Meet the 2007 Communications Fellows

Kelli Accardi is from Lugoff, S.C.   In high school she took leadership roles in the journalism department as managing editor and photography editor for the yearbook and writer for the newspaper. Although experience in the field of journalism sparked her interest in communications, Kelli plans to pursue a major in the corporate sequence at Elon. "The communications school at Elon, along with the Fellows program, really stood out in my college search," she said. "The small class sizes, personable professors and advanced equipment is what brought me to Elon." In the future Kelli would like to be a spokeswoman for a large corporation or work for a public relations agency.


Joey Accordino is from Richmond, Va.   In high school, he interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Richmond’s CBS affiliate.   He operates his own sports blog and has written for   “I chose Elon University and the Fellows program because the opportunity for involvement and the flexibility within the communications field here is unparalleled,” he said.   At Elon, he plans to host his own radio show on WSOE 89.3, write for The Pendulum, and work for Phoenix14 News.   After graduation, he plans to become a sportswriter or sports broadcaster.  


Kirsten Bennett is a broadcast communications major from Fairfax, Va. She chose Elon University because of the many opportunities to get involved right off the bat, including Fresh News and the Phoenix 14, both of which she plans to join. Elon has been a positive experience thus far, and she is excited for what the next four years will hold. In addition to her involvement in the School of Communications, she also hopes to continue her passions of dance and service at Elon. Kirsten served as the 2006-2007 Virginia DECA State President, and she plans to establish the college chapter of DECA, Delta Epsilon Chi, at Elon. After graduating from Elon she hopes to secure a job on a nationally televised station. Her dream: to take Katie Couric’s place on CNN.


Andrea Bernick is from Pittsburgh, Pa. In high school, Andrea was the director of her school’s television program and adviser for its cable channel.   She chose Elon because of its accreditation and beautiful campus. She intends on majoring either in corporate communications or cinema. In the spring, Andrea wants to rush for a sorority, but in the meantime her focus is getting involved with Cinelon and FreshTV.   “I think Elon will get me on the right track for my future,” she said. “With so many alumni working in the fields I am interested in, as well as the great internship opportunities, I think being a part of Elon’s community will help me achieve my goals.” After completing her education at Elon, Andrea hopes to work at either Paramount Pictures or Disney.


Casey Blackburn is from The Woodlands, Texas. She plans to major in corporate communications, minor in international relations and also study business. Casey has a strong interest in public relations, but she wants to learn about the other areas of communications before deciding her focus. She plans to get involved in a few organizations like The Agency and a sorority. She is excited to finally be at Elon and cannot wait to experience all the great things it has to offer. 


James Joseph DeWalt Brown , or simply “Joe,” was born in Columbia, Miss.   He moved to Florida when he was a few months old and then to Chapel Hill, N.C., when he was seven years old.   He has a passion for music and cinema.   As a high school student, he played the trombone in the symphonic band, marching band, and jazz band and continues to play the trombone for the Elon marching band.   He also has perfect pitch, which is a rare skill among musicians.   At Elon, Joe plans to major in communications, focusing on cinema.   To get involved quickly, he has decided to participate in Fresh TV at Elon.  


Christopher Bunn is from Smithfield, N.C.   He plans on majoring in communications, concentrating on broadcast, and minoring in psychology.   He was editor in chief and sports editor of his high school paper. “I want to get as involved in the communications department as possible,” he said. “I want to be able to do everything that needs to be done.”   Chris hopes to one day work for ESPN or CBS sports. “I was drawn to Elon because of its communications department. That’s what sealed the deal,” Chris said. “That and the all you can eat dining halls.”


Paul Busby is from Columbia, S.C., where he attended Richland Northeast High School's Horizon writing program. To fulfill his communications major he is hoping to specialize in journalism, as well as learn the technical skills that make up the growing convergence media of today. Paul's dream is to travel the world writing pieces on various cultures through publications like National Geographic or Discovery. To pass the time, Paul likes to read, write, and jam to music. He is hoping that he will enjoy the many activities Elon has to offer and get the most out of his four-year stay.


Eugene Daniel III , a native of Marietta, Ga., intends to major in broadcast journalism with a minor in religious studies. While in high school, he remained very active in the community as the student body president, a varsity athlete, and a local youth minister. “I couldn’t have found the level of intimacy at Elon anywhere else,” he said. “Elon is truly a community based on learning and support for one another.” Eugene plans to join Phoenix14News as an anchor and to eventually serve as varsity chaplain for the basketball program. “Elon values the hands-on experience, and encourages everyone to be involved, including freshmen.”


Camille DeMere is from Greenville, S.C. She found that Elon was the best fit for her because “the size is just right. Classes are small enough that you can really build a relationship with your teachers, but the community is large enough to offer activities for any interest.” Camille plans to become part of Elon’s newspaper, The Pendulum . She would love to work one day for a daily newspaper as a reporter and believes the higher level courses she takes as a fellow will help her learn the skills needed to realize her goal.


Charlie Durnell is from Chantilly, Va. At Elon he plans to major in communications, either in Broadcasting or Cinema. “After touring the Communications building as a high school junior I knew this was where I wanted to be,” he said. “All the equipment and facilities really opened up a lot of possibilities in my head.” He hopes to be involved with ESTV as an editor and cameraman to learn about camera techniques and digital media.   After taking four years of Latin in high school, he hopes to use the fellows study abroad stipend to travel to Italy to make a documentary. “I hope to possibly become a producer, but I’m still just seeing what’s out there in this industry.”


Michael Heil is from Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas. He first got into media his sophomore year in high school, anchoring his school’s daily newscast for two years before moving onto directing the newscast and producing his own weekly show his senior year. Michael is a communications and political science major, and plans on continuing his love for writing and producing news by working for ESTV 14, and by getting involved with Fresh TV. “What really brought me to Elon was the great opportunity for hands-on education and a close relationship with professors and students,” Michael said. “You just can’t learn journalism from a textbook.” Outside of the communications school, Michael plans on auditioning for Twisted Measure, Elon’s co-ed a cappella singing ensemble, being a Phoenix Fanatic, and playing intramural flag football. After graduating from Elon, Michael wants to write journalism as a political analyst in either Chicago or Washington, D.C.


Amanda Jones is from Roswell, Ga. She anticipates majoring in Journalism.   “I am really looking forward to becoming a part of the Elon community,” she said. “There are so many opportunities that the university has to offer and I can’t wait to take advantage of them.”   Jones is particularly enthusiastic about the study abroad program and  

wants to travel to Italy or France.   She hopes that her experience at Elon will prepare her to one day write for a magazine such as National Geographic.   She is a member of the varsity Women’s Soccer Team at Elon.

Mollie Lair is a broadcast communications major from Stanford, Ky.   During her high school career, she worked as an anchor on her school news program in addition to participating in musical theater and dance.   She chose Elon because of the beautiful campus, multiple study abroad opportunities, and the amazing Communications program. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to be a fellow and I plan to take advantage of everything Elon has to offer,” she said.   Mollie plans to participate in FreshTV, Phoenix14News and service projects.   After graduation she hopes to work as a news anchor on the East Coast.

My Nguyen
joins the Elon community from Charleston, S.C., and she speaks so highly of her hometown that she could very well be named the city’s personal spokeswoman. Throughout her high school career, she was a member of the Student Government Association, the National Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society and the Key Club.   She plans to get involved with Phoenix14News, The Pendulum and Catholic Campus Ministry. She hopes to pursue a career in print journalism but is also keeping an open mind. “I want to leave my mark on this world, be it through print or broadcast or any other medium,” she said.   “I want to inform – I want to give people the truth and allow them to form their own opinions about it.”


Bryan Rogala is from Little Rock, Ark., and is majoring in communications with a concentration in broadcast journalism and new media. He became interested in communications in the seventh grade when he began writing for his school newspaper, and then went on to work on the award-winning newspaper, radio station and yearbook staffs at his high schools. He is involved in FreshTV and Phoenix14News, and also plans to work at Elon’s radio station, WSOE 89.3 FM. He is interested in convergence journalism and one day working with the Discovery Channel. “Elon’s communications program is top notch,” he said.   “The biggest draws for me are the caliber of the faculty, the fact that I can actually take communications courses my first semester here, and that I have an opportunity to get involved with all of the different forms of student media almost immediately after setting foot on campus.”


Kate Shirley is from Dallas, Texas, and is majoring in broadcast communications. She chose Elon for its beautiful campus, unbeatable student news broadcast, and impressive study abroad programs. “Becoming a part of the fellows program provided me with an outlet to other students as enthusiastic as myself about communications,” she explained.   Kate lives in the Communications Learning Community and said she “one-hundred percent loves it!”   She is a part of Phoenix14News, FreshTV, and wants to become a tour guide for Elon.   Kate is also very interested in politics and hopes to someday anchor on a major news network like CNN or host her own political debate show.


Robert Wohner is from Queens, New York City. He chose Elon because of the stellar communication programs at the school. He plans to get involved with the campus radio station and also participate in Elon TV.   "My main desire is to work in radio in any genre, whether in sports, news or music,” Robert said. “Radio is my favorite area of the media." Additionally, he is interested in writing for magazines, and hopes to intern at the Smithsonian Institute in the future.  


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