J-School Alumni updates

Rachel O’Brien (class of 2008)

Rachel left the journalism industry in October 2017 to work in the think tank world. She is a media manager for the Manhattan Institute and might contact you for a pitch. After years of scolding journalists who left the field for PR jobs, she joined the ranks of the underpaid and overworked who gave into the temptation to have less stress and more money. She lives on Staten Island with her boyfriend, a radio producer and talk show host, and her three cats. 

Shawn Brown (class of 2009)

Honored to have been nominated for Stony Brook’s ‘40 Under 40’ this year. Coming up on my 8th year as Social Media Producer for News 12. Now responsible for paid and organic social media strategy for the network. Currently in my 3rd year teaching my Social Media & News course at Stony Brook.

Will James (class of 2009)

will.james
Will James ’09 at work.

 

It’s been about two years since I switched from print (at Newsday) to audio and from New York to the West Coast. I’m a reporter for KNKX, an NPR station in Seattle, where I tell stories about immigration, homelessness, and a bunch of other stuff. I also file national stories for NPR and contribute to my station’s weekly storytelling show and podcast, Sound Effect. An NPR story I filed from Guatemala won a regional Edward R. Murrow award last year, which was cool.

Arielle Brechisci (class of 2010)

I work in cryptocurrencies and the video gaming industry. I’m the Special Projects Manager for OPSkins Group Inc. and Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX), companies that my brother founded. OPSkins is the world’s largest marketplace for trading in-game virtual items for games on the Steam platform. WAX is a cryptocurrency that OPSkins launched in late 2017, designed to decentralize the digital items trading industry among other things. I’ve been working for OPSkins as a side job since 2015, but finally went full time in early 2017 primarily working with public-facing communications in various capacities (PR, social media, content). It’s been very exciting to watch the companies and industries grow and be a part of it.

I’m living in Sayville, NY with my boyfriend of five years and my beloved maltese-shihtzu mix, Penelope.

Theresa Dooley (class of 2010)

I’m not sure when I last sent an update, but I’m currently living in Amherst, MA, and just started graduate school! I’m attending Simmons College and working on my Master of Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Archives Management.

 

Micah Danney
Micha Danney ’11

Micah Danney (class of 2011)

I’m living in Brooklyn and just graduated from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s international concentration. I’m reporting per diem for the New York Daily News and waiting to start two fellowships next month, one with the John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America and another with the Overseas Press Club. I reported in Israel and the West Bank this past summer and hope to go back via the OPC award.

Amanda Marzullo
Amanda ’11 and Rai ’11 outside their new home.

Amanda Marzullo and Rai Ortiz (class of 2011)

The only update I have is Rai and I just closed on a house. We are busy painting, repairing and will be moving in shortly.

Jennifer (Long) Tracy (class of 2011)

2017 was equal parts exciting and exhausting. My husband Tyler and I bought a house and have been working on projects ever since. Even though it feels like our work is never done, it’s been fun making our house a home together. As for work I’m still at WGME in Portland, Maine. Since my last update I’ve taken on a new role as the anchor of our 7pm broadcast and have integrated a new tool “The Live Desk” into our other broadcasts. I’ve also started teaching at a local community college. This summer I hope to develop a course “Writing for Media” that will focus on journalism instead of film (it’s currently the only writing course offered in the department).

 

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Erika Karp ’12 models for some JRN 215 students taking environmental portraits. #StonyBrookSwagEverywhere

Erika Karp (class of 2012)

 

Writing this from my office at the J-School while I post these updates on WordPress. Love reading through them!

In 2015, I left TBR Newspapers and began working as a staff assistant for the School of Journalism where I coordinate student recruitment and outreach. I’m also pursuing my master’s degree in higher education administration.

If anyone knows of any prospective journalism students, have them email me at erika.karp@stonybrook.edu!

Sam Kilb (class of 2012)

I’ve moved from a law firm in New York City to Adidas in Portland, Oregon. I am Trademark Counsel at Adidas, handling a wide range of intellectual property issues. It’s exactly as big a change as you think it is – just about everything, from the laid back, outdoorsy culture to the easy access to hundreds of miles of trails, is the opposite of living in NYC. And so far, the rain isn’t as bad as they say it is. That’s it, really, but I do want to encourage any alumni who swing through to give me a shout.

 

Christina Mulligan
Christina Mulligan’s ’12 little boy, Gideon. 

Christina Mulligan (class of 2012)

 

On August 1st, I became a mom and gave birth to my little boy Gideon. As of 2018, I was named News Editor of the software development magazine SD Times. You can read more about that here: https://d2emerge.com/2017/12/28/christina-cardoza-named-sd-times-news-editor/. I’m enjoying my new responsibilities both inside and outside of work!

 

Kirsten Preskenis (class of 2012)

As for me, lots of good changes this year both professionally and personally. First, I left TV to become a rowing coach. Rowing is my passion and I’m excited to be

sharing my knowledge with people of all ages. I’m also engaged and will be getting

married later this year.  

 

Meg Spicer (class of 2012)

Meg Spicer
“This is what I saw my first day of second semester.” – Meg Spicer ’12, law school student

IM IN LAW SCHOOL.

Ariam Frezghi (class of 2013)

Although I lost one job last Wednesday, I started another one five days later. I just had my first session as an in-home ABA Therapist for a young boy with autism through Comprehensive Behavior Supports–a New Jersey/New York provider that promotes education, wellness and care for individuals on the spectrum. As a proud sibling of an adult on the spectrum + a soon-to-be (prayers up) journalism student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, this position is an incredible gift as it’ll help me save for school while furthering my connections to a special population. Also, I started receiving group therapy in November through SibsNY (a group for adult sibs of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities) and individual therapy last month. The personal and intellectual progress that I’ve made during the second half of 2K17, while undergoing a rough transitional period back home after living in Taiwan for a year, almost feels miraculous. I’m glad to still have my connections at the SOJ in Stony Brook.

If you’re interested in chopping it up about journalism graduate programs, the autism population or how to find/enlist in low-cost/affordable therapy in NYC, then write me frezghi91@gmail.com anytime.

Andrew Kozak (class of 2013)

I am now at the national desk at 30 Rock for NBC News. The company asked me to relocate again, this time leaving Miami and coming back home. I handle primarily breaking news coverage and logistics for any live events throughout the day. The other assignment editors and I anticipate the needs of MSNBC’s needs during the day, and the TDY Show and Nightly News’ needs for any developing stories each day.

Ali Malito (class of 2013)

I was selected for SABEW’s data immersion fellowship. Here’s the release:

https://sabew.org/2017/12/22-journalists-selected-for-the-2018-sabew-goldschmidt-fellowship/?utm_content=buffer4230c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Nelson Oliveira (class of 2013)

After more than three years at Hearst Connecticut Media, where I worked as a local reporter juggling several different beats, I left the company last summer to start a graduate journalism program at NYU. Through the program, called Studio 20, I’ve been working on a variety of digital innovation projects. One of the most exciting of them is the upcoming launch of a membership-driven, ad-free news website (details to come!). Two other big changes: I’m now a U.S. citizen (woohoo) and I’ve moved to Hoboken, N.J.

Frank Posillico (class of 2013)

I have been at the New York Daily News for close to five years. This past year I got to travel a bit and work on more stuff that I care about. I produced/shot/edited a short documentary on the Coney Island Cyclone that was accepted to four film festivals and nominated for a New York Emmy award. On that note, our department received five nominations this year and we just grew our staff for the first time in years. Still looking for part-timers and freelancers by the way!

This year I am looking to create more, collaborate more and push myself further.

 

Amy Streifer
Amy Streifer, ’13 got engaged in Hawaii!

Amy Streifer (class of 2013)

 

A few days ago my boyfriend proposed at Lanikai Beach in Hawaii 🙂 That’s the biggest update.

Adrian Szkolar (class of 2013)

I’m currently working at my hometown paper, the Journal News/lohud.com, which covers Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties in New York. I started out there in August 2014 as a sports reporter, but got promoted to a producing role in July 2016, where I’ve been since.

While my title is simply producer, I’m also basically the de facto sports producer, as well as the guy who runs all the sports social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). I’ve also become the lone graphics designer for the section, where that basic lesson I learned on Photoshop from Wasim really come in handy. Overall, I’d have to say life has been pretty good to me since I graduated from Stony Brook.

Lindsey Campbell (class of 2014)

I’m the Senior Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure where I head up our social media strategy and video strategy for the site as well as contribute to the overall content creation (writing stories and creating videos) for Travel + Leisure and Travelandleisure.com

Deanna Del Ciello (class of 2014)

Deanna recently left her position at Education Week after three and a half years for a new job as a producer at SideXSide Studios, an award-winning video creative agency founded by journalists and headquartered in Washington, DC. She completed a graduate program in documentary filmmaking at George Washington University last summer. Through that program, she worked as a producer for the short documentary “Queens in Training,” which has been accepted to four film festivals throughout the country so far and won “Best Ensemble Cast” at Austin Under the Stars Film Festival. Throughout all of this, Deanna is freelancing on the side, creating mostly brand videos for local nonprofits and photographing the occasional engagement session or wedding.

Nina Lin (class of 2014)

Nina.lin1
Nina Lin ’14 with her team playing mini golf with Joe Montana.

 

Right after graduation I was given the wonderful opportunity to work at the New York Daily News as an editor and photojournalist before leaving for NBC Universal, where I currently work as a multimedia producer for NBC’s Owned Television Stations (O&Os) and Telemundo. Every day is something different – I could be sent to shoot celebrity interviews, take photos, research, design and code data vizes, design graphics for our social media channels or cover breaking news. We covered the Grammy Awards red carpet just last week! Tony Bennett winked at my reporter. #worthit

nina.lin
Nina Lin ’14 at the Grammy’s.

Of course, I am also gratified to come across current Seawolves in our newsrooms working as our editorial interns. There is always nothing but praise for the young women and men learning the ropes through trial by fire. I’m looking forward to seeing more Seawolves at 30 Rock in the future! Attached are two photos – one of my reporter and I at the Grammys, another that a Getty photographer took of my team playing mini golf with Joe Montana. We were working, I swear.

 

 

Greg.wehner
Greg Wehner, ’14

Greg Wehner (class of 2014)

 

I’m still working at the Southampton Press as a reporter. I also just got accepted into Regent University’s Masters program with an emphasis on communication. The program started three weeks ago and is tough, but I’ll survive.  I am currently in Florida on vacation and will be hopping on a cruise ship that’s heading to San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Kitts.

Erica Cirino (Masters class of 2015)

I’ve continued working as a freelancer with much professional success. I gave 30 lectures as part of my “Go and See Tour” on plastic pollution, science and solutions in the past year, which is focused on my 2016 expedition sailing across the North Pacific Gyre (AKA the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) at libraries, schools and public places, and I have more lectures scheduled for 2018. I nabbed an inaugural CUNY Resilience Journalism Fellowship this fall, spending a week in NYC learning about how the city is adapting to climate change, and also an inaugural Safina Center “Kalpana Chawla Launchpad” Fellowship. I sailed on a long haul expedition in December (just got home this morning), this time from Hawaii to remote French Polynesia, again to cover the story of plastic pollution and science, and traveled worldwide (on land) to learn more about plastic, to Denmark, Thailand, Grenada, California, Hawaii, upstate NY and beyond.

What’s next? Hopefully a book covering my plastic expeditions and what can be learned from them. I’m almost done with the proposal and sample. Personally this was a year of incredibly fast growth for me, writing hundreds of stories, traveling (mostly alone), meeting amazing people, gaining confidence and following my dreams! For now I still call NY home-base (though I was away from home most of last year), but I dream of buying land/building a home somewhere beautifully remote such as Costa Rica, where I could embrace a simple existence similar to that which I enjoy while at sea, but on land. I hope to make this change this year. And of course one day I will acquire a sailboat of my own!

Brendan Jones (class of 2015)

I work at the NHL and MLB network in Secaucus, NJ on the studio production team. I also produce sportscasts at News 12 Long Island when I am not at the two networks. The NHL and MLB networks are in the same building in Secaucus as Major League Baseball owns both TV entities.

Jaclyn Lattanza (class of 2015)

In November, I started working as a production assistant at Cheddar in New York City. Cheddar is a live and on demand video news network that broadcasts from the New York Stock Exchange and the Flatiron Building. We cover top stories in business, tech, and entertainment, and yes, our logo is a block of cheese! I help produce all of the live news hits at our cheese desk as well as the live and taped content we send to our local partners such as PIX 11, News 12 and Amazon. I also work on Cheddar Movers, a show that is all about stocks. It’s been a great experience so far! I actually work directly with SBU JRN alum, Philly Bubaris, and sit right next to her!

Rebecca Anzel (class of 2016)

The last seven months have been tough for me personally, and so I escaped to the middle of nowhere, a “city” of about 13,000 — Springfield, Illinois. I am actually pursing a Masters in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois. It is a portfolio-based program, so instead of being stuck in a classroom for 10 months, I was placed with the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s state capitol bureau, covering everything from new legislation and the effects of federal programs to the everyday political back-and-forth for an audience of lawyers, judges and legislators. Illinois’ state government is just as exciting and dysfunctional as everyone considers Albany to be. The thing on everyone’s minds here is a Legionella bacteria contamination in the capitol’s water supply — we’ve been instructed not to drink it or wash our hands with anything more than a pencil-sized stream of water, a difficult task when every faucet is automatic and uses more water than that. I will have my degree by the end of June and will most likely stay out here — I’m not ready to come back to the east coast yet.

On a side note, if any of the current J-School students or alum enjoy political reporting, this program is great. The entire degree is costing me about $15,000 as an out-of-state student and not only do I get a fancy piece of paper, I automatically get an internship placement. Each class is only 12-14 students from all levels of work experience — just working for the school newspaper to having worked for papers up in Chicago — and the alumni is impressive. (The program dates back to the early ’70s, and there is a Pulitzer-prize winner in the midst!)

Julio Avila (class of 2016)

Julio Avila, a graduate of the Winter 2016 class, is now a reporter at WETM-TV, a local NBC affiliate station in Elmira, N.Y. He began his new role in July 2017, reporting with a camera in hand to cover the news and happenings in the Twin Tiers of New York and Pennsylvania. He has reported on and produced stories for both the day and nightsides and helped cover major events such as the NASCAR races at Watkins Glen International. Julio says that what he’s learned during his time at the j-school has helped him perform at his job, but with new things to learn as well. The transition into a new region was hard at first for him, but he now enjoys the City of Elmira and surrounding areas, taking a stroll to nearby Corning when he has the chance. He also enjoys working with the people he’s spoken to, interviewed and his colleagues.

 

Ivana.stolnik
Ivana Stolnik ’16

Ivana Stolnik (class of 2016)

 

I am doing an internship at Senator Schumer’s office. I work in the immigration department there. Very tumultuous area now due to DACA and the DREAMers.  I’m also finishing my Masters degree in international relations at NYU. I’m currently writing my thesis on Russia’s growing influence in the Western Balkan region and its implications for the region and beyond.

After graduation I actually plan to go back to SBU and start a Masters degree in history that could hopefully lead to a PhD one day.

Joe Ryder (class of 2016)

I also wanted to update you on what I’ve been up to since graduation a year ago. I freelanced as a PA at Fox News Radio for a bit and then in July I got sworn in as an NYPD officer. I’m doing well and I can’t believe a year has passed since graduation! I’m looking forward to coming back and visiting soon. I’m also applying for a Masters program at John Jay in Emergency Management that should start in the August.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch! And I’m still sticking to photography in my downtime and have updated my website, josephryder.com, with some of my newer work.

Sara Tewksbury (Masters class 2016)

In November I moved back up to Fairbanks, Alaska long term. I recently got a job at KTVF, a local NBC affiliate television station and have been working for about a month as a News Production Assistant. I have been loving it.

Lindsay Andarakis (class of 2017)

Lindsay here. Since graduation, I worked with a babysitting service called Hello Sitter and finished my time as an editorial assistant with The Sag Harbor Express. In October, I started a job with HSBC as a Senior Customer Service Representative in Southampton. I like it so far, but I most definitely miss the wide world of journalism. I’m looking to pick up some freelancing gigs this summer and eventually make my way down to Washington D.C.

 

cam boon
Cam Boon ’17 on the job at Bryan University in Rhode Island.

Cam Boon (class of 2017)

 

I’m currently a sports information director at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, working on getting my master’s in communication. I’m in charge of promoting and writing for five different sports in the athletic program, as well as broadcasting a lot of their streams, including volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball. Feels weird not wearing red.

Maggie Cai (class of 2017)

I am currently working as a video intern at INSIDER, the lifestyle publication of Business Insider, and just accepted an offer for a full-time position as an Associate Producer here next month! I’ll be producing, writing scripts, editing- a little of everything- for the text based videos focusing on things for home and design.  It’s a short update, but I’m excited to be exactly where I wanted to be after graduation.

Jess Opatich (class of 2017)

On my end, Ghana has been quite an experience. I’ve moved into a new apartment with a Dutch journalist I met at an Airbnb. He does freelance work for a number of Dutch publications and some NGOs. It’s funny, my first apartment and it’s here in Accra with another journalist.

My research was on pause while I was home but now, since everyone is back from holiday, I am back planning trips into the field for the months ahead. Since I’ve been here, I was able to observe and record the first Ada Women’s Day, which was a day for the women of Ada, a village about two hours east of Accra, to come together and discuss what it means to be a woman in Ada. Unfortunately, what many of them had in common were financial hardships, gender based violence and sexual violence. You can learn more about my time in Ghana at jessicamarieopatich.com

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