Grads share career news, updates


Jessica Rivelli, a 2002 Elon School of Communications graduate, has moved from her position with CBS affiliate WFMY-TV in Greensboro, N.C., to the West Palm Beach, Fla., NBC affiliate, WPTV, Newschannel 5 - market 39 in the nation. She is the weekend morning producer, in charge of the 7 and 10 a.m. newscasts Saturdays and the 7 a.m. newscast on Sundays. Her duties include gathering information and writing a good percentage of the newscasts, dealing with breaking news overnight and managing and booking live guests and live weather remotes. During the week, she manages breaking news and assigns crews for the 11 p.m. newscasts.

"I owe this job to my experiences at WFMY-News2," she said. "My co-workers were my mentors and shaped me into a great writer with a good eye for what it takes to create a solid newscast with throughtful, well-written stories. I am thankful that my Elon experience afforded me my first job at WFMY. Knowledgable and caring professors, combined with hands-on course work proved to be THE asset that propelled me forward to begin my professional TV career at the early age of 19.

"I am amazed every day when I come into work and it hits me that I am working in West Palm Beach at 21. It's a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, and I hope my professors share in this feeling, because they're the foundation that allows students like me to make our dreams come true."

She also credits School of Communications Advisory Board member Darren Richards of WFMY for her success. "Making that personal contact with him at Elon was the best thing that ever happened to me," she said. "He gave me the chance to prove myself in this business. I will be eternally grateful." Rivelli's e-mail address is:

Amy Roatche, a corporate communications student who completed her coursework in Fall 2002 and will officially graduate in May, is working full-time as the communications/events coordinator for iittala, a company that offers a complete range of products for cooking and socializing. This Scandinavian company sells its wares internationally; Roatche is based in its Cherry Hill, N.J. corporate offices.

She had worked as an intern there over the summer, which inspired her to put together a PR campaign for the company for a Fall 2002 course at Elon. She showed the people at iittala the campaign, which helped her convince them to hire her on in a new full-time position, created for her talents and abilities.

"I absolutely love my job," she said. "I have already been in Atlanta for a trade show and I am planning events and working with the sales reps a lot. I also started a company monthly newsletter." She and another Elon alum, Steve Zambricski, became engaged on Christmas Eve and plan a wedding in 2005. He works in the customer-service department at Chrysler Financial. Roatche's e-mail address is

Scott McCrary has moved from his job at WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C., to WUSA-TV in Washington, one of the top ten markets in the country. Some of the most revered names in television news have worked at WUSA, including Walter Cronkite, Sam Donaldson, Max Robinson, Eric Sevareid, Arthur Godfrey, Howard K. Smith and Lowell Thomas. Both WLTX and WUSA are owned by Gannett Co., Inc., the international diversified news and information company. At WLTX, McCrary served as everything from weekend producer to field producer to launching the station's new 7 p.m. newscast.

Amber McCafferty, a 2002 Elon grad, is working with Trone Public Relations Inc. in Greensboro, N.C., as an account coordinator. She was hired to fill the position about two weeks before graduation. "I have no doubt my previous experience built through internships got me the job," she said. "My work portfolio included coursework, but it was primarily work done in my internships." During her undergraduate years at Elon, she capitalized on experiences gained through internships at two agencies: Richard French & Associates in Raleigh and Dome Communications in Chicago. "Richard French is a sister company of Trone, and that probably helped me land this spot," she said. Trone is a full-service agency that offers media relations, event marketing, executive visibility, issues and crisis management and media training. McCafferty is working on Trone's Syngenta, Cricket Wireless and Quick Step account teams. Her e-mail address is

Lisa Farnkopf, a 2002 grad, is working as a reporter/editor for Construction Data Corporation, a company that publishes three weekly trade newspapers for the construction industry. It has offices in Texas, California and along the East Coast. Farnkopf is located in the Trenton, N.J., office. Her e-mail address is

Shelby Brown, class of 2002, lives in Columbia, S.C., where she works for WIS, the NBC affiliate (broadcast television market #83). She works in the programming and promotions department, and has assigned tasks that involve her in every aspect of the operation, including maintaining/distributing the station's program schedule, acting as a children's programming liaison to the FCC, producing/editing promotional spots for air, arranging community projects, filing the Neilsen log and most recently producing segments for the sports department.

"I got the job the old-fashioned way, answering an ad and sending my resume," she said. "My internship the summer preceding my senior year was an indispensable resource. Aside from hands-on writing/producing experience, it enabled me to get great references. What I think was a sole factor in my motivation and preparedness for life after graduation, was Senior Seminar with Connie Book. She showed me how to think and reason in this industry. She provided me with research skills and knowledge that enabled me to secure a job before graduation."

Brown said she wanted to share the message that it is not that important to have a big title or salary on your first job after graduation. "All you need is a foot in the door," she said. "If you demonstrate a strong willingness to learn and tenacity, superiors will give you more responsibility and high-profile projects that will get you noticed." She said she plans to take her career direction into news or programming. Her e-mail address is

Jaya Martin, a 2002 grad, has been working full-time for Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Burlington, N.C., since mid-July. She is the coordinator for the Faith Development program, which serves about Grad300 children in kindergarten through eighth grades. She also travels throughout the diocese of Raleigh for workshops and retreats. More than half of the families involved in the church are Spanish-speaking. "I'm like an assistant principal," she said, "and it's been fun so far." Martin expects to spend about a year in this job before she goes to graduate school. Her e-mail address is

Kelly Allen, class of 2000, taught broadcast journalism at the Robeson County Career Center in Lumberton, N.C., before beginning graduate school at Duquesne in January 2001. While there, she worked with local non-profit organizations and WTAE-TV. "It was wonderful to meet Jim Hefner (WTAE executive and a member of Elon's School of Communications Advisory Board) while I was up there," she said. She completed her master's degree in corporate communication in May and is now teaching in the Humanities and Fine Arts Department of Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C. She also teaches public speaking courses as an adjunct at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington. Her e-mail address is

Alecia Pynn, a 2000 graduate, is now employed in the sports information office at the University of Florida. She works with the football and basketball programs. "I hear lots of compliments about Elon grads," she said. "Thanks to Elon for a great experience." Pynn's e-mail address is

Leigh Wheeler, a 2001 grad, is the development coordinator for the Travel Channel at Discovery networks. She tracks incoming and ongoing productions and proposals. "It's a lot of paperwork and organizing," she said, "but I'm happy to have my foot in the door at a quality organization, and it is a wonderful opportunity." Her e-mail address is

Jessica Vitak, a 2002 grad, is working in the Washington, D.C., bureau of PR Newswire, an organization with 30 bureaus located throughout the United States. She's one of eight people on the editorial staff in D.C., where she edits, codes and distributes news releases. The office is located about three blocks away from the National Mall, near the Washington Monument. "I love my job because I am learning a lot about the business and financial worlds," she said. "I enjoy being able to 1) read releases before the media or general public, and 2) work on a release in the morning and see it running across CNN's ticker by afternoon or see a VNR about the topic. For the first time since I entered college, maybe ever, I feel on top of the news. I am working in one of the busiest cities in the world, where news is happening all around me, and I am an important part of it. It's an extremely rewarding feeling." Her e-mail address is

Erik Furlan is a clerk/reporter in the Gaston, N.C., bureau of The Charlotte Observer. His responsibilities include office administration, compilation of an area entertainment calendar, writing features and covering area religion and business news. The 2002 Elon grad is living in the Charlotte area. "My ultimate goal is still in NASCAR media," he said. "Coming in as a broadcast major, I never imagined that my first job would be in the print field. The School of Communication's concentration cross-over allowed me to pick up the journalism concentration as well, opening up so many more doors. So far, it's been an eye-opening experience, classic 'first job' in communications." Erik's e-mail address is

Suzanne George, a 2002 grad, is an assistant account executive with M Booth and Associates, a New York City PR firm. She works with the company's Travel and Lifestyle team." I love my job," she says. "We have clients such as Royal Olympic Cruises, Ski Utah (all of the ski resorts in the state), resorts in Las Vegas, and, Beaulieu Vineyard in the Napa Valley and several others. It's great to work with such wonderful clients such as these. To think last year at this time I thought I was busy! It's been a bit of an adjustment getting into the New York way of life, but a good one. Billy Duffy and I are now engaged and planning to get married June 14 in Raleigh. Life is truly coming together for me." Her e-mail address is:

Allison Deiboldt, a 2002 grad, is a research analyst for the TV research firm Petry Media Corporation, a sister company to Blair Media. She is working in the main offices on 5th Avenue and 54th Street in mid-town Manhattan. She works with a number of broadcast clients from all over the United States, doing statistical analysis and writing proposals and presentations in regard to their best marketing strategies. She said she's thankful to all of her Elon professors for their influence and support. Her e-mail address is

Kristen Nastasia, a 2000 grad, has moved to her second position in TV News. She worked for about 18 months as a producer/reporter for WECT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Wilmington, N.C., before moving to WZVN-TV, the ABC affiliate in Ft. Myers, Fla. While she was at WECT she won two AP Awards (Rookie of the Year 2000, First Place Spot News 2000) and three RTNDA-Carolinas first places (political, consumer and news series reporting). She has been working at the Ft. Myers station for about a year now. She covers Florida's biggest county, Collier, and she lives in Naples. "My career is going so well," she said. "and I credit much of my post-Elon success with my hands-on training during college." While at Elon, she worked at ESTV and completed summer internships with WBTV in Charlotte and WWAY-TV in Wilmington. Her e-mail address is

Allyson Brunetti, a 2002 grad, is the production coordinator for "Change of Heart," a Warner Brothers television series that is shot in New York. The program is a dating show/reality series. One of Brunetti's duties is to coordinate the intern program, and she says she would like to hire Elon students for the positions. Her e-mail address is



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Last Modified:  2/01/03
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