What I Did with My Mass Communication Degree

Mass Communication Alumni

Andrea Boe '17

Pursuing Passion

The most valuable lesson Andrea Boe learned at Winona State University was to get involved.

“Getting out of your comfort zone can manifest some pleasantly surprising qualities about your character,” Boe said. “I think we are all just one decision away from a completely different life, and as cliché as that sounds, I think coming to WSU was the best decision I could have made when I was 18.”

Learn more about Andrea's journey to graduation.

Andrea Boe '17

Madelynn Emmerich '17

Community Manager in Sunny California

Mass Comm alumna Madelynn Emmerich will be putting her new degree to good use as community manager at Awasu Design, an agency in San Francisco. She works with social media and event planning. Madelynn, active in PRSSA and the Mass Comm banquet committee, majored in organizational communication studies and minored in mass communication.

Madelynn Emmerich

Kari Middendorf '17

Account Manager, In-House Designer

Graphic Design & Mass Comm alumna Kari currently works at Bliss Direct Media & AppealMaker in St. Joseph, Minnesota, a direct marketing company for nonprofits and hospitals around the United States. As an account manager she is responsible for communications with one of the company’s largest clients and has had the opportunity to design the company’s promotional material. As the graphic designer on the Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm committee board, she has been able to unite her passion for agriculture and design. One of the greatest experiences while at WSU was discovering all the possibilities available for someone with a diverse set of interests and how they can blend into a great career opportunity.

 

Mariah Mrotek '17

Marketing Specialist

Mass Comm alumna Mariah Mrotek earned an internship with Tulip Tree Studios in Rochester, Minnesota, several weeks after graduating from WSU. Four days after that, the internship became a full-time job! She's the social media marketing manager for Tulip Tree's clients, as well as the in-house copywriter. She attributes her success so far to persistence. "I've never been one to break out of my shell, but my college experience really helped me with that fear to be bold and confident," she says.

Mariah Mrotek

Brienne Reischl '17

Cultural Ambassador

Mass Comm alumna Brienne Reischl is living in Seville, Spain, and commutes to a remote school that otherwise would have no native English speakers to teach the language. "Every day I commute an hour each way to a small town called Hinojos in the province of Huelva and help teach English in music, social studies, geography, chemistry and biology classes," she says. Before her current job, Brienne completed two internships with The Barcelona Study Abroad Experience, where she worked in social media marketing.

Brienne Reischl

Zach Spanton '17

Ad Agency Creative Strategist

Mass Comm alumnus Zach Spanton works at Metre, a Minneapolis ad agency, where he manages workflow for the creative team while providing strategic input and direction. He attends client meetings, brainstorms strategy with agency owners, and works with designers for advertising and marketing.

Zach Spanton

Courtney Wagner '17

Marketing Coordinator

Just a month after her graduation in spring 2017, Mass Comm alumna Courtney Wagner landed a job with Reach Sports Marketing in Eden Prairie as a marketing coordinator. “I love this as my first job because it lets me do a little of everything,” she says. “Most of my time is spent designing the backgrounds for our digital signage boards around the U.S., as well as creating digital menu boards.” She also helps advertising clients create digital ads that run through Reach’s digital signage at locations around the U.S.

 Courtney Wagner

Amanda Budde '16

Sales Assistant

Mass Comm alumnus Amanda Budde works in the sales department at WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis. She helps manage day-to-day operations, including graphic design for WCCO’s digital advertising.
Amanda Budde

Matt Lambert '16, Joe Ahlquist '13, Andy Link '08, Randy Petersen '96

Rochester Post Bulletin

Mass Comm alumni Joe Ahlquist ’13, Matt Lambert ’16, Randy Petersen ’96 and Andy Link ’08 enjoy working at the Rochester Post Bulletin newsroom. They were also recently awarded the Vance Trophy, awarded to Minnesota's most outstanding daily newspaper, during the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest awards banquet. This is the first time the Post Bulletin has won the award since 2001.
Matt Lambert, Joe Ahlquist, Andy Link, Randy Petersen

Emily McCaleb '16

Marketing Assistant

Mass Comm alumna Emily McCaleb works on the Customer Experience web team at Xcel Energy in downtown Minneapolis. She runs and maintains Xcel's website for all eight of their service territories. “This entails working with clients on content and strategy, updating page content, and implementing web best practices to increase the customer experience on our site,” she says. “I also send out weekly residential and business email to all of our customers, research ways to improve customer web satisfaction, and work with my team to create a cohesive and successful customer experience throughout all of our channels.”

 Emily McCaleb MCOM

Sam Thiel '16

Sports Editor

Mass Comm alumnus Sam Thiel is sports editor at the Marshall (Minnesota) Independent newspaper. He started as a sports report and was promoted four months into the job. “I do just about everything from reporting and taking photos to page design, editing and social media,” Sam says. “I've also been very fortunate to cover multiple high school state tournaments, including two championship teams, the Twins Winter Caravan and Super Bowl LII.”



Kathryn Zahn '16

Teacher Recruiter/Trainer

MCOM alumna (and Comm Studies minor) Kathryn Zahn works for Morgan Hunter Education, a staffing company, where she recruits, hires and trains substitute teachers and helps them find jobs. Living in Kansas City, Missouri, Kathryn also coaches high school girls rugby. “Being involved and part of the campus life and the WSU community was the highlight of my college years, from playing on the women's rugby team, to working in the library, the darkroom, the photo studio and even on the grounds crew,” she says. “There are so many amazing opportunities at WSU and all current students need to make the most of them.”

Kathryn Zahn 

Jordan Gerard '15

Newspaper Editor, Reporter, Photographer, pretty much everything . . .

Mass Comm alumna Jordan Gerard is an editor with the Spring Grove (Minn.) Herald, part of the Bluff Country Newspaper Group. “My job is to find the news, report it, take photos, edit stories and press releases, and lay it out on the page in InDesign, essentially publishing a weekly newspaper,” she says. “I also manage freelance writers and field story ideas from people in town. I am the only full-time writer at our paper, which has a circulation of about 1,400. It’s a small paper, but I love my job.”

Jordan Gerard

Kayle Paul '15

Radio Promotions Assistant

Kayle Paul loves her job as a promotions assistant at KSTP FM in the Twin Cities. "The best thing to do while at Winona State is to get involved in everything you can," she says. "Learn skills that are new to you and make yourself as marketable as possible." Before the KSTP job, Kayle was a production assistant in Chicago with the TV show "Judge Mathis."

Anthony Resnick '15

Marketing the Nevada-Reno Men's Basketball Team

Mass Comm alum Anthony Resnick has been named the multimedia specialist for the University of Nevada-Reno men's basketball team.

Anthony Resnick

Isaac Wenzel '15

Radio Host/Interactive Media Director

MCOM alumnus Isaac Wenzel is a jack-of-all-trades guy for the La Crosse Media Group. He hosts the Afternoon Drive on Magic 105 and serves as an assistant program director for the station. Along with those duties, he's the interactive media director for the five-station cluster leading in social media, graphic design, web design and more. Isaac prepared for many of these "hats" during his time at KQAL, serving as a student program director, promotions director and production director.

Isaac Wenzel

Greg White '15

Producer

Mass Comm alumnus Greg White graduated in 2015, but that was far from the start of his journey. By the time he completed his degree at Winona State, he was already 15 months into a full-time position at WKBT-TV in La Crosse. He has since moved up to noon and 5 pm producer. Reflecting on his time at Winona State, Greg said, “I came to realize through the lessons passed along to me that Mass Communication is a field that innovative thinking and creativity are paramount.” The Channel 8 employee says his experience at WSU allowed him to develop his skills to become a true storyteller.

Greg White

Alison (Belde) Barbeln '14

Senior Account Executive

MCOM alumna Alison (Belde) Barbeln works for BBDO MPLS, where she works on a whole lot of food brands. BBDO MPLS is the agency for Hormel Foods. Jennie-O Turkey is Alison’s largest client, and she says she’s fortunate to be able to dive into all sides of the business and create a variety of work. She wears many hats and is a master problem solver, relationship builder and budget tracker. She’s responsible for communicating client objectives to creative teams.

Alison 

Madison (Delamarter) Fowlkes '14

Project Manager

Mass Comm alumna Madison (Delamarter) Fowlkes is an enterprise project manager at Self-Esteem Brands (Anytime Fitness, Waxing the City), Woodbury, Minnesota. She holds her team accountable for completing the brands' business objectives, managing completion of projects and creating new processes.


Jouapag Lee '14

Results Based Accountability Program Manager

Mass Comm alumna Jouapag Lee currently works with the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood as a program manager, overseeing research and evaluation. She works to build evidence for culturally relevant programs and services to build a cradle-to-career pathway for families living in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods.

Jouapag received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Winona State University and went on to earn her master's in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. She is currently a board member on the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - Twin Cities. Recently she was awarded a Kingston Fellowship by the Wilder Foundation to continue her leadership development with a Hmong leadership coach in the Twin Cities.

Jouapag Lee

Michelle Peterson '14

Content Strategist 

Mass Comm alumna Michelle Peterson has put her public relations degree to use as a content strategist for a business-to-business digital marketing firm called Br8kthru. In addition to writing all forms of content imaginable, Michelle helps clients achieve their business goals through a combination of public relations and online marketing strategies.
 

Elise (Nelson) Ramsbottom '14

Assistant Editor

After graduating in 2014 with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English, Mass Comm alumna Elise (Nelson) Ramsbottom moved to New York City to get her master’s degree in publishing at Pace University. While obtaining her degree, Elise was hired by Artisan (a division of Workman Publishing, Inc.) as an editorial assistant.  Working in publishing is the fulfillment of her childhood dream, and she enjoys working with authors and her coworkers to bring books to life.

MCOM Elise 

Andy Sroka '14

Writer/Editor

MCOM alumnus Andy Sroka is a writer and content manager at Prep Baseball Report, a company that covers high school baseball nationwide and hosts events for the country’s best baseball prospects. 
Andy Sroka

Dave Ferber '12

Director of Marketing

Professional Studies (MCOM minor) graduate Dave Ferber is director of marketing and enterprise solutions for Technology Resource Center of America, based in Denton, Texas. Dave supports the sales staff with print and online materials. His tasks include marketing planning and budgeting, photography, video production, social media publishing, website maintenance, internal communication, event planning, networking at local events, and client presentations. "WSU added value to my nontraditional student experience, and I continue to leverage this for the good of my company," he said.

Dave Ferber

Kim Sapp '12

Art Director

Mass Comm alumna Kim Sapp is the art director at Northern Tool & Equipment in Burnsville, Minnesota. She oversees and designs the creative direction for all retail marketing materials, including direct mailers and newspaper inserts. She also directs product photoshoots, oversees signage and works with printers.

Kim Sapp

Katlyn Bourget '11

Senior Digital and PR Specialist

MCOM alumna Katlyn Bourget leads the public relations and social strategy for a mid-size pediatric health care company in Roseville, Minnesota. She contributes to the success of the business by providing marketing strategy and execution through media relations, innovative social media strategies, brand advocacy, video content and integrated communications. “My favorite part of my role is getting to tell the stories of our amazing patients,” she says.

 Katlyn Bourg

Amanda (Rehrauer) Dill '11

Marketing Communications Specialist

Mass Comm alumna Amanda Dill is a marketing communications specialist with the Madison, Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. She edits the orchestra’s newsletter and program books, manages social media pages and website, and designs and writes marketing emails and e-newsletters. “As a lifelong musician, this is definitely a dream job for me,” Amanda says. “I graduated in the broadcast journalism option. What I loved about pursuing my degree is that while broadcast journalism was my focus, I still received an extremely comprehensive journalism education. When I graduated, I was equipped to create and edit videos, take pictures, and write for a wide variety of audience and media (social media, web, print, you name it).”

Amanda (Rehrauer) Dill

Brandi Hagen '11

Photographer

Mass Comm alumnus Brandi Hagen is the owner of Bragen Rights Photography & Photo Booth in Albert Lea, Minnesota. After graduating from WSU in photojournalism and psychology, Brandi moved back to Albert Lea and worked in the Albert Lea Tribune newsroom before starting her business. “I’ve always been a small town girl, and to live out my dream around the people I know and love – there’s nothing better,” she says.

Brandi Hagen

Kristin Pinter '11

Account Manager

Mass Comm alumna Kristin Pinter serves as an account manager in Press Ganey’s Client Experience Department. Press Ganey’s mission is to support health care providers in understanding and improving the entire patient experience, helping clients create a continuous sustainable improvement to the delivery of health care. Kristin is responsible for providing guidance and support in design, process management and overall organizational improvement. When attending WSU, Kristin began her health care focus, working part time at Winona Health. Currently she works with health care organizations throughout the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions of the country. She is currently moonlighting as a MBA student at Indiana University.


Dana (Serum) Ross '11

Evidence Technician. And all sorts of things.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2011, Mass Comm alumna Dana (Serum) Ross wore out her DLSR during a six-month hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail with her now-husband Marc. After a few years working in the private yachting industry, Dana put her photojournalism degree to use by working as interim editor for her hometown paper, the Mondovi Herald-News. Dana’s love of water and hiking trails brought her back to Minnesota, where she now works in city government as an evidence technician at the Hermantown Police Department. Dana is loving life in the Duluth area with her husband and baby boy.

Dana Ross

Nina Steffel ’11

Producer

Mass Comm alumna Nina Steffel moved to Los Angeles after graduation and has worked her way up to producer on shows like Project Runway, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, plus a stint with comedian Chelsea Handler on the Netflix talk show Chelsea, traveling around the country and internationally. Nina says there's no better feeling than wrapping a show. "Yes, the hours are arduous and intense, and Hollywood can be unkind, to say the least. But when it's all done, the feeling of accomplishment can't."

Nina Steffel

Caitlin (Smith) Vastola ’11

Marketing Specialist

Mass Comm alumna Caitlin Vastola drives the marketing component of Prime Therapeutics’ go-to-market strategy with clients and develops campaigns to support product launches and digital strategies for Prime’s Bloomington, Minnesota, location. She especially enjoys working with people from different backgrounds who bring different perspectives.


Caitlin Vastola

Troy Zirbes '11

Interactive Producer

As an interactive producer with Emerge Interactive in Portland, Oregon, mass comm alumnus Troy Zirbes creates planning documents, owns relationships with clients and manages projects from ideation to launch. Since graduation Troy has worked on the ad agency and corporate side of digital technology projects. Troy has worked for Vendi Advertising, Modern Climate, Best Buy, Polaris and Emerge Interactive, and has had clients such as Pepsi, Anheuser Busch and Jamba Juice.

Troy Zirbes

Gabby (Gatzke) Kinneberg '10

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

MCOM alumna Gabby Kinneberg is the director of tourism for Preston, Minnesota, as well as executive director of the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce. She promotes Preston and advocates for area businesses. That includes event planning, budgeting, marketing planning, social media, web management, fundraising, advertising sales, grant writing and community outreach. “This job combines all of my passions into one position,” she says.

Gabby (Gatzke) Kinneberg

Mary Palin '10

College Admissions Counselor

Mass Comm alumna Mary Palin, who focused on PR as an undergrad at WSU, is a graduate admissions counselor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. “I do use the skills I learned at WSU quite often in advertising for meetings and programs, creating email campaigns, and speaking to prospective students on a regular basis,” she says. “I am also working on my Master in Public Health, which I know will utilize my mass comm knowledge in the future.”

Mary Palin

Jessie (Larsen) Perrine '10

Communications Coordinator

Mass Comm alumna Jessie (Larsen) Perrine is serving as communications coordinator in the Marketing and Public Relations Department at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. At the college, she manages all social media accounts, crafts press releases and works with area news media, and writes/designs the college’s newspaper in print and online. Prior to working at the college, Jessie was a reporter at the Brainerd Dispatch, The La Crosse Tribune, The Tomah Journal, The Winona Daily News and (of course) The Winonan at WSU. She lives in the Brainerd area with her husband and daughter, and is expecting another child in September.

Jessie Perrine  

Ben Branson '09

IT Configuration Analyst

Mass Comm alumnus Ben Branson graduated in broadcasting with a sociology minor but took a few years to find a job in a field that matched what he wanted in a career. At Winona State, he says, “I was taught to think critically and love learning. It helped push me to work hard on process improvement, which propelled me into a position in Information Technology where I work on the software behind a phone system to make sure it works well for employees and customers.” The Logistics Health employee says his WSU major and minor helped him communicate with people, lead successfully, and motivate a staff to exceed expectations. He’s also really good with Oxford commas.
Ben Branson

Sarah Burgen and Ashley (Bronk) Marin '09

Instructional Designer (Sarah)

Merchandiser (Ashley)

Mass Comm alumni Sarah Burgen and Ashley (Bronk) Marin have been friends since they met on the staff of the Winonan. Since graduating from WSU, Sarah has been busy earning additional degrees: an MBA from Grantham University in 2014 and an MS in adult education from Kansas State University in 2017. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri and works for Grantham University as an instructional designer. Ashley works in merchandising for SuperValu, a company she joined shortly after graduation. She lives in Richfield, Minnesota, with her husband, Jorge. The photo is from Ashley’s wedding; Sarah was a bridesmaid.


Chris Dillman '09


Dallas (Campion) Fitch '09

Photographer

MCOM alumna Dallas (Campion) Fitch stayed in Winona after graduating, married her college sweetheart, and they reside in Winona with their two children. Dallas, who says she basically lives in Photoshop, is the owner and photographer of Buggabean Photography, specializing in family and newborn photography. “I love finding the extraordinary in the ordinary when it comes to photography,” she says.

 

Samantha Gronlund ’09

News Producer, Reporter

MCOM alumna Samantha Gronlund has spent most of the past decade working as an award-winning radio news director and anchor/reporter. She made the switch to television last year and currently works as a newscast producer for WHO-HD, the NBC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to her work behind the scenes, she gets to showcase her on-air talents by filing special reports, conducting arts and entertainment interviews and leading interactive social media segments. Samantha, president-elect of the Iowa Broadcast News Association, encourages all WSU students to find their calling on campus: “Whether big or small, professionally or socially, find something to be a part of. Being a college student is about more than just attending class and going through the motions. Make the most of your time as a student and take advantage of all Winona has to offer.”


Graig Harris ’09

Webmaster

Mass Comm alumnus Graig Harris is webmaster at the San Diego Tourism Authority. Graig manages sandiego.org and affiliated websites, the authority’s email marketing program and other digital marketing initiatives that promote San Diego as a world-class travel destination.

 Graig Harris

Lindsey Hayes '09

TV Host/Producer

Mass Comm alumna Lindsey Hayes is national TV host/producer for two shows: Destination Polaris on FOX Sports and Made for the Outdoors on the Sportsman Channel. She loves outdoors, sports and lifestyle topics. Her favorite part of the job is getting to meet people and share interesting stories with the rest of the community.

Lindsey Hayes

Diana Normand '09

Newsroom Executive Producer

Since graduating with a degree in Mass Communication-Broadcasting, Diana Normand has worked for WSAW/WZAW-TV in Wausau, Wisconsin. The station is the CBS/FOX affiliate and is just 10 minutes outside her hometown of Marathon. While she’s held almost every position within that newsroom, including award-winning anchor and reporter, her newest role is evening executive producer; she’s responsible for overseeing the evening newscasts and all of the news stories that go in them. Diana lives in Wausau with her husband, John, stepson Jude and her cat, Bubba. 


Diana Normand

Annelie Schmittel '09, '12

Player Engagement with the Oakland Raiders

Mass Comm alumna Annelie Schmittel is putting her degree to good use by working in player engagement for the Oakland Raiders. “For me, my way in was through education and through mentoring and teaching."

 Annelie Schmittel

Ruth DeFoster '08 & Matt Huss '08

Professor and Author/Project Manager

Mass Comm alumna Ruth DeFoster teaches Communication Studies at St. Catherine University in the Twin Cities. She earned her PhD in 2015 and published her first book in 2017: "Terrorizing the Masses: Identity, Mass Shootings and the Media Construction of 'Terror.'" "I am the research chair of the Cultural and Critical Studies Division at AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication), and I would describe myself as a scholar, educator and author who studies media coverage of crime, terrorism and gun violence."

Mass Comm alumnus Matt Huss works in project management for Kaplan Professional Education in the Twin Cities. Matt and Ruth met at WSU in the journalism program, where they both wrote for the school newspaper, the Winonan. They live in St. Paul with their three children: Anthony and Dominic, age 5, and 12-year-old Calvin, who as a little boy used to accompany Ruth to the Winonan office. Yep, Calvin is almost a teenager!

 

Ashley Johnson '08

Marketing Director

MCOM alumna Ashley Johnson is the head of marketing for Enlightened Equipment in Winona. She oversees company social media and inbound marketing strategies, coordinates photo and video shoots, manages a gear ambassador program, and manages the website and other marketing and advertising functions. “While earning my degree at WSU I enjoyed continually learning from both the faculty and my peers,” she says. “This drive to continue learning each day is a skill that has greatly contributed to my success, as marketing and advertising trends are always changing."

Ashley Johnson 

DJ Danielson '07

Legislative Communication Specialist

Mass Comm alumnus DJ Danielson is a communication specialist at the Minnesota House of Representatives. In this position, he works with members of the House Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Caucus to deliver their messages and connect with constituents. Using the skills he developed at WSU, he assists state representatives with press releases, email newsletters, speeches, op-eds, talking points, digital media and more. He’s also planned and executed several high-profile news conferences at the State Capitol. He initially developed a keen interest in state government while serving two years on the WSU Student Senate.

DJ Danielson

Lindsay Mabry '07

Public Involvement Specialist, Project Manager

After graduating from WSU in 2007 with a degree in Comm Studies and a minor in Mass Comm, Lindsay Mabry moved to Utah. Lindsay works at an engineering company, WSP, as a Public Involvement Specialist and Project Manager. She manages public involvement on transportation projects as a consultant for the Utah Department of Transportation. Lindsay uses her education in communication when strategizing stakeholder outreach, developing communications plans, and establishing relationships with clients and stakeholders. When not working, Lindsay can be found exploring Utah’s mountains with her dog.

Lindsay M

Afsina (Yildiz) Abbasi ’05

Professor of Design, Video and Motion Graphics

After graduating in Mass Communication from Winona State, Afsina (Yildiz) Abbasi moved to Indiana to pursue her master’s in Digital Storytelling at Ball State University at Muncie. She taught video classes at Indiana University for three years before moving to Saudi Arabia to her husband. She taught video-related courses at a private university, Dar Al Hekma University, for five years. Afsina now lives in Toronto with her husband and two children and teaches video and design part-time at Humber College and George Brown College. She also freelances.


Sarah (Goberville) Biondo ’05

Vice President of Operations

MCOM alumna Sarah (Goberville) Biondo spent her first year after WSU graduation in Minneapolis “laboring in a competitive, miserable sales position.” She married Antone Biondo and they moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. Sarah earned her master’s degree in adult education and training, which she says gave her the educational foundation, knowledge base, and credibility to work for her entrepreneurial husband's startup companies. Today, working together on their newest startup, Eclectic Media Group, Inc., a digital media, marketing publishing company, the Biondos are living their dream of working and traveling together, satisfying a joint wanderlust, and complementing each other with their different but equally valuable entrepreneurial talents. Sarah manages the public relations, marketing and training alongside her CEO husband, who, she says, often admits he couldn’t do what he does without her, in work and in life.

Adam Crowson '05

Graphic Artist

Mass Comm alumnus Adam Crowson is a graphic artist for Gift Pro, Inc., a wholesale giftware distributor near Madison, Wisconsin. He manages the inventory, keeps the website current, photographs products, produces sales catalogs and flyers, designs logos and souvenirs that the company sells to retail stores throughout Wisconsin, and sometimes serves as a buyer. "Oh, and because we're a small business, I get to help in the warehouse...which means I know how to drive a forklift," he says.
Adam Crowson

Megan (O'Connell) Crowson '05

Marketing Director

Mass Comm alumnus Megan (O'Connell) Crowson is the marketing director for the law firm Habush, Habush & Rottier, which has offices in 13 Wisconsin communities. Based in the firm's Madison office, Megan oversees the firm's advertising, event sponsorship, social media marketing, and website.
Megan (O'Connell) Crowson

Emily Finley '05

Corporate Communications Director

MCOM alumna Emily Finley spent more than 10 years on the PR team at Martin Williams Advertising in Minneapolis, holding every job title from intern to VP. In search of a break from the pace of agency life, Emily now leads corporate communications at Marvin Windows and Doors. At Marvin, Emily manages everything from media relations (like this CBS Sunday Morning segment) and social media efforts to influence programming and internal communications. Consequently, she writes a lot, applying lessons learned from some of her first paid writing gigs: reporting and editing at The Winonan.

Emily Finley 

Trent Chance '04

Graphic Designer/Communications Specialist

MCOM alumnus Trent Chance is the graphic designer and communication specialist for the OCH Health System, a tri-state safety-net healthcare provider that serves urban and rural communities throughout Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is responsible for maintaining all of the graphic design, marketing materials and social media for the health system. Trent currently lives in Willard, Missouri (a suburb of Springfield, Missouri), with his wife, Rachael, and their two children.

Trent Chance and Family

Mindy Chin '04

Researcher

Mindy Chin, who minored in Mass Comm (and majored in Comm Studies), is a senior executive in research at Star Media Group, which publishes the leading English-language newspaper in Malaysia. “While I did not end up in Editorial as a news reporter, I still write a lot. My job involves compiling reports for management, as well as the advertising and digital services departments,” she says. “I'm still hopeful that I'll get to contribute and write for The Star one day.”

Mindy Chin

Kristin King '04

Quality Manager

Mass Comm alumna Kristin King is a quality manager at AT&T Mobility. She evaluates work at call centers nationwide to ensure a good customer experience and communicates with AT&T leadership. Kristin says her WSU major honed her writing and other communication skills and “also helped in quickly being promoted.”

Kristin King

Brian Krans '04

Investigative Journalist

Brian Krans recently finished his master's studies in investigative journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and was merit fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program. His reporting focused on crime, health and the interaction between government and private business told through narrative writing and audio.

He has worked as a newspaper reporter, written four books, and had bylines appear in WIRED Magazine, Healthline, Huffington Post, Fox News, and other outlets. His first jobs as a reporter were at The Winonan — where he won a state investigative reporting award — and the Winona Daily News.

 

Brian Gallagher '03

Movie Critic / Journalist

Mass Comm alum Brian Gallagher moved from Winona to Los Angeles to write for MovieWeb.com. The best description of his job is an online movie/TV journalist and critic. Some of his favorite interviews to date were Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Emily Blunt, Henry Cavill, Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston, Simon Pegg, Mark Wahlberg and Kirk Douglas.

Brian Gallagher

Jenny (Butler) Hipskind '03

TV News Photojournalist

Jenny moved to the Quad Cities (Illinois/Iowa) shortly after graduation from WSU for an internship with The Dispatch/Argus newspaper. She eventually transitioned to videography, becoming a 'photog' at WQAD TV, the local ABC affiliate. She has been there full time for 12 years. Jenny covers daily assignments, shooting and editing everyday stories and doing live shots for the evening newscasts. She is a FAA certified drone pilot and satellite truck operator. She shoots the average community events, crimes and courts and politics but has gotten to do some things that make for good bar stories: chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma and going backstage at Dancing with the Stars in LA and the Country Music Awards in Nashville. She says the best part of her job is getting to know so many people and their stories. She lives in Rock Island with her husband, Greg, and their two little blondies.

Jenny Hipskind

Andy Salmen '03

Entertainment Exec

Mass Comm alumnus Andy Salmen has more than 15 years’ experience in the entertainment industry. He began his career in sports entertainment and live broadcast before crossing over into the filmed entertainment sector as a marketing and creative executive. Andy is the founder of SolCo Entertainment, a media production and finance company. He has produced a movie, “A Chance in the World,” about Steve Pemberton, a wounded and broken boy destined to become a man of resilience and vision.


Jon Arias ’02

Broadcaster

Mass Comm alumnus Jon Arias is living in Madison, Wisconsin, and has been working as a broadcaster for iHeartMedia since 2004. He's been the radio voice of Wisconsin Badgers volleyball and women's basketball for the past several years and recently won his second straight Wisconsin Broadcasters Association award for best play by play in a large market.


Nicole (Mossing) Caputo '02

Experience Innovation Director

Mass Comm alumna Nicole (Mossing) Caputo works for UCHealth in Colorado, leading problem solving and technology strategy by creating experiences that connect patients and employees. She also serves as a liaison to the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center as a subject matter expert for patient experience.

After graduating from WSU, Nicole moved to Denver to work for a marketing research company doing data processing and analytics. “Realizing that wasn't going to get me up in the morning, I moved to Fort Collins and received my master's in health communication (Journalism and Technical Communication) from Colorado State University,” she says. “I focused my study on mass media's impact on mental health stigma - which led to one of my most proud moments: a published article in “Health Communication.”

Nicole lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two Siberian huskies.


Scott Haraldson '02

Photographer

Mass Comm alumnus Scott Haraldson works for Quality Bicycle Products in Bloomington, Minnesota.

As an avid cyclist, Scott has combined his passion for bikes with his eye for photography through work for Salsa Cycles on a number of projects. He has been lead photographer for Salsa’s photo story-sites and campaigns: Land Run 100; Have Dirt, Will Travel; Montana Firetower Brigade; and 5 Trails, 5 States, 5 Days.

Scott and his wife, Mass Comm alumna Laura (Putzer) Haraldson '02 have four children and live in Maplewood, Minnesota.

Scott Haraldson

Joanne (LaShomb) Thompson ’02

Marketing Director

Mass Comm alumna Joanna (LaShomb) Thompson is the marketing director at Minnesota State College Southeast in Winona.

She is responsible for development and implementation of the college’s marketing plan, and designs, develops and implements college-wide marketing strategies that strengthen recruitment and enrollment, promote academic programs and enhance the college’s image in the region.

Joanne Thompson

Chris Yarolimek '02

Marketing and Logistics Specialist

Mass Comm alumnus Chris Yarolimek spent a stint as communications director of a health center shortly after he graduated from WSU, but conversations with a favorite professor “to talk about what exactly I wanted to do when I grew up” prompted him to move in a new direction that has occupied him for more than a decade: Nesnah Ventures, a family-owned venture capital company in the La Crosse area. Chris works in the company’s energy division, Venture Fuels. He buys and sells commodities and coordinates fuel deliveries through the Midwest. “On the side, I recently started a hometown pride apparel company in La Crosse called La Crossome Clothing Co.,” he says. “The clothing is available online and at retail outlets in town.”


Kate Schott '01

Editor

Mass Comm alumna Kate Schott is the editorial engagement editor at The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. She is responsible for the opinion pages as well as social media for the state capital's daily newspaper. Kate has held reporting and editing positions at the Noblesville (Indiana) Daily Times, the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune, and The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, where she has covered education, courts, and state and local government and politics. She also was the editor of The Herald-News in Joliet, Illinois, and its sister publication the Morris Herald-News. She has been a board member of the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors since 2014 and is its immediate past-president. Kate has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Her advice to students: “Don't ever stop being curious.”


Amanda Brinkman '00

Transforming Small Town Business

Mass Comm alumna Amanda Brinkman is helping to revitalize main streets across the country via a new show "Small Business Revolution - Main Street." The show helps to transform struggling businesses to improve the local community and economy.

Amanda Brinkman

Jean (Sharon) Abbott '98

Inspirational Speaker

Mass Comm alumna Jean (Sharon) Abbott is an inspirational speaker and author of Misdiagnosed … My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had. She has appeared on The Today Show and has been the focus of stories by the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo! and more. “As a speaker I share my story of hope and inspire others to live a more positive, purpose-filled life,” she says.

Jean Abbott

Justin Barrientos '98

TV Sports Director

MCOM alumnus Justin Barrientos is sports director for Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC TV 25) in Winona and is the lead play-by-play announcer for HBC's coverage of high school and college football, basketball, hockey and occasionally baseball and softball. He also hosts WSU football, basketball and baseball/softball coaches' shows, seen on the WSU YouTube channel.

Justin Barrientos

Tina Strelau '92

Marketing Communications Manager

Mass Comm alumna Tina Strelau is a marketing communications manager at Ecolab Inc. in downtown St. Paul. She helps lead the communication strategy for the North America Healthcare division, with an emphasis on developing and maintaining their internal and external digital channels. She also works with marketers to support new product innovation, adds sparkle to presentations and creatively finds ways to increase sales. All those hours spent in the editing bay for Dennis Pack's classes also come in handy for the internal videos she helps create. If she has one piece of advice it is to soak up experience in as many diverse communication channels as you can: attend meet-ups, network, try out new skills by learning from YouTube, be curious about everything, apply for internships early and often, and don't let a "no" shut the door after graduation to the pursuit of your dream of being a professional communicator.

Tina Strelau 

Rick Thiesse '92

Media Relations Specialist

Alumnus Rick Thiesse was active with KQAL radio as a student and graduated from WSU wanting to stay in radio, but an internship at KTTC-TV resulted in his hiring as KTTC bureau chief for the station's Austin/Albert Lea market. Rick's position in media relations and marketing communications at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare for 14 years has him working with local, regional and national media outlets. He also focuses on internal and other external communications, social media and emergency planning. Rick's advice: "Garner as many internships as possible because that 'hands on training' will truly help you decide if this is the right track for you."

Rick Thiesse

Dave Schrader '90

Radio/TV Host

MCOM alumnus Dave Schrader is the host of Beyond the Darkness, a paranormal-themed radio show on the Jericho network of PodcastOne.com. It was listed in the top 20 new shows on iTunes for 2017. He is also a frequent guest host on Coast to Coast AM radio program. Dave, who worked at the WSU student radio station KQAL as an undergrad, also has appeared on TV on A&E on Paranormal State TV Series, the Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures and the Travel Channel mini-series Paranormal Challenge.

Dave Schrader