an urban beat at a local news station or going abroad to cover foreign affairs." (December 2011)
Adrienne Becker (’11) is packing her bags and using her experience abroad to help jumpstart her career. Landing a job with GeoVisions, Adrienne has the opportunity to teach English to children in South Korea. GeoVisions, which was established in 2001, seeks to help children in various countries improve their English speaking skills. Excited to experience a new culture and begin a new chapter in her life, Adrienne is planning on living in South Korea for a year and is set to teach for 30 hours a week.
Using her experience abroad, paired with the foundation the Writing Program has given her, Adrienne feels she is prepared to fulfill her duties. “[The Writing Program] really has taught me to be more aware of the English language: how I use it and how other cultures use it, so it's definitely a foundation I can bring to Korea when I'm teaching.” —Cassie Marie White, intern (December 2011)
Andrew Farah ('09) completed a MA in Information Management from SU’s iSchool in May 2011 and is founder of Rounded Development and WeAreMobile.co—both companies specializing in mobile web application development—and Chief Information Officer at AppFury.com.
Andrew continues to serve as a technical mentor for the iSchool and is leading Spring Break in Silicon Valley 2012, a trip—open to all SU students—to expose a handful of students to companies that shape technology.
Andrew and Dori Olivia Neff were married this June in Hendricks Chapel and reside in Syracuse. (November 2011)
Joanna Rozansky ’10 is a Digital Search Strategist at Wieden+Kennedy NYC working on ABC Family, Disney XD, and Jordan accounts. She creates and maintains all the Search Engine Marketing campaigns and runs paid advertising across Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter; she also helped develop a blogger outreach program for ABC Family.
"When I discovered the Writing and Rhetoric major," she says, "I found a perfect mix of writing rhetorically and exploring digital media.
"I was able to combine my passions for writing and production in my coursework." Future aspirations include living in Australia and pursuing production. (November 2011)
Francesca Merwin (’11), a Syracuse University Engagement Fellow, currently works as Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Connective Corridor. Her responsibilities include producing a monthly newsletter, sending email updates about the Corridor’s many construction projects, planning events, and coordinating public art projects. Francesca is also taking a course in magazine, newspaper and online journalism through Newhouse and a graphics course through the iSchool.
She writes, “As an Engagement Fellow, I knew I wanted to use my experience with writing as my unique way to engage with the Syracuse community. I am hoping to segue my Engagement Year into a job in the magazine or publishing industries on the west coast.” (October 2011)
After working as a publisher at Mediaplanet, Bari Cohn (’10) moved on to global media agency Universal McCann, where she was recently promoted and now works as the only print buyer for magazine and newspaper ad placement for all of Johnson & Johnson’s non-beauty brands, including everything from consumer care to nutritionals to over-the-counter and direct-to-consumer drugs. The position involves negotiating rates and positioning of advertisements and creating large campaigns.
“Although my job description doesn’t include major forms of writing,” Bari says, “I’ve been able to use parts of my college education in my negotiations, and I’ve become a great arguer!” (October 2011)
Caitlin Heikkila (2009 Outstanding Major Award) has recently picked up and moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and is conveniently working a few blocks away from her apartment at a PR & Marketing firm called Mother Nature & Partners. This company focuses their efforts on "the environment and corporate responsibility," which is something that Caitlin says is important to her. Caitlin spends most of her time writing marketing materials for clients in addition to helping companies become more eco-friendly. [more]. (October 2010)
"I have no doubts that where I am today has been completely shaped and informed by my involvement in the Writing Program," Mary Gallagher, 2008 Carol Lipson Outstanding Major Award winner, states, and it seems that Mary shares the same passion for writing consulting as Caitlin does. Today, Mary works as a coordinator in the Center for Academic Success at the Universities at Shady Grove in Maryland. [more] (October 2010)