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

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

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

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

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

Greg White '15


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 in La Crosse. 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. This is not a job that exists on a scantron; it lives and breathes." The Channel 8 employee says his experience at WSU allowed him to develop his skills to become a true storyteller. He does note that as a photographer, it's really hard to find a picture of himself!
Greg White

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

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

Nina Steffel ’11


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 be beat."

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

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

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

Graig Harris ’09


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

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

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 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

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

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

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