Liberal Arts in Action
Digital Media & Journalism

Kelly Cusack ’15 (Journalism)

Headshot of alumni Julie CusackAccount Executive at Sopheon

I'm currently an Account Executive at Sopheon, an enterprise innovation management solution provider. I work with some of the biggest names in innovation: Honeywell, 3M, Hershey, Land O' Lakes, Mondelēz, and many more. I partner with leaders in CPG, Chemical, High-Tech, Aerospace/Defense, and other verticals with complex NPD processes to streamline product development, portfolio management, and overall innovation.

When you choose to pursue a Liberal Arts degree—especially one from SUNY New Paltz—there are truly no limits. You're equipping yourself with skills that will translate to any career path you choose for yourself. When the foundation of your education is based in clear communication, in-depth analysis, and cross-functional ability, you'll be able to open any door available to you in your post-baccalaureate career.

I started as a journalist, publishing over 150 articles across a variety of publications, including Forbes, MediaPlanet, Chronogram, The Valley Table, and many more. After a number of twists and turns, including a stint as a flying trapeze instructor at a sleep-away camp for adults, I've ended up in enterprise innovation management working with some of the largest companies on the planet.

I would like to personally thank Howie Good, Professor Emeritus in retirement, for creating an environment that fostered creativity, communication, and critical thinking in a way that was simultaneously challenging, enlightening, and downright hilarious. His lessons will continue to echo well into and past my professional career, likely until the end of my days. "The only secret to style is to have something to say and say it as clearly as possible."

July 2022


Samantha Manzella ’18 (Journalism)

Freelance writer, editor, and digital producer

I'm a freelance writer, editor, and digital producer who specializes in LGBTQ news and culture. I'm currently working for Logo, Paramount Global's LGBTQ digital brand, as a writer-producer across editorial and video, and I regularly freelance for outlets like MTV News, LGBTQ Nation, Apartment Therapy, and

My studies at New Paltz equipped me with the technical skills and nimble mind I need to thrive in a fast-paced, forever-changing digital media environment. I first indulged my interest in journalism/nonfiction writing as a contributor and editor at The New Paltz Oracle, the campus newspaper. The fun I had in the newsroom inspired me to enroll in Journalism I, and I loved the rigor of that class so much that I pretty much immediately declared a major in Journalism. I've also gained so much from my minor in WGSS, which gave me a solid background in queer and feminist theories. I like to think of myself as a compassionate storyteller, and these theoretical frameworks inform my writing, editing, and reporting each and every day.

Liberal arts education encourages compassion and critical thinking, two things I once believed were fundamentally antithetical. Through my studies at New Paltz, I learned that fostering critical thinking skills—intellectual curiosity, healthy skepticism, media literacy—is crucial to creating a more just and compassionate world. In fact, harmful biases like racism, homophobia, and transphobia, all things I've dedicated my work to advocating against, proliferate when people aren't equipped to think critically about the information they consume.

There are truly so many—Professor Lisa Phillips, Dr. Jessica Pabón, Dr. Robyn Sheridan—but I have to shout out Dr. Rachel Somerstein. Her classes were the highlight of my journalism education and continue to inform the work I do today. She was my Honors thesis advisor, and we still talk here and there post-grad. When I was a junior at New Paltz, Dr. Somerstein encouraged me to apply to the American Society of Magazine Editors' internship program. I got it, and it scored me my first paid writing gig at a national outlet, connected me with some of my closest friends, and completely changed the course of my career. Without her, I would not be where I am today.

March 2020


Toria Barnhart ’18 (Journalism)

Toria BarnhartFuture of the Community Reporter

In my current position, I essentially cover all news that isn't cops, courts or sports. I produce regular features and breaking news articles on business, government, education and community. Furthermore, I've developed source network relationships with local government and business and community leaders. In my work, I adhere to AP Style guidelines while proofing and editing pages under daily deadline and use social media to update subscribers on daily stories, breaking news and upcoming articles.

At New Paltz, specifically in the Digital Media and Journalism Department, I was able to take classes that have taught me the skills I've used in my profession. In courses like “Feature Writing,” I learned how to use different writing structures and how to grab readers' attention. During my capstone seminar, I was able to perform first-hand investigative work and pitch my story to publications. This has been helpful when pursuing stories professionally. And my internship with the Legislative Gazette gave me the confidence to work with and interview government officials and community leaders.

In the field of journalism, I find myself frequently learning new things about a wide variety of subjects like starting a business, painting, addiction and more. At New Paltz, I took a variety of GE courses which required me to interact with individuals from various backgrounds and who have different ideas. If I had not attended a liberal arts college, I believe that I wouldn't have had as much exposure to different ideas. Instead, I'd be with those who are pursuing the same exact things that I am. A liberal arts education has allowed me to have general knowledge about so many things, which I've found to be essential to my career.

Lisa Phillips was the most influential faculty member during my three and a half years at New Paltz. Although I only had Professor Phillips for two courses, she was always incredibly supportive of my work as a journalism student. She provided constructive feedback and helped me advance my skills in the field. James Gormley was also influential. As his intern, he helped give me the confidence I needed to feel that I can be successful in my field.

January 2020

Kimberly Mas ’13 (Radio and TV Production)

Kimberly MasMultimedia Producer,

Currently, I work at Vox Media for Most of my work involves researching and reporting on various topics via video. I use the skills I learned at New Paltz as a video major and apply them every day to create explainer content on YouTube and the website. Other than the obvious skills I took from my education, New Paltz prepared me with a demanding schedule and plenty of "learn-as-you-go" methods. Had I been given a full, formal explanation for every topic I needed to know in the field I'd be struggling to find my footing now.

The idea of a liberal arts education has been taking quite a hit lately on the internet due to the rising costs of higher education, but thinking back, some of the most valuable skills I took from New Paltz were outside the classroom. I've always been an introvert and college helped me break out of that bubble and learn to be myself in a variety of environments. I never would have been able to network my way into the workforce without the social skills I developed during this time. College isn't just about the classes you take; it's about building a persona, finding yourself, and being able to apply that to the real world. Many of the people I've met who skipped the college degree may have gotten out debt-free, but they also struggle to build and maintain relationships at work—that's not something you'll learn in a book. College gave me the chance to learn from mistakes I've made with people just as much as the ones I made with a camera.

Had it not been for Joe Vlachos and his 8 a.m. “Media and Society” class I never would've switched my major. Gregg Bray directed my career and inspired me to network further than I ever would have on my own. Elizabeth Munz sparked my interest in a wider diversity of ideas and topics, which helped me hone in on the types of brands I'd go on to align myself with. The list can go on and on. The staff at New Paltz always felt more like a family than a group of professors trying to grade me. I can't speak highly enough of the media production program they've built there.

December 2017

Bianca Mendez ’13 (Journalism)

Bianca MendezFreelance Writer, Associate Branded Content Editor for Time Inc.'s The Foundry

Currently, I’m the associate branded content editor for Time Inc.’s The Foundry, where my day-to-day consists of helping brands create thoughtful, engaging content to be placed across the Time Inc. brands (Think: Entertainment Weekly, Food & Wine, etc.). Prior to that, I've had a few stints at Women's Health,, and Elite Daily, and in between jobs, I also built my freelance writing career. My stories have been published in Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Refinery29, and more.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the professors at SUNY New Paltz who’ve mentored me and helped me develop my craft. My professors did an excellent job preparing us for the ever-changing landscape that is journalism, constantly introducing us to the new platforms, tools and social media outlets. It's crazy to think that in 2011, I was learning about Twitter hashtags in Adam Bosch's J-2 class. Instagram and Snapchat barely existed at that time! I'm confident that the New Paltz journalism program hasn't lost its edge when it comes to exposing students to the new types of media.

The great thing about a liberal arts college was that it encouraged me to take classes outside my major. I dabbled in women’s studies, theatre, and business classes, which made me a more well-rounded individual. Looking back, I didn't realize how beneficial these classes would be in my career. They helped me view the world from different perspectives, which has added more depth to my writing, plus helped me discovered what stories I want to tell to the world.

October 2017

Maria Pianelli ’14 (Journalism - Public Relations)

Maria PianelliSenior Account Executive at LaunchSquad

During my last semester of college, my advisor Janice Anderson encouraged me to pursue a full-time internship at a public relations agency in New York. In January 2014, I accepted an internship with LaunchSquad and instantly fell in love with tech PR and the constant buzz of innovation. I entered a full-time position after graduation and nearly four years later, I am thrilled to have grown into a senior account executive role.

At LaunchSquad, I work with some of the most exciting companies to tell change-the-world stories about technology. I play a leadership role across multiple accounts, helping clients devise impactful messaging, media, and content strategy to build their profiles and connect them to meaningful audiences. Over the last few years, I’ve worked closely with reporters across mainstream, business, marketing, technology, music, sports, travel, and restaurant press to tell stories about my clients and their broader industries. I’ve also had the opportunity to help launch tech startups, working closely on their positioning and core narratives. For the last two years, I’ve also helped manage LaunchSquad’s interns, a responsibility I’m especially passionate about.

As a student, I also completed a marketing internship at the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce and journalism internships at the Staten Island Advance and New Paltz Times. The journalism and PR courses I took at New Paltz instilled a deep love and understanding of the industry. Not only was I aptly prepared for each of these experiences, but the lessons and real-world experience classes offered bestowed me with an unquenchable curiosity. While both journalism and PR classes offered a historical perspective on the industry, my education was fueled with real-world experiences.

To me, a liberal arts education means being able to appropriately and creatively respond the world around you. The analytical skills bestowed by my journalism, creative writing, and PR professors allows me to pay careful attention to my surroundings, question convention, and understand the opportunities at large. It means being creative in your way of approaching a situation and adding a perspective that might have otherwise been overlooked. It means challenging yourself and others to take the road less traveled, to think outside the box, and consider what it takes to leave your own unique mark in the world. New Paltz taught me how to embrace what makes me shine and infuse it through everything I do.

Journalism professor Lisa Phillips played a meaningful role in my development, as she taught her students the importance of diversifying our skill sets. During class, we learned how to shoot and edit broadcast stories, cover breaking news, and compose longer-form features. We’d spend classes on the quad or in town, gaining interview experience firsthand. She helped us build a strong portfolio of clippings and strategies for finding credible sources within the span of a deadline. Professor Phillips was invested in our success—what she taught me about journalism allows me to be a better PR professional.

PR professors Donna Flayhan and Joan Schuman affirmed my passion for PR with every class. Their courses were filled were practical skills and hands-on assignments that allowed us to hone our grasp of PR. Professor Schuman filled her classes with tangible, real-world case studies that tested our ethics, quick thinking, and ability to appropriately respond in the moment of crisis. Professor Flayhan taught me critical skills I use every day at my agency, from composing PR plans to crafting press releases. Her courses revolved around getting us on-the-ground experience. We were required to build actual PR campaigns for local Ulster County businesses. This not only made class more engaging, but helped us create portfolios that proved invaluable when finding jobs and internships. I am so grateful for these experiences because they have had such a direct influence on my career.

Creative writing professor Larry Carr was also tremendously influential in my development. I took several creative writing courses in New Paltz, which allowed me to become a more well-rounded writer. Professor Carr challenged us to dig deep and welcomed our quirkiest ideas. He never questioned our work, but helped us hone our thoughts into pieces we thought beyond our potential. In today’s working world, creativity is an important differentiator. It allows us to add color to a black-and-white landscape and introduce fresh perspectives that are truly groundbreaking. Professor Carr’s guidance built my confidence and confirmed that I wanted to make a career of my words. Writing has always been my first love; Professor Carr challenged me to pursue this passion and put my own spin on it. When I’m not in work, I am writing my first novel, and much of my technique is fueled by his mentorship.

October 2017

Andrew Wyrich ’13 (Journalism)

Andrew WyrichPolitics Staff Writer - The Daily Dot

I am a politics staff writer for The Daily Dot, where I cover technology, politics and the internet, with a focus on net neutrality and tech policy. Before covering politics, I was the lead breaking news reporter for, a local reporter for several outlets and the editor-in-chief of The New Paltz Oracle while attending New Paltz.

I find myself constantly looking back at how my time at New Paltz helped prepare me for my current positions—from Adam Bosch’s timed writing exercises in Journalism I and Journalism II, Lisa Phillips’ encouragement to dig deeper and ask more questions during Feature Writing, getting a better understanding of the changing landscape in media from Robert Miraldi in Press in America and learning how to tell powerful and provocative stories using public documents with Andy Lehren as part of the Ottoway Seminar.

All of those experiences in the classroom have helped me feel prepared for all of the twists and turns that are commonplace in the media world today, and I can see the influence of my former professors in nearly every story I write: from an award-winning series on transgender youth to a run-of-the-mill breaking news story that offers a fresh piece of information because I asked “what makes this unique?”

A liberal arts degree allowed me to explore my passion—journalism—but also gave me an opportunity to learn about so many different things, which for a journalist, is extremely helpful. Having a minor in video production has helped me professionally as well.

I mentioned some professors whose institutional knowledge has been helpful for me, but there are many more. The entire journalism department is a gem at New Paltz that continues to help young writers flourish.

June 2019

Goldie Harrison ’16 (Digital Media Production, Digital Media Programming and Management)

Goldie Harrison

Creative Marketing, Roc Nation; CEO 24:OURS Creative

I currently handle the creative marketing for Roc Nation's Distribution Label, EQ Distro. Prior to stepping into this role, I was the production manager for the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and artists relations lead for the A3C Music Festival.  24:OURS is a digital agency and platform focused on music, media and arts. At 24:OURS we produce live concerts, create video content and have become a hub for all things creative. 

After graduating from New Paltz, I went on to produce events such as The Bushwick Music Festival alongside smaller music shows. My first position outside of New Paltz was The Director of Lifestyle Services and Events at the Dermot Company where I managed luxury amenity spaces throughout New York City and was responsible for the marketing and programming events in the buildings. I then worked at Facebook coordinating internal events, and assisted in directing and monitoring the event setup team, facilities, security, and the audio visual technicians. 

New Paltz gave me the opportunity to dabble in every field I was curious about. Having a liberal arts education opened so many doors for me. I can apply my education in almost any field and company. It truly allowed me to develop a unique and diverse skillset.

June 2019

Casey Silvestri ’17 (Journalism)

Casey SilvestriProduction Assistant for NBC News / Stay Tuned on Snapchat

I'm a production assistant for Stay Tuned, a daily Snapchat show produced by NBC News. Every day, the production assistants dig through news wires and social media platforms to find all the footage and images used in our show. I also pitch ideas, fact check stories, draft scripts and monitor breaking news. Sometimes I get to produce and edit segments.

New Paltz prepared me for this role because I was encouraged to take numerous classes in both media production and journalism, and my job is a perfect blend between those two disciplines.

A liberal arts education means learning how to think critically. My honors classes especially focused on this by challenging my reading, writing and analytical skills. In my job, I must think critically so I can question what news stories are important to a young, millennial audience. I know without a liberal arts background, I would have a difficult time navigating this crazy news cycle!

I wouldn't be where I am without Patricia Sullivan, Megan Sperry, Lisa Phillips and Gregg Bray. They always took my goals seriously and offered advice and encouragement when I needed it. Although I have graduated, I still consider them dear mentors.

October 2017

Emily Atkin ’11 (Journalism)

Emily AtkinStaff Writer at the New Republic

I'm an environmental reporter and writer for the New Republic, a century-old magazine of progressive politics and culture in Washington, D.C. My position is sort of a hybrid cross between a traditional reporter and an opinion writer. Every week, I write long-form articles that reveal new facts and stories about our environment and the policies that control it. But I also offer my own analysis and opinion of what those facts mean, and what we should do about them.

Lately, I've been focusing on the environmental impact of major hurricanes, and the politics of natural disaster response. But I've covered everything from melting permafrost to EPA regulations to rodent takeovers of major cities. My job also entails countering misinformation about climate science, revealing and telling stories of people and places affected by climate change throughout the world.

I tell these stories by using simple reporting tactics I first learned in the SUNY New Paltz journalism program. I find experts, I call them, I pester them until they answer—an art form I first learned from Rob Miraldi in Journalism 1. I unearth public documents from awfully-formatted government websites, which Adam Bosch taught me how to do in Journalism 2. I use excel spreadsheets to compile and analyze data, which Mary-Beth Pfeiffer showed me how to do in Computer Assisted Reporting. And I ask a lot of questions of public officials, which I became great at after I did my semester at the Legislative Gazette in Albany. Lisa Phillips taught me how to take the information I gathered and turn it into a narrative story; Howie Good taught me how to tell it with style, morality, and fearless urgency. In short, everything I do today is a product of my education.

My liberal arts education allowed me to find journalism, which became not only my career, but my life's passion. So, not to be an overly sentimental weirdo, but it really does mean everything to me.

It would be impossible to choose one faculty member from the journalism program [who inspired me]. Every professor I worked with helped shape my career. And they continue to today—just last month, I asked Adam Bosch for a story idea, and he gave me a great one. I'm very grateful for my continued relationship with these people.

October 2017

Bryan Neilon ’07 (Communication and Media – Radio and TV Production)

Bryan NeilonAccount Manager, Brightcove Inc.

Brightcove is the industry leader in online video technology.  As an account manager, I am responsible for the overall success of our customers using our products and services. These include an online video player (OVP), content management system (CMS), live video platform, and more. It is up to me to understand where Brightcove products fit into my clients' nuanced business models and where Brightcove can help achieve their goals. My degree in media from New Paltz gave me a leg up among my peers in that I was not only prepared to get started in video production, but I understood where video production fit into a larger media landscape. It is this broad view that has allowed me to take advantage of a rapidly changing environment.

A liberal arts education offers a broad and sturdy base upon which a student can build. This is especially important in an industry such as digital video, which is subject to strong cross-cutting forces. My career path has been a series of twists and leaps of faith through freelance production, graduate school, teaching, digital magazine publishing, and finally the world of online video technology.  Each progressive step would not have been possible without a critical understanding of the broad set of forces at play.

I've been lucky enough to keep in contact with many New Paltz faculty members but Gregg Bray stands out as someone I will never be capable of expressing my full gratitude toward. The trust and confidence he put in me as a student propelled me well beyond graduation. Dr. Bray stretched my abilities beyond what I thought myself capable. He gave me the confidence to take the leaps of faith I needed throughout my career. All the more astonishing is the commonality of my experience. Every semester brings new students who speak of Gregg in a way I feel uniquely qualified to understand. This is someone who truly loves doing what he does to the benefit of a generation of media students.

June 2019

Erin Brady ’05 (Communication and Media - Radio and TV Production)

Erin BradyProducer ABC News Nightline

I find the stories that need to be shared with the world. I do the research, book the interview subjects, cast the subjects, ask the tough/gut wrenching/important/controversial questions, shoot the interview, do the interview, write the script and sometimes edit the stories using Avid.

Classes for my major at New Paltz taught me how to use the camera, how to visually tell a story, production quality, lighting, editing and how to have fun doing it! I had excellent teachers who encouraged me to try new things, think outside of the box and be critical. There is simply something about New Paltz that attracts an eclectic group of teachers with diverse teaching methods, world experience and interesting takes on life that really helped me see the world differently.

Gregg Bray was my teacher and mentor. He was truly well educated, experienced and insightful. Gregg always made himself available with critical feedback and creative ideas. His real world experience in film and documentary excelled then, and now continues to go far beyond that of many people in the field.

October 2017

Pam Ricklin ’14 (Digital Media Production)

Pam RicklinAssistant Artist Manager at The Rocks Management

I currently work as assistant artist manager at The Rocks Management, a small music management company with offices in New York and New Jersey. I began as an intern, then worked part-time in college, and was immediately hired on a full-time basis after graduation. I act as a liaison between our artists and anyone who wants to work with them, whether that’s a record label, an agent, a radio station, a festival/venue, etc. In my role, I create tour and promotional appearance itineraries for our artists and staff; I handle the social media accounts for our artists, and I assist in tour marketing for concerts. I’ve also been fortunate enough to tour the country with my client The Zombies selling their merchandise. My degree in digital media production has been extremely beneficial when creating video content, such as lyric videos and album teasers. I’m so grateful that my major required me to get an internship because without one, I wouldn’t have the job I have today. As a student, I served as a DJ and as programming director at the school's radio station, WFNP. Working at WFNP was very hands-on, which has been great preparation for working at events like SXSW, Firefly Music Festival, and Mountain Jam. All of these opportunities during my time at New Paltz taught me the importance of teamwork and organization.

My liberal arts education at New Paltz has been a huge influence on my postgraduate experience so far. While studying digital media production as an undergraduate, I wanted to learn about as many aspects of the media industry as possible. Taking a writing intensive course allowed me to improve my writing skills in a predominately “digital” major; my public relations course taught me different methods of interpreting media content; taking programming and management courses introduced me to the business side of the industry. These skills have all been extremely useful, not only in my job but in my everyday life.

Professors Gregg Bray and Lynn Spangler played important roles during my time at New Paltz. They both encouraged their students to think outside the box and to be true to themselves. They also instilled in me the importance of listening to everyone’s ideas, even if they’re different from your own. Most importantly, they really made the effort to get to know each student, which I found made their classes more enjoyable and special. 

June 2019

Alexandria Fontanez ’14 (Digital Media Production)

Alexandria FontanezCampaign Producer, Vox Creative

In my current role as a campaign producer at Vox Creative (Vox Media's internal creative agency and production team) I project manage branded content campaigns from kick-off to launch. I have a hybrid production manager/associate producer role that allows me to be involved in all aspects of production, and to participate in distribution and business development conversations. I believe that my college coursework, internships, and professional development training via the T. Howard Foundation absolutely prepared me for my current role by giving me the base of production knowledge needed to thrive in the media industry. The most valuable hard skill I gained from my major was video editing. The industry is always hungry to hire hybrid producer-editors, so while I was pursuing production assistant or production coordinator roles, I leveraged my editing skills and came across more opportunities. The digital media production major, like many majors, is truly what you make of it. The more time you invest in your coursework and with the resources available to you, the more confident you'll be when it's time to enter the job market. I don't believe I'd be where I am today without having spent many, many late nights editing projects in Coykendall Science Building and taking on several internships while in school.

A liberal arts education means freedom to explore, ask questions, and discover untapped passions. I think saying that I embraced an interdisciplinary education at SUNY New Paltz is an understatement—I majored in Digital Media Production and minored in French, theater and psychology. There were many moments when coursework from one minor would help me to better understand a concept in another. Overall, studying each of these disciplines helped me to foster skills that I now use every day as a Producer. The ability to pursue multiple passion points in college was invaluable, and I cannot recommend it enough; it's helped me to become a more well-rounded individual and young professional.

While at New Paltz I was most inspired by my French professor, Mercedes Rooney. I was fortunate to have her as an instructor all four years while minoring in French and walked away with much more than a new language learned. I was an aspiring video producer with few professional connections and a new industry to navigate after graduation, and Professor Rooney encouraged me to focus on developing a competitive edge, to never limit myself, and to never stop learning. I'd walk away from a brief meeting during her office hours feeling inspired and emboldened by her advice. Her motivation and support was one of the most memorable parts of my undergraduate experience and I am incredibly grateful.

October 2017

Kristina Cartwright ‘11 (Communication and Media - Radio and TV Production)

Kristina CartwrightReporter/Fill-in Anchor at News 12

I'm a general assignment reporter for News 12 Westchester and Hudson Valley. I specifically cover all of Rockland County. I have also anchored the morning shows and was previously the traffic and entertainment reporter for News 12. New Paltz taught me how to write stories, shoot and edit video. I also learned how to stay on deadline which is very important in my industry.

A liberal arts education helps prepare you for the real world. It gives you the skills you need for the future—whatever career path you may take.

Professors Gregg Bray and Brett Barry saw my potential and helped push me. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for what they taught me.

October 2017


Alyssa DeRosa ’16 (Digital Media Production)

Alyssa DeRosaAssociate Producer

As a freelance associate story producer, I jump around from TV show to TV show, each coming with their own set of roles and responsibilities.  In the past, I've worked on shows for History Channel, Showtime, YouTube Red and TBS, where I've produced scenes, created storyboards, written story notes and hot sheets, and managed PA teams, among other tasks.  Additionally, I have started creating my own digital content to showcase my adventures as I travel the country with my boyfriend in our camper van.  

My time at SUNY New Paltz taught me the basic skills needed to be a producer, such as storytelling and navigating editing software.  More importantly, my liberal arts education made me a well-rounded individual who is capable of learning skills outside my field. My education also provided me with a mature, compassionate and moral world view.  My professors at SUNY New Paltz encouraged me every step of my education and taught me the importance of being a detail-oriented hard worker.  The coursework for my program, in conjunction with the professors' support and encouragement, was a perfect foundation for keeping up in our fast-paced industry.

June 2019

Christine Bobro ’16 (Digital Media and Production Studies)

Christine BobroNews Producer

I am currently employed at WTOC-TV in Savannah, Georgia, as a television news producer. I began as an intern, was hired as a production assistant, which eventually lead me to being hired as a producer. Each day, I am required to find and write local news content from Georgia and South Carolina to inform and educate the public on events. I work with anchors and the executive producers to ensure that the broadcast comes together in a cohesive and timely manner. As a producer, my duties include designing graphics used throughout the show as well as coordinating with reporters to designate their placement in the broadcast. Recently, I covered Hurricane Irma, which affected the Savannah area. I was able to experience my first wall-to-wall coverage where my station was on-air consistently for multiple hours. My time at SUNY New Paltz allowed me to learn the importance of time management in the media industry as well as developing an understanding of team effort.

My liberal arts education has given me the ability to see the world from different perspectives. This enables me to give an unbiased approach when dealing with controversial stories on the news. The news industry is very diverse in its coverage of stories, so having a liberal arts education allows me to have a more general knowledge of worldly events.

During my time at New Paltz, I had many professors who helped guide me along my journey in media studies. Their collective knowledge has assisted me in preparing for my career goals. Dr. Bray inspired me to go above and beyond my expectations in my Digital Seminar filmmaking class. He helped me become a better storyteller by showing me how to illustrate a story and not just report the facts. In his TV Studio Production class, I learned the ropes of how a television show is formatted and scripted. Dr. Bray always had encouraging words when I thought a project was overwhelming. He sat down with me on multiple occasions, relieving the stress and making a situation easier. He has been a true inspiration to me with the lessons he taught.  Dr. Holmes showed me the importance of how to manage within a company in my Digital Media and Management class. These management skills have been an important part of understanding the roles played in my news station. Professor Phillips helped me become a much better journalist, a very important part of the media industry. Without her guidance, my news stories would not be as successful. Professor Barry helped me to gain confidence in myself by making me perform in front of an audience in my Radio and Television Performance class. Because of this, I was able to join the SUNY New Paltz television station and anchor the “Happening Across Campus” segment for my final semester. There are many other professors to name, and I truly appreciate all they did for me during my time at SUNY New Paltz.

September 2017

Deanna DiBenedetto ’11 (Communication and Media – Radio and TV Production)

Deanna DiBenedettoPost Production Supervisor

I am a freelance post production supervisor for television. I've worked with multiple production companies for television networks such as Bravo, truTV, VICELAND, Investigation Discovery, Food Network and more. My position is logistical, but also requires an understanding and appreciation for creativity and production as I manage editors and producers on a particular television series.

When I was studying at New Paltz, the curriculum allowed me to learn about ALL aspects of media production, which is essential for my current position. New Paltz also encouraged and helped me to obtain internships outside of school. My internships with ABC and NBC helped jump-start my career in television.

A liberal arts education provides you with general knowledge and practical skills, which is beneficial as it allows you to be more well-rounded and versatile. My education has encouraged me to express my creativity as well as to learn to be more resourceful and logical. Studying television and radio production, I learned more than just theory and technology. I also learned skills that helped me to become a better manager and leader. Being surrounded by professors and students who were passionate about production was also incredibly motivating.

All of the professors in the [former] Communication and Media Department have been instrumental in my growth, but Gregg Bray continues to be a mentor to me. Gregg was a brilliant professor, eye-opening teacher and thoughtful advisor. He always saw what I was capable of before I even knew it and provided me with many opportunities to thrive.

September 2017

John Mingione ’11 (Communication and Media – Radio and TV Production)

John MingioneRadio Host for WPLJ / Head of Video

I currently work as a morning radio talk show host in New York City. While studying at New Paltz I interned for "Live! With Regis and Kelly" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." The internships I received while studying at New Paltz were an integral part of landing a job within the entertainment industry. 
For my senior project, I produced a musical short film alongside professor Gregg Bray. Working on this project taught me the ins and outs of proper storytelling. Gregg inspired me because he was brutally honest and pushed me to be my best self, both outside and inside the classroom.
I encourage students to reach out if interested in being a video intern for my show. Email me: 

 September 2017


Jesse Pilnik ’16 (Digital Media Programming and Management)

Jesse PilnikDigital Programming Coordinator at Nickelodeon

I currently work on content programming in the digital spaces for NickSplat (the destination for '90s Nickelodeon) and Nicktoons, which are both sub channels of Nickelodeon. These digital spaces include the NickSplat YouTube Channel,,, NickSplat Keyboard, and NickSplat iMessage sticker pack. My job is to strategize and schedule content to go on to these platforms, as well as work with our creative promotions team and social team to come up with the best ways to build and distribute these pieces. During my time at New Paltz, I was fortunate to participate in programs and a handful of internships that helped get me to where I am right now. I interned at Nickelodeon three times and also interned at a non-profit media facility called Children's Media Project (now Spark Media Project). In addition, I was in the New Paltz Honors Program and had the opportunity to do my thesis on developing a children's television program, where I got to present my work on creating my own multiplatform children's show. These experiences ultimately prepared me for my career after college.

The biggest benefit of my liberal arts education is that I got to write about things that were personal interests of mine, and made it work into the structure of several liberal arts classes that I took throughout my undergraduate career. For example, in one of my classes I was able to write about about Hanukkah holiday specials in children's television, where I got to discuss the importance of the portrayal of Judaism in kids TV shows like Rugrats. My professors were extremely supportive of my topic choices, and enabled me to write about things that I truly care about, whether it be media related or not. This allowed me to be more expressive of myself and my ideas, and just that alone has made it possible for me to succeed in my life and professional career.

There were a plethora of faculty members who inspired me throughout my college career. I would say each one taught me something valuable in my college career. There are a few I'd like to mention.  Todd Holmes and Gregg Bray helped guide me through my studies as a Digital Media Programming & Management major, and always supported me with my academic decisions. In addition, Beth King was an AMAZING resource when it came to applying for internships. She really helped me get on my feet with writing efficient resumes and cover letters, and has actually inspired me to help others attain internships in the media industry. Both Pat Sullivan and Anne Goding allowed me to write and present pieces of work about topics I am truly passionate about. They inspired me to be proud of my unique interests and present them in a way where I can feel confident about them.

September 2017

Dino Davaros '14 (Digital Media Production), '15g (Business Administration)

Dino Davaros

Product Availability Administrator at AbelCine, Content Manager for The Other Brothers

My day job as an availability administrator requires me to establish and maintain relationships with various media vendors in order to determine order arrivals for the various production companies who purchase gear through us. During my undergrad studies, I managed the Media Equipment room for a brief time and was tasked with moving the inventory to a digital database, which helped me get familiar with today's media tools and gain knowledge of what equipment is needed in certain situations.

During my nights and weekends, I work as the content manager for a local New Paltz band, The Other Brothers, who have been on a steady rise since 2012. I travel with them, document their work in the studio and on the road through photos and videos, and help develop marketing strategies. We are about to release our first album in late September along with our first official music video, which I proudly produced and directed. The film was shot using a RED Scarlet Dragon camera. My hope is to make this my full time job and work with other artists in a similar fashion.

The Digital Media Production Department gave me the opportunity to surround myself with like-minded, hungry artists (both faculty and students) who helped me gain a well-rounded education on how a production is completed, from the birth of its concept, to the execution, and of course to the delivery. Furthermore, the Business School taught me how to overcome the many hurdles one faces when starting an organization of this nature. It is also where I met John Morrison, guitarist for The Other Brothers, and where we began working on this project together.

My liberal arts degree allowed me to educate myself in a field I am extremely passionate about. It taught me how to adapt to an environment that is ever changing and allowed me to connect with so many people who, to this day, still stay in touch and collaborate on projects.

Joe Vlachos and Gregg Bray were easily the two biggest influences on my college career. When I began taking classes in the Digital Media department, I enrolled as a media management major, however after taking Digital Storytelling with Joe Vlachos, he strongly urged me to consider changing my major to media production as he told me I had a talent for it. Without his guidance, I might not have stepped out of my comfort zone and pursued my true passion.

And what is there to say about Gregg Bray? He is a bottomless well of knowledge that I still drink from to this day. We stay in touch, and whenever I have questions or concerns about my projects, I will reach out to him for guidance, and he has never steered me wrong. We haven't invented kind enough words to describe how impactful this man has been to not only me, but every digital media student I've known, and even some outside the department. He is the kindest and most gentle soul on campus and treats each of his students as if they are his own.

August 2017

 Sasha Ribowsky ’14 (Digital Media Production, French)

Sasha RibowskyAssistant Video Editor at JUICE Pharma Worldwide

Currently, I am employed at a Pharma Advertising Agency and have a large variety of tasks. Primarily I edit and animate videos, but my job involves many tasks such as working in our studio setting up photography shoots, video shoots, and voice-overs for scratch tracks. My digital media production major has prepared me for this position since I was taught to be a "media multi tool.” The program is structured in such a way that you learn many different facets of media production to gain an overall understanding and ultimately specialize. I decided, however, to choose them all! Luckily my job at JUICE allows me to use and cultivate many different skills. 

My liberal arts education has benefitted me in surprising ways. I am glad that I have a job that I love as a result of my major (and a documentary that I am proud to have produced), but I feel like it has helped me become a more well-rounded person as well. At first I did not understand why I needed to take classes unrelated to my major, but now I think it is essential to gain a more eclectic understanding of the world. For example, from my Composition 2 class I wrote a research paper on how the female body is grotesquely depicted in art and the media. It may not directly relate to my work now, but I published it and am happy to cite it. My liberal arts education gives me a sharper and more critical mindset on many subjects including the media, national and world politics, and human nature that I may not have had otherwise. 

 April 2016

Christopher Nostrand ’11 (Communication and Media – Radio and TV Production)

Christopher Nostrand

Filmmaker and Creative Producer at Nostrand Productions; SUNY New Paltz Adjunct Professor

Currently, I am a professional filmmaker and creative producer at Nostrand Productions, based out of Kingston, NY.  Nostrand Productions is a full-service production company that produces an array of digital film and video production formats from corporate businesses and organizations to self-funded filmmakers, musicians and artists.

My time as a student at SUNY New Paltz prepared me for the real world by not only refining my overall filmmaking skills, but also by encouraging me to be follow the details of story structure, styles and deep analyzation in film. Since graduation, I've earned a Master in Fine Arts degree from CUNY Hunter College in Integrated Media Arts. After my return to the Hudson Valley in 2015, I completed an unexpected full-circle journey and actually began teaching part-time in SUNY New Paltz's Digital Media & Journalism Department. Enroll in Field Production or TV Studio Production with Professor Nostrand!

June 2019