Comm Grad Spotlight

A degree in Communication opens the door to a wide variety of employment opportunities. The profiles below highlight people with Communication degrees who are now employed in a range of interesting positions.

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Comm Grad Spotlight: An Mai

An Mai
B.A., Communication Studies, University of San Francisco

Senior Analyst, Marketing Operations & Strategy, AppDynamics

An Mai is Senior Analyst, Marketing Operations & Strategy, at AppDynamics, where she runs training programs and maintains user documentation to ensure best practices for technology used by the marketing organization. She is also responsible for working with stakeholders to identify and resolve pain points in marketing processes. Prior to joining AppDynamics, Mai worked on marketing campaigns for TripAdvisor and 3VR, a video platform that provides insights for consumer shopping. At TripAdvisor, Mai executed major campaigns that reached millions of subscribers and increased engagement on social media platforms. 

Comm Grads

Comm Grad Spotlight: McKean

Paul McKean
M.B.A. Candidate
M.A., Communication
B.A., Rhetoric and Media Studies
Associate Director of Advancement Communications, Willamette University


As Associate Director of Advancement Communications, Paul McKean is the chief content creator within the Advancement Communications team. McKean crafts major gift proposals, newsletters, and other email and print communications that reach the Willamette University alumni, parent, and student communities. Prior to joining the staff at Willamette, McKean worked in communications for a non-profit educational consortium. McKean is also an experienced educator, having served as an Assistant Course Director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Jennifer Larsen Duda

Jennifer Larsen Duda
B.A., Communication
Senior Manager, News Bureau and Community Engagement, College of DuPage


As Senior Manager of the College of DuPage’s News Bureau, Jennifer Larsen Duda enhances the visibility of the college’s programs and coordinates the college’s media relations, including media placements in local, regional, and national outlets. Prior to joining the DuPage staff in 2008 as the media relations specialist, Duda was a staff writer for the Sun-Times Media Group and for Nadig Newspapers in Illinois. Duda has been active in both the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Andrew D. Pulrang

Chelsea Whittington
M.A., Organizational Communication
B.A., Broadcast Journalism

Chief Executive Officer, C WHITT PR


Chelsea Whittington has worked in public relations for more than 25 years. Whittington’s experience includes stints at non-profit organizations, government agencies, and corporations. Whittington has worked with the Peace Corps, United Way, U.S. Cellular Corporation, the Office of Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), the City of Gary, Indiana, and Ebony & Jet magazines (Johnson Publishing Company). From 2015 to 2019, Whittington worked for the Chicago Urban League as the Director of External Affairs and Special Events. In 2015, Whittington established C WHITT PR, which provides consulting on public relations and social media strategies for small businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. In addition, Whittington is an Adjunct Professor of Communication at Indiana University Northwest.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Andrew D. Pulrang

Andrew D. Pulrang
M.A., Rhetoric and Communication Studies
B.A., History

Freelance writer, disability activist, writing tutor


Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Pulrang worked with the North County Center for Independence (NCCI), a Center for Independent Living in Plattsburgh, New York. From 1998 to 2012, Pulrang served as NCCI’s Executive Director, managing the center’s staff, financial planning, grant writing, program evaluations, and more. In 2013, Pulrang established the Disability Thinking blog to explore topics related to disability. Since 2014, Pulrang has worked as a writing tutor at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, and since 2019, Pulrang has been a regular contributor to Forbes magazine. Finally, Pulrang has been active in politics and co-created the Twitter hashtag, #CripTheVote, with Alice Wong and Gregg Beratan.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Carly Weyers

Carly Weyers
B.A., Communication Studies and Sociology,
Co-Host of What the Deaf Podcast


Carly Weyers is a graduate of Gallaudet University, a private university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Weyers co-hosts the What the Deaf podcast with Sarah Tubert. In the podcast, Weyers and Tubert discuss their experiences as deaf women, covering such topics as dating, working, and playing youth sports. Although many podcasts are audio-only, What the Deaf is designed to be accessible to everyone and features sign language videos, as well as audio. Weyers previously worked as a behavioral health specialist and advocated for members of the deaf community in Nebraska. As part of that work, Weyers advocated for state legislation that recognized American Sign Language (ASL) as a language.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Jeffrey Blount

Jeffrey Blount
B.A., Mass Communications/Broadcast Journalism
Author and Emmy Award-winning television director


An Emmy Award-winning television director, Jeffrey Blount has 34 years of network television experience and has worked on a variety of programs, including “Meet the Press,” “Today,” and the “NBC Nightly News.” Blount has written nonfiction articles for news publications, such as the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, and has written for films and interactive displays in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, the Muhammad Ali Center, and others. Blount has also written three award-winning novels: Almost Snow White, Hating Heidi Foster, and The Emancipation of Evan Walls. In 2017 and 2018, Blount served as Journalist in Residence and Shapiro Fellow at the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University.

In 2016, Blount was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. Blount is a member of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture advisory board at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Jessica A. Knapp

Jessica A. Knapp
Ph.D., Communication Studies
M.A., Communication
B.A., English
Health Communication Professional and Instructor of Strategic Communication at Seattle University


As a health communication professional, Knapp offers various services to medical staff, including scripting, coaching, fostering compassionate communication skills, and teaching negotiation skills, all aimed at improving their communication with patients. Knapp argues that improved patient-provider communication ultimately improves patients’ health outcomes. Knapp has also worked as an editor and writer for branding and advertising firms and teaches strategic communication at Seattle University. Knapp has written about chronic illness on The Mighty.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Craig R. Smith

Craig R. Smith
Ph.D., Communication
M.A., Communication Studies
B.A., History and Speech Communication

Emeritus Director, Center for First Amendment Studies, California State University, Long Beach


Smith is a scholar of freedom of expression, rhetorical theory, and public address criticism. Smith served as a speechwriter for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, an experience that is recounted in Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter. After working as a speech writer and then forming the Communication Division at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Smith returned to Washington to serve as the Director of Senate Services for the Republican Conference of the U.S. After a year as Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca’s speechwriter for the Ellis Island-Statue of Liberty restoration, Smith founded the Freedom of Expression Foundation in Washington, DC, in 1983 and served as its President. In 1988, Smith founded the Center for First Amendment Studies at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

In addition to authoring Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter, Smith is the author of 18 other books and dozens of scholarly articles. Smith is also an award-winning researcher and teacher, having won CSULB’s Outstanding Professor award in 2000 and its Distinguished Scholarship award in 1994. Smith also won NCA’s Douglas Ehninger Award in 2010 for contributions to rhetorical theory and the Outstanding Scholar Award from the Western States Communication Association in 2016.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Shawn Turner

Shawn Turner
M.A., Communication
B.A., Speech Communication

Professor of Strategic Communication, Michigan State University, and National Security Communication Analyst, CNN


Turner is an established expert in communication leadership, strategy, and crisis management. As an experienced practitioner, Turner’s teaching focuses on the intersection of communication theory, and the execution of effective communication practices. Turner’s research interests include examining the role of disinformation in decision making related to civic engagement, and the use of persuasive communication strategies in extremist ideology.

Turner’s previous positions include Director of Communication for U.S. National Intelligence, at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Assistant Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs at the National Security Council, and Deputy White House Press Secretary for National Security under the Obama administration.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Kassie Phebillo

Kassie Phebillo
Ph.D., Communication Studies
M.A., Communication
B.A., Communication

PhD Student and TX Votes Program Coordinator, Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin


Kassie Phebillo (she/her) is a PhD student and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) at the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication. Her GRA role is as the Program Coordinator of TX Votes, a nonpartisan student organization sponsored by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, and Coordinator of the Texas Voting Summit and Network. In her role with TX Votes, she oversees nearly all voter engagement at the university. She writes the UT Austin Democratic Action Plan, which has led to the university's recognition as a two-time Voter Friendly Campus Designee, as well as awards from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for Most Improved Undergraduate Voter Turnout in 2016 and Most Improved Voter Turnout at a Large, Public University in 2018. In 2019, Kassie received the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge’s “Outstanding Graduate Student Award.”

Kassie's doctoral research, advised by Dr. Sharon Jarvis, centers on the intersection of political disclosure and college campuses. She has presented at the annual NCA conference on topics of partisan speech, political disclosure by K-12 educators, public address, and municipal websites. She has overseen undergraduate research on STEM students and political communication, women and politics, and digital deliberative dialogues via the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Pre-Graduate Internship Program at UT Austin. She holds a BA from Indiana Tech and an MA from Georgetown University.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Charlotte Blain

Charlotte Blain
B.A., Communication Arts
Media Assistant for Entertainment Tonight


Charlotte Blain is a recent graduate of Salisbury University, where she interned with the public relations firm ICR Incorporated and worked with the university’s public relations office. Blain currently works in Los Angeles as a media assistant for Entertainment Tonight, where she organizes digital material, transcribes interviews, and assists with talent. In the future, Blain hopes to pursue work in the music industry and in front of the camera.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Stacy Kim

Stacy Kim
M.A., Communication
B.A., Communication and Psychology

Senior Technical Account Manager (TAM) at Microsoft


Stacy Kim is a Senior Technical Account Manager (TAM) at Microsoft in San Francisco, where she works closely with the company’s top strategic enterprise customers in the Bay Area. She is responsible for partnering closely with her customers’ IT and business stakeholders in order to understand their objectives, goals, and pain points. This understanding enables her to recommend services, remove technical blockers, and coordinate engagements in order to support her customers’ digital transformation journey. Kim credits her communication background for her strengths in connecting the dots between various cross-functional teams, in presenting to senior management, and in leading a global team of TAMs, support teams, and delivery resources.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Felicia Horowitz

Felicia Horowitz
B.A., Communication
Philanthropist, CEO and Founder of the Horowitz Family Foundation


Growing up in Los Angeles, Felicia Horowitz was the first in her family to graduate from college. Horowitz credits the Sugar Ray Robinson Foundation for putting her on the right path to finish her studies. As the CEO and Founder of the Horowitz Family Foundation, she partners with the American Jewish World Service, the GLIDE Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club, and many other organizations to advocate for and provide help to those in need.

Horowitz’s philanthropic work is driven by the need to help marginalized communities not only in the United States but around the world. She advocates for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and violence prevention, and works to unite people cross culturally through technology and community. She works tirelessly herself, helping to prepare warm meals for 2,200 people a day through GLIDE’s Daily Free Meals Program in San Francisco, and traveling the world fighting for human rights and dignity. Horowitz received the 2019 Everyday People Award from the WACO Theater Center in Los Angeles and is listed on Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 list.

Comm Grad Spotlight: J. Cole

J. Cole
B.S., Communication
Rapper, Producer, Songwriter, and Philanthropist


Seven-time Grammy Award-nominated rapper J. Cole (Jermaine Lamar Cole) graduated magna cum laude from St. John's University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication in 2007. Self-taught on piano, Cole also is a hip-hop producer who has handled most of the production in his own projects and has produced singles for major artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Janet Jackson. He has also launched other ventures, including his own record label, Dreamville Records, and a non-profit organization called the Dreamville Foundation.

Through his Dreamville Foundation, Cole conducts philanthropic activities in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The foundation holds an annual "Back to School Supply Giveaway" to provide school supplies to children, hosts a book club for young men, and sponsored "The Nobody's Perfect Writing Contest and Mother's Day Brunch" for students. In addition, the foundation sponsors the annual "Dreamville Weekend," a Fayetteville event that features a discussion with the Young Men's Book Club, an Appreciation Dinner, and a Career Day panel of African-American professionals in a variety of fields.

In 2015, Cole purchased his childhood home, which had been repossessed from his mother, and created a homestead where single mothers and their children can live rent-free.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Olga Haygood

Olga Haygood
B.A., Public Communication
Director of Client Services, J. Walter Thompson INSIDE


Olga Haygood has been an integral part of J. Walter Thompson (JWT) INSIDE for over a decade, leading multi-million-dollar employee marketing and communications programs for major global brands. She was recently promoted to Director of Client Services for the firm. JWT INSIDE is a global, full-service agency creating pioneering ideas in employer branding, employee communications, and recruitment advertising. In her new role at JWT Inside, Haygood leads national account management and media team oversight, evolution of the client services model for JWT INSIDE, business development partnerships, new client onboarding, and maintenance of key client relationships.

Haygood credits her Communication degree for providing her with a generalist entree into the field, noting that her “degree provided a foundational framework, beginning with understanding how to go from insights to strategy and eventually to execution.” She adds that “studying communication has enabled me to ask the right questions, read the room, lead the discussion, and offer insights into tangible recommendations that meet client needs. At the core of each engagement with a client,” she continues, “is the ability to forge meaningful relationships and become an advisor vs. order taker, a soft skill necessary for any communications professional.”

Prior to joining JWT INSIDE, Haygood was the Associate Director of Communications for Voices for America’s Children. At American University, she graduated Magna Cum Laude and was part of the Honors Program. She minored in Spanish in college and is fluent in the language.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Bridget Lowell

Bridget Lowell
B.S., Communication
Chief Communications Officer and Vice President, The Urban Institute


Bridget Lowell has 20 years of communications and leadership experience across the nonprofit sector, on Capitol Hill, and in broadcast journalism. She is currently Chief Communications Officer and Vice President at The Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC, where she oversees a 50-person department and leads an organization-wide effort to increase the visibility of The Urban Institute’s research. Prior to joining Urban in 2012, she served as Director of Strategic Communications at The Nature Conservancy, the largest environmental organization in the world. She has also served as a Communications Director for North Carolina Congressman David Price and as a broadcast reporter.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Allison Weiland

Allison Weiland
M.S., Communication Studies and Journalism
B.S., Communication Studies and Theater

Executive Director, Sioux Falls State Theatre Company


Allison Weiland is the executive director of the Sioux Falls State Theatre Company. She has been working on the State Theatre Renovation Project since 2017. Weiland is a Madison, S.D. native. She attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and theater, and a master’s degree in communication studies and journalism. She also taught communication studies and theater for two years. After her college experience, she spent five years in Minneapolis, where she worked for companies as a product coordinator, digital product manager and account executive. Her husband, David Mercer, is a music teacher. The couple has a 3-year-old daughter.

Comm Grad Spotlight: Linda Boulton

Linda Boulton
B.A., Communication
Graduate Assistant, Seton Hall University
Instructional Designer, Real Estate Sales Academy


Linda Boulton is a graduate assistant at Seton Hall University earning her Master’s degree in Strategic Communication. In her administrative role at the university, Boulton works for the Center for Graduate Studies building online resources for graduate students and planning, executing, and evaluating email-marketing campaigns. In addition, Boulton works as an instructional designer, creating online courses for a Chicago-based real estate school. Before pursuing graduate school, she earned her B.A. in Communication from Saint Xavier University.