M.A. Alumni Profiles
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.
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.
Youngchi Chang (Spring 2009)
I am currently pursuing my doctoral degree at the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. My primary research interest is the transnational circulation of women-centric media. I am continuing to work on my master's project in my doctoral studies (my master's thesis was titled "Singles In Seoul: Korean femininity and western postfeminism in popular media"). Building on ideas from this project, I am currently researching the relationship between gender and media globalization in South Korea from industrial, textual, historical, and reception perspectives.
Martha Boehm (Spring 2009)
I joined WEAU 13 News as the station’s La Crosse Bureau Reporter/Videographer in October 2009. I’m a “one person band,” as I shoot video, write, voice and edit my stories five days a week for WEAU and Fox 25/48 News at Nine. I earned my Master of Arts degree in Media Studies in May 2009 and my Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism in May 2007. I’m a member of the national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, I was very active with UWM’s journalism and television programs, including UWM PantherVision and PAWS TV 3, the Broadcast Club’s TV station. While in grad school, I focused my thesis on the changing role of local television journalists in the 1960s. Once I’ve put in many years in the broadcast field, I plan to teach college journalism.
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, I worked for one year at National-Louis University as an academic advisor. 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 examining Facebook political participation consequences.
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. Those two years gave me time to reflect on my experience and allowed me to decompress after a challenging two years in the master’s program. I decided that I really missed being a part of the academic community. Thanks to the encouragement and help of my professors in JMC, I was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Department of Communication Studies. The breadth of courses I took at UW-Milwaukee has given me a very unique perspective into a traditional Communications degree. And I am continuing to build off the work I did with my master’s thesis by continuing my research and writing more extensively on my thesis topic. 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! Being at such a large university now, I realize how much I miss 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.
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 where I'm currently in the third year of the doctoral program in Mass Communications. My research interests include identity, gender representation and popular culture in news and entertainment media, particularly texts targeting children. Additionally, I participate in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. My teaching interests include media and culture, visual communication, and multimedia skills and theory. In addition to my teaching and research I write as a freelancer and online journalist. I anticipate completing my PhD in the summer of 2012 and hope to secure a tenure-track faculty position at a college or university.
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.
Jennifer Janscha (Summer 2006)
I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. My master's studies were not only required for entrance into the doctoral program but also helped me to become familiar with the mass media research field and improve my research and writing skills.
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)
As the sole proprietor of Reel Life Films, I am currently collaborating with several local not-for-profit organizations to create documentary and promotional video programs that promote social, environmental, and political concerns. I also produce and edit environmentally conscious episodes for Channel 10 and 36 and the Outdoor Wisconsin program.
I am teaching two new courses at UWM for the fall 2006 and spring 2007 semesters. The first is JMC 260: Contemporary Non-fiction Media. The second, which I created, is JMC 280: Introduction to Digital Video for Documentary. Besides teaching at UWM, I hold a part-time teaching position in MATC's Television and Video Production program.
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.
Jessica McBride (Fall 2004)
I work at UWM as a full-time lecturer. I could not have received the job without my master's. Just as importantly, I feel that it has made me a better critical thinker.
March L. Jacques (Summer 2004)
I am project director for Heart Healthy Waukesha County, a non-profit alliance of healthcare providers, educational institutions, businesses, government, and community based organizations with a shared mission to improve cardiovascular health of Waukesha County. In May 2005, the project was recognized by the Wisconsin Public Health Association for demonstrating the power of collaboration in influencing healthy behavior change.
My thesis investigated the role of communication in collaborative community improvement projects. It was right on target for my current work.
Lisa Nalbandian (Summer 2003)
I became Promotions Manager for Wisconsin Public Radio in Milwaukee during my second year of graduate school. Since then, I have been promoted to Regional Manager for Wisconsin Public Radio in Green Bay. The analytical skills I gained at UWM have been tremendously beneficial. Knowing which questions to ask - and how to answer them correctly - has been instrumental for me at Wisconsin Public Radio.
Maria Pikuleff (Summer 2003)
During my first summer in the M.A. program, I landed an internship in Paris at a French business school. The internship involved developing an English-language website. That experience was instrumental in making contacts with the UWM Center for International Education (CIE). After returning to the US, I started working part time in the CIE on special programs. A full-time position at the CIE became available just at the time that I was finishing my thesis. I was hired in early 2003 and have been at UWM ever since.
The master's program was a key factor in the connections that led to my current professional position as a coordinator of study abroad and international exchange programs. My master's degree provided me with an important and transferable skill set as well as an ability for critical analysis that assists me when tackling a wide array of projects. Having a master's degree makes me a viable candidate for positions of greater responsibility within my chosen field, and I am confident about my future.
Dajen Miocic (Spring 2003)
I am currently the Associate Director at the Plumbers & Mechanical Contractors Association/Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Association (PMC/SMACCA). I am responsible, along with the Executive Director, for labor negotiations and government relations. My master's degree has helped me by making me much more marketable overall. I am learning much about the industries I now work in and the labor negotiating. I think that my communication skills will be very helpful in these areas. I also teach at University of Phoenix on a part-time basis and I find helping adult students reach their goals very fulfilling.
Karen Ambrosh (Fall 2002)
I teach at Audubon Technology and Communication Center, a Milwaukee Public Charter Middle School, where I manage a television studio and a student-run daily morning show. For the past two years, I have been fortunate to be able to collaborate with an art and design teacher to create a special, yearlong media design class for eighth graders. We have expanded this class to explore all types of media production, including a school newspaper, yearbook, web page, and computer animation. Within this class, we have piloted an innovative hip hop curriculum with the Just Think Foundation in California, exploring the cultural, political, and economic history behind a relatively new form of music. We have presented our classroom model at several state and national conferences.
I am currently pursuing National Board Professional Teaching Certification and working to expand my teaching license to include high school certification. I am also President of the National Telemedia Council, which produces Telemedium, The Journal of Media Literacy. Both my professional work and my volunteer work are focused in media literacy. My master's program prepared me well for all of this.
Angela Pittman Taylor (Summer 2002)
I work at Robert W. Baird & Co. as First Vice President, Public Relations in the Marketing and Communications department. I'm part of a team that manages the image of the firm through communications with our internal and external audiences (media, employees, clients, community, business partners, regulators, etc.). My master's degree has been useful because going through the program further enhanced my ability for meaningful thought about complex theories and issues. Combined with the years of work experience, it also makes me more marketable and more valuable to my company than I might otherwise be. I enjoyed my experience at UWM and recommend the program to anyone interested in pursuing advanced communications degrees.
Christie Christie (Spring 2002)
I am a staff attorney at Legal Aid, guardian ad litem division. My degree has helped my writing skills. I did a lot of papers for my master's degree in mass communication, and I do a lot of writing for work. My degree has also helped me better understand the role of mass communication in both my personal life and my job. My thesis was particularly helpful as my topic--CCAP--arises everyday in my field. I am also an adjunct professor of law at Marquette University Law School, teaching the GAL Workshop.
I am currently enrolled in the Urban Education Ph.D. program. My eventual plans are to teach at an institution of higher education. My master's degree has also helped me as a law professor; I've learned what teaching styles are effective and what expectations are reasonable for my classes.