What I Did With My Mass Communication Degree


Lauren Howe '18

Marketing content manager at Rincon Property Management Inc.


Zoe Vossen '18

Design assistant at Jaime Foley Design


Andrea Boe '17

Contract sales coordinator at KENDELL

Learn more about Andrea's journey to graduation.


Courtney (Wagner) Campbell '17

Project Coordinator

Mass Comm alumna Courtney Campbell is a project coordinator at Pulse Marketing!, an advertising agency in Murrieta, California.

“In my position I follow the projects – digital ads, emails, labels, website design, social media, logo design, branding, etc. – that my clients ask for, from start to finish,” she says. “Basically I delegate the steps it takes to get that project done and make sure team members are meeting deadlines so that the project as a whole can meet the deadline.”


Madelynn Emmerich '17

Community Manager in Sunny California

Mass Comm alumna Madelynn Emmerich is putting her 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.


Kari Middendorf '17

Account Manager, In-House Designer

Graphic Design and 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 and communications manager for Due North Coffee Co.


Brienne Reischl '17

Creative communication strategy and digital marketing


Aly Rhoades '17

Account coordinator at Portu-Sunberg


Zach Spanton '17

Digital Art Director

As digital art director at Minneapolis PR agency Russell Herder, Zach works with senior art directors, copywriters and a creative director to create and execute campaign concepts.

He also provides creative support for existing brands the firm works with, creating printed collateral materials, digital ads, social media posts and email marketing.

"Our motto at Russell Herder is to do 'work that matters,' and it is reflected in the type of clients we take on, our status as a certified B-Corp and the general attitude of the entire team," Zach says.

"We are a very collaborative and supportive group, pushing each other every day to create the best work we can for our clients and helping to make the world a better place."


Samantha Stetzer '17

Lead copywriter at The Newsletter Pro


Hannah Wicklund '17

TV Production Assistant

Mass Comm alumna Hannah Wicklund is a production assistant for the WQOW 18 News "Daybreak" show out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Her responsibilities include editing video and graphics for the morning news show and running audio throughout the newscast.

Hannah works with the director, producer and anchors throughout the process to make "Daybreak" a success.


Logan Anderson '16

Digital insights analyst at Clarity Coverdale Fury


Amanda Budde '16

Media planner at Martin Williams Advertising


Matt Lambert '16

Newspaper Reporter

Mass Comm alumnus Matthew Lambert is a news reporter at the Red Wing (Minnesota) "Republican Eagle," covering areas such as education, public safety and business.

Before moving to the Red Wing paper, Matt worked for the "Pierce County Herald" and the "Rochester Post-Bulletin." Matt is married going on three years and has two dogs. He lives in Rochester, Minnesota.


Emily McCaleb '16

Website content administrator at Aveda


Allison Ramey '16

Content marketing manager at RE/MAX


Sam Thiel '16

Sports Editor

Mass Comm alumnus Sam Thiel is sports editor at the "Marshall (Minnesota) Independent" newspaper. He started as a sports reporter 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.”


Scott Westerman '16

Senior Media Planner

Mass Comm alumnus Scott Westerman got his start as a media intern at small Minneapolis agency, Clarity Coverdale Fury, and currently works at Carmichael Lynch, a Minneapolis-based ad agency, where he is a senior media planner on the Subaru account.

He specializes in digital media across the account. Scott works on a portion of the programmatic business but focuses on the endemic partnerships and sponsoring opportunities between Subaru and sites like Cars.com, Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.

“No two days are the same and I am consistently challenged to think outside the box to bring the best opportunities and ideas to clients,” Scott says.


Kathryn Zahn '16

Lead host at Punch Bowl Social


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.”


Kip Kovar '15

Sports Editor

Kip is currently the sports editor at the "Herald Journal" in Winsted, Minnesota. Kip's duties include writing and editing copy as well as incorporating photos and videos into his coverage.

He covers four local high schools as well as community sports such as amateur baseball. He is also in charge of layout duties for sports in the "Herald Journal," as well as the two sister papers, the "Delano Herald Journal" and the "Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch."

“I've been very blessed to cover several state tournaments, including two state titles, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and several other high-level events throughout my sports writing career,” Kip says.

“The best part of my job is developing relationships with coaches and players while being able to capture key moments in words and pictures that mean the world to them.”


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

TV Sports Producer

Alumnus Anthony Resnick is a sports producer for KRNV channel 4 in Reno, Nevada. “I create the graphics for our sports broadcasts so far, as well as produce shows such as our American Century Championship (aka celebrity golf tournament) wrap-up show, ‘The 19th Hole,’” he says.

Before that, he was the multimedia specialist for the University of Nevada-Reno men's basketball team. “The team was conference champion (Mountain West) and made an NCAA tournament run to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 10 years,” Anthony says.

After graduating from WSU, Anthony returned as a graduate assistant and assistant director of athletic communications for two years and worked on his master’s degree.


Sara (Enzenauer) Strand '15

Project coordinator at APi National Service Group


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.



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-TV in La Crosse.

He has since moved up to noon and 5pm 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.


Emily Anderson '14

Media Planner

Emily Anderson was hired as a media intern by Minneapolis ad agency Carmichael Lynch just before graduation in 2014. At the end of that summer she went full-time as an assistant media planner and has been working there ever since. “My client is Subaru of America, Inc., and I specialize in national TV and digital advertising, especially branded content partnerships,” Emily says. “In the past I’ve worked with partners like BuzzFeed, the CW, Funny or Die, National Geographic, NBCUniversal, and more, to create branded content on behalf of Subaru.” Emily says she enjoys wearing different hats at work. “I am encouraged daily to push the envelope. One day could consist of anything from concepting new branded content ideas, to balancing budgets, to presenting to clients, to crafting the media strategy/plan for a campaign.”
Emily Anderson

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 Barbeln 

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.

Madison (Delamarter) Fowlkes

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.

Michelle Peterson

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.

Elise (Nelson) Ramsbottom 

Andy Sroka '14


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

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

Rochester Post Bulletin

Mass Comm alumni Joey Ahlquist ’13, Matt Lambert ’16, Randy Petersen ’96 and Andy Link ’08 enjoy working at the "Rochester Post Bulletin" newsroom. They were also awarded the Vance Trophy, awarded to Minnesota's most outstanding daily newspaper, during a Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest awards banquet. This was the first time the "Post Bulletin" had won the award since 2001. (Note: Matt Lambert '16, upper left, has since moved on to the Red Wing (Minnesota) "Republican Eagle." Andy Link ’08, right, is now digital editor at the "Post Bulletin.")
Matt Lambert, Joe Ahlquist, Andy Link, Randy Petersen

Preston Bowman ’13

Graphic Designer

Preston Bowman currently works at Kollege Town Sports in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. A division of Riddell, Kollege Town serves as the apparel division of the sports equipment company and provides custom apparel for colleges, high schools, nonprofits, and businesses across the country. As a member of the art team, Preston is responsible for setting up art on garments to be screen printed or embroidered, managing the branding for licensed colleges, and creating design templates for future sports seasons.

Preston Bowman

Samantha (Luhmann) Hall '13

Executive Director

Mass Comm alumna Samantha Hall is currently employed at HorseSense, Inc. in La Crosse, WI, as the Executive Director.

Before accepting this position, she spent nearly four years at the Coulee Region Humane Society as the Community Outreach Coordinator.

Prior to that, she worked as a News Reporter for the "La Crosse Tribune." While at WSU, Sammi was also a News Reporter for "Winona Daily News."

Samantha Hall

Erin (Cochran) Kunesh '13

Content Strategist

Mass Comm alumna Erin (Cochran) Kunesh has put her public relations degree to use as a content strategist for University of Western States in Portland, Oregon. She is responsible for creating brand stories across digital and print platforms, photographing events, and handling media relations and internal communication efforts. Prior to UWS, she worked as a sports information director within the University of Minnesota and University of Oregon athletic departments. “From collegiate athletes, professors, head coaches, medical students and physicians, being able to share the stories of people who are making the world a better place is my favorite part of my role,” she says. Erin has earned an M.Ed. in sport management and is beginning her Ed.D. in sport and performance psychology, clinical mental health counseling specialization.
Erin (Cochran) Kunesh

Tommy Platek '13

Production Company Owner

Tommy is a Mass Communications-Broadcasting Major who received the Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® for News Photographer on Oct. 5, 2019.

His award entry included samples of his videography work on the local News Magazine "Insight 7." Platek has worked for this news magazine for 5 years. He has also owned his own production company since 2017.

Tommy won an Emmy last year for his documentary film titled “Stories Undocumented: The Vietnam War 1954-1975.”

The film focused on his grandfather, Ret. Col. Marty Mahrt's miraculous rescue during his first tour in Vietnam. He was awarded with a Purple Heart for his injuries.

Watch his documentary short film.

Tommy Platek '13

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

Brianna (Klapperich) Jahangir '12

Associate Product Manager

After graduating from WSU where she studied photojournalism and studio art, Brianna worked as a wedding photographer and videographer in the La Crosse/Winona area. She then moved to Minneapolis to start her career in marketing and graphic design. She now puts her mass communication skills to use working as an associate product manager at Five Star Professional. "My job is to communicate with people from all different departments to create cohesive product visions and bring those visions to life," says Brianna.
Brianna Jahangir

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

Jake Schwarzinger '12

Design and Multimedia Coordinator

After graduation, Jake Schwarzinger took his experiences from WSU Mass Comm and the WSU Web Communications department to the University of Delaware, where he worked as a communications specialist. Jake has since moved back to Minnesota and currently lives in St. Paul, working for the University of Minnesota as a design and multimedia coordinator. “I, with help from my amazing award-winning interns, get paid to make things look attractive and make life better for on-campus residents,” Jake says. “It’s a great time.”

Jake Schwarzinger

Tom Butina '11

Account Supervisor

Tom is currently working at Patients & Purpose, a full-service Omnicom agency in New York City dedicated to patients and marketing health brands. Tom is the account lead for the No. 1 global pharmaceutical brand, Oncology division, which is helping patients redefine their life with cancer. Tom is working on expanding the brand’s award-winning oncology programs globally, while managing day-to-day relationships with senior clients. “The most rewarding part of my job is knowing our team is making a direct impact on the lives of oncology patients and their loved ones,” he says. “Pharmaceutical advertising is highly regulated and tough to navigate. At the end of the day you know all the hard work is actually making a difference.”
Tom Butina

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 Bourget

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


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

Kelsey (Bewick) Notstad '11

Digital Strategy Program Manager

Kelsey is the Digital Strategy Program Manager for Black Hills Energy, a natural gas and electric utility company serving 1.25 million customers in eight states. She leads the digital charge by managing Black Hills’ social media channels, websites, email marketing programs and marketing analytics. She also does a bit of user experience writing and design, where she crafts copy that guides users within web experiences. “I could have never imagined I’d someday work in the utility industry,” says Kelsey, “but it’s an incredibly exciting place to be.”
Kelsey Notstad

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.

Kristin Pinter

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


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

Tim Swenson '11

Account Executive

Mass Comm alumnus Tim Swenson has been an account cxecutive at d.trio marketing group in the North Loop area of Minneapolis for five years. Before that, he was an intern at Hunt Adkins. Tim’s daily responsibilities include managing timelines, budgets, meetings and client expectations. While at d.trio, he has primarily worked with large financial institutions such as U.S. Bank, SunTrust Bank and Synchrony Bank. Working at a smaller agency gives him the opportunity to wear a lot of hats and work on projects from start to finish. This unique aspect of d.trio enables him to quickly respond to the needs of his clients and build lasting partnerships with them as well.
Tim Swenson

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 two daughters.

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.

Sarah Burgen and Ashley (Bronk) Marin

Katie Derus '09


Katie Derus started her photography business in Colorado right after graduating from WSU, and has since moved her base of operations to Milwaukee, where Katie Derus Photography specializes in wedding and family photography. “Owning my own business is not where I saw my career going, but I really do love being a part of people’s happiest days and being my own boss!” she says.
Katie Derus

Chris Dillman '09

Photo Editor

After graduating from WSU, Mass Comm alumnus Chris Dillmann found random jobs in photography to help build experience, then accepted a newspaper internship. “This was giving me great experience and a good resume builder, but I wasn’t satisfied as I wasn’t fully and exclusively taking photos,” he says. Chris moved to Vail, Colorado, in 2013 and worked as a resort photographer, then a freelance photog with the Vail Daily News and finally as photo editor with the Vail Daily News. “This year I won two first place in the AP Caper Awards and two first places in the Colorado Press Association Awards, as well as a second place behind my first place for general news,” Chris says.
Chris Dillman

Alexandria Fisher '09


After graduation, Alex Fisher moved to Chicago to continue working part-time as a freelance digital content producer for NBC Chicago. She has since moved to a full-time position as a digital and social media producer, creating content for the website and app while helping to manage the station’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more. She writes 5-10 articles a day, edits video and assists in coverage of major events like the Olympics and the Chicago Marathon.
Alexandria Fisher

Dallas (Campion) Fitch '09


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.

Dallas (Campion) Fitch

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.”

Samantha Gronlund

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

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 Development VP

Mass Comm alumna Annelie Schmittel is vice president of player development with the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. Schmittel, formerly working in player engagement for the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, will be responsible for creating, managing and overseeing programs to support professional and personal growth of 76ers players, staff and families, according to the Sixers. Schmittel has a doctorate in sports communication.

Annelie Schmittel

Travis Kobs '08

Creative Producer

Travis is a Mass Communications- Broadcasting Major who earned two Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®. He is a Creative Producer at KARE 11 where he has worked for a little over three years. Travis was also an adjunct instructor for the Mass Communication Department in 2012. Sunrise Fresh Quotes and Through the Ice are two video works he created for KARE-TV.

 Travis Kobs

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!

Ruth DeFoster and Matt Huss

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

Andrew Link '08

Digital Editor

Andrew Link has moved into a digital editor position where he manages online presentations and social media at the "Post Bulletin" newspaper in Rochester, Minnesota. He’s served as a photojournalist at the paper since 2015. Before that, Andrew was the photo editor at the "Winona Daily News" and photojournalist at the "Washington County Daily News" in West Bend, Wisconsin, and "N’West Iowa Review" in Sheldon, Iowa. He got his start as a part-time photojournalist at the "Winona Daily News" and photo editor of the "Winonan" while a student at WSU. Photo by Joe Ahlquist ("Post Bulletin" photojournalist and 2013 Mass Comm grad).
Andy Link

Stacy (Brogan) Shones '08

Development Coordinator

Stacy, who graduated from WSU with a degree in broadcasting, is development coordinator at Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center in Winona. “I am in charge of the organization’s marketing, public relations, grant writing, event planning and donor development,” she says. “I am excited to be working in the Winona community and to work with Winona State Students in the mental health field!”
Stacy Shones

Michael Brako '07

Director of Medical Media

Michael, director of medical media for EBSCO Publishing, heads a team of creative individuals who create medical media content such as images, videos and animation for the healthcare and nursing industry. After graduation from Winona State, he received an MFA in Visual Effects and worked for three years as vfx artist for Stereo D, Deluxe Studies, contributing to such blockbuster films as "The Avengers" and "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Michael Brako

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

Marissa (Block) Gentling '07

Digital Content Manager

A week before graduating in winter 2007, Mass Comm alumna Marissa (Block) Gentling scored a job as an evening producer at KTTC NewsCenter in Rochester. About a year later, she accepted a role as the Life section editor of the Post-Bulletin, where she worked for four years. Wanting to pursue more of an 8-5 lifestyle, Marissa later moved into Public Affairs at Mayo Clinic, serving as managing editor of one of the print publications in that department. That role eventually transitioned into a full-time managing editor role at Mayo, where Marissa worked as the lead editor for infectious disease content and other content areas on MayoClinic.org (learning about all things tick, Zika, Ebola, etc.). During that time, Marissa received her MBA from Augsburg College and has served as president and vice president of the Civic League Day Nursery Board of Directors for four years. Just this year, Marissa stepped into a new role as Digital Content Manager for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.
Marissa (Block) Gentling

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 Mabry

Shanthal Perera '07

Initiatives and Communications Associate

Mass Comm alum Shanthal Perera works as an initiatives and communications associate for the Pierre L. Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivey Business School, which is Canada’s leading business school and alma mater to Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame and WealthSimple CEO Michael Katchen. In his current role, Shanthal regularly works with many of Canada’s top entrepreneurs, highlighting the ups and downs of their careers to create inspiring content for students and alumni. He also spotlights young entrepreneurs who will play an integral future role in creating value and jobs. Referred to as the Institute’s “Swiss army knife,” Shanthal continues to apply the lessons he learned at WSU in both written and visual media. He cites his experience at the Winonan to be instrumental in shaping his style and approach to writing.
Shanthal Perera

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.

Afsina (Yildiz) Abbasi

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.

Sarah (Goberville) Biondo

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


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, Editor, Radio Producer

Brian Krans is working as a producer at KCBS Radio in San Francisco and as editor of the "Richmond Pulse" newspaper in Richmond, California. Brian recently finished his master's studies in investigative journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and was merit fellow in the Investigative Reporting Program. He received the Reva and David Logan Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting for his piece “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances,” published in the "East Bay Express." 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 Krans

Brian Gallagher '03

Movie Critic / Journalist

Mass Comm alum Brian Gallagher moved from Winona to Los Angeles to write for MovieWeb.com in 2008. There he wrote more than 43,000 stories for MovieWeb.com and TVWeb.com combined, while interviewing stars such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Emily Blunt, Henry Cavill, Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston, Simon Pegg, Mark Wahlberg and Kirk Douglas. He currently writes for The Daily Mail, IGN and Screen Rant.

Brian is also a screenwriter who has written 20 movie and TV scripts over the past 11 years in Los Angeles. He had his original one-hour TV pilot script entitled “Charon” read live on the Unproduced Table Reads show on the Popcorn Talk YouTube channel in August 2018. He also self-published his non-fiction memoir "Doing Time in Hollywood" in September 2018, which is available on e-book and paperback on Amazon. When he's not working or writing, his hobbies include card throwing, retro video games and anything involving whiskey.

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.

Andy Salmen

Jon Arias ’02


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.

Jon Arias

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.

Nicole (Mossing) Caputo

Scott Haraldson '02


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.”

Chris Yarolimek

Kate Schott '01


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.”

Kate Schott

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