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Graduate Student Bios

On behalf of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, we'd like to introduce you to our graduate students. Select from the major below to jump to the graduates from that major.

Mass Communication


Thomas Christensen

Thomas Christensen

Media Studies, Mass Communication

http://www.thomaspchristensen.com

Thomas is a graduate student at San Diego State University and a U.S. Army veteran. He believes that images are more than just pictures; they are stories. Stories that transcend cultural divides and don’t require language to understand. His work has been published by the San Diego Union-Tribune, NBC7 San Diego, SB Nation, The USD Vista, East Village Times, and USD Athletics.

Educational Background:

B.A. in Communication Studies, University of San Diego

A.A. in General Studies, Thomas Edison State University

Career Background:

Public Affairs Specialization, U.S. Army

Sports Photographer

Bridget Cole

Bridget Cole

Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bridgetmcole/

Bridget is a graduate student at San Diego State University following her passion for advertising research. Her dedication to building her knowledge in the advertising field led her to attain a B.A. in Communication and a B.S. in Business Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. She hopes to further apply her experiences in social media marketing and retail in her studies. Bridget is eager to learn more about the interactions between media and consumer behavior at the School of Journalism and Media Studies at SDSU. Her plan so far is to continue following her academic passions and finding time to explore new places and try new food with family and friends. Bridget’s going to see where the road takes her, whether that is furthering her studies after receiving her Master’s degree or finding her niche in the advertising field.

Educational Background:

B.A. in Communication, University of California, San Diego

B.S. in Business Psychology, University of California, San Diego

Career Background:

Marketing Intern, DavidsRock

Retail Sales Associate, Macy’s Inc.

Jenna Holcomb

Jenna Holcomb

Media Studies, Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenna-holcomb-014387161/

Jenna is a family oriented, compassionate leader, and community driven individual that was raised in Southern California by a line of athletes, entrepreneurs, and event planners. She obtained her bachelor’s of Communications in Public Relations at the University of Tennessee. While at the University of Tennessee, she was a Lady Vol softball player. Being a collegiate student-athlete has pushed and shaped Jenna into the person she is today. Throughout her undergrad, she also dove into community engagement where she was involved in a mentoring program where athletes mentored underprivileged children in the community.

In addition to the experience Jenna gained from being a college athlete, she had the opportunity to be an intern for Visit Knoxville Sports Commission. There, she helped create multi-media digital content for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook promoting local and national sporting events such as USA Cycling Championships, USA Diving National Championships and AAU Basketball Tournaments. She is very excited to pursue graduate studies at San Diego State University while being on the softball team for her final year as an athlete. Jenna hopes to gain more valuable skills in mass communications and media studies that will help prepare her for her future career goals.

Educational Background: Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations, University of Tennessee

Career Background:

Softball player, University of Tennessee

Media and Communications intern, Visit Knoxville Sports Commission

Jacquelyn D Hulley

Jacquelyn Hulley

Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelyndhulley/

Jacquelyn D Hulley is a recent graduate from Cal Poly SLO, excited to start the graduate program at SDSU. Jacquelyn was fortunate enough to be selected for multiple internship positions over the last four years, one that took place in Barcelona, Spain. Jacquelyn hopes that over the duration of the Mass Communications and Media Studies program she will gain new and useful knowledge which will benefit her in the future career of her choice.

Educational Background: B.S. in Graphic Communication, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Career Background: Participated in multiple internship opportunities throughout undergraduate program ranging from printing and design to customer service and marketing.

Acacia Laliotis

Acacia Laliotis

Mass Communication

https://www.acacialaliotis.com/

Acacia is an aspiring public relations professional with an interest in becoming a community college professor. With roots in radio broadcasting, Acacia is hoping to bring her eight years of experience in the media world to a future classroom, with the hopes of teaching about social media, marketing and public relations. Acacia was inspired by her professors at Point Loma Nazarene University to pursue a career in higher education, and cannot wait to make more connections through the JMS graduate program.

Educational Background: B.A. in Media Communication with Production emphasis and a double minor in public relations and humanities, Point Loma Nazarene University

Career Background:

Graduate Teaching Assistant, SDSU

Media Specialist, SD Tattoo LLC

Station Manager, Point Loma Nazarene University

Guest Lecturer, Point Loma Nazarene University

Marquise Martin

Marquise Martin

Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/marquise-martin-959848183/

When Marquise was younger, he had doubts about where he would be headed in life as a young adult. He was often perceived as an indecisive, introverted individual that didn’t care much for school. However, that all changed after Marquise survived cancer and was accepted into the California State University San Marcos. There, he discovered an interest in the field of communication. He started to work harder in school and make new friends, and found a job that helped him become better at decision making. Marquise doesn’t have definitive plans for the future, but after reading about what the graduate program at SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media has to offer, he knew it was his next step in life. He wants to meet new people, learn more about what the world has to offer, and continue to grow as a person and he believes that going to SDSU is the best way to accomplish all of that.

Educational Background: Bachelor’s in Communication, California State University San Marcos

Career Background: Sales Associate, The Home Depot

Belinda Mendoza

Belinda Mendoza

Media Studies, Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/belinda-angelina-mendoza

Belinda’s interest in mass communication and media studies came from a noticeable lack of diversity in the media and her own feelings of being underrepresented. This, along with her long-standing passion for creativity, writing, and the arts, led her to SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies as an undergraduate and again as a graduate student. Belinda is currently working at the San Diego Salvation Army Kroc Center, a local nonprofit, as a content creator with a specialization in social media. She enjoys being able to give back to the community through her work, which inspires her to work toward becoming head of marketing for a non-profit. Subsequently, she would love to use all the knowledge she’s learned through her education and work experience to create marketing that will have an impact on the greater good. Belinda also hopes to advance her career to the point where she can inspire and mentor others like herself, who have felt underrepresented or disadvantaged for any reason. For Belinda, her career goals are not just about a dream job, but about inspiring and positively impacting others through her work.

Educational Background:

B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Art (magna cum lade), San Diego State University

A.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences with an emphasis in Language Arts and Humanities, San Diego City College

Career Background:

Marketing intern, San Diego Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2019

Content creator and social media manager, San Diego Salvation Army Kroc Center, present

Katie Schmidt

Katie Schmidt

Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-schmidt-286699169/

Born and raised in San Diego, Katie moved to Boston, Massachusetts, when she was 20 to study Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College. She served as the opinion editor of The Berkeley Beacon, the college’s student-run newspaper, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2019. After graduating, Katie moved back home to San Diego and landed a freelance position for Alternative Press Magazine. She writes features lists about alternative music and pop culture for the magazine’s website. Katie decided to attend the School of Journalism and Media Studies as a means to expand her journalism skillset and discover more career paths. While she enjoys being a freelance music journalist, Katie hopes her studies will lead her to a full-time job in the media field. Aside from music, Katie is interested in the psychological studies of advertising and media consumption, as well as the history of propaganda. Wherever her career path may lead, Katie ultimately wants to help change the world for the better, no matter how small her actions may be.

Educational Background: B.A. in Writing, Literature and Publishing, Emerson College

Career Background: Features Writer - Alternative Press Magazine

Mirelle Schwalbach

Mirelle Schwalbach

Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mirelleschwalbach/

Mirelle is a Silicon Valley native who found a love for the world of visual storytelling at a very young age. This encouraged her to obtain a Journalism degree and to get involved in numerous clubs and organizations within the advertising and public relations field during her undergrad years. She has gotten the opportunity to work, intern and volunteer in a variety of industries in the hopes of not only expanding her knowledge and skillset in media innovation, but also to inspire those around her to pursue their passions. Joining this next generation of communicators, Mirelle’s interests include digital marketing, creative strategy and social media branding. She wants to be able to make a difference in her community and across the globe through stories she tells and causes she supports. Mirelle is very much looking forward to being a part of the JMS graduate program as well as getting the chance to explore the beautiful city of San Diego!

Educational Background: B.A. in Journalism (Strategic Communications focus) with an emphasis in Integrated Marketing, Creative Advertising and Public Relations with a double minor in English (emphasis in Cinema Analysis & Media Studies) and Dance, University of Nevada, Reno

Career Background:

Graduate Teaching Assistant, San Diego State University

Fan Engagement & Events Associate, San Francisco 49ers

Event Marketing Coordinator, North Tahoe Business Association

Sports Partnerships Representative, Instagram - (Content Developer, NCAA Digital/Turner Sports & Social Media Team Member, College Football Playoff)

Social Media Specialist, Nevada Wolf Pack Athletics

Office of the Provost Marketing & Communications Ambassador, University of Nevada, Reno

PR Intern, Office for Community Faculty, Renown Health

Digital Strategy Specialist, Harcourts NV1 Realty

Sidney Sirdashney

Sidney Sirdashney

Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sidneysirdashney/

Sidney had worked for a small offshore drilling contractor in their technology communications sector and is looking forward to pursuing her Master’s degree with the goal of transitioning to a successful career in the media industry. In her downtime you can find Sidney at OrangeTheory fitness, bingeing her favorite shows, or being a total foodie. She can be found @sidneysirdashney on all socials.

Educational Background: B.A in Marketing with an emphasis in Digital Marketing Strategy, University of Mississippi, 2020

Career Background:

Graduate Assistant, San Diego State University, August 2021-Present

Communications Intern at Seadrill via MRE Consulting, Houston, TX, June 2020-August 2021

Social Media Director (April-June 2020)/Marketing Intern (January-April 2020), Oxford Film Festival, Oxford, MS

Summer Intern, McLean-Williams Limited, London, UK, Summer 2019

Public Affairs Officers (PAO)


Hector Alejandro

Hector Alejandro

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hectorir/

Hector is a Marine Corps Communication Strategy & Operations (COMMSTRAT) officer from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He most recently served as the COMMSTRAT Director for Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command (MARFORCYBER) under U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) out of Fort Meade, Maryland.

Before working at MARFORCYBER, he served with the Joint Planning Support Element (JPSE), part of the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC), out of Norfolk, Virginia. While with JPSE, he supported various strategic, operational, and tactical level joint headquarters, including U.S. European Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army South, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) in Iraq, amongst others.

JPSE deployments allowed him to participate in more than six real-world military contingency operations, including one combat deployment and three humanitarian operations. His most challenging operation included serving as the U.S. military spokesperson in Argentina for search and rescue efforts for the Argentine submarine, the A.R.A. San Juan.

His interests include team sports, videography, photography, graphic design, travel, and anything related to technology.

Educational Background:

B.S. in International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2010

Joint Contingency Public Affairs Course, 2018

Joint Intermediate Public Affairs Course, 2018

Expeditionary Warfare School, 2018

Command and Staff College, 2021

Career Background:

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Havelock, North Carolina

Black Sea Rotational Force, Mihail Kogălniceanu, Romania

Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis-Response Africa, Morón Air Base, Spain

Marine Corps Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk, Virginia

Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, Fort Meade, Maryland

John William Beal

John William Beal

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-william-beal-a2346a125

John is originally from Hingham, Massachusetts and also claims Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard as home.

John considers himself very fortunate to have served at the forefront of Coast Guard operations for a decade, which included communicating both positive and negative outcomes of his missions to the public: lives saved and lost, sustainability of fisheries and other marine life, efforts to keep dangerous drugs off the streets, and to reinforce legal immigration processes. He’s engaged with the American public and international maritime nations in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Central and South America, the Pacific, and the Middle East.

John wants to make the Coast Guard as well-known as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. He is hopeful that his post-graduate studies at San Diego State University will provide him with the skills and knowledge to enhance his capabilities in pursuit of that goal as a Public Affairs Officer, and hopefully introduce him to a network of other professionals in a variety of communications positions.

Educational Background: B.S. in Government - International Relations, United States Coast Guard Academy, 2011

Career Background:

Deck Watch Officer, USCGC MOHAWK (WMEC 913) - Key West, Florida

Executive Officer, USCGC BLOCK ISLAND (WPB 1344), USCGC KODIAK ISLAND (WPB 1341), and USCGC CUSHING (WPB 1321) - Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

Training Liaison Officer, USCG Afloat Training Organization - San Diego, California

Commanding Officer, USCGC Aquidneck (WPB 1309) - Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Commanding Officer, USCGC Terrell Horne (WPC 1131) - San Pedro, California

Pedro Khalil Caballero IV

Pedro Caballero IV

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pedro-caballero-4a6574a5/

Pedro graduated from Colby College in 2017 with a bachelor’s in international relations and anthropology. Following graduation, he traveled through Southeast Asia for four months before receiving an offer to attend the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School in September 2017. Following graduation from OCS, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and subsequently attended the Basic School and the Defense Information School in 2018. He reported to I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group at Camp Pendleton, California, in January 2019. In August 2020, Pedro was deployed as the Deputy Communication Strategy Operations Officer with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Makin Island. After returning from deployment in May 2021, Pedro was selected for graduate-level study by the Marine Corps and began studying at San Diego State University in July 2021. Pedro looks forward to learning as much as possible from the faculty and his fellow cohort members. He would like to broaden his knowledge of public relations and learn methods for application to his field.

Educational Background: B.A. in International Relations and Anthropology, Colby College, 2017

Career Background: Communication Strategy and Operations Officer, United States Marine Corps

Kassandra Collins

Kassandra Collins

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kassandracollins/

In 2010, Kassandra graduated as a Robertson Scholar from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication. Before joining the Navy in 2016, she traveled around the world with her South African husband. Kassandra worked as an English teacher in Thailand; as a voluntourism coordinator in Mozambique and South Africa; and as a non-profit coordinator in the Florida Keys and Miami, FL. She now serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the Navy and is excited to join SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies as a graduate student. Kassandra looks forward to learning more about crisis communication and to better apply the skills learned once back in the fleet.

Educational Background: B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010

Career Background:

Non-profit organizations in South Africa; Mozambique; the Florida Keys and Miami, Florida; 2010-2015

English teacher, Thailand

Surface Warfare Officer, U.S. Navy, 2016

Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy, 2018-present

Liza Dougherty

Liza Dougherty

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizatraveler/

Liza is a relationship builder, a listener and always keeping the story on her mind. Her goal is to back up the “art” of U.S. Navy public affairs with the scholarship of SDSU’s JMS program.

Educational Background: B.A. from Huntington College, 2004

Career Background:

U.S. Navy for 13.5 years, 10 years in public affairs

PAO tours include Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Naval Activity Naples, Italy, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two, U.S. Navy Chief of Information, and aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

Josh Hays

Josh Hays

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-hays-232574198/

Josh is a husband, father and Marine Corps Officer.

As a communication strategy and operations professional, he spent several years developing strategic public affairs plans and managing relationships with allied and partner nation stakeholders in Eastern Europe, the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East. He has spent four of the last six years on various assignments overseas, working in some of the most challenging information environments faced by our armed forces.

Josh looks forward to the rigorous curriculum to grow as a professional communicator and public relations manager. He plans to bring his knowledge of research and evaluation back to the Marine Corps.

Educational Background:

B.A. in Political Science, University at Buffalo

Certificate in Advanced Social Media Strategy, Syracuse University

Career Background: Communication Strategy and Operations Officer, U.S. Marine Corps

Mack Jamieson

Mack Jamieson

PAO

Lieutenant Mack Jamieson is a native of Fulton, MS. He graduated from the University of North Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in History in 2008 and enlisted in the Navy in February 2009. He served five years as an enlisted Mass Communication Specialist and then received his commission through Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned as an Ensign in May 2014.

Lieutenant Jamieson completed enlisted tours at Navy Public Affairs Support Element (NPASE) East in Norfolk, VA, and Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, TN. During his time at NPASE, Lieutenant Jamieson deployed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29), USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109).

Since commissioning, Lieutenant Junior Grade Jamieson served aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) as the Media Department Division Officer from 2014-2016. Following that assignment, Lieutenant Jamieson served as a lead planner for the Navy Week Program at Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) in Millington, TN, from 2016-2019.

Lieutenant Jamieson’s most recent assignment was as the public affairs officer at COMSUBGRU 9 from 2019 - 2021.

Educational Background: B.S. in History, University of North Alabama

Career Background:

Enlisted Mass Communication Specialist, U.S. Navy, 2009-2014

Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy, 2014-present

Rick Moore

Rick Moore

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-moore-92a169217/

Rick Moore grew up in North Beach, Md., and attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received his commission in the U.S. Navy in 2009.

As a surface warfare officer, he served aboard USS Bainbridge, USS Vella Gulf and on the U.S. Fleet Forces Command staff. After laterally transferring into the Navy public affairs community, Rick served at Navy Public Affairs Support Element East from 2015 to 2017, deploying aboard USS Zumwalt for the ship’s commissioning and transit to her homeport in San Diego. He then deployed aboard USNS Spearhead to Central America as part of Southern Partnership Station 17. He served as deputy public affairs officer for
the Chief of Naval Personnel from 2017 to 2019. He most recently served as Public Affairs Officer for Joint Region Marianas in Guam, from 2020 to 2021.

He is grateful for the opportunity to learn from accomplished public relations professionals. He wants to expand his knowledge of public relations research and planning methods and apply lessons from San Diego State University to his service as a Navy spokesperson and leader.

Educational Background: B.S. in Comparative Politics, United States Naval Academy, 2009

Career Background:

Surface Warfare Officer, USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and U.S. Fleet Forces Command

Public Affairs Officer, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, Chief of Naval Personnel and Joint Region Marianas

Amelia Umayam

Amelia Umayam

PAO

Originally from Kailua, Hawaii, Amelia earned a B.A. in International Politics from Pennsylvania State University. She commissioned in the U.S. Navy through the NROTC program.

Amelia initially served as a Surface Warfare Officer where she deployed aboard the USS Klakring (FFG 42) to the U.S. 6th and 4th Fleet areas of operations. After re-designating as a Public Affairs Officer, she has been assigned to USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), U.S. 6th Fleet, and Expeditionary Strike Group 2.

Amelia is a wife, and mother of two boys. Her hobbies are travel and bodybuilding.

This year of graduate study will be an opportunity to focus on the academic side of public affairs, and how to best apply that educational rigor in future assignments.

Educational Background: B.A. in International Politics, Pennsylvania State University, 2008

Career Background: U.S. Navy, 2008-present

Phillip VanderWeit

Phillip VanderWeit

Media Studies, Mass Communication

https://www.linkedin.com/in/phillip-vanderweit-75a15175/

Prior to serving in the Coast Guard, Phillip served as a Marine Corps Officer, operations manager with The Home Depot, and a training specialist with the Department of Defense. He believes these diverse experiences have provided an important foundation for his professional development and desire for continued education. As a Coast Guard Public Information Officer, Phillip has been involved in challenging and dynamic situations where transparency and accuracy have been vital in the communication of information to the public. As a result of these experiences, he has gained the desire to deepen his understanding of communication and believes that San Diego State University will equip him with the knowledge to tackle these challenges, continue to add value to the Coast Guard, and enhance his public relations skillset.

Educational Background:

-B.S. in Criminal Justice, East Carolina University

-Graduate Certificate in Project Management, Penn State University

Career Background:

-Public Information Officer, U.S. Coast Guard, June 2017 – present

-Combat Engineer Officer, U.S. Marine Corps

Ada Anderson Willis

Ada Willis

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/adagray-anderson-willis-692934163/

LT Ada Anderson Willis is a native of Edgartown, Massachusetts. She graduated with honors from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and was commissioned an ensign in May 2015. She was designated a naval aviator in March 2017.

During her time as a Navy Public Affairs Support Element action officer, she served at sea as a staff public affairs officer on both amphibious ships and aircraft carriers. Additionally, she was the interim principal public affairs officer for the one-star Admiral leading the west coast amphibious fleet. Ada served most recently at U.S. Third Fleet as the deputy public affairs officer.

While at SDSU, Ada is excited to learn the practical application of public relations research, to better inform military leadership through her public affairs advice and counsel. She hopes to leave SDSU with not only her graduate degree but also her APR+M accreditation.

Educational Background: B.S. in Political Science Honors, United States Naval Academy

Career Background: Commissioned as a U.S. Naval Officer, 2015

Joe Wright

Joe Wright

PAO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-wright-547582100

Joe is from the wild and wonderful West Virginia. He grew up there and went to Wheeling Jesuit University in the northern panhandle. Joe knew he wanted to serve in the military after college, and feels lucky to have been able to communicate the Marine Corps story for the last four or so years. He’s looking forward to learning more about intercultural communication and international public relations.

Education Background:

B.A. in International Relations

Public Affairs Qualification Course

Information Operations Planners Course

Joint Contingency Public Affairs Course

National Outdoor Leadership School

Career Background:

Communication Strategy Officer, 2017

3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Norway, 2018

COMMSTRAT Officer, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC, 2019-2021

Learning, Design, and Technology


Dominick Grimm

Dominick Grimm

Learning, Design, and Technology

https://www.nextathletecoaching.net/#our-team

Dominick is a graduate student in Learning, Design, & Technology at SDSU. He received his B.A. in Communication, with an emphasis in Journalism from California Lutheran University (CLU). While at CLU, he was also the placekicker and punter for the Kingsmen and was eventually named to the Division III Senior Bowl in 2019, and has landed various professional opportunities in arena and indoor football.

Dominick, who was originally a walk on to SDSU’s men’s soccer team back in 2013, struggled early on balancing academics and athletics, in turn cutting his soccer career short. Since then, he strived to overhaul his grades, get back on the field, and now use his previous experiences to help prevent young athletes from making the same mistakes he did in partnership with NextAthlete Academic Coaching.

Through the LDT program, Dominick hopes to take advantage of remote tech learning and design, and bridge those opportunities with coaching to impact as many young athletes around the world as possible. He would also like to pursue coaching at university and professional levels.

Educational Background: B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism, California Lutheran University

Career Background: Football Player, Grossmont College, California Lutheran University

Anna Marburger

Anna Marburger

Learning, Design, and Technology

https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-marburger/

Anna realized her career for learning and development completely by accident, and dove right in. At Aspiration, a start-up company, she realized her passion by jumping into every role she could, and loved it. Now that Anna has discovered her passion and developed skills through hands-on experiences in the start-up world, she wants to take her career in learning and development to the next level. Anna is fortunate to be in a fantastic training specialist role at Better, and believes the School of JMS’s hands-on program is the formal education needed to flesh out her skills.

Educational Background: B.A. in American Studies emphasis Media Studies, Scripps
College, Claremont

Career Background:

Training Program Specialist (Better, online mortgage lender), November 2020- present

Learning & Development Special Projects Assistant (The Workforce Pro, start-up Customer Experience and L&D consulting), June-October 2020

Learning & Development Specialist (Aspiration, mission-based financial firm), June 2018-October 2019

Joshua Ortiz

Joshua Ortiz

Learning, Design, and Technology

Joshua is a San Francisco State University Chinese Flagship Program graduate (an accelerated, honors Chinese language and culture program). During his time in the Flagship Program, he was given the opportunity to study in Shanghai for two summers and in Beijing for the final Capstone year. Through these experiences, Joshua has developed a deep understanding of modern Chinese society and its culture with the language skills to work in a professional environment. While in Beijing, he participated in an internship working with special needs children, where he discovered my passion for education. Upon graduation, Joshua was honored to be offered a position as the Outreach Coordinator for the Chinese Flagship Program at SFSU. He recently moved to Taiwan, where he works as a middle school teacher. While in Taiwan, he hopes to continue to polish his language skills while gaining teaching experience. An M.A. in Learning Design and Technology will give him the skills necessary to effectively continue his passion in education. Joshua’s long-term goal is to be an educational administrator at a Chinese immersion school. Joshua believes technology is an invaluable tool for language learning, making the opportunity for cultural exchange and foreign language experiences more accessible for educators and learners.

Educational Background: B.A. Chinese Flagship, San Francisco State University

Career Background:

Outreach Coordinator for the Chinese Flagship Program, San Francisco State University

Middle School Teacher at Jinguo Middle School (經國國中) in Taoyuan, Taiwan