Each month we will feature a Valpo Graduate from the Department of Communication. If you know an Alum who should be featured, please email us!
1) Where are you working now?
I’m the associate communications director for the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. Previously, I spent seven years as a newspaper reporter and editor covering politics and law in Chicago, Indiana and Iowa.
2) What was your major? Year you graduated? I majored in new media journalism and the humanities, graduating in 2008.
3) What were you involved in at Valpo? The Torch and WVUR consumed the vast majority of my free time at VU. I was on the newspaper editorial staff for four years, including as editor in chief my junior and senior years. I was also very involved with WVUR as a morning show host and on sports staff, hosting in the studio and spending two years as color commentator for Valpo Sports Radio Network broadcasts of football games.
4) What was your favorite Comm class at Valpo? I found the upper-level seminars to be the most valuable portions of my communications studies, because of the way they helped you think through the challenging issues of the day. Courses like Sports Journalism, taught by Paul Oren, allowed you to apply what you had learned about reporting, producing, media law, and ethics to what was happening in the world around you. Those experiences force you to think on your feet, because in the media industry, you can never predict what new challenge you might face or big decision you will have to make.
5) What is a favorite memory or thing you learned at Valparaiso? The community that was, and I hope still is, fostered in the communications department is priceless. There was limitless opportunity to get involved in the student media organization(s) that most interested you, and there is a level of trust and responsibility granted to students that can’t be found everywhere. At the same time, the department is not overwhelmingly large, so the environment is not unnecessarily competitive. My closest friendships, and the ones that remain the strongest, were forged in Schnabel Hall, in large part because we were so devoted to working together toward common goals, and we were committed to making each other better every day.
6) Was there anything/anyone that created a lasting impact on you while at Valpo? For as important as my communications training was at Valpo, my most formative experience was in Christ College. Your four years at Valpo are an incredible chance to be intellectually curious and study an array of subjects, and I loved the courses I took bridging philosophy, literature, film, art, and history. Engaging with faculty and students in that setting made me a better writer, a deeper thinker, and a stronger communicator.
7) What advice do you have for current Valparaiso students? No matter how passionate you are about communications, don’t just study communications. Your field will look totally different a decade after you leave school — when I graduated, Facebook was only open to college students and Twitter had never been mentioned in the classroom. You will develop strong skills in communications, but you will develop equally valuable skills through other disciplines like English, theology, foreign languages, and history, philosophy, or theology. Those classes teach you how to think critically and argue persuasively about a wide range of topics, and that’s something that will translate into anything you do in life.