Mass Communication Alumni Newsletter VISIT US ON THE WEB WWW.IONA.EDU
“Forever a Gael” Edition
Department of Mass Communication
Letter From the Editor In researching for this “Forever a Gael” newsletter, I was not surprised to find what keeps Iona’s community so closely knit--its people. Thinking back, that’s one reason why I was so hesitant to leave Iona when I graduated a year early with my bachelor’s degree two years ago. How could I leave my friends, my community, my new quirky extended family at Iona after all they had done for me? Luckily, I decided to work here in the mass communication office while pursuing my graduate degree. Some may not be aware, but I’m not the only one that has come back to Iona. A surprising number of Iona faculty and staff were students here and, like me, found something alluring about Iona to eventually lead them back. This is especially true in the Department of Mass Communication. As I mentioned, when I interviewed our alumni, I asked what kept Iona as a large part of their lives. What about Iona sticks with those who have been fortunate enough to study here?
It’s the people of Iona, the mass communication alumni agreed. The community, the family they gained, the support and unwavering confidence and encouragement all made them return. Alumni return to give back something of value, just as they had been given during their time here as students. Once a Gael, always a Gael. That’s something Iona students feel from their first semester freshman year. I still have my T-shirt from freshman orientation with the words—“A place you can call home.” Whether you were an undergraduate or a graduate student, transfer student or a returning adult, students here understand that wherever you end up in life, you will always have a home at Iona. And hence… Forever a Gael.
Sarah Ryck Editor
Phone: (914) 633-2229 Email: SRyck1@iona.edu
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Inside This Issue: Letter from the Editor 1 Yesterday’s Students-Today’s Educators 2 Striving to Give Back: Members of the Alumni Board of Directors 3
Yesterday’s Students--Today’s Educators
From left to right: Felicia Hodges, Danielle Mastromarino, Mike Damergis, Laura Esposito and Natalie Redcross. There is certainly a trend among the professors in the Department of Mass Communication. Many of them have returned to share their knowledge with students since they feel the need to give back what was so graciously provided to them when they were students here. Media Director and Adjunct Broadcasting Professor Mike Damergis ’89BA, ’06MA currently supervises the renovated TV studio, editing suite and radio lab. He is also the advisor for WICR, Iona’s on-campus radio station. Always available to assist students with TV projects, he teaches Radio Newswriting and Editing and Introduction to Broadcasting. Damergis started at WNEW AM & FM part-time as an undergraduate student. When sports radio debuted 25 years ago, he was able to satisfy both his sports and radio passions. When Damergis returned to Iona in 2004 for his master’s degree in journalism he “really developed a rapport with the professors here.” Thanks to the on-going dialogue, he secured an adjunct position. While an undergraduate, Professor
Laura Esposito ’89BA interned at Young and Rubicam. Upon graduation, Esposito was offered a full-time position in the media planning department working on such accounts as Advil, TWA and Jell-O. Esposito eventually moved to the marketing department at Playtex Products.
The students, faculty and staff at Iona are wonderful.” Professor Felicia Hodges ’05MS came back to Iona with the hope that earning her master’s degree would help her in pursuing teaching on a collegiate level as more than an adjunct. During her first trimester here, however, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After having surgery and radiation therapy, Hodges realized she enjoyed being home with her then 11-year-old son.
“I spent the bulk of my career at Playtex in brand management, working on Playtex Infant Care, Playtex Feminine Care and Tek toothbrushes,” she said. Hodges decided to focus on her longheld dream of developing Tri-County Early in her career, Professor Esposito Woman, a regional women’s interest taught a few night classes at Iona, but and lifestyle publication. She created a took a break to focus on her career. business plan for Tri-County Woman for She returned again 15 years later, her master’s thesis. She implemented having remained in contact with her ideas, and the first issue was her professors, particularly Dr. Orly published in October, 2005. Shachar. In addition to her work with Tri-County Esposito said she always kept Iona Woman, Hodges is genuinely enjoying a part of her life because of the teaching classes like Introduction to community. Journalism and Specialty Publications, and plans to continue for as long as “When I was a student at Iona, all our possible. ads had a catchy jingle, ‘the proof is in the people at Iona,’” she said. “To After graduating in February, my great delight, that statement is just as true as it was when I was a student. Continued on page 3
2005 with her bachelor’s degree in mass communication, Danielle Mastromarino ’05BA decided to pursue a graduate degree at Pratt Institute. She used her graphic design skills working as a free-lance graphic designer, and started her current job at Mercy College as senior associate director of marketing. When asked why she thinks Iona and the Department of Mass Communication have so many alumni returning to teach, Mastromarino credited the superior education. “We know what we received and we want to give it back,” she said. “It feels right.” Gerald McKinstry ’01MS graduated with his master’s degree in journalism in 2001, and soon after landed a job with The Journal News in Westchester County, where he is a political correspondent and investigative reporter.
McKinstry has interviewed well-known political figures including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Sen. Hillary Clinton, former Gov. David Paterson and Westchester Executive Rob Astorino.
feature editor at a publication. Redcross returned to Iona to pursue her master’s degree in journalism, and then earned her doctorate at Howard University. In between pursuing her degrees, Redcross held director and vice president’s Shortly after completing his master’s positions in public relations, and began degree, he reconnected with professors teaching higher education. and started teaching journalism and copy-editing courses to both graduates She currently teaches courses in and undergraduates. public relations, including Publicity Campaigns, Writing for PR, Public “I find it truly rewarding. I enjoy the Opinion Dynamics, PR Case Studies interaction with students and faculty and a variety of graduate courses. She and the continued study of journalism is also an advisor for the Golden Key where change is constant,” McKinstry International Honor Society. said. “In that regard, the courses are as beneficial to me, as they are to some of Redcross agreed with her fellow alumni the gifted students I’ve met along the that the people at Iona inspire so many way. That’s why I keep doing it.” to return. Iona College has been a major part of “The close-knit community entices us Professor Natalie Redcross’ ’91BA, alumni to return and give back what we ’96MS, life for quite some time. have received,” she said. A New Rochelle native, the Iona graduate landed a great first job as a
Striving to Give Back as Members of the Iona College Alumni Board of Directors Avid Iona basketball fan, Guy Falotico ’91BA, began his career as a sportswriter for The Journals News, while still an undergraduate at Iona. Finding a full-time job proved to be difficult. Despite the challenges, this Gael used the determination and skills he learned at Iona to build a successful career as a medical editor.
“I ran the group for months after I rejoined the work force,” Falotico said. “The group no longer exists due to a lack of need or interest--which is a good thing!” Falotico now works for QD Healthcare preparing highlevel medical content for medical symposia and other conferences designed to educate physicians. Iona College has remained a large part of Falotico’s life. A passionate basketball fan as an undergraduate, he created an online message board for Iona hoops, which is still active today with about a million annual page views.
Even facing the hardships of Guy Falotico ’91BA unemployment at one point, “I can’t really explain why, but the passion stuck with Falotico created a “speed” networking group for me, and is still a large part of my life,” Falotico said. unemployed people in Connecticut. Continued on page 4
“I wanted to find other Iona fans who were as with the college. He was elected to the Iona College passionate about the team as I was, so I started on Alumni Board of Directors last year. online message board, under the name IonaHoops. com. And I still run it today.” Falotico finds being on the Alumni Board interesting, since he is learning from other members with more IonaHoops.com has spurred a number of new life experience. relationships which led Falotico to get more involved As an Iona undergraduate, Glen Horine ’84BA, ’91MBA wanted to pursue a career in sports communications. He arrived with a baseball scholarship, and soon began gaining real experience as a full-time volunteer public address announcer. He learned quickly that you get what you put into your time as a student. As a student, Horine found the faculty and staff were always willing to help. He worked on networking and building relationships that would help him develop a career in sports.
career. He stresses the importance of talking business, talking experience, and delivering on promises when trying to build a career. When students go on interviews, they must be business savvy by discussing how they might increase the company’s value or decrease risk.
Wanting to return the favor, Horine gave back as Glen Horine ’84BA, his mentors did by sharing his experiences and extending his support in developing the Center Horine is currently ’91MBA for Sports and Entertainment Studies in the Hagan principal in H & C Consulting where he develops School of Business. The executive director, he customized sales and marketing solutions in also teaches a consulting-based course about the business development, sponsorship sales and new importance of networking and gaining real-working property ventures. He is also an active columnist contributing to the Sports Business Journal on experience. career management. Horine tells students that having a passion for the local sports team is not enough to build a successful Megan Finn ’00BA, ’02MA graduated from Iona, not once but twice.
Meghan Finn ’00BA, ’02MA
After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she worked here as a college communications assistant. In 2002, she became Iona’s director of public relations. Finn now works as senior director of
marketing for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Although her career has taken her away from Iona, Finn always knew she was never really leaving. Even as she moved on, the mass communication professors have always been accessible to give advice. She particularly appreciated that as she transitioned from agency public relations to inhouse PR to nonprofit PR. Being on the Iona Alumni Board of Directors has allowed Finn to be a representative of the college. She is always willing to provide professional guidance, and help Iona, where she made so many friends.