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Writing and Rhetoric Major: Alumni Updates

Rania Kaouadji

After graduating with her BA in Writing and Rhetoric, Rania Kaouadji completed a Masters in New Media Management from Newhouse in 2016. She is currently a Sales Assistant at Complex Networks; she says she is "part of a top-notch sales team, providing support to a team of Account Directors and internal teams to drive revenue through advertising and sponsorship sales. My responsibilities include organizing insertion orders, proposals, and recaps, maintaining workflows with advertising proposals, including providing comScore data and Google Analytics. I work closely with the marketing and  advertising operations teams." She adds, "I am working at the top digital media platform for millennials and urban culture, out of college. Doesn’t get better than that!"

Rania's words for current majors: "The Writing Program taught me how to think. It allowed me to tap into my creativity, think beyond the scope, and produce quality work all while defending my thought process. I took a variety of courses that challenged me to develop a unique writing style. My advice to fellow majors is to take advantage of that freedom. Take the time to develop a style that suits you well. Your writing is a part of your brand. Your writing is your thinking. Learn to think." (April 2017)

Mavis Lee

Mavis Lee (’16) is a currently a first semester student at New York University, pursuing a MS in Publishing, a program that "helps students master the key skills required for success in today’s publishing workplace . . . . focuses on the creative and content development components of the industry, including editing for print and for a wide range of the content-rich digital sites and video, as well as key business functions such as marketing and publicity, sales, and business development."

Among her recent accomplishments, Mavis lists: "Met Mindy Kaling's editor last week, finished George Saunder's new novel in 2 days, and finally learned how to use the dishwasher." She adds, "Huge, huge shout outs to all of the wonderful humans in the department for convincing me that my voice is valid since the first day I walked into HBC. Special thanks to Professor Nordquist for being one of the most patient and encouraging souls on campus. I guess the days spent eating mac and cheese outside of Gifford while catching up on readings are finally paying off because being surrounded by people who share the same dreams as you is the best gift any college grad can receive!" (March 2017)

Sheri Bhirdo

Sheri Bhirdo (’13) is currently a Marketing Coordinator and Business Development Analyst for Levin Management Corporation. She works directly with the Vice President of Marketing to create unique campaigns and marketing strategies to promote and support the Levin brand and its business goals. She also conducts research, collects data and demographics, and assists in the company's acquisitions and business development.

Sheri has also recently been accepted to NYU's Masters of Social Work program and will attend in the Fall of 2017, studying to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She enjoys Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, yoga, cooking, traveling, and volunteering; she recently traveled to Bali for a yoga retreat and is completing her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. She is also certified to teach Children's Yoga.

"The Writing and Rhetoric major undoubtedly prepared me for the workforce upon graduation. The skills I  carried from the classroom to the 'real world' have been tremendously valuable. It has given me the knowledge I so needed to refine my skills and has helped me gain recognition in my current career." (February 2017)

Maura Buckley

Maura Buckley (’15) is a Literary Agent Assistant at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. "I work with Kelly Sonnack, a literary agent who mainly focuses on children's, middle grade, and YA books. We work together as the intermediaries between authors and publishers, taking in manuscripts and providing some initial editing before selling them to publishing houses. We stay with the authors from the first draft to contract negotiations to cover designs to the finished product, making sure that every step goes smoothly. I use the skills I learned in the Writing and Rhetoric major to help authors hone and polish their manuscripts to make it in the big bad world of publishing. Plus, I get lots of free books, and that's the dream, right?"

Maura says, "I love the Patriots, dance, and horror books. I also love to hike, bike, and get out on boats as much as I can. Since my move to California, I've started to collect sunglasses and fill mason jars with teeny tiny shells. I drove cross country from Boston to San Diego with everything I owned crammed into my tiny 1997 Nissan Maxima. As squished as it was, it was also amazing, so if you get the chance: DO IT!" (January 2017)

Caitlin Heikkila

When we last heard from Caitlin Heikkila ('09) in November 2013, she was beginning to plan her wedding. She is now happily married to Paul Fusco, with whom she often travels to the Catskills. Together they delight in their cats and foxhound, while Caitlin invents content for her dog's hashtag she has created: #wallacethepup.

At Syracuse, Caitlin was the second recipient of the Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award, and since then she has only become more successful. She won Folio's 30 Under 30 Award in 2015, and she is now the  Director of Social Media and Audience Development for DuJour media.

Caitlin’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric at SU has helped her become a force to be reckoned with within the competitive writing world. She recently came back to Syracuse for an event sponsored by the Writing & Rhetoric Student Organization  to present, “How to Brand Yourself and Why You Should Do It.” A true testament to the message she presented to students, she has created a professional and highly successful brand of her own, thanks in part to the Writing Major.

The major, she says, helped her “master the art of a getting a point across in a short and concise copy” in order to make something that she refers to as “social-media friendly.” The major also helped her learn how to effectively communicate results from campaigns to new initiatives, and to think critically about the content that is published at DuJour. Eileen Schell said it best herself when she introduced Caitlin at her presentation at Syracuse: “She was branding herself before she even knew what branding was.”

Syracuse University kick-started Caitlin’s success and happiness through academia but also through the relationships she fostered with her professors. She wants to thank Eileen Schell in particular who officiated her wedding: "From writing my WRT255 analysis essay to my wedding vows, I can’t thank her enough for empowering me to let my personality shine through in my writing and to take chances in essay form and in my career path.” 

—story by Katy Kawasoe (November 2016)

Morgan Conover

"I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award. Whenever I tell people I'm a Writing Major, they always say, "Oh, so like English?" I love using that opportunity to explain what the writing major is all about. Writing is a crucial skill for, well, everything. So knowledge of how to write well, and also how to read others' writing well, is essential. I genuinely believe that the Writing Program does incredibly important work. I am so proud to be a part of it." —Morgan Conover

In nominating Morgan Conover for the 2016 Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major AwardWriting Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition chair Lois Agnew writes, "Her intellectual curiosity and thoughtful engagement with important questions are evident in her coursework.  Her work in my WRT 424 course was stellar. She was thoroughly prepared for each class, engaged critically with challenging readings and topics of inquiry, and continually pushed herself as a writer and thinker. She is also an excellent colleague. Her open and generous attitude toward other students helped to foster respectful class discussions and productive peer review sessions. Agnew adds, "In addition to her academic strengths, Morgan has been an important leader in our program. As president of the Writing Program Student Organization*, Morgan has played an extremely important role in maintaining the ongoing vitality of this new group. I am confident that the WPSO has been significantly strengthened as a result of Morgan’s leadership style, and I am confident that she has helped to instill a vision that will sustain the group for many years to come." (September 2016)

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Naomi Falk

Naomi Falk ('14) recently completed her second year as an MFA Candidate in Creative Writing with a focus on nonfiction at Columbia University. Having finished coursework, she will stay one more year to complete her thesis, a collection of essays. She also received a teaching fellowship and will be teaching an undergraduate nonfiction workshop this fall.

Naomi interned at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux this summer, reports that she recently deleted her social media accounts out of rage, and says, "A book I'm loving right now is The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa translated by Sawako Nakayasu." 

"Shout outs to Rhinehart, Schell, and Brooke. Wouldn't have been a writer if I wasn't taught that it was a viable option. One thing I retroactively realized about the program was that the classes helped me to understand the hustle of writing. Because I came into my current program with that knowledge, I can ultimately ignore the industry and work on my craft, on what matters to me." (August 2016)

Kortney Kavanaugh

Kortney Kavanagh ('12) is Social Media Coordinator with Brownstoner. "I handle all of our social media accounts, working alongside our editorial team. My main goal is to ensure that our content is fresh and engaging."

She says Brownstoner was launched in 2004 with the goal of "chronicling Brooklyn's rapid evolution through the lens of real estate and renovation. Over time, it has evolved into a media company that handles everything including sponsored content, website creation, and event production for real estate companies."

Kortney says, "Not only did my writing major give me confidence in my abilities, but an array of techniques—in both digital comunication and writing—that have changed my career."  She also offers a reading suggestion: "Right now I'm loving the author Hannah Pittard. Readers, check her out!" (August 2016)

C ass of 2016
Kyle Basedow, Ivy Burruto, AbbyLeigh Charbonneau, Morgan Conover, Bodeline Dautruche, Quinn Fitzpatrick, Caleigh Gran, Arianna Greenbaum, Patrick Griffin, Samantha Harrington, Courtney Hytower, Lauren Keller, Mavis Lee, Matthew Rhodin, Eric Riter, Ian Romaker, Nina Rondon, Madison Schleicher, Nicole Shapiro, John Turner, Tess Wilkerson.

Timothy Larach

As an Associate Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in the Financial Markets Group of Economic Research department, Timothy Larach ('15) studies clearing and settlement operations in Chicago derivatives exchanges and clearinghouses. "I am responsible for assisting senior economists with their research which can include anything from cleaning Excel spreadsheets to writing long summaries of economic reports."

Timothy, who dual majored in Writing and Rhetoric and Economics at Syracuse, says "There are connections between my work and courses I took in the Writing Program every single day. On a concrete level, some of my responsibilities include helping write Chicago Fed Letters that discuss aspects of the current state of the regional economy. On a more abstract level, learning how to produce and structure coherent arguments has helped immensely in my ability to learn and write code for data analyses. It's weird, but there's a pretty significant connection there. Overall, the Writing Program was a great experience and taught me that writing is about much more than just words on a page." (April 2016)

Shanelle Drakeford

"In short, I create headlines, descriptions, and manage metadata for content featured on Verizon's new app, go90," says Shanelle Drakeford ('15) of her work as a Digital Content Specialist. "Additionally, I pitch ideas and solutions that pertain to the content, functionality, and user interface of the app. I've contributed to new marketing plans and overall improved the user's experience and knowledge of the app."

Shanelle also reports that her work has been published on and and she is currently working on her blog,

"There are tons of connections between the courses I took and what I do now. I learned how to be a versatile writer in WRT 308. Tim Dougherty really pushed me to go beyond my comfort level and adapt any writing style. Patrick Berry's WRT 340 really forced me to be a better writer, overall. The heavy editing we did helped me pay more attention to details and mechanics, as well as the content." She adds, "Special shoutout to Lois Agnew for getting me through the four years I spent in the Writing Program." (April 2016)

Mary Gallagher

In her position as Manager of The Center for Academic Success at The Universities at Shady Grove, Mary Gallagher ('08) works in the "academic support center (basically your writing center, tutoring center, learning center, etc. all folded into one department) at a unique institution which serves a 100% transfer student population. Within CAS, I plan, customize, and provide a variety of support services geared to our transfer students, from one-on-one writing consultations to eight-week GRE preparation workshop series. I plan strategic programming and train and supervise student leaders who provide peer-to-peer support, including Writing Fellows, supplemental instruction programs, graduate writing groups, etc. I also lead my department's efforts to quantify our impact through research. It's a healthy mix of strategy and direct service, and lots of fun!"

Mary earned her MA in Bilingual Education from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in May 2014 and recently began an interdisciplinary PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture at UMBC.

The first ever winner of the Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award says, "I absolutely loved my experience in the Writing & Rhetoric major and can't begin to identify all the many ways the faculty and curriculum prepared me for what I do, both in my job and in my new role of PhD student. My career thus far began, quite literally, on my first day of WRT 331. Years later, I've read works in my PhD classes that I read in WRT200 [now WRT 255] , and am so often reminded of philosophies of power and privilege and civic engagement that I tackled in so many of my WRT classes."

Away from work and academics, Mary says, "I have quite possibly the most adorable and well-mannered dog in the history of the the planet, Capone, who enjoys long naps and never-ending belly rubs, as well as a lovable orange tabby cat, Melville. I volunteer as a board member on the Montgomery County Literacy Council and as a grants panelist for the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy. In my (albeit limited) free-time, I enjoy trying out the many wineries and breweries in the Washington, DC area."   (March 2016)

Padraic Kane

Padraic Kane ('15) is currently a graduate student in SU's Media and Education Program, a joint master’s program with Newhouse School Of Public Communications and the School of Education’s Cultural Foundations of Education program.

He also serves as the Academic Consultant for Mentoring Programs, a position in which he works with Office of Multicultural Affairs staff to support the fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program, a "program designed to assist its participants in effectively adjusting to the different challenges of college life . . . . "

Padraic says he "really enjoyed the Writing Program as an undergraduate. It helped me to think more critically about my writing and develop different ways to present it." (February 2016)

Brianna Edgerley-Dallal

Brianna Edgerley-Dallal ('14) is a Proposal and Marketing Writer at Novitex Enterprise Solutions, Inc. She says, "I participate in the writing of all outbound language to ensure it meets compliance and brand standards. I work mostly with sales and technical solution teams to design sales proposals for document management clients."

Of her move from IBM, she says, "Leaving my first full-time job out of college for another company that recruited me was a scary decision. But I decided now is the time to take risks and take on more responsibility in my career to accelerate it further and faster."

Brianna adds, "It is amazing how many writing jobs there are that you wouldn't even think about. The critical thinking I learned in my WRT courses has definitely helped me along the way."  (February 2016)

Rose Aschebrock

Rose Loren Aschebrock ('15) is an Assistant Editor at Loverly, a website devoted to simplifying the process of wedding planning. Rose writes buzz and celebrity stories as they break in the wedding industry, as well as sponsored content. She also manages Loverly's social syndication relationships and assists in managing their freelance writers.

Rose ran the 2015 New York City Marathon—her first marathon— raising money for the Robin Hood Foundation, a group that fights poverty in NYC. She has recently gotten into pilates and yoga and loves "cooking, reading, and exploring the city."

She also reports, "My boyfriend (who I met at Syracuse!) actually just proposed to me before Thanksgiving." (January 2016)

Emily Gilson

Emily Gilson ('14) is currently a second year law student at American University Washington College of Law, with interests in international law and intellectual property law and an intern for the US Department of Commerce Office of Intellectual Property Rights.

She says, "The Writing Program definitely taught me how to analyze and see connections between different fields and points of view QUICKLY. I also highly recommend that, regardless of whether or not you decide to go into law, you network and socialize with everyone and anyone—you never know what opportunities may arise!"

Emily lists "long distance running, rookie dodgeball, French, and haute cuisine" among her other interests. (December 2015)

Michelle Polizzi

Michelle Polizzi ('14) is a Content Coordinator for a branding and design blog at Brandfolder, a tech startup in Denver. "I oversee all editorial content and frequently conduct interviews with the marketers and designers at top companies like Mapquest, OpenTable, and Suja Juice. I also find time to freelance on the side to build my writing portfolio."

Michelle says that living in Colorado has been a dream. She spends a lot of time outdoors and reports she has seven friends in Denver that she met in Syracuse. She recently completed her first "fourteener," hiking a mountain over 14,000 feet in elevation.

"My next project is to launch a professional website to help showcase my freelance work and search for new opportunities . . . . All of my writing professors had a significant impact on who I have become as a writer and a person. I'd like to say a special thank you to Professor Schell for believing in me and giving me the confidence to pursue a career in writing."  (November 2015)

Danielle Kolodkin

Danielle Kolodkin ('14) is a Sales Support Assistant in the Special Markets department at HarperCollins Publishers. She says, "Working in publishing has always been a dream of mine. With a passion for reading and writing, it is great to work in an industry that values storytelling and the written word."

Danielle adds, "I highly recommend that any Writing and Rhetoric student interested in pursuing a career in publishing take WRT 440 (Community Writing Group) and WRT 340: Intertext. Both of those courses encouraged me to enhance my skills and learn techniques to succeed in the industry. I gained invaluable experiences from these courses and the teachings from Professor Stephen Parks and Professor Patrick Berry."

Danielle currently lives in New York City.  (November 2015)

Kylie Daniels-Diehl

Since we last heard from Kylie Daniels-Diehl ('14), she has been promoted twice from Account Coordinator to Junior Account Executive and recently to Account Executive at Creative Media Marketing. 

"I work with eight beauty and lifestyle clients . . . client communication, event planning, securing placements for my clients in long and short lead media, broadcast and regional publications. I write every single day, whether it's a creative pitch to get media coverage, a press release, or just every day client engagement.

"I've recently had the opportunity to rescue two kittens from an animal adoption center; they're brother & sister, named Cooper & Elle, and they're adorable.

"Taking a variety of writing courses at SU really helped shape my writing portfolio. Branch out! Knowing how to write a creative piece when needed and then a memo the next day is an extremely desired skill in the real world—trust me!" (October 2015)

Chelsea DeBaise

Chelsea DeBaise ('14) is a Development Coordinator for the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. 

"I work in the development office of the NAUDL, a nonprofit that focuses on bringing top notch debate leagues to urban, low-income school districts. I help fundraise, research and write grant proposals, event plan, and create newsletters, flyers, anything the organization might need."

Chelsea calls herself a "civil rights activist, avid home cook, jazz singer, and lover of comic books and graphic novels" and considers moving to Chicago a personal milestone.

"I was actually offered the job because the organization was impressed with my writing background, and they needed someone in the development office with a strong written voice. I absolutely credit the Writing Program with my current job!" (October 2015) 

Joanna Rozansky

Joanna Rozansky ('10) is a Brand Associate Manager at Tumblr—a first-of-its-kind position in the organization. As the title implies, she manages Brand Associates, a group she describes as supporting "the Tumblr Sales team from pre-sale to post-sale. We also work with the Creative teams, Marketing, and AdOps to develop strategies to sell through deals, manage active campaigns, and also act as key players providing necessary audience/data insights throughout the entire process."

When we last heard from Joanna in 2013, she had recently packed up her life in Manhattan and moved to California. Now, she's reversed that process and moved—just this week—back to NYC to join Tumblr's NY office.

"I still find so much value in the courses I took at Cuse, especially the integration of the digital age and how much impact that has on business, language, and communication." (September 2015)

Charlotte Horton

Charlotte Horton ('14) is an Executive Assistant with Mitch Schneider Organization, a music PR firm in Sherman Oaks, CA. Her focus is on their EDM clients—deadmau5, HARD Events, Destructo, Steve Aoki, Above & Beyond, Electric Zoo: Transformed, Adventure Club, Beatport.

"Working in PR has been quite the shift from the music journalism type stuff I did in college but has truly been a dream come true. I send out press releases on our clients' upcoming EPs and tours, network with journalists, attend client shows, and all the odds & ends related to making sure our artist is in the public eye and being talked/written about. PR is all about relationships and being able to tell/sell a story. 

"I would like to thank the entire Writing Program for preparing me as not only a writer, but for giving me the opportunities to explore the things I have found my passions in throughout my college career. Particular shout outs are necessary for Prof. Stephen Parks and Prof. Patrick Berry.” (July 2015)

Dan Kitchen

After completing a 6-month Digital Marketing and Communications Internship with the Fiesta Bowl Dan Kitchen (’14) accepted a position with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February.

As a Public Relations Associate, Dan is responsible for writing and editing content for the media guide and press releases; producing player auxiliary bios, lineup sheets, and game notes for media personnel and on-air talent; managing credentialing; monitoring media coverage; coordinating player and coach interviews; drafting and editing daily media clips for all Dodgers staff; and updating roster sheets and daily training schedules. He also manages LA Dodgers special events (including autograph signings and community events).

Dan says he misses being on campus, but adds, "I moved out here to LA after Spring Training ended and love it!" (June 2015) —Kyle Basedow, WP intern

2015 grads

Maryann Akinboyewa, Rose Loren Aschebrock, Zachary Auerbach, Maura Buckley, Roland Cody, Andre Douglas, Shanelle Drakeford, Camille Francis, Emily Goldberg, Akili Humphrey, Alec Jacobson, Tevion Johnson, Padraic Kane, Rania Kaouadji, Renata Kleifgen, Tim Larach, Abby Louisa Legge, Victoria Luyckx, Hanna Mallette, Danielle Martin, Johnathan McClintick, Ben McCrone, Chamelia Moore, Yevgeniya Muravyova, Gilmarie Perea-Ruiz, Christiana Pigott, Olivia Schultz, Emily Scribe, Katrina Sotiropoulos, Michaela Thorley, TJ Tree, Eric Weyand. Not pictured: Kelsey Laing.

Al Ortiz

Al Ortiz (’09) writes media advisories, press releases, CEO remarks, web news stories, and more in his position as Assistant Vice President, Corporate Communications Specialist, at BBVA Compass Bank in Houston. Outside of the office, Al follows his Dallas Cowboys, competes in barbecue competitions (he recently reached finals for sauce), enjoys his dogs Brisket and Delilah, and recently completed the San Antonio Rock and Roll Full Marathon.

"I owe so much to the Writing Program at SU. Every day at work, I think about who my audience is, how my writing will connect with them, and how I can present my product to get them to care about what I'm saying. The Writing Program opens up a lot of doors in different fields. I especially want to thank Dr. Lois Agnew, who not only was one of the most influential professors I had at Syracuse, but who I still list as a professional reference. Take any class you can that she's teaching, writing majors. You won't regret it."   (April 2015)

Candice Celestin

During her Masters program in Public Relations at Newhouse, Candice Celestin ('10) interned with the United States Department of Agriculture office in Syracuse; she has now been with the USDA for 4 years, and her current title is Public Affairs Director.

"I oversee all internal and external communications for our New York offices. While I was working in Syracuse, it was my writing skills that lead me to opportunities in the DC office. I was detailed to assist senior leadership with talking points, speech writing and media relations on a national level. It is a phenomenal opportunity that allows me to use my writing degree."

"As a Writing major, I had no idea what was in my future or the level to which my degree would make a difference. Today, I can proudly say that I am public servant using writing as a tool to deliver powerful speeches through some of today's most influential people." Working in both Syracuse and Washington, Candice lives in the DC area.  (April 2015)

Hayley Kang

As an Assistant Editor for Springer Science+Business MediaHayley Kang (’13), is the primary development/ managing editor for four review article journal titles. "I'm responsible for these journals from the initial signed contract to the final online publication. Much of my time is spent coordinating between researchers and practitioners and acquiring new content for my four titles.

Huge thanks to Professor Berry and Professor Brooke! Both of their classes were intensely relevant as I'm currently working in online-only publications which require aptitude with writing and technology as well as well-rounded knowledge of the publication process from start to finish."

Hayley lists navigating a career change, moving to Philadelphia, and buying a new car among her personal milestones.   (March 2015)

Alexander Nelson

Alexander Nelson's ('14) job, as a Proposal Writer for IBM, calls for him to edit business documents for potential clients. He says he writes in a prescribed style that adheres to specific language restrictions, but after that may personalize the prose, providing it stays on message.

“Most of the job is editing work, which I enjoy. I see many connections between my current job role and WRT 307. My advice to writing majors is . . . to befriend professors because they are incredible resources.

I'd like to give a shout out to Patrick Berry, Lois Agnew, Steve Parks, Ben Erwin, and Molly Voorheis!” Alexander recently moved to within commuting distance of NYC. When he isn’t working, he likes to listen to live music, watch baseball, read, and "write a bit on the side."  (March 2015) —Kyle Basedow, WP intern

Paola Benevento

Paola Benevento (’13), recently completed her Masters in Elementary Inclusive Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and is a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher in the Bronx.

"My studies in rhetoric and writing are at use in my daily life. The analytical skills the WP helped me develop influence how I view the things around me in society (thank you, Emily Dressing! :))"

She adds, "Having a strong background in writing helped immensely in graduate school and continues to be a key asset in my professional work. Many professors in the WP, especially Kevin Browne, helped me infuse and blend my interests in society (race, social justice, African American studies, and education) with writing. I aim to do the same with my 5th graders; helping them express themselves and their interests so that their writing is representative of them."   (February 2015)

Dan Lyons

As a writer and editor for College SpunDan Lyons (’12) says he is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work in an industry that allows him to combine his love of sports with writing. He describes College Spun as "a start up college sports website that specializes in covering football and basketball with a distinct social media bent."

"Through the Writing Program, I really feel that I was able to tap into my creativity and explore different styles and strategies for writing pieces. I think that the diverse experiences and breadth of courses offered in the major helped me become a much more well-rounded writer and has served me well so far in my career."

Dan recently moved from his home in Stamford, Connecticut to New York City, which he says has been a personal goal for some time.  (February 2015) 

Brianna Edgerley-Dallal

As a Proposal Writer at IBM, Brianna Edgerley-Dallal (’14) works within the supply chain and sales group to write proposals for potential clients outlining IBM's solutions to their needs.

Brianna also majored in Entrepreneurship and Retail Management and says, "Because what I'm doing is very business and tech heavy, my business school background supports my work, BUT all the foundations of how to write, write fast and well, comes from the WP and has made this job transition much easier than I originally thought it would. A tip for anyone going into corporate writing: learn grammar, these people are the definition of grammar Nazis."

Brianna says she's been reading a lot, "It's amazing how much time you have when not doing homework. I am also getting back into biking, baking, and cooking. And I have recently started teaching myself to crochet."  (January 2015)

Katie Richards

As an Editorial Associate, Katie Richards (’14) writes for Adweek and is in charge of putting together a daily news roundup and for assigning and editing freelancer posts.

"My other responsibility is to pitch exciting story ideas for the Advertising & Branding vertical and write up posts that will interest our readers."

She says she feels very lucky to have the opportunity to combine her love of writing with her interest in advertising. The WP, Katie says, "gives you this amazing gift of allowing you to draw connections in your courses to things that you value and care about. So find that thing that gets you fired up and let it shine through in your writing. And take advantage of your professors for advice and guidance. They are the most invaluable resource that you'll have at SU, and they know what they're talking about!"  (January 2015)

Naomi Falf

Naomi Falk (’14) has recently begun the two-year MFA program in Creative Writing at Columbia with a focus on nonfiction, and she has started work on a compilation of short pieces. "I don't think I would have been able to get into any of these writing programs without the 'Cuse Writing Program." She adds, "Grad school is wonderful! I get to read and write, and read and write more, which is all I've ever wanted to do anyway."

Living on the Upper West Side, Naomi says, "is a far cry from Seattle. I think living here is giving me a new perspective on the Pacific Northwest . . . . In my free time, I keep a notebook of endless amounts of ideas for short Noir-type fiction." Naomi also recently became a Nonfiction Board Member for Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art (December 2014)

David Swenton

David Swenton (’14) is currently pursuing a Juris Doctorate at the Wake Forest University School of Law. "On my first day of law school, my legal writing professor said, 'Lawyers are first and foremost writers.' I firmly believe my experience in the Writing Program has fully prepared me for my coursework and for the writing-intensive career that lies ahead of me." He says, "A special shoutout to Professors Agnew, Berry, and Howard. I miss being your student more than words can express.”

David adds, "I have successfully adapted to life as a Yankee in the South. As much as I miss Syracuse, I'm going to enjoy the winters down here immeasurably. When my nose isn't buried in my casebooks, I like to spend time golfing and writing for fun."  (December 2014)

Taylor Baker

In August, Taylor Baker (’14) began her first year as a Juris Doctorate student at the New England School of Law in Boston. Taylor is interested in health law and malpractice and hopes to one day represent a hospital. She says her dream is to practice internationally, working in civil rights in South Africa.

As a senior at SU, Taylor interned at the Elliot Stern Calabrese, LLP, law firm in Rochester, NY, where she became familiar with a range of legal specializations; she will intern with them again this year while continuing her studies. 

To Writing and Rhetoric majors, Taylor says, "Take risks. Get outside of your comfort zone. Be daring in your research and writing. Always be passionate and genuine in whatever you're creating."  (November 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern)

Amy Li

As an Assistant Editor at Skyhorse Publishing, Amy Li (’13) is currently editing cooking, lifestyle, and health and fitness titles. She spends her days communicating with authors and literary agents and acting as a liaison between authors and other departments (publicity, production, sales, etc.). She is also working to acquire additional titles, most recently a pop-history book on the Tudor Dynasty. She says she is eager to see Skyhorse "grow bigger and better in the near future."

Amy says, "My experience as a writing major has been invaluable. Being able to write well is so important in every job, but it is especially important for an editor to have a firm command of the English language, and my courses and professors in the Writing Program have played a vital part in my understanding of language and style."  (November 2014)


Jalisa Wright

After graduation, Jalisa Wright ('13) applied to TNTP Academy, a "national nonprofit committed to ending the injustice of educational inequality," which prepared her for her current work at Langston Hughes Academy in New Orleans. She currently teaches 5th and 6th grade social studies in which "literacy and close reading are the main objectives." She says, "I teach literacy: the ability to read and write. What's most rewarding about what i do is knowing the impact of my work."

Jalisa cites the move from New York City to New Orleans as a milestone in her life, saying "NOLA is truly a city of expression." She credits WRT 307 (Professional Writing) and her internship—which exposed her to the demands of the classroom—as particularly helpful in her current career.  (October 2014)

Kylie Daniels-Diehl

Kylie Daniels-Diehl (14’) says she “absolutely loves” her job as an Account Coordinator for Creative Media Marketing, a beauty PR firm in NYC. "I write every single day in my job—[the major has] helped me in more ways than I can count. To be taken seriously and represent yourself well, it's very important to know how to effectively communicate. I email editors of very well known magazines and blogs daily; to gain a response from them, I have to know how to write and what type of writing the situation calls for."

Kylie has just moved into her first NYC apartment and plans to start writing her own blog soon. To current writing students she says, “don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Take a variety of classes. You want to be well rounded when it's time for the real world.”  (October 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern

Ally Abrams

Ally Abrams (’12) is the Marketing Communications Manager for the Sponsor Finance group with GE Capital in Chicago. Ally’s days are spent writing press releases, managing web content for their external sites, creating print and digital advertisements, planning events, and pitching stories to key media outlets.

Ally says, “It was not emphasized enough in school that writing is a major part of any job. Being able to effectively communicate ideas, needs, message, etc. to others is a core skill.”

In the near future Ally hopes to ace her GREs and be accepted to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, enabling her long-time goal: "become the Chief Marketing Officer and change private equity lending through predictive analytics!"  (September 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern

Andrew Farah

In our November 2011 update, Andrew Farah (’09) and his three partners had just created a mobile web application agency Rounded. Rounded has just turned three, has nine full-time staff based in Syracuse, and is launching new offices in San Francisco for its newly developed mobile application company Density.

Density is a counting app that monitors the number of people that travel through a door or enter a room and then generates the accompanying analytics and predictions.

As CEO of Density, Andrew will be one of the Rounded partners making the permanent move to San Francisco with his wife Dori and dog Indiana Jones to open new Density offices. Andrew and his wife are looking forward to the move, which they plan to road-trip, making sightseeing stops along the way. (September 2014) —Rose Aschebrock, WP intern

Alesha Davis

Alesha Davis (’13) is pursuing a 3-year graduate degree at Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut. She accepted a scholarship from Quinnipiac over other schools because it offered her "an intimate classroom environment with accessible professors, great externships, clinics and fellowship opportunities."

Alesha is interested in corporate media entertainment law and family law—specifically marital law. She continues to be passionate about writing, saying "always be honest with yourself and your audience, say what you mean and mean what you say."

When not studying, Alesha has been taking trips to the homes of family and friends in Miami and Atlanta, and she hopes to visit Texas and Jamaica soon. (August 2014) —Rose Aschebrock and Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP interns

Braden Becker

Braden Becker (‘11) is currently an editor for Skyword, a Boston-based content marketing firm that matches “brands with writers who specialize in industry news that these businesses can publish to improve their exposure online.”

Braden also enjoys his involvement in health and wellness. “Distance running is as much a passion now as when I was on SU's cross country and track teams, and I hope to eventually establish a byline in that fitness field. I'd be thrilled to combine a voice in health with a full-time gig in the big leagues such as WIRED or Google.” Braden has made his debut in marathon distance running in the NYC Marathon. He tells us, “Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is my next goal, but it shouldn't be a problem.”  (July 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern

Veronica Boehm

After earning her Master's degree in Inclusive Special Education from SU, Veronica Boehm ('11), was hired by Homer Central School District in Central New York. She is currently a Special Educator at Homer Junior High, where she teaches English Language Arts and Math courses with two Resource sections.

Veronica tells us, "My writing degree has enabled me to produce quality Individualized Education Programs for my students, communicate effectively with parents and teachers, and share my love of writing with my ELA students on a daily basis."

Veronica is also recently engaged and planning to be married next summer in Vero Beach, Florida, near her hometown of Melbourne.(June 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern

Class of 2014

Taylor Baker, Alara Basul, Stefanee Brody, Lindsay Cameron, Kylie Daniels-Diehl, Chelsea DeBaise, Brianna Edgerly-Dallal, George Edinger, Naomi Falk, Sara Freund, Sam Funk, Emily Gilson, Charlotte Horton, Ceasia King, Dan Kitchen, Danielle Kolodkin, Emily Latainer, Annie Licata, Samantha Mangovski, Kali Mehrotra, Alexander Nelson, Teresa Nigolian, Michelle Polizzi, Katie Richards, David Swenton, Katherine Tull, Nicky Zamoida.

Cory Ferreira

Since we last spoke to Cory Ferreira (‘09), he has started a new job with Nielsen Catalina Solutions as a business development manager. He provides data consultation to Apple and Facebook as it pertains to their advertising platforms. “It's been fun to try more of the commercial side of things instead of doing pure marketing and brand management as I was at my last company.”

Cory still aspires to have his own company someday, hopefully in the not so distant future. “One of the best parts about my current job is that I get to network with senior execs at top internet companies, which will be super useful when I finally do take the plunge and commit full time to my own gig.” Until then, Cory is enjoying learning about how the web functions commercially as well as developing a strategic consulting skill set.  (April 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern

Mary Dickinson Jensen

Mary Dickinson Jensen (’13) is currently working for GEAR UP as a mentor at Skyview High School in Vancouver, WA. Her primary work includes assisting English and science teachers with their classes, tutoring students, and working to help students to succeed in high school while preparing for college.

Mary says that being a Writing major has given her the skills to teach both English and technology classes. Outside of the classroom, Mary works freelance web design jobs and plans to start a web design certification program next fall. She is also active as the Vice President of Events for the Stumptown Orange Alumni Club in Portland, Oregon. Current and upcoming events include March Madness watch parties, April day of service, and Kentucky Derby party at Portland Meadows horse track (April 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern

Marina Charny

After interning at Writers House, Marina Charny ('11)was hired at Hilsinger-Mendelson, a boutique literary public relations firm that handles book campaigns for writers like Suzanne Somers, Harry Evans, Reggie Jackson, and Erin Brockovich.  Marina began as a publicity assistant and has been promoted to publicist, working one-on-one with clients and media.  She is also a contributing writer for Racked NY, which covers fashion news, sales, and store openings in the NYC area.

Marina writes, “In an industry as competitive and crazy as PR, a good writer gets ahead of the game . . . . We live in a highly visual, fast-paced, 140-character society, and you have to always work at finding the best way to put your ideas right out there in a relevant and provocative way.”  (March 2014)

AJ Willingham

AJ Willingham ('09) has recently been to LA to cover the Daytime Emmys and to New Orleans to cover the NBA All Star game for Since we last spokewith her, she has taken on a role in expanding HLN and CNN’s social media presence; she helps handle social media initiatives such as live-tweeting events and arranging promotional opportunities.

AJ's work is regularly featured on, and she still covers everyday "feel good" news, such as animal stories, military news, and everyday heroes for HLNtv. She tells us, "Sometimes I get a lot of weird stuff when I Google my name. It's pretty cool."

AJ also has big plans for the future: "I live in Atlanta, just bought a brand new truck, and am getting married in May."  (March 2014) —Kylie Daniels-Diehl, WP intern

Roxanne Bocyck

Roxanne Bocyck (’10) has founded Back To School, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that offers customized safety training for school transportation departments. Profits from the organization help adults go “back to school” to continue their education.

As a part-time student through University College, Roxanne was inspired by the stories of many of her classmates who, like her, returned to school to continue their education as adults. She writes, “These stories, along with my passion for education and how it helped me to learn so much about myself, made me want to help others, and [they are] part of the reason I started the not-for-profit.”

Roxanne is also currently working on a book about her experiences. (February 2014)

Brooke Leone

Freelance and editing positions have kept Brooke Leone (‘13) busy since graduation. She manages the websites of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the Belhurst Estate Winery. Brooke also writes for Seattle Backpackers Magazine.
Brooke says, “In both my freelance and internship positions, I constantly use techniques and tools I learned from the Writing Program . . . . All of the digital media courses (Digital Writing, Intertext, Digital Identities) I took play a huge part in my career thus far.” Brooke suggests that Writing & Rhetoric majors take a variety of writing courses: “the media world is constantly changing and you never know what will be useful!”

Brooke has also recently accepted a full-time postion as a Brand Strategist with Terakeet, and we hope to get an update on her work there in the near future.  (February 2014)

Samantha Stark

As an Assistant Media Buyer and Planner with Crowley Webb in Buffalo, NY, Samantha Stark (’11) works as part of a team to create and implement media plans for advertisements.  Sam also blogs on the company’s site.
Sam writes, “My background in writing and rhetoric and my time spent as an intern for the Writing Program landed me an editing internship at a start-up news company right out of college; this experience . . . landed me a full-time job in public relations at Cantor Fitzgerald; this experience helped to land my current position.  I don’t know if I’ll end up in Buffalo forever, but right now I am enjoying the festivals on the waterfront, the great food, and the kind and warm-hearted people.”(January 2014) 

Ben Zender

2012 Outstanding Major Benjamin Zender just completed his first semester in an MA PhD program in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric at UMass Amherst.  He is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies.

As part of his acceptance to the program, Benjamin received funding for seven years as a Teaching Associate, as well as a Herrington-Moran Fellowship that reduced his teaching load for his first year. This fall Benjamin taught College Writing 112, in which he worked to help first-year students understand that they were already writers with writing fluency across multiple contexts.

Benjamin lives in Northampton, MA and is learning the banjo. (January 2014)

Stephanie Belk Prats
Stephanie Belk Prats ('09) recently celebrated her third year as the Senior Spanish Editor for Stylesight, a global trend forecasting company that serves professionals in the style, fashion, and design sectors.

Working in New York City since 2010, Stephanie edits and translates fashion-focused trend reports, marketing content, newsletters, and press releases for an international client base.

Stephanie also produces trend topics, updates content on social media sites, and curates content on the Spanish live site. In additon, she maintains a style guide to set branding and language standards, manages and assigns work to freelance editors, and trains new employees. (December 2013)

Allison Clark
Allison Clark ('13) is the in-house graphic designer for Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY, where she designs ads, t-shirts, and other materials for the adjoining Ommegang store and café. 

Though she works primarily with design, Allison reports that her work with Writing and Rhetoric has been an asset in both landing and performing her job: “During literally every single interview . . . the potential employer has been impressed by the fact that I was a Writing major. I don't say this to brag, but to emphasize just how important it is for people in ANY profession to know how to write.”

This summer Allison spent a month tutoring in South Africa with an organization called Inkululeko.  She hopes to continue this work by tutoring writing in her spare time.  (December 2013)