Alumni Profiles

Christian Moran (Fall 2013)

I manage communications and public affairs for a state representative in the Wisconsin State Legislature and provide communications and policy support to our legislative leadership team. My thesis examined the use of social media by Wisconsin state lawmakers, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. I am a strong believer in the department’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching, as it challenges students to think in new ways and provides a foundation to pursue a range of opportunities after graduation. I encourage anyone interested in a professional or academic career in communications to seriously consider applying to the JAMS graduate program.

Casey Carmody (Summer 2013)

Upon completing my degree at UWM, I moved to the Twin Cities to begin my doctoral studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at the University of Minnesota. I am continuing my research of using social scientific methods to understand media law and ethics. In addition to my studies, I am a teaching assistant as well as a member of the SJMC Graduate Student Organization. I have no doubt that my experiences at UWM, both academically and socially, have prepared me well for my future endeavors in the academic world.

Minchul Kim (Summer 2013)

I am a Ph.D. student at the department of Telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington. As a doctoral student I want to understand how people receive political information from media and translate the information into their opinions. Specifically, I am focusing on the cognitive and emotional processing of political information and the roles that media play in the process.

Tatevik Sargsyan (spring 2012)

I am a doctoral student and a research assistant at the American University School of Communication in Washington, DC. My research interest is the influence of media technologies on young people’s political news consumption, political participation, and perceptions of citizenship. I was accepted to UWM with no intention of continuing into a PhD program but my fellow students and professors at JAMS have inspired me to pursue an academic career.

Lawrence Dugan Nichols (Fall 2011)

I am currently a Ph.D. student in Communication at Simon Fraser University (in Burnaby/Vancouver, BC, Canada). I’ve traditionally been interested in cultural Marxism, and I’m currently studying the obstacles that foreclose opportunities for capital to spread and develop. My MA thesis was rooted in Gramscian hegemony—by way of cultural theorist, John Fiske—and examined the struggle over meaning by different segments in our late-capitalist society (conspiracy theorists vs. the state/establishment media). I could not have asked for more supportive faculty members or colleagues in the Media Studies program. Special thanks to those on my committee who helped me get to where I am in academics today.

Aarti Basnyat (Summer 2011)

I am currently the Digital Communications Associate at the United Nations University: Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany. As a former journalist I joined UWM to learn more about the theories that I had already put into practice. My Master’s thesis was on Public Diplomacy and Participatory Culture: The U.S. State Department’s ‘YouTube Democracy Video Challenge’. My Masters degree and research instilled in me the patience to be more organized and think critically. My thesis is what continually inspires me to actively work in social media and explore its potential. The freedom to explore your interests and the guidance of your professors is what I appreciated the most at JAMS. There were no restrictions on what you could research and no limitations on cutting across genres: everything was encouraged, explored and analyzed.

Stacy Blasiola (Summer 2011)

I focused my studies at UWM on the use of social media by professional journalists, and the convergence of traditional media platforms and new media. These research interests led me to the University of Illinois at Chicago where I am now a doctoral student. UIC specializes in technological influences on communication, so my work at UWM helped prepare me for the program. Currently, I am a Research Assistant for Professor Zizi Papacharissi and I am the Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Broadcast and Electronic Media. Since I started my doctoral studies, I have found myself thankful for the experiences, support, and education I received at UWM.

Weiai Xu (Summer 2011)

I completed the master’s degree in Media Studies at UW-Milwaukee in summer 2011 and am now working on my Ph.D. in Communication Science at SUNY-Buffalo. At UWM I was surrounded by extremely supportive faculty and warmhearted colleagues. It is at there that I got my feet wet in the field of communication research, and it is there that I made life-time friends and built connections in academia.

Yoonmo Sang (Summer 2011)

I am currently a Media Studies doctoral student at the University of Texas-Austin. My academic interests include, but are not limited to, communication law, telecommunication policy, and intellectual property issues pertaining to the Internet. Specifically, I am very interested in the tension between traditional media and Internet intermediaries. The question of who owns information also sparks my interest. I do hope I can be a good media law professor in the near future.

John Vanderhoef (Summer 2010)

I am currently a doctoral student at the University of California-Santa Barbara in the Film and Media Studies Department. At the moment my research interests include identity politics, taste, and power in new media cultures, especially video game culture. My time in the M.A. in Media Studies program at UW-Milwaukee established a solid bedrock of knowledge, theories, friendships, and support that I will use for the rest of my life, both in the academy and otherwise. With the continual inspiration from faculty and colleagues, I was able to generate work that made me a viable candidate in the highly competitive market of Ph.D. programs and landed me a position in the exceptional (not to mention ideally located) Film and Media Studies program at UCSB. I live closer to the ocean than I ever thought I would. Just something to consider.

Eric Lohman (Summer 2010)

While completing my master’s thesis, I accepted a position as a doctoral student in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London (Canada, not England). My research interests focus on the political economy of the mass media, especially wedding culture, advertising, and consumer culture. I also incorporate feminist and queer theory politics into my research of these areas. The M.A. program at UWM provided me with the academic training I needed to ascertain a position in a highly competitive doctoral program at a large university. I also have three kids and a naughty dog that eats everything in my house. Not that it has anything to do with the MA program; I just wanted you to know.

Melissa Zimdars (Summer 2010)

I am currently a Media Studies doctoral student and teaching assistant at the University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies. My M.A. coursework, the thesis process, and my professors provided me with an indispensable foundation for my current work in gender and television studies.

Patrick Fitzgerald (Spring 2010)

I am a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies in Cardiff, United Kingdom. I have just finished my first year, and am in the process of laying out the theoretical and practical terrain of my dissertation. My general research area is the political role of news media, a topic I explored within a domestic context during my time at UWM. My MA thesis examined the way one news outlet, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Star Tribune, framed political protest during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a doctoral candidate, I am examining how news media outlets in the United Kingdom constructed the Iranian Green Movement as a legitimate political opposition movement during coverage of the post-presidential election protests in Iran from June 12, 2009 to August 5, 2009. The professors at UWM possess the intellect, skill, and patience to help any student excel. If it were not for the guidance I received from the faculty during my time at UWM, I would not be where I am today.

Susie Seidelman (Spring 2010)

Susie Seidelman is the Environment Program Associate at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, where she works to further the Foundation’s commitment to healthy, sustainable environments and local communities. Her degree is surprisingly applicable in these pursuits – she has taken on many communications roles at the Foundation, including managing social media outreach and many other facets of our web presence, and the strong understanding of media communication she built while at UWM impacts many aspects of her work. Her degree helped her stand out in an increasingly competitive job market, ultimately helping her to land a ridiculously sweet job she really enjoys.

James Carviou (Summer 2009)

After completing my M.A. in 2009, I entered the Ph.D. program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. My experience at UWM prepared me for life as an academic. The M.A. classes provided opportunities to explore all areas of media research. UWM’s graduate faculty give beneficial feedback and guide students in the right direction towards their future goals. As a Ph.D. student and a teaching assistant, I find myself continually benefitting from the priceless experiences I had at UWM as a graduate student. My current research focuses on how gender is constructed by the media and the role of the media in identity development.

Martha Boehm (Spring 2009)

I have been the Internet Content Coordinator for WKBT-TV – News 8 in La Crosse, WI, since October 2012. I write news and sports stories, design web pages and make sure our website, looks good. I am also the manager of WKBT’s social media accounts and I take pictures of various community events for our website and social media. I began my broadcast journalism career in La Crosse as a TV news bureau reporter/videographer in the fall of 2009 for WEAU 13 News and Fox25/48 News at Nine. In October 2011, I became the 5 p.m. producer for WKOW-TV in Madison before moving back to La Crosse.

Angela McManaman (Spring 2008)

After receiving an undergraduate degree from the department in 2000, I came back as a master’s student in 2005 and found many new faces on the faculty with backgrounds in cultural studies, politics, feminism and new media, which challenged my writing and my perspective. You’ll never watch a commercial or think about gender or observe a presidential campaign in the same way after a semester in Johnston Hall. And the range of students and the student experience at UWM in general is just remarkable. As an editor and project manager for UWM’s communication department I’ve interviewed students who grew up in refugee camps, first-generation college students, alumni working in film and theater and opera, an alumnus who is an Andy Warhol “expert.” I wrote a student profile two years ago, “From Felon to Freshman,” that resulted in a lot of “who wrote this?” phone calls and e-mails from UWM faculty and students (cheers and jeers), and remains one of my favorite examples of the amazing life stories that unfold at UWM. I also advocate for old-fashioned American values like public education, relying heavily on PR writing and public speaking techniques and experiences I picked up in Johnston Hall. I can also tell you that despite any rumors to the contrary, Johnston 317 is not haunted. I had a parapsychologist tour the building as part of a feature-writing assignment several years ago. He thinks Greene Hall hosts more paranormal activity, FYI.

John Bartel (Fall 2008)

While I love to travel, it seems I never really left Milwaukee and UWM, and I’m perfectly happy with that. I received my bachelor’s degree in JMC at UWM in 1974 and then went to work at (what used to be) WEMP Radio-1250 AM, before embarking on a long and rewarding career in public relations at Wisconsin Energy Corp. When my wife came back to UWM to finish her degree in the 2000s, I knew it was time to earn my master’s degree in JMC, which I received in 2008. My “career” at UWM is even stronger now because I work at our alma mater as coordinator of alumni chapters and legislative advocacy efforts for the UWM Alumni Association. I encourage all JMC grads, no matter what your degree, to get active in the new JMC Alumni Chapter. It’s a great way to network and stay active with the Department.

Anthony Marinetti (Summer 2008)

After I completed my thesis in 2008, I accepted a full-time position as a Learning Specialist at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. I work closely with students in the Conditional Acceptance Program, tutor students in English and Social Sciences, and manage the Stritch Online Writing Lab. I also teach a three-credit Study Strategies course during the fall. I currently live in Whitefish Bay with my wife and our Yorkshire Terrier, and I hope to get my Ph.D. in Communication at some point in the future.

Tim Macafee (Summer 2008)

After completing my masters’ degree, I spent one year working as an Academic Advisor at National-Louis University. In the fall of 2009, I began my doctoral degree in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am currently a Dissertator and Teaching Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests involve examining the relationships between individuals’ political social media uses and their political attitudes and behavior.

Erin Hareng (Fall 2007)

Erin Hareng has been involved in the non-profit community in Milwaukee and developed that career through the master’s program at UW-Milwaukee. A fundraising and marketing professional with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Erin also is involved in numerous volunteer organizations, including Women for MACC and the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Museum. The master’s program at UW-Milwaukee had impressive resources and expertise in its professors. The depth of focus in the smaller classes provided a unique opportunity for critical thinking and alternative perspectives.

Melody Hoffmann (Summer 2007)

After receiving my B.A. and M.A. from the JMC department, I took two years off from graduate school. Thanks to the encouragement and help of my professors in JMC, I was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Communication Studies and completed my doctorate in May 2013. The breadth of courses I took at UW-Milwaukee has given me a very unique perspective into a traditional Communications degree. My academic peers are also quite jealous of the professors I worked with in the JMC department; at the time I did not know I was working with such stars! Getting my Ph.D. at such a large university, I realized how much I missed the small size of UW-Milwaukee and the JMC department. The personalized touch of coursework and advising is something hard to find at a large institution. Even though I am done with my graduate work, I have continued to seek academic advice from the professors I worked with in the JMC department. I am currently a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College–a small liberal arts school.

Paul Wangsvick (Summer 2007)

I decided to attend UWM for my MA in part because I wanted a program that emphasized research with a thesis option. The research and writing skills I developed while at UWM helped to prepare me for further graduate training. I’m now a PhD candidate in rhetoric at the University of Memphis, where many of the skills I developed and acquired at UWM have served me well. Despite changing my research focus between my MA and PhD programs, I have been able to conjoin the quantitative methodology training I received at UWM with the qualitative methodology training I am now pursuing while advancing my own scholarship.

Jessica Birthisel (Summer 2006)

After completing my thesis during the summer of 2006, I worked as the editor of the semi-weekly Independence Bulletin Journal newspaper in Independence, Iowa. Due to its small staff, I found myself doing a little bit of everything: writing, editing, designing pages and photography. During my time there I covered county fair cattle, little old ladies turning 100, day care field trips, the first day of school for a new class of kindergartners, barn quilt projects, Barack Obama and other politicians in the 2008 Iowa Caucus, and much, much more. As much as I loved my work writing for the community, I always felt a call back to teaching, a passion that sprouted during my work as a teaching assistant at UWM. After adjuncting for several years at Hawkeye Community College, I decided to pursue a career in journalism education and applied for PhD programs. I eventually accepted an offer from Indiana University’s School of Journalism. I spent four years in Bloomington completing coursework and exams focused on representations of gender in the media. In 2012 I accepted a tenure-track faculty position in the Communication Studies department at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass., while I finished up work on my dissertation, which explored contemporary representations of masculinity in popular culture. In May of 2013 I completed my PhD in Mass Communications with a PhD minor in gender studies and continue my work at BSU as an assistant professor and as an adviser to the campus newspaper.

Colin Hutt (Fall 2005)

While finishing the UWM master’s program, I founded Primum Marketing Communications, an integrated agency based in Milwaukee. Primum works with clients in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. on campaigns that include public relations, web and social media, advertising, video and other marketing approaches. The professors, classmates and subject matter of the program greatly enriched my understanding of the evolving media world and play a significant part in my ability to do what I’m doing today.

Krista L. Bensheimer (Summer 2006)

My husband and I own a media production company, Ideal Impressions, that specializes in wedding portraits, slideshows, and vidoegraphy. We also shoot family portraits, senior pictures, and stock photographs. My role at Ideal Impressions involves videography, photography, editing, public relations, and daily operations. While completing my thesis I gave birth to my first child, Ty Ellington, and worked for Mount Zion Christian School. My thesis investigated online communication for a small private school with financial constraints; it gave Mount Zion some insights on maximizing their marketing efforts.

Gregory Walsko (Summer 2006)

While I was working on my master’s, I accepted a full-time position at ITT Technical Institute teaching various areas of study in multi-media, such as video and audio production, 3D modeling, 2D and 3D animation and interactive media. Gaining a master’s degree may help me to advance from an instructor to a senior instructor and then, finally, a master instructor. My master’s experience has helped me become an excellent public speaker. The thesis experience also taught me organization, dedication and motivation.

Tess Gallun (Summer 2005)

An award-winning documentary veteran who owns Root River Films, Tess is passionate about creating socially relevant work and building loyal relationships among peers, story subjects, and the audiences she reaches. With over twenty years of long-form nonfiction experience, her professional credits include innovative community service and public awareness campaigns, documentaries for national PBS outlets, a thirteen part series for the Discovery Channel, and rich historical video projects for museums. The subjects she’s covered include war photography, community advocacy, wildlife conservation, gun violence, racism, and world religions. Tess has had the privilege to learn from the individuals who star in her projects. Their voices inspire her interest in teaching others to find common ground and creative outlets to share their own important stories. She has taught journalism and production classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Her teaching successes include fostering relationships between students and the community, helping to raise support through social media assignments, and inspiring young journalists to make a difference in the world. For example, her projects have used video production to engage Hmong, Native American and middle school youth to tackle water quality and conservation issues. Her most recent endeavor uncovers the realities of homelessness among gay youth in Milwaukee.

Xiaoxia Cao (Spring 2005)

After I got my master’s degree from JAMS (then JMC) in 2005, I went to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania to pursuit a doctoral degree in Communication. After spending five years in Philly, I came back to JAMS to start a tenure-track position in January 2010, teaching and doing research. Looking back at my experience at JMC as a graduate student, I cannot say enough good things about the program. The professors here not only taught me research skills that I use every day but also opened my mind to communication research. They encouraged me to pursue my own research interests and were always willing to help me outside of the classroom. They were the key to my academic success.