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Previous Alum Spotlights

You will find previous Alum’s who have been featured in our Alum Spotlight. If you would like to nominate an outstanding Alum to be featured, please email us! 

Alum Spotlight: Josh Weinhold

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 a 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 a 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.

Alum Spotlight: Ellie Lange

Ellie Lange

Q) Where are you working now?

A) Edelman, a global communications marketing firm in Chicago

Q) What was your major? Year you graduated?

A) Year you graduated? Public Relations/Communications, Graduated in 2014

Q) What were you involved in at Valpo?

A) I was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), worked at Hilltop House and was an Ambassador in Admission (AIA)!

Q) What was your favorite COMM class at Valpo?

A) Crisis Communications with Professor Nicole Niemi. It was a class that was hands-on and taught useful skills I use each day. It’s important for every person in communications to understand the importance of preparing for a crisis, especially this day in age!

Q) What is a favorite memory or thing you learned at Valparaiso?

A) I have SO many fond memories of my time at Valpo – from basketball games to late nights in the library — but there was nothing more exciting than the first weekend on campus, getting to know other new Crusaders! Valpo taught me the importance of giving back and how important is to be community-centric. The philanthropic aspect of the university is something I wish more schools would adapt, as it has greatly shaped who I am as a person.

Q) Was there anything/anyone that created a lasting impact on you while at Valpo?
A)  The COMM department is a community unlike any other. College can be stressful, from balancing school and friends to finding internships and jobs, it can be overwhelming. Knowing that I could always go to Paul Oren and Lanie Steinwart – both of whom never hesitated to take time out of their busy day to hear me vent – is something I am still thankful for to this day.

Q) What advice do you have for current Valparaiso students?

A) Make the most of your time!! College goes way too quick, so don’t overwork yourself and take the time to have (lots) of fun! Also, Valpo is unique as it is a small(ish) school with MANY resources and tons of alumni. It would be hard to find alumni that wouldn’t love to grab coffee with a fellow Crusader, so don’t hesitate to engage that network.

Alum Spotlight: Adam Amin

Adam Amin

Q) Where are you working now?

A) I am currently a play-by-play announcer for ESPN, covering college football and basketball, the NBA, NFL, and Major League Baseball.

Q) What was your major? Year you graduated?

A) I majored in Television/Radio and was part of the class of 2009.

Q) What were you involved in at Valpo?

A) As a freshman, I split my time between WVUR and the theater department. While I enjoyed participating on the stage in “The Crucible” and in “Romeo and Juliet”, my time at the radio station really clarified for me what it was that I wanted to pursue as a career.

Q) What was your favorite COMM class at Valpo?

A) Any time I had a class with Paul Oren; it always felt like it was gaining real world experience.

Q) What is a favorite memory or thing you learned at Valparaiso?

A) It’s a definite collection of memories and moments. But mostly, I learned how to work with and treat the people around you, how to be part of a team. And I learned the foundation of skills necessary for me to grow and eventually hope to thrive in the career path I chose.

Q) Was there anything/anyone that created a lasting impact on you while at Valpo?
A) I met some of my closest friends at Valpo while working at WVUR. I was in their weddings, I’ve met their children, and they’ve helped me through some of the most important moments of my life. Those will be the things that impact me for the rest of my life.

 Q) What advice do you have for current Valparaiso students?

A) What you get out of your experience will be proportionate to what you put into it. I think that applies to Valpo, to your job, to your relationships. Effort gets noticed and the world rewards it. Treat the people around you well, work hard, and the universe will conspire to help you.

Alum Spotlight: Gabby Deitsch

Gabby Deitsch

Where are you working now?

Weber Shandwick, a global PR agency

What was your major? Year you graduated?

Public Relations; 2010

What were you involved in at Valpo?

Kappa Kappa Gamma, PRSSA, Colleges Against Cancer, Relay for Life

What was your favorite Comm class at Valpo?

Business Law because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and without that class, I’d be hating life in law school currently.

What is a favorite memory or thing you learned at Valparaiso?

Favorite memory is all of the friendships I made that I still have seven years later

What advice do you have for current Valparaiso students?

Enjoy every single moment because as everyone says, it does go by in the blink of an eye!

Alum Spotlight: Patrick  Fazio

Q) Where are you working now?

A) NBC Chicago

Q) What was your major? Year you graduated?

A) Communication – 2000

Q) What were you involved in at Valpo?

A)WVUR-FM Sports Director/announcer/host, The Torch newspaper reporter, wide receiver on V.U’s Football team

Q) What was your favorite Comm class at Valpo?

A) I really liked all the hands-on and interactive classes, but I tell prospective anchors and reporters to also take as many broadcast writing courses as they can. Strong writing separates the good journalists from the great ones.


Q) What is a favorite memory or thing you learned at Valpo?

A)I remember all the hours my classmates and I put in at WVUR-FM but also how much fun we had working there. I look back at those years as a reminder to laugh and not take myself too seriously – especially with all the pressure and  deadlines we face in the media world.

Q) Was there anything/anyone who made a lasting impression on you while at Valpo?

A)Valpo allowed me to make the most of my college experience. When I first got to campus, WVUR-FM wasn’t broadcasting any athletic events. So I asked if we could and recruited other students to help create a sports department at the radio station. We ended up announcing games for almost every V.U sports team.

Q) What advice do you have for current Valpo students? 

A) Work hard but have fun. Get involved and try as many activities as possible to see what you might want to pursue as a career. It’s also a great way to meet new people. Many of the friends I made at Valpo are now colleagues in the media industry.

Alum Spotlight: Eileen Petkovic

Eileen Petkovic

Q) Where are you working now?

A) I work for Beekeeper Marketing which is an Amazon broker/marketing agency. Beekeeper runs the Amazon business for over 100 CPG clients. We handle everything from business strategies, to operations, to media and promotional initiatives. I work under our marketing team as a marketing manager and I oversee advertising campaigns, promotional plans/budgets, and catalog representation for 20 clients. Beekeeper Marketing’s staff is 100% remote, so we work across multiple time zones with a variety of different client located across the US. Most of our clients are organic grocery and/or household supplies items.

Q) What was your major? Year you graduated?

A) I double majored in graphic design and professional writing, and graduated in 2013.

Q) What were you involved in at Valpo?

A) I was an Ambassador in Admissions for two years, sat on the media committee for student senate, a graphic design intern for IMC at Valpo, and was a TA for a couple of Robert Sirko’s design classes. 

Q) What was your favorite Comm class at Valpo?

A) I absolutely loved speech class. No matter what major you are I recommend you take a speech class (or two). The ability to present and connect with an audience is one of the greatest strengths one can have in any position. Not to mention it was fun!

Q) What is a favorite memory or thing you learned at Valpo?

A) I am grateful for many memories, but I think something I learned from being at Valpo was the value of being a part of something bigger than yourself. Valpo really encourages their students to think outside of their bubble and to assess the impacts of our choices as individuals, and that has served me well not only in my career, but in my life as a whole!

Q) What advice do you have for current Valpo students?

A) There are two things I would tell a current student when thinking about next steps, or your future. One is to always work for or towards a purpose. Paychecks and job titles won’t determine your success or happiness, your passions and values will! The second is to always listen to understand, do not listen to respond. The power of being a good listener will open far more doors than always being the most commanding voice in a room.