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2020 Graduates

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

Advertising


Danielle Aboud

Danielle Aboud

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielle-l-aboud/

Danielle interned at Mindgruve Marketing Agency where she was involved in influencer marketing, social media content creation, and spent time learning about the many facets of an agency. This experience gave her a glimpse into life after graduation and allowed her to see a future in this industry. Danielle would like to thank Barbra Mueller for sharing her incredible expertise. Through her lectures, Danielle found the motivation to continue pursuing her advertising degree. Danielle plans to stay in San Diego and continue her journey into brand strategy.

Francesca Dominique Avial-Tamayo

Francesca Dominique Avial-Tamayo

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dominique-avila-tamayo-5021b554/

Francesca was involved with the Student Ability Success Center as a marketing assistant where she furthered her skills in social media, graphic design and event planning. Francesca thoroughly enjoyed JMS 462 Advertising Strategy and Social Media with Alexa Mokalis who she says is a very passionate professor and great advisor. Francesca has enjoyed the projects she’s worked on for her degree and hopes to continue her career in San Diego.

Amber Lauren Kohn

Amber Lauren Kohn

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-kohn-441b73165/

Amber secured an internship at Amobee while at SDSU with the goal of continuing on with the company post-graduation. One of her favorite projects with the company was writing an article about COVID-19 that garnered more than 20,000 impressions. Something that made her JMS experience memorable was sharing the the process with the same group of students throughout the program.

Melissa Sandoval

Melissa Sandoval

Advertising

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

Melissa interned at Outside the Lens, a non-profit aimed at empowering kids in the community through the use of digital media, serving as a content editor intern. One of her favorite projects at the agency was helping to create and market content for the art exhibition featuring San Diego Refugee students. Her internship helped affirm her belief that you should never stop learning your craft, but rather continue to build upon it. Melissa’s favorite JMS classes was JMS 562 Advertising Creative with professor Jeannie Fratoni, because she got to tap into her creative side with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Melissa enjoyed being a part of the Hispanic Business Student Association because she was able to meet and network with people with similar interests. The two professors that influenced her the most were professor Fratoni for showing her the value of creating an overall cohesive brand for yourself, and professor Alexa Mokalis for inspiring her with her unique teaching style. Melissa’s post-graduation plan is to work for a creative agency or tech firm in the San Diego area and eventually transition into teaching.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“My advice would be, live in the moment and join everything you can. Take advantage of all the resources at SDSU, and always talk to the person you sit next to. Don’t be afraid to make new friends—you never know if they’ll end up being the greatest friend you’ll ever meet.”

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Alison Yang

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alisonyang7/

Alison’s favorite JMS class was JMS 462 Advertising Strategy and Social Media with professor Alexa Mokalis because it illuminated how impactful advertising is, and the importance of having a solid advertising campaign. During her time at SDSU, Alison interned at Modifly, performing in-house marketing tactics including social media. She would like to thank professor Jeannie Fratoni for encouraging and inspiring her to unleash her creativity.

Additional Advertising Graduates

OUTSTANDING ADVERTISING GRADUATE SHAYNA MARIE BALTROTSKY

Mayra Becerril
Kevin Bell
Donald Bloodworth
Shamaya Bowen
Nicholas Drammissi
Anna Fiorino
Megan Fitzpatrick
Julia Glass
Sydney Hamilton
Ryan Luong
Ashley Madara
Hayley Marin
McCabe Mesa
Javier Salcedo
Emma Shively
Giovanni Velasquez
Andrew Wagner
Alexa Zener

Journalism


Sofia Elena Gomez

Sofia Elena Gomez

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sofia-gomez-14a064171

Sofia would like to thank professor Schmitz Weiss and professor Thelen for influencing her to become a better journalist and continually strive for success, both in English and Spanish-language media. One of her favorite classes at SDSU was JMS 434 Writing for Spanish-Language and Latino Media with professor Thelen, where she appreciated the chance to write professionally in her native language—an experience that helped her bond with her classmates. She credits Alpha Phi Omega, a national service organization, with helping her break out of her shell, make life-long friends and become a better leader through helping others. One of her favorite SDSU memories was having her article published in The Daily Aztec, where she wrote about the first K-Pop concert held at SDSU, one of her favorite genres of music. This is a passion she’d like to continue to pursue post-graduation, while she strives to blend her love of music and writing. She also hopes to travel to South Korea and Japan once the stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“It’s okay to fail and make mistakes! As a student, you will always encounter failure somehow. It can sometimes make you feel unmotivated. But believe me when I say that not everything can be perfect! You will learn from your mistakes and be better the second time around. Failure makes you stronger!”

Shayne Jones

Shayne Jones

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/shayne-jones-60387b132/

During her time at SDSU, Shayne wrote for The Daily Aztec which she describes as a wonderful experience. Through this opportunity, she not only gained valuable journalism skills, but also met many people who pushed her to be better. She is grateful for the professors she worked so closely with on assignments, who are still actively working in the journalism industry. Through their mentorship, they have helped her navigate the right career path. Shayne would like to thank Peggy Peattie who she says has been an exceptional model of ingenuity in the midst of a crisis that has helped her capture moments in time that will be documented in the history books.

Advice for Incoming Students: “Be able to adapt. Speaking as a senior graduating in the midst of a global pandemic, it has been essential to be flexible and receptive to change. This is an important skill to have as a journalist, overall. Things change all the time, but how you respond to change is what will ultimately separate you from the rest.”

Annie Lancaster

Annie Lancaster

Journalism

During her time at SDSU, Annie interned at Travera where she wrote editorial posts on sustainable tourism. She would like to thank professor Littlefield who she says exemplifies a true passion for journalism. She would also like to thank Peggy Peattie for introducing her to photojournalism and showing her a different side of the industry.

Emilyn Mohebbi

Emilyn Mohebbi

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilyn-mohebbi/

Emilyn interned for NBC 7 San Diego during her last semester at SDSU. As the news and digital intern, she was able to gain hands on experience by participating in meetings, shadowing reporters and multimedia journalists, write scripts, edit videos and pitch story ideas. She was able to incorporate her passion for cars into a pitch for a story on a local fundraising car show, a project she led that aired on the evening news. Emilyn was very grateful for the opportunity because not only did she learn a lot, but it validated her love for storytelling. She is thankful for all of her JMS professors, and has brought the insight she’s gleaned from each of them into the professional world of journalism. One of her favorite JMS memories was when one of her classes partnered with NBC 7 San Diego (pre-internship) and she was able to get her article published on their website, and her story aired on one of their morning shows. She’s grateful for the course partnership because it eventually led to her current position working as a story producer for NBC 7 San Diego. One of her favorite classes in JMS was her capstone course, JMS 550 Multimedia News Lab, where she was able to incorporate all she’d learned from the program into her final project with SDSU. Emilyn’s ultimate goal is to become a television news host covering entertainment news.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Introduce yourselves around the campus. Go up to your professors and tell them your goals. The JMS professors are so helpful and want to see each student succeed. They care so much about their students, and they’re always there to help. Also, attend as many networking events that you can! Meeting professors and people in the journalism industry really helped me make connections that I still am in contact with to this day.”

Jack Molmud

Jack Molmud

Journalism

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

For the entirety of his time at SDSU, Jack devoted his efforts to The Daily Aztec. The organization meant a lot to Jack, motivating him to make an impact through reporting—a legacy he hopes to remain for semesters to come. One of his favorite academic memories was seeing the excitement on prospective students’ faces when he told them about The Daily Aztec. He would like to thank professor Jayla Lee for always supporting his work at The Daily Aztec and helping the paper produce its first ever presidential primary poll. Jack’s favorite JMS course was JMS 496 Border Reporting because they got the chance to write stories about what was happening at the border on a local and federal level. He credits the class experience with being equivalent to that of an internship. During his time at SDSU, Jack interned at the Voice of San Diego where he covered local schools and the San Diego Community College District, and produced content for their Politifest. He was also the recipient of NAHJ and SPJ scholarships in summer 2019, which gave him a financial cushion to transition from his fast food job to his first hourly position at a newsroom. Post-graduation, Jack will be staying in San Diego and working as a newscast producer at KFMB/CBS Channel 8.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Talk to as many people in your department as you can. Understand the department thoroughly, so that the teachers and students can foster a relationship with you. Join The Daily Aztec and pick up every assignment you can. Now is the time to hustle and find what kind of things you want to cover. It is hard work, but this is the way to get quality internships and the experience necessary to feel confident in your reporting.”

Bella Ross

Bella Ross

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bella-ross-42921b133/

During her time at SDSU, Bella interned at inewsource, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Voice of San Diego, where she learned to cultivate her reporting skills. Through her internships, she was able to grow her portfolio with numerous published works, each teaching her something new. Her heart lies with The Daily Aztec, where she spent her senior year working as the editor in chief. Bella says this experience was invaluable, and without it she wouldn’t feel nearly as confident entering the post-graduation workforce. Bella also thanks her JMS professors for each playing an important role in her professional growth. Her favorite class was Public Affairs Reporting taught by Dana Littlefield, because it helped bridge the gap on many unanswered topics on local reporting.

Advice for incoming students: “Try everything and start early. The most successful reporters I have known to come out of the program started writing for The Daily Aztec as freshmen and were smart about supplementing their studies with real-world experience. Allowing yourself to really become a part of the local journalism community will help you out so much.”

Brianna Ruloma

Brianna Ruloma

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianna-ruloma-13b526135

Brianna interned at Fox Sports San Diego and The Pulse TV Show, both of which allowed her to network and grow. Her SDSU pride was exemplified by her involvement in many student organizations during her time on campus. Through her time with Ambassadors, Brianna says she was able to develop a family and motivation to reap the love she has for SDSU and encourage others to experience all that the University has to offer. She holds on to positive memories from her time spent in Rotaract, saying, “Rotaract gave me the opportunity to reach my highest potential, beyond one that I even anticipated for myself.” Brianna also wants to thank her professor Billy Fallon who helped relate difficult content to real experiences, and encouraged and empowered her to learn. Her post-graduation plans are to stay in San Diego and continue to build a strong foundation in her career and service.

Advice for Incoming Students: “Get involved, even if it doesn’t align with your field of study. Learning how to incorporate your interests with learning creates growing passions.”

Amal Younis

Amal Younis

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amal-younis/

While at SDSU, Amal worked as the KPBS News Gloria Penner Fellow. At KPBS, one of her favorite stories she reported on was a story about hippos. Another favorite of Amal’s was reporting on the Wonderfront Festival for JMS 430, where she was able to get a press pass and take photos of artists up close. She also worked for The Daily Aztec and enjoyed being around other motivated journalism students, as well as building her portfolio. One of her favorite classes in JMS was JMS 445 Television News Reporting and Producing because she was able to learn more about the inner workings of producing a newscast. Her post-graduation dream job is to be a producer or video-journalist in New York.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Join student organizations and get as much experience as you can”

Additional Journalism Graduates

OUTSTANDING JOURNALISM GRADUATE DANA TSURI- ETZIONI

Antonio Abelardo
Nicholas Baltz
Angela Brandt
Christopher Bremer
Romy Bross
Michelle Caldera
Cassidy Carrera-Ruiz
Ryan Cross
Nathalie Feingold
Ceighlee Fennel
Cristofer Garcia
Daniel Guerrero
Lexington Howe
Allison Huynh
Kaitlyn Little
Haylie Logan
Chelsea Lu
Wilchesca Marino
Ivana Morales Moreno
Emily Myint
Ryan O’Toole
Hanna Petersen
Rodrigo Polanco
Kylie Renner
Shelby Rodich
Kori Skillman
Katherine Stanchis
Aaron Tolentino
Angelica Wallingford

Media Studies


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Alexis Camel

Media Studies

https://www.linkedin.com/apc

Alexis enjoyed their involvement with KCR College Radio because it gave them the opportunity to express themselves and opinions on music. They also enjoyed their time interning with the San Diego Latino Film Festival, where they were able to secure an interview for the director of the Film Festival with San Diego CityBeat. One of their favorite JMS projects was their final project in JMS 472 Media Technology and Society where they made Mixtapes. Alexis’ can be viewed at wannabeworld.edublogs.org. Their favorite class was Media and Identity because it was the first class that Alexis proudly identified themselves as Non-Binary. Alexis would like to thank Dr. Nate Rodriguez for always pushing them to do their best and allowing them to express their creativity through their work. Alexis would also like to thank Dr. Nate for helping them discover their true identity. Each semester Alexis spent at SDSU, it cemented the fact that they chose the right major. Alexis hopes to find a job post-graduation that allows them to express their creativity while also telling stories that would otherwise not be told.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Try to learn something from every single class. It can get overwhelming at times, but you worked hard to get here, so take advantage of all the resources and opportunities available to you!

Kelly Kerrigan

Kelly Kerrigan

Media Studies

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-kerrigan

During her time at SDSU, Kelly worked for both KCR and The Daily Aztec. At The Daily Aztec, she served as an arts and culture journalist which gave her the chance to interview artists and the freedom to be creative. She praises KCR for being an innovative and supportive organization that she was happy to be a part of. One of her favorite JMS classes was JMS 410 Media and Sexuality, where she learned about the way people consume media and the impact it has on society, especially minorities. Kelly also credits this course with helping her develop a critical lens when consuming media and analyzing representation. One of her proudest accomplishments was getting accepted into the Media Studies emphasis. While originally wanting to major in Journalism, Kelly says that everything happens for a reason, exemplified by her developing a passion for media studies and growing from the coursework. She would like to thank Dr. Nate Rodriguez for opening doors for her and changing her perspective on media and representation—lessons she will take with her for the rest of her life. Post-graduation, Kelly hopes to work in the media industry with something that involves both music and writing.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Get involved outside of class. Whether it’s PSFA Civil Core, KCR, PR orgs, anything to give you some help and networking outside of your classes. Also, get to know your classmates and become friends with them. Everyone in JMS is so hardworking and friendly!”

Brandon Lim

Brandon Lim

Media Studies

Outstanding Graduate for the School of Journalism and Media Studies

Brandon served as the Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA) College Council president for the 2019-2020 academic year, and was honored to represent and empower the PSFA community at a higher level. Through this experience, Brandon was able to grow personally and professionally, while building a network of peers and advisors. He also interned for the (AAPI)phany Workshop Program where he had the opportunity to facilitate and host workshops related to the Asian American Pacific Islander ethnic identity and mental health. Through this program, Brandon developed a greater understanding for his heritage, an experience that fundamentally changed his college experience and gave him a sense of direction for a life-long career. Another valuable experience for Brandon was serving as a peer advisor for JMS, and knowing that he was helping students advance farther in their academic journey. His favorite class in JMS was JMS 452 Media and Identity taught by Dr. Nate Rodriguez. Creating the final “mixtape” at the end of the semester was his favorite of his entire university experience. Dr. Nate influenced Brandon the most by exemplifying what it means to be a human-centered professor, and reinforcing the idea of representation. As a queer student of color, Brandon felt reassured and empowered to see a professor who represents the same identities as him. Brandon intends to pursue his master’s degree in Psychology and/or Student Affairs to continue to serve and empower students in higher education.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Radiate kindness wherever you go, and leave each space (whether that is a club, classroom, or organization) better than you left it. Your fellow students, advisors, and professors will thank you.”

Jillian Semple

Jillian Semple

Media Studies

Jillian interned at Cuyamaca College during the fall 2019 semester and spent her time managing the college’s social media accounts, writing feature stories and photographing events around campus. Interning at Cuyamaca College helped Jillian apply all of her hard work in the JMS program, a process she said she felt well prepared for thanks to her rigorous coursework. She would like to thank professor Alexa Mokalis, who helped encourage her to transfer to SDSU in 2018. Jillian says Mokalis’ consistency in caring for and going above and beyond for her students has been a positive influence on her SDSU experience. Jillian’s favorite JMS experience was being a peer advisor where she was able to help guide other students in the program. Her favorite JMS class was JMS 312W with professor Coddon, who she says made the class incredibly interesting. She’s currently looking for post-graduation opportunities but would love to make her way back to San Diego one day.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Make friends with the people in your classes, take advantage of going to office hours, and don’t procrastinate on assignments!”

Leilani Tashima

Leilani Tashima

Media Studies

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

After transfering to SDSU, Leilani became involved in The Japanese Student Association where she formed long-lasting friendships, and later gained leadership experience by joining their 2019-2020 board as the advertising manager. Her favorite class was JMS 312W with professor Coddon, where she says he did a great job facilitating open classroom discussions—they even got to meet a penguin! Leilani hopes to continue learning graphic and UX design through online workshops, while pursuing job opportunities in related fields.

Advice for Incoming Students: “Be courageous. Even if there are things that scare or frighten you, mulling up the courage and taking that step out of your comfort zone can add to your life in ways you might not expect. It’s okay to be scared, but taking a step despite the fear is what brings you power. It can also bring a lot of good things into your life that you might not have expected.”

Jessica Mercedes Winans

Jessica Mercedes Winans

Media Studies

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jess-winans/

Throughout her career, Jessica has interned at The Albany Times Union, The Long Island Press, Emerging Market Views, Public Access Television Long Island and The San Diego Community News Network. The most valuable piece of information she gained from her internships was the confidence to interview. One time, she even hosted a four-hour program for World Art Day where she interviewed off a teleprompter! Jessica’s favorite JMS memory is making a video to an Ariana Grande song in professor Jayla Lee’s class. She is very grateful for the many professors she’s had at SDSU, especially Dr. Nate Rodriguez. He has shown Jessica how to make an impact on the world and in the lives of others while working hard and doing what you love. Jessica is grateful for the scholarships she’s received over the years because without them, she would not have been able to attend college. Jessica’s post-graduation plans include her pouring herself into growing her business, Ultravioletly Aligned, LLC.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Work hard and be positive! Having a college education is such a gift, and learning from some of the best is amazing.”

Additional Media Studies Graduates

OUTSTANDING MEDIA STUDIES GRADUATE ERIN MARIE BATUELLO

Vitor Boa
Alexis Braicovich
Cassidy
Campos
Maxwell Casey
Jackelinn Corrales
Alisandra Exum
Sydney Faulkner
Marilyn Franco
Nichole Gray
Julia Jones
Kareem Jones
Shawn Kaufman
Lauren Krahling
Christine Lam
Martin Marin
Antonio Marquez Camacho
Brigid O’Fallon
Matthew Palmer
Deanna Sandoval
Kyle Saunders
Baile Stenvenson
Makenna Stone
Juan Vargas
June Vincent
Tyler Whitehead

Public Relations


Maya AIZaben

Maya AIZaben

Public Relations

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

Maya interned at an overseas fashion company where she wrote press releases to send out to major fashion magazines, and planned events for elite groups of influencers. Maya would like to thank Dr. Kaye Sweetser for challenging her and teaching her to stand with her head held high—something she will forever appreciate. Maya’s favorite class was JMS 480 Principles of Public Relations taught by professor Jayla Lee, where she was first introduced to the world of public relations. One of her favorite memories in the JMS program was drawing gingerbread men in Dr. Nate Rodriguez’s class. Maya’s post-graduation dream job is to be editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Go to class and make the best out of it. There is nothing you will miss more than walking through Hepner Hall down to the Arts and Letters building for class. Also, don’t be afraid to switch your major. I was undecided for a while before I decided to pursue interior design. I then discovered the School of JMS and never looked back because I fell in love with the program after taking JMS 200 with Dr. Noah Arceneaux my sophomore year.”

Cassidy Bartolo

Cassidy Bartolo

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassidy-bartolo-51984916b/

Cassidy cultivated her broadcast and PR skills by interning at 62ABOVE. She gained insightful experience through going behind-the-scenes of broadcast segments for PR coverage and creating content calendars for clients across all social platforms. Cassidy would like to thank professor Thelen who she says prepared her and her peers for a career in public relations. Her post-graduation plans entail moving to a place where she can travel and learn about different cultures while building a personal travel blog. She hopes to work remotely to gain more experience before she works toward landing her dream job working for Red Bull Media House.

Advice For Incoming Students: “To the upcoming JMS students, my advice is to make friends early since you will be taking most of your classes with the same peers. You are all in this together and this is where long-lasting connections and networking starts. Make friends with your teachers, as well! They have so much experience to offer you and they are here to help you get everything you want out of the program.”

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Max Beltrez

Public Relations, Mass Communication

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

One of Max’s best academic experiences was changing her major to JMS. She affirms that the classes she took were useful and relevant to current industry trends. Max also enjoyed being the vice president of public affairs for the Professional Studies and Fine Arts College Council and PR/marking chair of Campus Curlz. Serving in these roles allowed her to gain professional experience she wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Her favorite courses and subsequent professors were JMS 489 and JMS 462 with professor Jayla Lee and Alexa Mokalis. Max’s post-graduation plans are to work as a PR specialist and eventually work toward her MBA.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Get to know your professors and classmates! Try to find an organization on campus for you to practice your skills.”

Sofia Bert

Sofia Bert

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sofia-bert/

One of Sofia’s fondest memories was serving as the Marketing Communications Assistant for the College of PSFA, where she was able to create the Arts Alive SDSU 2019 video that was shown to more than 3,000 people during the new student convocation. She says it was an honor to attend the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) International Conference held in San Diego during October 2019, where she was able to network with and learn from some of the best professionals in the PR industry, among which, Sofia named Dr. Kaye Sweetser. Sofia served as the Director of Internal Affairs and as President of SDSU’s PRSSA chapter, an organization she says has helped define her love for public relations. Her post-graduation plans include job hunting in Sacramento and lots of cooking.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Take advantage of the opportunities that the School of Journalism and Media Studies has for you! Even if you try one thing a semester, you will gain so much experience from it. Shout out to The Daily Aztec, KCR College Radio, Peer Advising and PSFA Communications! Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

Paige Biundo

Paige Biundo

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/paige-biundo-02747016a/

Paige’s favorite JMS class was JMS 310W Media Writing and Reporting because it pushed her to learn about every aspect of journalism, not only elements specific to her degree emphasis. She interned at Power Digital Marketing where she was able to learn from many different departments of the agency including sales, organic social and SEO. She credits her internship with giving her the tools to be confident when applying for full-time positions.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“My advice is to get involved as much as you can. Connections are everything!”

Natalie Borton

Natalie Borton

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalie-borton-599885143/

Natalie would like to thank professor Alexa Mokalis for always believing in her abilities and hearing her voice. During her time at SDSU, Natalie was involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, an organization that allowed her to network and grow among a community of driven men and women. One of her favorite JMS memories was working with her PR team on their capstone campaign for Kids in the Spotlight. The experience that she grew from the most during her time with JMS was when she conducted a one-on-one interview for a NASA PR practitioner. Natalie interned at Bay Bird Inc. and Olive Creative Strategies while in the JMS program. She affirms that her internship with Olive Creative Strategies pushed her to feel confident in her abilities to lead, create and demonstrate resilience.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Work on creating your own voice, whether it be through your writing or design skills. With a unique flair, your messages will stand out and could impact lives.”

Georgia Burgé

Georgia Burgé

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgia-burge/

Georgia was given the opportunity to work as a Marketing Communications Assistant for the College of PSFA, where she loved being able to share the accomplishments of staff and students from all over the college. Another involvement that shaped her experience was working with SDSU Ambassadors as a student representative, tour guide and orientation leader. There, she was able to interact with prospective students and families, an experience that taught her valuable leadership skills and the chance to tap into confidence she didn’t know she was capable of achieving. One of her favorite JMS classes was JMS 210 Social Media in the Digital Age. This was her first ever JMS course and it got her excited about what else JMS had in store. Georgia is thankful for her JMS professors for investing in her success. Because of their support, she was able to graduate a year ahead of schedule.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Give it your all! Don’t just go to class to get a passing grade. Get involved, and put your heart into the things you do. The more you put into your college experience, the more you’ll get out of it.”

Alexis Hopper

Alexis Hopper

Public Relations

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

Alexis interned for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations, and enjoyed having the chance to work with a variety of clients and members of the agency. She says this afforded her the chance to expand her knowledge and sharpen her skills in many different areas. Her favorite academic experience was serving as a team leader for the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations for her spring 2020 campaign. This opportunity also gave her the chance to visit Seattle for an agency tour with the Broom Student Fellows, an experience that she will never forget. Dr. Kaye Sweetser left a lasting mark on her, always pushing her to chase after every opportunity. Alexis says that her dedication, willingness to help, advice and leadership helped her become the person she is today. Alexis plans on working at a public relations agency after graduation.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Do the research on where you want to work and go after it. Reach out to people, schedule informational interviews and make a name for yourself.”

Mariah Hugo

Mariah Hugo

Public Relations

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

Mariah would like to thank Dr. Kaye Sweetser for helping to refine her public relations skills. She built upon those skills interning for Chemistry Public Relations, a boutique agency in Hillcrest. Her favorite part of her internship were the media drops where she would interact with the community. Mariah credits her internship with helping merge the information she learned in the classroom with daily responsibilities at an agency.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Focus on your confidence and grow with it. You can’t control everything, but the confidence that you have in yourself will guide you through anything.”


Erendira Ibarra

Erendira Ibarra

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/erendira-gomez-ibarra-1ab11517a

Erendira’s favorite memory of her academic experience is the many nights of hard work she dedicated to learning her craft. While stressful, it was worthwhile to see her dreams come to life. Her capstone course PR campaign was her favorite JMS class because she was given the chance to prove to the world that she’s ready to enter the workforce. Erendira interned at Fidelitas Development, where she wrote many news releases that were later published. She credits her internship with giving her renewed confidence in her abilities. Her favorite professor was Dr. Nate Rodriguez because he consistently emitted positive energy and encouraged her to change the world. Post-graduation, Erendira would like to pursue a career in the government sector.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“DO NOT QUIT! It took me nine years to graduate because life is not easy and it kept throwing punches at me, but quitting was never an option. It is hard at times but it is extremely rewarding. Keep pushing!”

Lynzee Kaner

Lynzee Kaner

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynzee-kaner/

Lynzee enjoyed many aspects of her time at SDSU, but something she cherishes the most was forming long-lasting friendships with her JMS classmates and having the same shared program experience. One of Lynzee’s favorite JMS memories was gathering with her classmates on the last day of face-to-face instruction before the transition to virtual. Lynzee enjoyed being a part of the Public Relations Student Society of American SDSU chapter because of the invaluable insights shared from the many guest speakers. Dr. Kaye Sweetser left a lasting impression on Lynzee through challenging her student to go above and beyond what is expected of you, and continually demonstrating her fulfillment when her students succeed. After graduation, Lynzee plans to travel and pursue a career in public relations (hopefully in sunny San Diego).

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Find something that motivates you to work hard and show up to your classes with a positive attitude. Enjoy the present moment and know that your toughest challenges will bring you the greatest sense of accomplishment.”

Becca Lopez

Becca Lopez

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/Rebeccalopez-

Becca’s favorite part of her academic experience was falling more and more in love with her career path, each class further validating she was on the right path. One of her proudest accomplishments was putting on the 3rd Annual H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations with her campaign team. Seeing the event come together despite the challenges they faced was a gratifying feeling she’ll never forget. Becca enjoyed the resources provided to her by the SDSU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, as it helped guide her during stressful times. She would like to thank professor Patrick Thelen for always keeping his door open and challenging his students, even when they didn’t realize they needed a push. The passion that he exudes for PR is contagious, and has solidified Becca’s desire to pursue this industry. Becca’s post-graduation plans include moving to Los Angeles to work toward a public relations career in the entertainment industry, with an emphasis in TV and film.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“I would say to utilize the JMS faculty and staff. They want to help you and see you succeed! They are there for anything you need and they will work with you if you need help. While classes can be daunting and stressful don’t forget to make some memories and friends. The people in your classes are going into the same field as you and are taking the same classes. If anyone knows what you’re going through, it’s them.”

Paula Niederland

Paula Niederland

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/paula-niederland-4a3579176/

Outstanding Public Relations Graduate

Paula is graduating summa cum laude from the School of JMS. During her time at SDSU, Paula was vice president of academics for the Professional Studies and Fine Arts College Council, director of programming for the SDSU Advertising Club and director of special events for the Public Relations Student Society of America SDSU chapter. Since her freshman year, Paula was a radio show host for KCR College Radio. In 2019, Paula spent a semester abroad at CEU San Pablo in Madrid, Spain, to follow her passion for learning Spanish and study journalism and media studies. One of her favorite memories in JMS was pulling an “all-nighter” with her team to finish preparing materials for their capstone presentation. Dr. Kaye Sweetser impacted Paula’s life in more ways than one. Not only did she teach her how to be a good practitioner and a better way to write, but through Dr. Sweetser Paula met her mentor who recently hired her on full-time.

After graduation, Paula will stay in San Diego to pursue a career in public relations for emerging industries.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Find something that motivates you to work hard and show up to your classes with a positive attitude. Enjoy the present moment and know that your toughest challenges will bring you the greatest sense of accomplishment.”

Karly Nolan

Karly Nolan

Public Relations

https://www.linkedIn.com/in/Karly-nolan

Karly’s favorite JMS memories include her presenting her first ever PR plan in JMS 480 with professor Jayla Lee, and serving as a project lead for her PR capstone campaign. She would like to thank Dr. Kaye Sweetser for pushing her out of her comfort zone—an experience she says she will remember for life. Karly is still on the hunt for a post-graduation job, and hopes to land a position in either PR or event planning.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Give it your all. When you apply yourself you’ll accomplish a lot.”

Julia Pappas

Julia Pappas

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/julia-pappas

Julia worked at Olive Creative Strategies as a social media intern. She enjoyed the Downtown San Diego location because she was able to interact with local restaurants and businesses while also being in the same space. One of her favorite projects was photographing a new mural in Little Italy that received a lot of engagement on their social media channels. Through her work at SDSU, she was also able to qualify for a scholarship. She credits the Public Relations Student Society of America SDSU chapter for helping her create amazing connections and creating networking opportunities for her. Julia says she will forever cherish the lifelong friends she made in her JMS classes, all of whom she says have been very supporting during these unprecedented times. She would also like to thank Dr. Kaye Sweetser and professor Alexa Mokalis for both guiding, inspiring and making a positive impact on her college experience.

Taylor Webster

Taylor Webster

Public Relations

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

Taylor’s proudest academic moment was completing her capstone PR campaign with her team, and serving as the HR manager for the project. She enjoyed putting a campaign together from start to finish and seeing the 3rd Annual Allen H. Center Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations come together. She is proud of the strides she’s made throughout the PR program, and credits Dr. Kaye Sweetser with influencing and pushing her the most. Taylor says she will never submit a writing assignment without hearing Dr. Sweetser in her head telling her to check her AP style! Taylor worked part-time as a tour guide for Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles throughout her college career, a process that forced her to really plan ahead and get organized to complete assignments on-time. She is grateful for the friends she’s made along the way, both in her major and in her sorority Kappa Delta. Taylor’s post-graduation include her moving to Los Angeles to pursue her dream job of working in public relations for Warner Bros. Studios.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Space out your assignments, doing them little by little way before the deadline so you aren’t stressed at the last minute. Layout all of your classes and assignments in a calendar at the beginning of the semester as soon as you get your syllabi.

Also, find something you enjoy doing outside of school, so when you are stressed you can find an escape and destress.”

McKenna Wecker

McKenna Wecker

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mckenna-wecker/

McKenna was heavily involved with the SDSU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) for the entirety of her time at SDSU. During her senior year, she served as the director of digital media. She credits PRSSA with igniting her passion for PR and providing invaluable networking and growth opportunities. McKenna’s favorite class was her PR capstone course taught by Dr. Kaye Sweetser, because she got the chance to build and implement a campaign from the ground up. She would like to thank Dr. Sweetser for a being a valuable mentor and preparing her for her professional debut. Through her work with the inaugural class of Broom Student Fellows she was able to travel to Seattle to network and tour PR agencies, one of her favorite academic experiences. She was a social media intern at Chemistry Public Relations, where she did media drops, worked closely with clients and networked with other media professionals. McKenna plans to pursue a career in public relations in the entertainment, non-profit or government sector.

Advice for Incoming Students:

“Get involved and don’t take this time for granted. Getting involved on campus gave me a support system and opened doors. Don’t take this time for granted because it’ll be over before you know it. Take advantage of the opportunities you have right now.”

Additional Public Relations Graduates

Aaliyah Alexander
Saira Araiza
Jadyn Arnold
Sabrina Basurto
Jenna Surinder Kaur Bisla
Gabrielle Budihas
Emily Casha
Alexis Cook
Molly Crawford
Michelle De La Rosa Lopez
Kiara Devine
Olivia Diorio
Cynthia Esparza
Kaitlyn Foster
Olivia Grahl
Chelsea Heath
Alexandra Howder
Sabrina Kim
Jillian Kopp
Kinsey Linton
Mirella Lopez
Rachel Melnick
Alexa Morales
Julia Muskevich
Carla Platero
Melanie Reiter
Paige Shewmaker
Natalie Smith
Maria Soubbotina
Jordin Toney
An Yi Tong Tang
Julien Turenne Des Pres
Sahara Velasquez Meza
Gabriel Wahl
Paloma Zaizar