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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


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Juliana

Advertising

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

One of my favorite parts of my SJMS experience was learning how to properly research, as well as learning how to create visuals and use Photoshop in JMS 562. Dr. Feng had the greatest impact on my time at SDSU, as she was the most patient professor I’ve met in my academic career. A great SJMS memory of mine was when Professor Mokalis made us cry while showing us impactful advertising videos. I was able to intern at a fashion design software company called Cochenille, where I learned how to work independently and remotely. My post-graduation plans involve doing some freelance work, gaining more experience and looking for a full-time position.

Advice for Incoming Students: Keep up with technology, you never know when a pandemic may happen and your computer will become your entire university.

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.

Cassidy Gonzalez

Cassidy Gonzalez

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassidy-gonzalez-7735b6173/

Throughout my time spent at SDSU, I was given the opportunity to intern at a few different companies. My first internship was with Disorganized Depictions, a Southern California-based mural agency, where I worked as a Project Management and Sales Intern. My responsibilities revolved around prospecting clients and future partnership opportunities within the niche of action sports marketing. I was tasked to introduce and negotiate mural projects among various brand representatives from companies like Vans, Spotify, Merge4, and Sun Bum to name a few, in an effort to create marketing opportunities, and drive advertising revenue for The Berrics skatepark in Los Angeles. This role taught me how to think critically and creatively about advertising, during a time a time when the “outside world” was being experienced through short-form video recordings and virtual experiences. After graduation, I will be actively applying for jobs in hopes to work for an experiential marketing agency.

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Samantha Johnson

Advertising

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

During my time at SDSU, Dr. Feng influenced me the most by showing me just how interesting and insightful advertising research and campaigns can be. She helped me discover my love of strategy and encouraged me to pursue it in graduate school and as a career choice. After graduation, I will be attending Boston University to earn a master’s in advertising. My plans are to study abroad in London and transition into a strategist role in an agency or marketing department. The best part of my SJMS academic experience was taking classes with my same cohort of advertising students for multiple semesters. JMS 565 Advertising Campaigns was my favorite class as I got to work closely with my peers on a case study about the San Diego Zoo. The book we created detailing the three month-long campaign is one of the things I'm proudest of, and it is a tangible piece of evidence that I deserve to work in the advertising field.

Advice for Incoming Students: My advice for incoming students is to talk to as many professors, current students, and recent graduates as you can. They can tell you far more than just what is shown on the website. Look up syllabi and contact professors to better understand their classes, and they can also point you to students who may be willing to talk to you about the program and life at SDSU.

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.

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Parker Obert

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/parker-obert/

Dr. Feng was definitely the most interesting teacher I met while at SDSU; I was lucky enough to take a few of her JMS classes under the advertising emphasis. She really taught her students the important of balancing your creative ideas with scientific reasoning using data analytics.

I am currently planning on working with my valet company as their digital marketing coordinator. I will be producing content to publish across their social media channels to boost applications to their job opportunities nationwide. I really enjoyed going to Ad club meetings, especially when they were in-person as they gave their members real life situations to gain experience and learn from. My favorite JMS class was JMS 562 with Professor Fratoni because it allowed me to start building my personal brand and prepare for entering the job market. The resume I designed from this class is the one that I still use today, and I have to say it has been successful thus far. I was a digital marketing intern for Axe Thro Co, as well as an intern with SJMS. The most interesting activity I completed was creating a video series highlighting different SJMS organizations and alumni who had internships while in SJMS. While I had to overcome the obstacle of doing everything remotely, it was a fun challenge to try and beat with my creativity. My internship gave me the confidence to go out of my comfort zone, and try to learn new things on my own that I thought I would need to learn from someone else. Being an independent individual has set me up to be successful in my ambitions throughout and after college.

Advice for Incoming Students: There are so many classes available in SJMS; I really recommend scrolling through the school catalog to see which JMS classes you would enjoy the most, and then choose that emphasis once you feel committed.

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Sidney Rubens

Advertising

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sidney-rubens/

What I loved the most about the JMS program was being able to learn about different ad campaigns that did well. I also made so many friends and was able to create things that I had always imagined through Photoshop and Indesign. The professor that influenced me the most was Professor Alexis Mokalis. She taught me about the ins and outs of advertising and it changed my perspective on advertising as a whole. I had an unpaid internship for a company called PaulyJen that taught me so much about the advertising business up close and personal. It made me so excited for my future career. I recently got a job as a social media manager for a store in Northern California that I’ll be working for after graduation.

Advice for Incoming Students: Don’t be afraid to try new things and ask professors for help. The more you participate, the more you will learn from JMS classes.

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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Brenden Tuccinardi

Advertising

The Daily Aztec shaped my experience at SDSU. I made some of my closest friends in the newsroom, developed a passion for storytelling and gained real-world journalism experience. Professor Peattie was my favorite JMS professor; she showed me the power of photojournalism and inspired me to capture the world around me. Post-graduation, I am going abroad to teach English in Spain for a year.

Advice for Incoming Students: Take advantage of every networking, professional development or extracurricular opportunity you can. The things you'll learn in those spaces cannot be taught in any classroom.

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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


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Victoria Alicia Leyva

Journalism

One of my favorite memories from the SJMS program was meeting my peers and working together in our classes. I learned so much from them and I hope they learned from me! The professor that influenced me the most was Dr. Nate Rodriguez. His classes were riveting and engaging and he always had the answers when I needed help the most. He is incredibly knowledgeable and fun and I will remember what hegemonic masculinity is forever because of him. My favorite class was Media and Sexuality because it made me view the media I consume with a more critical eye and to check my preconceived notions at the door. I plan on attending a graduate program at HTH to earn my teacher's credential and Master's in Teaching and Learning. One of my milestone achievements was finally receiving a 100% after a string of high scores in Dr. Nate’s class. I also learned a lot from working with The Koala, because it encouraged me to write creatively and have fun while making a satirical newspaper.

Advice for Incoming Students: Get to know your professors and go to office hours! They are much cooler than you think!

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Wilchesca De Arce Marino

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilchesca-marino-1979b217a/

I interned under SDSU's Fiction International for a semester and it was fun reading the submissions and choosing which ones would be submitted in the final journal. Professor Schmitz Weiss and Dr. Nee both helped me write the story packages I'm most proud of. I thought I wouldn't be good at writing story packages because I was intimidated by the fact that I would have to write a whole story, create a video related to the story, obtain my own data, make my own podcast, take my own pictures and basically do everything by myself, but throughout the whole process of making each package I didn't feel overwhelmed because they were there to guide and direct me on what I should do. Getting to know more classmates as each class section gets smaller through each semester was the best part of being in the journalism major. The smaller class sizes helped me connect with students who have similar goals as me. I made long lasting friendships with some JMS students and it's nice to still be connected with them even after we graduated. I liked JMS 435 Photojournalism because I didn't really dread the assignments compared to some other classes. Taking pictures for this class was fun because I had the creative control of what I can take pictures of and it was nice and inspiring to see the pictures my classmates and professor took. If I get hired post-graduation, I plan on staying with the San Diego Superior Court as a Court Operations Clerk. Being a student worker for the San Diego Superior Court made me realize that working an office job can be pretty fun and cool. At first, I didn't really want to apply as one because I wasn't interested in office work, but after working here for 2 and a half years, I don't want to leave my coworkers!

Advice for Incoming Students: Make friends with your professors and classmates and pay attention in class! Journalism classes have relatively smaller class sizes compared to other majors at SDSU, so we're grouped with the same people each semester. Getting to know your classmates and professors will make the last semesters feel super fun!

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.”

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Kendell Kadesky

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kendell-kadesky-a901b5162/

During my time at SDSU, working for The Daily Aztec had a huge impact on my experience. The students on staff taught me so much and it gave me great hands-on experience, and connected me with the most passionate, intelligent people in journalism. One of my favorite memories was doing The Daily Aztec live show and filming packages with Reese Savoie. Taking JMS 310W was also a blessing because I made some of my closest friends in that course. JMS 445 was also hugely important, because the course taught me how to edit and write for broadcast news. Professors Roman Koenig and Louis Weiner influenced me the most. Professor Koenig created his own online news platform which inspired me in terms of freelancing, and Professor Weiner works at CBS 8 in San Diego and showed so much dedication to his job and all of his students.

I was able to intern for the Contour Public Relations Firm where I assisted Ponce's Mexican Restaurant during a KUSI News segment. My internship allowed me to figure out what I do and don't want to do. After interning in public relations, I realized that even though I loved PR, I needed to follow my heart and do broadcast journalism. It was such an integral part of my college experience. Internships allow you to figure out what you truly love to do, not just what sounds like it would be interesting. My post-graduation goal is to work as a news writer and work toward becoming a broadcast news reporter!

Advice for Incoming Students: Get as involved in The Daily Aztec as possible and focus on building relationships with other students in your JMS classes!

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.”

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Micah Nagaishi-Lyman

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/micah-nagaishi-lyman-56b067126/

The SJMS program helped me learn how to better my content and diversify my approach. JMS 220 was my favorite course, as it focused entirely on the writing process and how to fine tune your work for any medium. My favorite SJMS professors were Professors Mokalis and Koenig. During my time with SJMS, I interned at FS1 and 247sports.com and they allowed me the opportunity to have insider access to USC and the Los Angeles Rams teams as well as game-day coverage. Having these internships allowed me to fulfill my dream of being on TV, even in a minor way. My post-grad goal is to turn these internships into full-time positions (knock on wood), or to find a related position at another studio.

Advice for Incoming Students: Be a sponge, and constantly talk to your professors because it goes a long way to making the classes far from mundane.

Monica Navarrete

Monica Navarrete

Journalism

The best part of my SJMS experience was being able to meet such inspirational and motivating individuals that allowed me to push myself even further. Post-graduation, I plan to move forward with writing my book as it has been a lifelong dream of mine.

Advice for Incoming Students: Allow yourselves to go through your journey of self-discovery, as it is important to your development as an undergraduate student.

Alexandra Oslowski

Alexandra Oslowski

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-oslowski/

I interned at East County Magazine for the spring 2021 semester. It was the best experience I had in college, right after being an editor at The Daily Aztec. I got to cover everything from local politics to insurrections on a large online publication. I’ve built great connections with the local government offices in my internship, and most importantly, I was able to do what I love, which is storytelling. Dr. Nate had the biggest impact on my SJMS experience. It was so empowering and validating to have an openly LGBTQ+ professor in college and be able to study media and sexuality under him. I was so inspired by him and his work that I took an independent study with him to continue the work I started in his course. Post-graduation, I would love to stay in San Diego, so I am still looking for full-time work. Hands down, my favorite academic experience was The Daily Aztec. That newsroom changed my life, and I have no idea where I would be without it. There’s a welcoming space for everyone; I think anyone who loves to write, take photos, or create videos should join. My favorite SJMS course was a tie between Media and Sexuality with Dr. Nate and Photojournalism with Peggy Peattie. I took them at the same time, and they both helped me grow in different ways as a journalist. Both professors are so encouraging and uplifting, and gave me great feedback so I could better the work I was creating.

Advice for Incoming Students: Find your passions and interests and seek out organizations that encourage you to pursue them. I know it’s scary to walk into a new club or newsroom for the first time, but I promise you that once you find the right place, you won’t be able to imagine your life without it. Don’t be afraid to explore new things, ask for help when you need it, and try to change what you aren’t satisfied with. You never know what your impact could be or what effects it could have.

Duncan Payton Mortaloni

Duncan Payton Mortaloni

Journalism

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

There are so many great memories from my time at SJMS. My favorite would have to be finding out I was accepted. As an “out of the service area” transfer student, I was not sure I was going to get into SDSU SJMS. I was SO EXCITED when I got the acceptance letter. I am also looking forward to following all of my classmates on their career journeys and post college endeavors. Professor Peattie influenced me the most. I knew a little bit about photojournalism when I began JMS 435, but not nearly as much as when the semester ended. Professor Peattie has the amazing ability to get you to look at a scene or subject from a multitude of directions. I loved all of my professors and courses for very different reasons. If I had to narrow it down my favorite courses, I would have to say I really enjoyed JMS 489 with Professor Lee (LOVE HER), and JMS 315 Digital Media with Professor Schmitz Weiss (LOVE HER). JMS 315 was filled with new and fascinating information. I have already applied many of the techniques I learned into my business practices. But my favorite SJMS class would have to be JMS 445 TV News Reporting and Production with Professor McCormick (LOVE HIM). What a FUN and informative class with real world application. I have always wanted to know more about TV news and production and this class really gave me a well-rounded look at what it is like in the TV news and production world and allowed me to produce packages for TV. Most importantly, Professor McCormick knows his craft extremely well and knows how to inspire each student to do their very best. Plus, he “keeps it real.” I wish I could take this class again. My post-graduation plans are to continue to develop my own media and marketing company, Duncan Payton Group and to work part-time as a student media advisor at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, Calif.

Advice for Incoming Students: Do not rush your time at SDSU SJMS. It goes by faster than you think. Take your time and enroll in as many classes that you want. I wish I could’ve stayed another year and just taken JMS classes. There were so many I wish I would’ve had room for in my schedule.

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.”

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Amber Salas

Journalism

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-salas-0223/

The professor that influenced me the most is Professor Jerry McCormick. I only had Professor McCormick for one semester, but I learned so much valuable information about the broadcast journalism industry during my time in his JMS 445 class. I'm leaving his class feeling confident that I will be ready and prepared to start my own journey in the industry. I'm forever thankful for all of his guidance. My favorite JMS memory was the day I found out that I passed the GSP and would be fully admitted into the major for upper division. I worked really hard to put my best foot forward on the GSP, and it was so special to see all of that hard work pay off!

The best part of my JMS experience was getting to learn and grow from all of our amazing professors and faculty members. My favorite thing about JMS is that our faculty and professors truly care about your success and growth. I can't say enough amazing things about how much The Daily Aztec prepared me for a career in the journalism industry. The Daily Aztec allowed me to apply the reporting skills I was learning in my journalism classes, but I was able to apply it to sports specifically by reporting on SDSU sports as I hope to get into sports journalism. I had so many memorable experiences like covering our men's basketball team in the 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament, and covering two Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournaments.

My internships were two of the best things to ever happen to me during my college experience! Internships gave me that hands on experience and allowed me to experience the journalism industry first-hand for myself. Being in the newsroom multiple times a week allowed me to fall in love with journalism even more and solidified that I wanted to do this as a career for life! Internships also allowed me to make some amazing connections with people in the industry to learn about their experiences, and to receive advice on what it takes to succeed. After graduation I hope to continue to work with FOX Sports, or look for sports reporter/MMJ jobs.

Advice for Incoming Students: The biggest advice that I would offer is to dream big and make the most of all the amazing opportunities and experiences that San Diego State University offers to its students. No dream is too small, and hard work will always pay off. Don't be afraid to stay after class to interact with your professors more, and don't be afraid to go to extra networking events hosted by your college. Your professors are your biggest supports who want to see you succeed and accomplish your dreams. You never know what connections they made have for you, so always put your best foot forward. Lastly, college flies by in the blink of an eye, so really make the most of every opportunity to enjoy everything that college has to offer. You might have nights where you feel overwhelmed with work and you might experience challenges along the way, but always remember that you are strong enough to handle it all. You will look back on that project you were stressed on and be proud of how you overcame it and put out amazing work. Enjoy every single moment!

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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Marissa Bell

Media Studies

During my time in the SJMS program, I was able to intern for Fox Sports San Diego. The professor who influenced me the most was Dr. Nate Rodriguez, and his classes were my favorite in the program. I’m currently working for two sports organizations and hope to continue to progress in the sports industry.

Advice for Incoming Students: Keep your dreams big.

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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!

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Makena Fong

Media Studies

https://www.linkedin.com/in/makena-fong/

My freshman year I decided to join Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed national community service fraternity. This student organization not only let me meet new people and take on leadership roles, but also to learn how to grow outside of my comfort zone. Throughout my time at SDSU, Alpha Phi Omega has helped me grow so much personally and professionally. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful support system in this organization and I look forward to seeing the organization grow even more in the future! During my time in JMS, my favorite class was JMS 410 taught by Dr. Nate. I loved this course because of its integration of television and social theory. I'm an avid TV show lover and through this course I was able to think more deeply about the shows I watch and what implications it has on me and society as a whole. This course also opened me up to watching new shows that I would not have normally watched and helped me diversify the type of shows I watch. I also loved this course because it was taught by Dr. Nate, who is a phenomenal professor and truly cares about what he's teaching as well as his students. I'm so glad I got to have him as a professor. In summer 2020, I interned at eGrove Education, an educational start-up company based in San Diego, as a Marketing Intern. This was my first internship and I was able to learn more about how a new business functions, social media management, creating infographics, and video editing. One of the biggest projects I had was redesigning their app store preview graphics along with a preview video. The work I did for them is still in the app store today! In fall 2020, I interned at Mindgruve, a digital marketing agency based in San Diego, as a Paid Search Intern. I found this internship through the Internship Watch page on Facebook and was able to intern at a company I've been wanting to work at since I was a freshman at SDSU. During my time at Mindgruve, I was able to learn more about marketing through different platforms such as Google Ads and Search Ads 360. Through these platforms, I was able to adjust bids on keywords and create ad copy for search ads. Without these internships I would not have been able to be as prepared for my job as I am now!

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.”

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Antonio Marquez

Media Studies

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

Dr. Nate had the greatest impact on my experience. He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, and has guided me and told me what I should focus on in order to get ahead and graduate. My favorite memory from the SJMS program was being able to take the Selena class with not only my favorite professor, but also students that share my background. I also appreciated being able to walk into the School and stop by almost every office and know that all my professors had my back, especially Professor Mokalis who guided me every step of the way to get me into the Media Studies emphasis. The student organization that meant the most to me was the National Association of Hispanic Journalist because as Vice president I was given the opportunity to attend the national conference in San Antonio, Texas. My favorite SJMS course was Spanish news reporting with Professor Thelen because it made me realize how much potential and more opportunities that I will have just for knowing a second language. Additionally, having a scholarship gave me a chance to finish what I started almost a decade ago. I may have four A.S. degrees in Communications, Journalism, Behavioral Science and Chicano Studies, but having scholarships gave me a chance to finish them all and not give up making my way to my dream school: San Diego State University. Scholarships gave me, a first-generation college student, a fighting chance to be someone. I want to eventually be a broadcast journalist but for now it is graduate school for me with the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (MALAS) program at SDSU.

Advice for Incoming Students: Do what you love and don't doubt yourself because if you love what you do then you are less likely give up.

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Amanda Prather

Media Studies

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-prather-b92335164

I was fortunate enough to intern for EFA Marketing, CAVU Brewing, and Fidelitas Development. Fidelitas Development gave me hands on experience with a multitude of clients and it was amazing being able to interact with these companies and work with them to create content. Dr. Nate was definitely the most influential professor I had within SJMS. Dr. Nate pushed each of us individually and taught us valuable skills for post graduate life. He genuinely cares about our success and is always willing to lend a hand when we need it. I will be attending the University of San Diego starting in June to pursue a master's degree in Education with a Teaching Credential.

Advice for Incoming Students: Don't be afraid to get to know your professors and classmates! What helped me the most through the program was having those people around me and never being afraid to ask for help.

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


Paulina Aguilar

Paulina Aguilar

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulina-aguilar/

Dr. Sweetser and Professor Lee, both believed in me so much! They helped me grow as a person and as a PR professional. Dr. Sweetser was AMAZING to me, I see her as my mentor and I look up to her so much. Professor Lee is the sweetest, she was my professor for three semesters and always wanted the best for me, even helping advise me on my first internship. I interned at Scorpion Bay Hotel and the most interesting thing I did there was learning how to read social media and platforms metrics. Thanks to that, I was able to get an offer at Rachel Kay Public Relations (RKPR) to start working with them after graduation as their Social Media and Influencer Coordinator. I am also applying to graduate school on the East Coast or in Europe in a couple of years. My favorite memory from my time with SJMS will be always entering class with music from the professor and the first thing talked about was the latest news and how we can relate that to what we are learning. The best part of my SJMS academic experience will always be the people I met during this long journey. My favorite class was JMS 489 Research Methods in Mediated Communication. This class helped me think outside the box and analyze in a different way. It helped me gain experience in my field and confidence. PRSSA also allowed me to meet other students from my major and professionals that I was able to connect with and learn from. Now, I believe in myself more than ever.

Advice for Incoming Students: Don’t stop networking! NETWORKING IS THE KEY - with professors and other students. You never know who might help you in the future… also, stay up-to-date with news and trends!

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.”

Rodizza Baytan

Rodizza Baytan

Public Relations

Professor Lee influenced me the most during my time at SDSU. At times I was hesitant with the emphasis I had chosen, but taking JMS classes with her reminded me why I decided to emphasize in PR. Her lectures were relatable, enjoyable and easy to comprehend. The class projects allowed us to network and become better professionals. The best part about my SJMS academic experience, was being able to have in-class experiences that allowed me to network with professionals.

Advice for Incoming Students: Take advantage of all the networking opportunities that happen in class. Talk to your peers, guest speakers and professors. You want to build relationships. Don’t forget to also take care of yourself and have fun working on projects.

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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.”

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Tim’mya Cook

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/timmyacook

My favorite part of the JMS program was that no two classes were the same. I got something different out of each course that I will always carry with me. Planning and putting on Screening Circle was my favorite JMS memory; it spurred so many great conversations. My favorite JMS class was JMS 315 Digital Media Principles and Design because it was extremely hands-on and most of our learning came from doing. Professor Lee influenced me the most because she always kept such positive energy. Her class never drained me, yet I feel like I learned the most in them. Out of all the student organizations, I got the most out of the Afrikan Student Union because I got to contribute many of my own ideas. As a student, I was also able to intern for Posse.io where I got to help brainstorm for a Netflix pilot. Post-graduation, I’ll be working as an Account Management intern for FCB Chicago.

Advice for Incoming Students: Network as much as you possibly can, early on. Don’t wait until your senior year to start.

Emma Danly

Emma Danly

Public Relations

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

I interned at SeaCliff Beauty and helped launch a cosmetics brand at Beautycon. I also interned at Gleam Futures, executing a brand campaign with Mozilla Firefox; and at LALICIOUS to assist with their social media marketing. All of my PR professors at SDSU have been amazing and influential, but shout out to Elizabeth Pecsi Guerrero for being my mentor this semester. She poured a lot of time into me, and offered me advice that helped me secure a post-grad job offer. Also, Patrick Thelen never fails to show that he genuinely cares about his students and how we were handling school during a pandemic. Following graduation, I will be a PR Coordinator at Godfrey Sanders PR in Newport Beach, Calif.

Advice for Incoming Students: Build relationships with your professors! Don’t be afraid to reach out and get advice on your personal career endeavors. They want to offer you the best foundation to go out into the professional world. These relationships can be forever if you put in that extra effort.

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Ruby Esmeralda Nunez

Public Relations

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruby-nunez-8aaaa564/

Many of my professors were a huge influence on me during my time at SDSU but I think that the biggest influence for me was Dr. Shen. She always made sure to be available to her students when we needed help and was willing to help us get connected with professionals that would help us after graduation. She truly cares about her students and it shows. After graduation, I am looking to move back home and find more internships in my field. My best memory of SJMS was getting accepted into the PR major. I remember struggling to pass the GSP and feeling defeated at one point, but when I finally got in, I was the happiest person ever. My all-time favorite class was Dr. Nate's “Selena” class. Although it was cut short with COVID, we were able to learn so much about the Mexican American culture and seeing it through the lens of Selena.

Advice for Incoming Students: Never give up on the plan. There will be times that everything seems overwhelming but you got this far, keep going!

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Nene Fujimoto

Public Relations

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

During my first semester of senior year, I was a Publicity Intern at ID Public Relations. The most interesting thing I did during my time there was creating press kits for their A-list celebrity clients. During my second semester of senior year, I was a Corporate Communications Intern at Sony Music Entertainment. The most interesting thing I did during my time there was assisting their various social justice and social impact campaigns. Post-graduation, I will be moving to New York City and completing a postgraduate internship at Sony Music Entertainment.

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.

Ysabel Sarinas

Ysabel Sarinas

Public Relations

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

Throughout my senior year, I worked as a part-time Marketing and Communications assistant at KPBS. I have absolutely loved being able to contribute to a myriad of virtual events in this role. I can’t choose just one professor to thank, so I’ll just say a huge thank you to both Professor Lee and Dr. Sweetser for helping my growth as a PR practitioner. One of my favorite memories was presenting my PR capstone with the rest of my team and feeling all of the semester’s hard work come to fruition. We even got to play a video that I edited and I felt so much pride in both my team and my own work.

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