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Alumni Profiles

Anna Conkey

Anna Conkey

Name: Anna Conkey

Major and degree: B.A. Journalism, B.A. English

Where I’m from: Yokosuka, Japan

Follow me on Twitter: @AnnaConkey

What I’m doing now: I have a YouTube channel and blog about my relationship with God, I’m a board member for the Asian American Journalist Association, San Diego Chapter, and I’m an editor and writer for the San Diego anti-human trafficking non-profit Free to Thrive.

How SJMS prepared me for my career: One of my biggest take-aways was learning how to create and manage a website, but my research topics in school were always regarding the plight of sex trafficking survivors, so that definitely helped give me focus for my career field.

How I want to give back: I’m the mentorship chair for AAJASD, so I can help if any students want to get more involved with the organization or learn first-hand from media, journalism and PR professionals.


Susan Hartzler

Susan Hartzler

Name: Susan Hartzler

Major and Minor: Journalism

Where I’m from: Oxnard, CA

Follow me on Twitter: @blissdog

Favorite spot on SDSU campus: The Daily Aztec

What I’m doing now: Writing, blogging, Public Relations and running a campaign for my dog Seven for President of the United States! I am also finishing my memoir called Sleeps With Dogs.

How I want to give back: My dog and I are a therapy dog team. We visit kids at local high schools, local hospitals and attend various events where attendees need a little special dog love.

How SJMS prepared me for my career: As the first female sports writer at the Daily Aztec, I learned to write under deadline. Many of the journalism classes I took also helped prepare me for my career. I also got an internship with KFMB upon graduation which took my skills to a new level.

What I would look for in hiring a new graduate: Writing experience.


Melissa Monte

Melissa Monte

Name: Melissa Monte

Major and Minor: Journalism / Communications

Where I’m from: Santa Monica, CA

Follow me on Twitter: @mindlovemelissa

What I’m doing now: I am a mindset coach, keynote speaker and the host of the popular podcast Mind Love. Through raw stories, personal experience, and inspiring interviews, her podcast Mind Love highlights the incredible role of the mind in happiness, health, and success.

How I want to give back: During my college years, I experienced several traumas that I wasn’t equipped to handle on my own, which led to my own downward spiral. While trying to keep up with school, I became bulimic, self-destructive and had no sense of self-love. The darker my inner world became, the more my outer world seemed to follow. It took me nearly a decade to climb up from my own rock bottom. Now I teach other people the tools that turned my life around. Through raw stories, personal experience, and inspiring interviews, my podcast Mind Love along with and the message I share in my speeches highlight the incredible role of the mind in happiness, health, and success.

What I do for fun: I love yoga for how powerful and expansive it makes me feel. I love the outdoors to soak in the sunshine and fresh air. I love travel for what it exposes me to. I am a certified skydiver with a love for risk and facing my fears. I love slacklining for an extra sense of balance. And I love spending time with my adorable little dog Maverick Danger.


Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan

Name: Kinsee Morlan

Major and Minor: Major in Communications, Minor in Political Science. I was there before there was a journalism program/major!

What I’m doing now: I work at KPBS as a podcast producer and project coordinator. I manage the public radio station’s 11 podcasts and produce “Only Here,” a podcast about arts and culture at the border. https://www.kpbs.org/podcasts/only-here/

How SJMS prepared me for my career: SJMS made sure I got an internship, and also brought in real-world journalists to teach classes. One of those journalist/teachers got me a job at NBC San Diego right when I graduated.

Advice for current, or prospective, students:

  1. Always have a running list of story ideas.
  2. Get yourself plugged into your local community by signing up for local organization’s newsletters, reading local news every day and attending community events.
  3. Take your internship seriously and make sure you leave it with published work.


Mark Orwoll

Mark Orwoll

Name: Mark Orwoll

Major and Minor: Journalism (editorial). No minor.

Where I’m from: La Mirada, California (Los Angeles County). I currently live in Pleasantville,

New York.

Follow me on Twitter: @orwoll

What I’m doing now: Freelance travel writer for Conde Nast Traveler, the Travel Channel, AARP.com, Frommer’s Travel, Hemispheres (United Airlines inflight), Town & Country, Saturday Evening Post, Fodor’s, and many others. I’ve filed stories from 20 countries in the past three years. In 2016 I retired as International Editor of Travel + Leisure magazine and Executive Editor/International of the Time Inc. licensing department after 29 years on staff.

How I want to give back: Happy to offer career advice, especially to anyone considering working in the New York City area, where I now live.

My favorite classes at SDSU were: The foundations of journalism are built on two of my favorite classes: the History of Journalism and Journalism and the Law. You would be shocked at the number of writers and editors who did not receive any training in those basics.

What I do for fun: I’m the lead guitarist in a rock band with a lawyer, a chief technical officer, and a pharmaceutical salesmen. We’re not very good, but at least we’re loud.


Lindsay Santa

Lindsay Santa

Name: Lindsey Santa

Major and Minor: Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Journalism with an Emphasis in Public Relations

Where I’m from: San Diego, CA

Follow me on Twitter: @PRGirlSD

What I’m doing now: CEO of Synergy Communications, L.L.C., a premiere San Diego based full service public relations consulting agency.

How SJMS prepared me for my career: SJMS was invaluable to me into getting into the field of PR. I had numerous internships in the industry while still at SDSU and when I graduated, I already had my first full time PR job at QCOM/LEAP Wireless.

What I would look for in hiring a new graduate: I admire initiative, the ability to jump in, get dirty and figure out a difficult situation creatively. Moxie. Think quickly yet efficiently on your feet!