Communications: Student Success
Featuring Communications Alumni and Current Students
The success stories School of Communications alumni tell are as unique and special as the alumni who tell them. Their accomplishments range from publishing books to starting businesses to working on award-winning programs and films. Here are few examples.
Congratulations to SOC alumna Leah Latham and her team at Walt Disney Animation Studios for winning the Golden Globe Award for the Best Animated Film, Frozen.
Kristin Pratt, Layout Technical Director at Double Negative, Vancouver
Notable Work: visual effects for Game of Thrones, Maleficent, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lone Ranger
Starting Wars and Making Monsters
Radhika Rai is a foodie who moved to Delhi from New York City after having worked at various agencies for six years. Although she imagined being in the agency business for a long time, she saw growth potential in moving in a slightly different direction. Radhika says she was interested in pursuing a position in a startup environment when she discovered an opportunity at Zomato.com, an online restaurant and nightlife guide with the most comprehensive information on restaurants, bars, cafes, and nightclubs across eight countries including India, UK, UAE, New Zealand, South Africa, Philippines, Qatar, and South Africa.
From blogs to television shows, Jessica Butler (Media Communications '04) is making an impact in Hollywood and using her talents to entertain and educate. She recently received one of five Webster University Alumni Awards. The awards are given to graduates who have made an impact at Webster, their careers and the world. Butler has certainly made an impact in Hollywood.
Jen Leyden (Media Communications 2002) is the brain behind Socially Jen, a social media, personal assistance, and virtual assistance agency that helps non-profit organizations and small businesses with their marketing and administrative needs, sans the big-agency price.
You might have known him as Andy Alton. He studied Film Production and Media Communications. Minored in Theatre. Today, he is known as Andy James, agented Screen Actor's Guild-American Federation Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) member, and producer and distributor of a weekly comedic podcast called "Daddio Patio." He is also a Whiskey Bootlegger on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
Janaye Williams, Broadcast Journalism '10, is on her way back to St. Louis to join KSDK, where she will be a producer on weekend nights. Prior to that, Janaye was working as a producer at WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has worked at KMOV and interned at KTVI as well. Janaye tells us she always knew she wanted to be a TV producer, and over the past two years she's adopted the personal motto, "Expect the Unexpected."
During the semester before graduation, Michael Kera interned with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He now has a career as an Associate Producer – at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis! We asked Michael how he got from here to there. Michael says he'd known he wanted to work in corporate video after doing some freelance work for an insurance agency after high school. "[So] everything I did from the time I got to Webster led me to that goal."
Amy Spalding, graduated in December 2004 with a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications. Today, she is a Digital Media Planner at S. Callan Advertising in Los Angeles, California. She is also the author of The Reece Malcolm List (Entangled Teen, 2013) and the forthcoming Ink is Thicker Than Water (Entangled Teen, 2013). Plus—as if having two careers isn't impressive enough—in her free time, Amy performs improv around Los Angeles, at UCBTLA, iO West, and in multiple indie shows.
Maximilian Reid, '11 is an LA-based filmmaker. He is also an intellectual—a multifaceted, creative thinker, a man of many skills, and an all-around remarkable person. A year and a half ago, a recently graduated Max moved to LA, where he says he was happy to work on set for free in order to begin gaining experience and building his résumé. Now, Max says the tricky part, "is knowing when to say, ‘No thank you.'" Max advises anyone interested in a similar career path to "Spend your time deliberately and your money wisely." In the film industry, the route to success often starts as a production assistant.
Stan Piekarski graduated with a BA in Media Communications in 1990. He is now a Sound Designer at Visiontracks, Inc., a St. Louis-based, full-service multimedia production company specializing in video/audio production, multimedia programming, live events, web design, media marketing, e-Learning, and interactive video training. Stan also gives back to Webster by partnering with the Center for Portfolio Development & Internships to host School of Communications student interns.
Chelsea VandeDrink, graduate of the department of Audio Aesthetics and Technology, has recorded Philip Glass' important new work "Cello Concerto No. 2, Naqoyqatsi" with cellist Matt Haimovitz. This newly released recording is now being featured on iTunes. It is Chelsea's fifth CD for the Cincinnati SymphonyOrchestra, where she is the recording engineer.
Ashley Lam graduated in May 2011 with a BA in Photography. Now, she lives and works in Hollywood, where she freelances as a Production Assistant. She's worked on an variety of exciting projects already, including the game show Oh Sit!; the 2012 Burt Reynolds film, How Sweet It Is; and the TV series, Through the Wormhole, with Morgan Freeman. We asked Ashley in what ways Hollywood has been exactly what she expected and in what ways it has been completely different. "Hollywood has actually surprised me," she says.
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