Meet the 2020 Communications Fellows
The School of Communications welcomes its 2020 class of Communications Fellows. Fellows wrote their own mini biographies, which you can read below.
Elisabeth Bachmann graduated summa cum laude from the International Baccalaureate program at High Point Central. She was awarded an IB Diploma and recognized for exceptional scores on her AP exams. While in high school, Elisabeth was involved in several extracurricular activities related to service learning, as well as the National Honor Society. As a sophomore, she helped her community establish a fundraiser, the Chicken Walk, for the hungry and homeless in Greensboro. She enjoyed volunteering at Camp Ann, a camp for individuals with special needs, during the summer and assisted with their school dances throughout the year. She also became an ANYTOWN Ambassador and was selected to be a part of their Youth Advisory Council, where she developed a passion for public speaking and sharing her message and experiences regarding stereotypes. She spoke in front of 1,200 people to speak out against the effects of racism and promote anti-stereotyping education. She was on the Guilford County Schools Service Learning Youth Council and was a member of their executive council for three years, as well as serving as their secretary during her junior year. Elisabeth became involved in the council after becoming a Service Learning Ambassador during her freshman year, through which she taught her peers about service learning. Also at High Point Central, Elisabeth started a Spanish club during her junior year and created projects within it to help underprivileged children in her community in partnership with the YWCA. Elisabeth cannot wait for the opportunities that being a Communications Fellow at Elon holds for her, and she is honored to have the privilege to be a part of this community.
Isabella Branham lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts, for most of her life before moving to Conway, New Hampshire, at the start of her freshman year of high school. She discovered her passion for broadcasting in the 7th grade when she enrolled in the Young Broadcasters of America program with Emmy award winning NECN sportscaster Jimmy Young. Upon completion of the course, Isabella volunteered as a teleprompter operator and floor director at Marblehead Community Access and Media. Because of her experience, Isabella became the first freshman news anchor on her high school’s senior-exclusive morning news broadcast. During her junior year, Isabella obtained two internships, one at White Mountain’s Today, a local Outside Television affiliate, and the other with the Mount Washington Radio Group. These internships gave Isabella invaluable hands-on experience in the field of broadcasting, and both developed into paid positions, which continued until she left for Elon. During her senior year, Isabella founded her high school’s online student newspaper, which she oversaw as the editor in chief. Isabella also has a love for videography and has produced several videos on YouTube, two of which received first place in the New Hampshire SkillsUSA Television/Video Production Competition. Her most meaningful accomplishment to date was an annual school-wide “Wear Yellow for Seth” campaign that she organized in support of a young boy who suffered from Severe Combined Immune Deficiency. Aside from her communications activities, Isabella was the vice president of her class, co-captain of the varsity volleyball team and an active member of Key Club and DECA. Isabella is excited to take advantage of Elon’s wonderful communications opportunities, especially the many student media organizations and the Elon in Los Angeles program.
Kirsten Chase was born in Newport, Rhode Island, into a navy family. Along with her parents, older sister and younger brother, she has lived in many different places in her young life, including Vienna, Virginia; Corpus Christie, Texas; and Yokosuka, Japan. She eventually settled in Burke, Virginia in 2006. Her varied experiences, especially in Japan, helped shape her as a person and inspired a lifelong passion for culture and travel. Kirsten graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School, where she earned AP Scholar with Distinction (eight AP classes) and was a member of the National Honor Society and Tri-M Musical Honor Society. She has been singing and performing in musical theatre since the fourth grade. She capped her high school career with leading roles as Belle in Lake Braddock’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” and Tracy in “Hairspray.” Outside of school, Kirsten was just as busy in her community. She was a member of Nativity Catholic Church choir. Starting in 2012 and continuing until this year, she volunteered her time on Saturdays to tutor underprivileged children in math and reading through the Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education (GIVE) mentorship program. During the summer of 2015, Kirsten interned with Fairfax County’s Department of Cable and Consumer Services in their Communications Productions Division, where, among other projects, she helped produce public service commercials. Kirsten was also an active team member and assistant coach for the Burke Station Community swim team, coaching young swimmers during the off season. She was a member of the George Mason University Mason Makos Swim Team and also a swim instructor with Kid’s First Swim School Inc. Kirsten’s acceptance to Elon and its School of Communications is dream come true. As a Fellow she hopes to study Strategic Communications and is excited to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities offered at Elon.
Sophie Eng grew up in Easton, Connecticut, where she graduated from Joel Barlow High School. For 15 years, Sophie was an avid dancer, something she aims to continue in college. She’s always had a passion for writing, which really took off when she started her own fashion blog, “Converse or Chanel?” during her sophomore year. With the help of an internship with a local wedding magazine, Sophie has been able to embrace her love for not only writing, but for the communications world. Inspired by this internship, Sophie plans on taking part in The Pendulum and The Edge, where she can continue towards her passion for writing and major in journalism. She is beyond excited to join the Communications Fellows Program, and can’t wait for her next four years at Elon University.
Taylor Faust graduated with highest honors from Parkland High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. While there, she played cello in the school orchestra, as well as three other ensembles, and rose to become historian and then president of the group. She was involved in Key Club as vice president, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, English Honor Society and Student Council. An avid history buff, Taylor participated in the National History Day competition for three years as visual editor for her group’s documentary entries. Her sophomore year, her group’s documentary on fair trade chocolate and the lasting legacy of enslavement made it to the state level of competition, where it placed sixth. Taylor also played club soccer nearly every year since elementary school. Through a shadow experience at a local advertising agency, she became interested in the account management side of advertising and plans on double majoring in Strategic Communications and Spanish. She is extremely honored to be a Communications Fellow and is looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities Elon will offer her.
Melissa Horowitz was born in Potomac, Maryland, and graduated from Winston Churchill High School. She was an active member of the National Honor Society, American Sign Language Honor Society and the theater department. Melissa danced with a competitive hip-hop team and was the head choreographer of the school musical during her sophomore year. Throughout high school, she was active in her Temple and was selected as a teaching and administrative fellow. Her role as communications and membership vice president helped to expand the youth group through outreach, programming and social media. She was also chair of communications for her regional youth group and assisted with fundraising, selling merchandise and slide show presentations. Her summers were spent at the URJ Kutz Camp Leadership Academy. She was a Kutz Fellow at the camp and worked to increase peer-to-peer inclusion in her home community. In the summer before attending Elon, she worked at the camp as a one-on-one counselor to teens with autism. Melissa is excited to be named a Communications Fellow and is looking forward to joining the Elon community.
Katie Kane is a graduate of Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School in Rumson, New Jersey. She was an active member of her high school community as the captain of the tennis team, lead prosecutor for her school’s mock trial team, member of the National Honor Society and French National Honor Society, and the fashion editor for her school’s arts magazine. Her interest in the world of fashion extended outside of school and inspired her to create her own fashion blog during her sophomore year, in which she explores not only her love of fashion but also her love of writing. Through her blog, Katie has collaborated with many companies and has become an active member of the global blogging community. Continuing to explore her interests in writing and fashion, Katie interned for a sustainable bag company during her junior year in high school, where she wrote for the company’s blog and managed some of their social media accounts. That internship led to another with a multimedia website focusing on vegan style, where she assisted in the site’s launch. The internships allowed Katie to explore the possibility of a career in fashion. Her accomplishments both in and out of the classroom earned her the Wellesley College Book Award. Katie is excited to be a part of the Elon community as a Communications Fellow and is looking forward to new experiences and opportunities.
Davis Klimek was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent his high school career at University School, where he was the founder and head of the school’s Digital Media Club. He was also one of the co-heads of the school’s student-run sports play-by-play broadcasting network, USPN. Combining his interests in sports and digital media, Davis during his senior year produced sports highlight reels for each of the school’s varsity athletic teams and also produced a documentary on one of Cleveland’s first baseball stadiums. Davis also participated in a plethora of other extracurricular activities, including Mock Trial, Glee Club, school theatre productions, 4H and volunteer work in his community. He is a huge Cleveland sports fan and played baseball all four years of high school. At Elon, Davis plans on majoring in either Strategic Communications or Media Analytics, and is eager to take advantage of the many opportunities Elon has to offer, including studying in Los Angeles and being a part of Elon Student Television. He is excited to be a part of the Communications Fellows program and looks forward to gaining new knowledge and experiences in the field of communications during his next four years at Elon.
Kristen Koch was raised in Kennebunkport, Maine, where she recently graduated from Kennebunk High School as a high honors student and STEM scholar. During her high school career, she was involved in a number of extracurriculars. These included playing both lacrosse and field hockey, as well as participating in Peer Helpers, Model State, School Senate and writing for The Rampage school newspaper. During her senior year, Kristen also enjoyed writing for the local newspaper, the York County Coast Star, which inspired her to further pursue a career in communications. While working with the local newspaper, Kristen thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the small community that she grew up in. This led her to apply to the Communications Fellows program at Elon for her chosen major of Strategic Communications. Kristen is also pursuing a double major in Marketing. She is incredibly excited to take advantage of all the opportunities that Elon University has to offer.
Emma Kopkowski grew up in Marietta, Georgia, where she graduated with honors from Pope High School. While at Pope, Emma participated in many clubs and school activities. She was a three-year letterman and captain of the cross country and track teams. Emma was also involved in the community through multiple service clubs. She was an active member of the Interact club and served as a board member for the National Honor Society. She also was involved in the foreign language department at Pope. Emma was a part of the Spanish National Honor Society and graduated with an International Skills Diploma Seal. Emma was also fortunate enough to be an editor on the school yearbook staff, in addition to take an introductory video and broadcasting class. This is where she decided to pursue communications. Because of these experiences, Emma is planning on majoring in Cinema and Television Arts with a minor in Spanish. Emma is honored and excited to be a part of the Communications Fellows program at Elon.
Margaret “Meg” Malone is a North Carolina native who was born in High Point. She grew up in Apex, just outside of Raleigh, with her beloved dogs and two younger siblings. As a child, Margaret jumped from activity to activity: She played tennis, studied Tae-Kwon-Do, rode horses, entered a number of photography contests and painted everything from marbles to storybook characters. She was not yet sure what she wanted to do with her life but thought she might be a geneticist or marketing agent. After middle school, Margaret was lucky enough to be offered a place at Raleigh Charter High School, recently named the top high school in North Carolina by The Washington Post. There, she discovered a passion for journalism while taking a course in media publications, which was the class that produced the school paper. She spent the next four years working her way up from the bottom to become her school newspaper’s editor-in-chief. When she wasn’t writing and editing, Margaret and her classmates helped start a new service club at her school to promote volunteer opportunities in their community to motivated high schoolers. Outside of school, Margaret took an avid interest in scuba diving and earned multiple certifications before completing more than 50 dives in Roatan, Honduras (despite not being a big fan of sharks). She is thrilled to be joining the Elon community and cannot wait to begin writing for The Pendulum next year.
Jared Mayerson was raised in San Mateo, California, and graduated from Aragon High School, where he was awarded the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma. During his four years at Aragon, Jared stage managed three main stage theater productions and served as the wind ensemble’s percussion section leader. In addition, Jared served as the president of Cinematix, a school club that studies various movie genres through watching and discussing movies and learning about the history of film. He is passionate about cinema and has loved making short films for has long as he can remember. In his free time, Jared enjoys exploring San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, and hopes to soon discover what Elon has to offer. At Elon, Jared plans on studying Cinema and Television Arts, while pursuing minors in Entrepreneurship and Spanish. He cannot wait to become involved on campus with student organizations like CinElon and ESTV. He would love to study abroad in Spain but also plans to take advantage of the Elon in Los Angeles program. Jared feels honored to be a part of the Communications Fellows program and is eager to start school in the fall.
Crosby Melendi comes to Elon from H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, where she was born and raised for most of her life. A combination of experiences led Crosby to Elon. Two years living in the Netherlands awakened her curiosity for travel and other cultures, and a mission trip to Guatemala directed that curiosity to service. While at Plant, Crosby was an active board member for two years before becoming president of Kiwi Service Club, a student organization of more than 80 girls dedicated to community service. She became more and more passionate about helping people in need, often working at local soup kitchens on Sunday mornings, and will undoubtedly continue to serve others with Elon’s many volunteer groups. As a congressional intern under congresswoman Kathy Castor, Crosby directly assisted immigrants and veterans in the Tampa Bay area and experienced firsthand the connection that good representatives make with constituents. In addition, she won multiple awards for marketing and layout design as a section editor for the Plant Yearbook, sparking her interest and confidence in journalism and communications. When she isn’t studying or spending time with friends, Crosby enjoys traveling, reading, and singing. A trained vocalist and pianist, she performed with the varsity chorale group in the school chorus and was also a founding member of the Sweet Chops a cappella group, singing at charity and community events. Crosby is honored to be a Communications Fellow and excited for her future both at Elon and after. In an effort to join her broad array of interests into a focused career path, Crosby plans to study Strategic Communications with minors in Spanish and Poverty and Social Justice, hoping to be a voice for those in need in the United States and around the world.
Samantha Parlato is a graduate from Westwood High School in Westwood, Massachusetts. Samantha was actively involved in National Honor Society and her school’s literary magazine, and during her junior she became the vice president of the Social Justice Club. She also played three years on her school’s varsity volleyball team, while also playing recreational soccer for the town in the fall. Samantha discovered her interest in filming while taking a video production class her junior year. She was able to film music videos, create advertisements, short films and interviews. During her senior year she filmed, directed and edited her Latin 4 senior video and announced the Senior Prom Fashion Show. Samantha is excited to become involved with a variety of things at Elon, including athletics and Live Oak Communications. She’s also considering studying abroad a few times during the next four years. She is very excited to be a part of the Communications Fellows program and looks forward to exploring all the opportunities Elon has to offer.
MaryGrace Petrie grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, a small town outside of Boston, and is a recent graduate of Medfield High School. MaryGrace was an active member of her class, participating in clubs, sports teams and other extracurricular activities, while making time for family and friends. She played field hockey, lacrosse and ran indoor track. MaryGrace was also a member of the National Honor Society, the National Art Honors Society and the Literary Magazine at MHS. She helped manage the Zullo Gallery in Medfield, where she greeted guests and informed them of the running exhibits. She also updated the Zullo’s social media pages and brainstormed with the director for upcoming events. MaryGrace is also extremely involved in her church. She participated in the youth choir, taught religious education, eucharistic ministered and volunteered for the Youth Outreach Program. She actively volunteered with Special Olympics, as well as Christmas in the City, an event that allows underprivileged families in the greater Boston area the ability to celebrate the holidays. She spends her summers as a sailing instructor at the Tabor Academy Summer Program in Marion, Massachusetts. MaryGrace was also the creator and director of the Angelica Yacht Club Beginner Sailor Mentorship Program, which pairs beginner sailors with a more experienced mentor. She plans on majoring in Strategic Communications, but she is eager to explore the vast opportunities in the School of Communications, as well as study abroad. MaryGrace cannot wait to embark on her new journey at Elon University as a Communications Fellow.
Matthew Reichenbach was born and raised in Reston, Virginia, about 30 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. He graduated from Langley High School, where his passion for journalism grew. Despite being late to joining his school’s newsmagazine, he covered a lot of ground in a short time, working as a columnist, an editors and finally editor-in-chief. Through these leadership experiences, Matthew touched the lives of many people in his community. His columns and his introduction of a Lifestyle section in his school’s newsmagazine provoked in him and his readers a great interest in the human experience. He also attended numerous conferences during his high school career, such the Journalism Education Association conference and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference. At these gatherings, Matthew received numerous awards for his writing. Aside from journalism, Matthew has a passion for the Spanish language, pop culture and tennis. He is excited to study Journalism at Elon with the hopes of becoming an editor in print media.
Alexandra Roat, a graduate of Padua Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, is honored and excited to be an Elon University Communications Fellow. She spent her high school years participating in a multitude of extracurricular activities, ranging from campus ministry to tutoring underprivileged elementary school children, as well as partaking in student government. Not only was she an executive officer of her high school’s branch of the National Honor Society, she was a leader in her school’s Advanced Television and Video Production class, which provided her with a background in directing, video editing, and news reporting. She has applied her passion for communications outside the classroom, through participation in C-Span’s StudentCam documentary competition, WDEL’s student journalism panel and the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. While at Elon, Alexandra plans on pursuing her love for learning through study abroad programs and media centered extracurriculars, while taking advantage of all other opportunities offered to her as a Communications Fellow.
Lumiere Rostick is a proud Honor and International Baccalaureate graduate of Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida, where she resides with her supportive parents and younger sister. Through her four years in high school, she was involved in extracurricular activities, including the varsity softball team, speech and debate, and the Big Red Marching Band. Between her school work, being the softball team captain for two years, qualifying for national competitions in speech and debate, and being the trumpet section leader of her marching, concert and jazz bands, Lumiere was constantly busy. Still, she always found time to give back. She is incredibly passionate about serving her community, whether it be through volunteering at Vacation Bible School at her church home, assisting in building homes with Habitat for Humanity or, her personal favorite, serving the homeless and hungry at Trinity Café. While at Elon, Lumiere plans to obtain a degree in Strategic Communications with minors in Spanish and Psychology. Her interest in communications was sparked by her involvement in “From the Corps,” a television news program associated with the Mayor’s Youth Corps, a Tampa community group. Her passion for language and desire to better understand human behavior encouraged her to seek minors in the other two areas. During the course of the next four years, Lumiere plans to continue pursuing music, while participating in the Fire of the Carolinas marching band, in addition joining various clubs and organizations. She cannot wait to learn and grow with her new Elon family.
Abbie Vandruff grew up in Richardson, Texas, a suburb just outside of Dallas, where she graduated from Richardson High School. During her first year, Abbie quickly discovered her passion for film and television arts through her acceptance into the school’s Communications Magnet, a four-year intensive program that allows students to study every aspect of film from screenwriting to cinematography to editing. Throughout her four years, Abbie dedicated a majority of her time to the magnet program, creating films with her peers to enter into film festivals. One film that she wrote, produced, assistant directed and co-edited was selected to screen at both the SXSW Film Festival in Austin and the Dallas International Film Festival. Another film that she produced and edited screened at Dallas International, as well as several international film festivals, including Fastnet Film Festival in Ireland and the Ekurhuleni Film Festival in South Africa. Abbie also worked as a sports reporter for her school’s daily news show throughout her junior year. Beyond film, Abbie was a member of National Honor Society, on the school swim team, junior class vice president, and a counselor for seventh and eighth grade students at her church. Abbie also enjoys hanging out with her dog, binge-watching Netflix and eating Chick-Fil-A at any hour of the day. Abbie is honored to have been chosen as a 2016 Communications Fellow and looks forward to meeting people of all different backgrounds, engaging in campus activities and seizing the many opportunities that she knows Elon will have to offer.
Sonya Walker was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and lived there for 16 years. She attended Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, Maryland, for her first two years of high school, but after that Sonya realized she needed something that differed from the typical high school experience. So she put down her phone, grabbed a backpack and headed for the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia to live and hike for 73 days. In the wilderness, Sonya gained a better sense of herself and decided that for her remaining high school years she would move to Montana. There, she not only attended boarding school but took classes at the community college, was an intern at the Flathead Beacon newspaper and held a job as a waitress at Bonelli’s Bistro in downtown Kalispell. For fun, Sonya skied on Big Mountain, went hiking in Glacier National Park, rock climbed in Kila and helped trail blaze on the Continental Divide. Through all of these adventures, she discovered herself, her passions and what truly makes her happy. At Elon, Sonya plans to share the experience she has had in the world and hopes that others will share with her, too.
Reilly Welsh graduated with highest honors from Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. Throughout her high school career, Reilly kept busy in many different activities and clubs, including lacrosse, National Honor Society, Joan of Arc Society of Scholars, Student Ambassadors and campus ministry. She also served as a junior volunteer at her local hospital and taught religious education to third graders. But her favorite experiences came from opportunities that allowed her to pursue her passion for communications. She wrote for her school newspaper, the OC Eagle Eye, and served as features editor her senior year. She also attended a journalism program for editors-in-chief at Indiana University the summer before senior year, where her enthusiasm for writing grew, giving her a more in-depth look at the world of communications. Reilly is honored to be a Communications Fellow, and she looks forward to all that Elon has to offer her. She plans on double majoring in journalism and strategic communications.
Cam Williams was born and raised in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, where he attended Malvern Preparatory School. During his time at Malvern, Cam excelled in both the classroom and on the baseball field. As a member of the National Honor Society, he helped students at Malvern as well as people and organizations in the surrounding community. Having played the electric guitar for seven years, he was a member of the school’s band, which performed anything from Louis Armstrong to Metallica. Cam also wrote for Malvern’s school newspaper, The Blackfriar Chronicle, which is nationally recognized as one of the best high school newspapers in the country. It was the time he spent writing for the newspaper that allowed him to realize he wanted to pursue a communications major. In his free time, Cam enjoys listening to music, playing soccer with friends and reading. One day, Cam hopes to take the information and skills he learns at Elon and apply them to a job in baseball, the game he has loved since he was young. He is excited to take advantage of everything Elon has to offer, such as the study abroad program, internships and the Communications Fellows program.