AlumNotes 2019

‘18 Samantha York always thought she was going to be a lawyer, but then realized she had a talent and passion for broadcasting, storytelling, and listening to people.  Before graduating Cum Laude with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies, York immersed herself in activities and internships which paved her path towards her current position today as a news reporter for WJAC 6 News, the NBC-affiliate station that covers all of western Pennsylvania.  During her college years, when she was not working as a sideline reporter for RVision to broadcast games, she was involved in participating in other organizations such as Phi Mu and Kappa Tau Alpha. She eventually landed internships with NBC News and MSNBC while also interning with New Jersey 101.5 FM. “Every day is an adventure. I have met so many extraordinary people through this job that I leave work feeling inspired daily. This position allows me to reach out into the world and share stories of people who genuinely want to benefit their community,” York stated.

‘18 Joseph Miller, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies, a minor in music, and a certificate in recording arts, continued to pursue his passion for music. During the summer, Miller worked with fellow artist Jasmine Asgari to create a music video for their original song, “What You Gotta Do,” which was picked as a winner for the Born This Way Foundation contest. Since the contest, he was involved in several other collaborations, including the production of a song called “Wasted” with Austin Ryan, which has almost 4,000 plays on Spotify alone. Dedicated to his craft, Miller bought new equipment to improve the quality of his future music, including a ukulele, a mini keyboard, and an audio interface. Even if Miller does not find a job the field of music, he is determined to continue producing songs as a hobby.

’18 Deanna Moore is a graduate of the Rutgers Journalism and Media Studies program. During her senior year, she landed her dream internship at Elvis Duran and the Morning Show that turned into a full-time job, post-graduation, as a Digital Content Producer for iHeart Radio. Now, she produces and edits video content, writes articles for publication, and manages social media accounts for 7 New York Radio stations, Z100, 106.7 Lite FM, 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Power 105.1, 710 WOR, and the brand new station iHeartRadio Broadway. The JMS program at Rutgers provided her with crucial skills she uses daily at her job such as video editing, writing editorial pieces, teamwork, communication, and more.

’18 Makenzey Shank is a Journalism and Media Studies graduate who was an accomplished student-athlete on the Rutgers Women’s Gymnastics team. During her senior year she took an editorial internship at Working Mother Magazine. She is currently working for New Jersey Advanced Media as a high school sports clerk and reporter. “While I decided to stay in the realm of sports after competing and being a part of the sports community throughout college, my position continues to challenge me, which I love. I am given opportunities to work outside my title and contribute to different departments.” Her role includes a lot of social media work, such as scheduling posts for live broadcasted games and posting stories that link back to She also creates custom graphics that are included in social media posts. On top of this, Makenzey remains involved in the sport of gymnastics as a choreographer and coach.

’18 Christian Mazzone is a graduate of the Rutgers Journalism and Media Studies major as well as an alumnus of the Rutgers Men’s Lacrosse Team. After being selected in the third round of the Major League Lacrosse Draft, Mazzone is currently a rookie for the Ohio Machine professional lacrosse team, where he plays as a midfielder. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to be an alumnus student-athlete at Rutgers University. Now it’s time to shine on the professional level,” Mazzone said. Mazzone previously was an Honorable Mention All-American at Rutgers University.

’18 Cherylynn Finklin graduated with a Journalism & Media Studies Major and Africana Studies Minor. Just returning from a post-graduation trip in Ghana, Cherylynn Finklin, a budding blogger plans to travel the world and share her experience with others through her blog. In addition to traveling she discusses life, entertainment, and social issues in her blogs. Although Finklin is not currently working in her dream field, which is in the realm of media and entertainment, she is taking time on the side to work on personal endeavors. Finklin’s long term goal is to write, produce, direct, and act in her own production, whether is be television, film, or theater. Ultimately, Finklin plans to utilize her creative abilities to produce content that brings awareness to social issues, specifically ones concerning African Americans and to change the representation of African American women in the media.

’17 Allie Ambriano is a Rutgers University Journalism and Media Studies graduate. In addition to her B.A. in Journalism, she received a B.A. in Theater Arts. Ambriano recently moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. The knowledge and skills she learned in storytelling, presenting herself in front of the camera, and public speaking help her every day in live and her acting. However, the best thing she got from the JMS program was the support and encouragement of Steve Miller. “When deciding my next steps after graduation, Steve was the one who encouraged me to turn down a post-grad job I was offered from my internship [with NBC] and follow my heart. He gave me the push I needed to give my dreams the chance they deserved,” Ambriano said.

’16 Julia Palazzo graduated Rutgers University with a dual degree in JMS and Political Science. After graduation, she sent her portfolio out to dozens of news stations in hopes to find an on-air job. She landed a job in South Bend, Indiana as a reporter for the ABC affiliate. “I moved only two months after graduation,” Palazzo acknowledges. For a little over a year now, Palazzo has stepped away from reporting and has been working in Dayton, Ohio at the NBC affiliate on a lifestyle show that highlights the fun and exciting things to do within the community. “Our job is to make people at home smile and entertain, so it’s a nice change.”

’15 Karyn Collins graduated with a Master’s degree in Digital Journalism. She is a seasoned journalist who has written for Asbury Park Press, The Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jet Magazine, Charlotte Observer, Camden Courier Post, and New Jersey Monthly Magazine to name a few. She is a natural born writer and has traveled wherever she finds herself reporting on the next story as a freelance journalist. Aside from freelancing Collins is the Director of the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop for New Jersey High School Students where she introduces the world of journalism to high school students. There they learn how to conduct live interviews, capture video content, basic photography skills, and write captivating stories. “My graduate thesis was basically my proposal of reviving the program. It had been dormant for nine years,” she said. “I received my Masters in 2015 and we relaunched in 2016 and are now going into ourfourth  year here at Rutgers,” Beyond directing the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism boot camp Collins is also an adjunct Professor at Rutgers University, here she educates in Fashion Journalism, Media Writing, and Review Writing. Not only does Collins love the opportunity to share her knowledge with the aspiring journalists emerging through Rutgers School of Communication & Information, but she loves the things her students teach her semester after semester.

’15 Tauree Campbell graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. His interests were mainly intercultural communication, media studies, and fine art. After graduation, Tauree started illustratinga passion he stopped during college and is currently a freelance illustrator/graphic designer while working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some of his favorite projects were illustrating for a poetry book that is going to be published this year, and doing the cover for an indie artist’s EP.

’12 Krystle Rich graduated from Rutgers with a major in Journalism and Media Studies and a minor in Mandarin Chinese.  After graduating, she got a job as a producer and editor at the NFL Network in Los Angeles where she produced an award-winning podcast. Soon after, she wrote her first book called Ambivalent Hope: A Gun and a Prayer, about a young boy struggling to choose between right and wrong.  For the next several years, Rich traveled between LA and the east coast to work in sports broadcasting. However, her love for LA eventually made her call the city home. She now lives there permanently and works as a sports commentator for NBC sports Philly.

‘11 David Seamon graduated from the School of Communication and Information majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. “Part of what I learned in the JMS department was this idea of creating opportunities for yourself – the idea of being a journalist who can do it all, find a story, report a story, shoot it, cut it, release it yourself.” Seamon said. “With that instinct of being this one man band, I decided that I would have to make opportunities for myself.” Seamon is the co-creator and writer of the hit musical in New York City titled, The Eleventh Hour, that won.

‘10 Evan Fitzpatrick,a Journalism and Media Studies graduate, began his Rutgers career in 2005 to pursue a degree in Sports Journalism. “Sports actually inspired me to look into being a JMS major,” said Fitzpatrick. Subsequently, his innate passion and extensive knowledge of sports has enabled him to create a New York Knicks sports blog and podcast. He encourages students to utilize campus resources and to get involved before graduating. “If I could do anything different it would be to join the Rutgers Radio station,” said Fitzpatrick. He believes that success starts in college and that students should seize every opportunity to network, socialize, and most importantly, have fun.

’07 Fraidy Reiss is the founder of Unchained at Last, an organization that is committed to creating social, policy, and legal change to end forced and child marriage in the United States. She has raised awareness for Unchained without spending a penny. Reiss has made enough noise through the news media that she even had her work featured in The New York Times, BBC, NPR, etc.
It’s an effective strategy for an organization like Unchained, which operates on a modest budget,” said Reiss.

98’ Erica Herskowitz graduated from the Journalism and Media Studies Department and is now a professor in the same department here at Rutgers University. Herskowitz’s career rise was unusual because she landed a job on the air at WFAN just one month after she graduated. Starting out, Herskowitz did play-by-plays and sideline reporting for all different sports. When asked what her favorite sport was, she points to basketball. “Basketball is my number one favorite sport,” Erica said.  She also has done television reporting for ESPN, the FIFA World Cup, NBA TV, College Sports Television, and more.

94’ Frank Bridges is a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University and teaches several classes in the JMS major as a part-time lecturer. Recently Bridges partnered with Rutgers to create, maintain, and curate the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive. The aim of the project is to preserve the vibrant local music scene that Bridges was himself once a part of and still holds in high regard.