Category Archives: SOC Alumni

CommCrew Distinguished Alumna, April Baer, will be the keynote speaker for May 2017 Graduation Recognition Ceremony by Emory Saia

Accomplished East Carolina University alumna April Baer will return to ECU as the keynote speaker at the 2017 School of Communication Recognition Ceremony.

Baer graduated from ECU with a bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2006. Currently, Baer works as the deputy Title IX coordinator at Frostburg State University. While earning her master’s degree with an emphasis in health communication from the SOC, Baer started work with Frostburg State in 2008.

Originally hired as the coordinator for university wellness in 2008, Baer also served as the director of student wellness in 2013. Since 2015, Baer has been promoted to her current position based on her years of service in providing support and leadership for sexual misconduct cases at the university.

As Title IX coordinator, Baer is responsible for ensuring that university students are educated without experiencing gender-based harassment or violence. Her position includes research, best practices regarding Title IX and promoting university values. “I am thankful to occupy a role that speaks to my strengths and for having the confidence of my university to do my work effectively,” Baer says.

A few factors have influenced Baer’s success. She says for professionals to achieve success, they must have passion and be committed to their work. “I was raised to put my best into anything I do. Those who do not know me personally, are able to see my values of social justice, equity and kindness.”

During her time at ECU, Baer was involved in the Air Force ROTC, Elite Pirates, Campus Living, the School of Communication, Student Activities, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Societies and more.

Acknowledging SOC faculty, Baer says she is thankful to those who mentored her. She acknowledges Associate Professor Sachiyo Shearman, Ph.D., for providing countless hours in her development as a communication scholar. In addition, she recognizes Director Linda Kean, Ph.D., and Associate Director Laura Prividera Ph.D., for their insight as dedicated female professionals committed to education.

Baer advises students to “Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

Baer was chosen for the 2016-2017 CommCrew Distinguished Alumna Award and the ECU 40 Under 40 Leadership Award. Baer will share her expertise with the School of Communication’s graduating class of 2017.

The School of Communication Recognition Ceremony will be held Saturday May 6 at 9 a.m. in Wright Auditorium. Students should arrive at the Bate Building no later than 8 a.m. A ticket is required for attendance at the ceremony.

For family and friends not able to attend the SOC Recognition Ceremony, there will be a live feed. The link will not go live until 15 minutes before the ceremony and you will not need a password to gain access.

https://mediasite.ecu.edu/MS/Play/5c2b2c65bd0f49caa0833dc968bcba361d

 

School of Communication Career Panel and Fair is Feb. 16

A panel of communication professionals will be available to answer questions from students on February 16 from 1 – 2 p.m. in 244 Mendenhall Student Center. The panel will consist of Michael Aho, an international affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State, Amanda Anderson, a physician recruitment supervisor at Vidant Health, Kelley Deal, dean of marketing at Nash Community College, and Josh Graham, sports director at Inner Banks Media. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about a variety of communication careers while networking with communication professionals.

The School of Communication Career Fair will follow the panel on February 16 from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Mendenhall Student Center Grand Ballrooms. Professional business attire is required for the career fair and be sure to bring extra resumes. Registration is required for the panel event. Register at

https://epay-banner.ecu.edu/C20694_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=86&SINGLESTORE=true

Here is a list of companies and organizations that will be at the fair:

The United Way
WITN
The Daily Reflector
Greenville Fire/Rescue
ECU News Services
The Hope Lodge
ENC Stop Human Trafficking Now
The Association of Mexicans in North Carolina
WZMB
The East Carolinian
TEKsystems
ECU Campus Recreation & Wellness
WNCT
United States Navy Recruiting
American Red Cross
SOC Study Abroad
Washington Daily News
Wilson Tobs Baseball team
SOC Graduate Program
Eastern Radiologists
Vector Marketing
News Channel 12, WCTI

For more information contact Dr. Mary Tucker-McLaughlin, tuckermclaughlin@ecu.edu.

Michael C. Aho, Outstanding Alumni and Keynote Speaker for December Graduation Ceremony by Caitlyn Patterson

“A Pirate takes a sense of pride into all that they do, which includes serving others. After all, ECU’s motto is “to serve.”

Michael Aho attended East Carolina University and completed his Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Public Relations) in 2002. In 2004, Aho earned a certificate of training in the United Nations Peace Support Operations as well as completing his Master of Science in Peace Operations Policy at George Mason University. Michael Aho has represented both his alma mater and his country well in the highest levels of international relations.

Aho continues to show his pirate pride by staying involved with ECU. In the fall of 2015, he was recognized with ECU’s Outstanding Alumni Award. He serves on multiple boards and speaks to students and alumni about his award-winning career. He was also part of the founding of CommCrew, the SOC group for alumni, students and friends and has served on the Board of Visitors since 2014. Also a Centennial Pirate member of the East Carolina Alumni Association, as well as serving on the Board of Directors beginning in 2015.

Michael Aho has received many awards for his accomplishments. He has been awarded the Distinguished Analyst Award, The Award for Innovation, 14 Exceptional Performance Awards from the US government, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the ECU SOC. He has also received three Superior Honor Awards from the US Department of State and the Circle of Excellence Award from the College of Fine Arts and Communication in 2014, just to name a few.

Michael and his partner Joe Esparza reside in McLean, VA. They are both major benefactors to the Human Rights Campaign and are active in the Campaign’s foundation work.

Michael Aho will be speaking during the School of Communication Graduation Ceremony on Friday, December 16th at 8 p.m. in the Wright Auditorium.

For family and friends who cannot attend, watch the ceremony via live stream at https://mediasite.ecu.edu/…/b278356ac40b492da1c0c67b6e7e144…

The link will go live 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. No password is needed.

 

East Carolina University Alumni, Brandon Ives, will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 School of Communication Recognition ceremony on May 6th by Lindsay Rayner

Successful East Carolina University alumni Brandon Ives will return to his old stomping grounds as the keynote speaker at the 2016 School of Communication Recognition ceremony.

Ives graduated from ECU with a degree in journalism and business marketing. He now leads client marketing and strategy efforts at Brasco, an award winning branding and web marketing agency based in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Ives is also the Co-Founder and CEO at PractImage.com, an innovative patient feedback and reputation management software company focused on the health care industry.

Ives said he owes his success to three factors: drive, confidence and communication. “Drive is something that some people have naturally, and others need the motivation. I’ve always felt an internal drive to fulfill my dreams in life, as opposed to looking externally for some sort of motivation or chip.”

As for confidence, Ives said it is important but “it must be managed to not communicate the wrong vibe.” This is crucial because as most communication majors would agree, Ives said communication is key while working with others in order to accomplish a common goal.

Ives said he considers ECU to be the place where he came into his own while being able to test his skills in different areas. According to Ives, being a Pirate embodies the three characteristics to which he owes his success, drive, confidence and communication. “We show our drive as a student body with the amount of over-achievers that we produce,” said Ives.

With proud alumni affiliation and a successful career, Ives can be considered a strong role model for ECU graduates. As for Ives, he finds inspiration from his family. “My grandmother was the best role model for my easy going personality which I believe is a key part of how I go about my life, balanced by the perfectionist in my father and the fun loving personality of my mother.”

Ives finds balance to be an important part of life. “I admire integrity and trust as key features that inspire me about others, while enjoying the humor and relaxed nature of others that tell me to not stress over the small things.”

Ives is the 2016 winner of the CommCrew Distinguished Alumni Award and will be sharing his wisdom with the School of Communication’s graduating class of 2016.

The School of Communication Recognition Ceremony will be held Friday May 6th at 8PM in Wright Auditorium. A ticket is required for attendance at the ceremony. The ceremony will be broadcast via the Internet for those not able to attend.

 

School of Communication alumni receive East Carolina Alumni Association’s 2016 Alumni Awards.

A School of Communication alum was among the recipients of the East Carolina Alumni Association’s 2016 Alumni Awards.

Valeria Lassiter, a 1990 graduate and emerita member of the ECU Women’s Roundtable Board of Directors, was honored with the Virgil Clark ’50 Distinguished Service Alumni Award, given annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves through a “record of service and leadership.”

Lassiter, founder and CEO of Lassiter & Associates, a strategic partnership and fundraising management firm based in Chevy Chase, Md., was named the School of Communication’s Distinguished Alumnus by the School’s alumni organization, CommCrew, in 2013.

 

School of Communication Welcomes Alumni Heather Burney as Fall 2015 Commencement Speaker by Jordan Hall

Recent East Carolina University Alumni, Heather Burney, will deliver the Fall 2015 Commencement speech at East Carolina University on Friday, December 18th.

Burney graduated from East Carolina University in May of 2013 with an undergraduate degree in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication. In December of last year, Burney graduated with her Masters in Health Communication also from East Carolina University. During her masters program Burney enjoyed teaching a public speaking course for the School of Communication.

Originally from Concord NC, right outside of Charlotte, Burney decided to relocate to the Raleigh-Durham area after graduation. Heather is currently working as a Marketing and Business Operations Specialist for Nuventra Pharma Sciences.

Nuventra is a pharmacology consulting company that specializes in various types of data analysis. Heather has been a part of Nuventra’s small marketing team since July. She loves working in a small company culture that is growing and expanding.

As the Marketing and Business Operations Specialist, Heather is responsible for developing press releases, engaging in social media, supporting the business development team, in addition to other tasks, such as being the coordinator of the proposal generations team.

Join speaker Heather Burney, and the faculty and staff of the East Carolina University School of Communication Fall Commencement Ceremony. Graduation is scheduled for December 18, 2015 at 5PM in Wright Auditorium for the Fall Commencement Ceremony.

SOC Welcomed Alumna Kristen Hunter as Fall 2014 Commencement Speaker


From television news to police work, this past fall’s commencement speaker’s career illustrates the wide variety of positions available to communication graduates.

An East Carolina University alum, Kristen Hunter has lived and worked in Greenville for approximately eight years. She graduated with honors from the School of Communication in 2010 and has worked in the communications field ever since. Currently, Hunter serves as the Public Information Officer for the Greenville, NC Police Department – a position she has held since December of 2013.<spanmargin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal”=””><spanmargin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal”=””><span; “=””> She received the opportunity to move in front of the camera in 2011, when she was hired to work as a reporter and anchor for WNCT-TV in Greenville, NC.  During her time at WNCT, Hunter covered a wide variety of issues ranging from an active shooter situation to ongoing cancer drug shortages within local hospitals. Some of her most memorable experiences include reporting from the frontlines of several major hurricanes along the eastern North Carolina coast. Hunter’s work has earned her four Associated Press awards.

Whether she’s on camera or coordinating coverage for the Greenville Police Department, Hunter will always have a place in her heart for ECU. “Many people refer to East Carolina University as ‘Pirate Nation’.” That title couldn’t be more appropriate. Long after exams are over and the scoreboard at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium fades, the pride you have in your university will remain,” Hunter said.

According to Hunter, the communication field is fast paced and cut-throat at times, but she points out, there are always opportunities for those who have a true passion for their work and a will to succeed. While Hunter has often been on camera both as a television news anchor and in her current position, she has found that her interaction with people in the community is the most rewarding. “The smallest things are often the most rewarding — sharing a hug with the mother of a murder victim after you announce detectives have solved the case or a note from an 8-year-old describing the tour you gave them as the ‘greatest day of their life’. Knowing you have impacted one person’s life for the better, no matter how small, makes everything worth it,” Hunter emphasized.

Alumnus who travels the globe for reality TV returns to School of Communication to address spring graduates at recognition ceremony

By Kent Pittman

Growing up, Jordan J. Mallari was the kid behind the camera. Now he’s the man calling the shots in the world of television as the vice president of development at Stage 3 Productions in Philadelphia.

Mallari has produced more than 17 shows including “The Apprentice,” “BBQ Pittmasters” and “Duel Survivor.” Such productions take him to some interesting places.

“One amazing thing is, I get to step into worlds I would never be a part of,” he said.

One world Mallari hasn’t been a part of since his graduation in 2000 is ECU. But he returned this past Spring to address School of Communication graduates 2014 Spring Graduate Recognition Ceremony.

Growing up, Mallari’s father owned one of the first home video cameras and young Jordan showed an interest in video early on. Fast-forward to present day and Mallari’s interest hasn’t waned. Now he’s behind the scenes bringing inside stories to millions.

School of Communication presents 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award

Public relations entrepreneur and ECU alumna Jamie Lynn Sigler received the School of Communication 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award at the school’s eighth annual CommCrew Spring Reception April 5.

Sigler graduated from ECU in 2001 with a degree in communication and a concentration in public relations. She founded bi-coastal public relations agency J Public Relations Inc. in 2005. In 2008, she partnered with best friend and fellow Pirate alumna Sarah Evans to grow JPR in additional key markets. The firm has offices in San Diego and New York.

Sigler said she is “extremely honored” to have the opportunity to return to Greenville to accept this year’s award and that ECU is really where her professional journey began.

“When I look back on my career path and the road I took to grow J Public Relations to where we are today, my time at East Carolina University was the foundation that played a pivotal part in inspiring me to create something within the communications field that was innovative, helped develop new leaders within my field and challenged the PR industry to start utilizing methods against the status quo,” Sigler said.

This was not Sigler’s first award. San Diego Business Journal acknowledged Sigler as one of the city’s “Most admired CEO’s.” She was also awarded PRSA’s Eva Irving Community Service Award in 2013 for her outstanding commitment to bettering the PR field and her community.

JPR has also earned a number of accreditations. The firm was ranked in the top five agencies in the country on UWire’s list of Top PR Firms on Social Media, number 1,534 on Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America list, and ranked number 12 on Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing Travel and Hospitality Companies in the U.S.

The Spring Reception was at the Greenville Museum of Art and featured guest speaker and alumnus Bill Johnson. Johnson is the executive vice president of Sports Trust Advisors and has more than 20 years of experience in the business of sports.

CommCrew Spring Celebration Week culminates with annual reception

CommCrew annual reception

Following a week of activities and events organized to support the School of Communication and connect alumni and friends with current students and faculty, CommCrew held its eighth annual spring reception Saturday night, April 5, at the Greenville Museum of Art.

At the event, Jamie Lynn Sigler ’01 (far left in photo) was presented with the School’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. (See related story below.) With Sigler are: Bill Johnson ’91, executive vice president, Sports Trust Advisors, and the keynote speaker for the evening; Linda Kean, director, School of Communication; and, C.J. Wilson, a former Pirate and client of Johnson, currently with the Oakland Raiders.

One of the highlights of the week was a “speed networking” event where communication students had the opportunity to go four 15-minute rounds in small groups with a panel of distinguished alumni. Panelists were: John Cooper ’89, NBC Universal, NBC News Channel producer, Charlotte; Jamie Lynn Sigler ’01 founding partner, J Public Relations, San Diego; Michael Aho ’02, political officer, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C./New York City; and, Olivia Collier ’02 ’04, ARC program manager at N.C. Department of Commerce.

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