Meet the 2023 Communications Fellows
The School of Communications welcomes its 2023 class of Communications Fellows. Fellows wrote their own mini biographies, which you can read below.
Javik Blake hails from Norton, Massachusetts, where he graduated from Norton High School. He graduated as a member of the National Honor Society, English Honor Society and History Honor Society. Javik has developed a deep love of sports, whether it’s playing, watching or broadcasting games. During his time in Norton Public Schools, Javik started his own student-run sports network, the Lancer Sports Network, during his 8th grade year. From there, he provided play-by-play for more than 135 games for the Norton Lancers, including broadcasts of sectional final and state title games. He called, edited, directed and produced broadcasts for baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball, football and softball. It was with LSN that Javik developed a love for broadcasting. He also had the opportunity to broadcast baseball games for the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA, Boston Red Sox) and hockey games for the Providence College Friars. For the final two summers of his high school career, Javik worked as a broadcast intern with the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League, where he ran cameras, produced, called games and hosted the pregame show. As well as broadcasting, Javik was also a member of the Norton High School baseball team, playing catcher and DHing. His dream is to one day be the radio voice of the New York Yankees on WFAN once his idol, John Sterling, retires. In his free time, you can find Javik watching baseball, hockey, football, basketball and cricket … probably all at once. Javik can’t wait to get started as a student at Elon University and is honored to be a Communications Fellow. Go Phoenix!
Kennedy Boston grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she graduated from Greensboro Day School. There, she discovered her passion for activism and joined her school’s Student Diversity Leadership Council. During her time in the organization, she helped triple the number of members and created a more inclusive community in her school, as she became the first president of the council and expanded its reach to include a branch of the council in the middle school. She was also a member of her school’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, where she became secretary and helped facilitate communications between other clubs and the general student body in order to further the inclusivity of her school community. For her culminating project during her senior year, Kennedy interned with Lincoln Financial Group and The National Conference for Community and Justice to unite her passions for activism and communications and to create a plan for the organization to increase participation and awareness within the community. She is also passionate about music, theatre and singing, and she was highly active in both the theatre and Noteworthy, her school’s choral group, for which she was the communications manager during her senior year. Kennedy is excited to be a part of the Communications Fellows program, and she hopes to pursue a degree in Cinema & Television Arts.
Michael Brown is from Evergreen, Colorado, where he graduated from Evergreen High School. In high school, Michael was the captain of the lacrosse team and a competitive freestyle skier. During his years on the lacrosse team, Michael was named honorable mention, all-conference and MVP, and he received the “Iron Man” award twice. Michael competed in Junior Nationals in 2017, where he placed fourth in halfpipe. Through skiing and creating a plethora of videos for his sponsorships and personal use, he developed his interest in studying communications. During Michael’s senior year, he interned at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. This internship allowed Michael to create a zine that he collaborated on, designed and even published. He is excited to major in Cinema & Television Arts and is also honored to be a Communications Fellow. He looks forward to the next four years at Elon.
Caroline Bunder was born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York, where she graduated from Mamaroneck High School. Caroline was drawn to her school yearbook club and, in four years, rose from head of ad sales and sports editor to editor-in-chief. As editor, she produced a 450-page yearbook and handled all aspects of the demanding production. Caroline has dabbled in podcast production and graphic design, but her true creative passion is photography. Even though teaching is not part of her future plans, Caroline has loved interning in a fourth-grade classroom and helping young elementary school students with their homework after school. At Elon, Caroline plans to pursue a career in journalism. She is honored to be a Communications Fellow and can’t wait to see where this opportunity takes her over the next four years.
Anna Cave is from Roswell, Georgia, where she graduated 12th in her class from Centennial High School. She danced from age 2 through her high school graduation, and she began to show an interest in leadership and communications as she progressed through high school. She joined FCA in her sophomore year and began serving on the leadership team as a junior. In her senior year of high school, Anna became the co-president of FCA and co-created the club FWD, a bible study that served as a welcoming community to the women of Centennial. Anna first developed a strong love for communications after beginning the Finding Something Beautiful blog in 2016 to reflect on her own life and provide encouragement and positivity to anyone who happened to come across it. The process of creating a blog instilled her interest in web and media design, media writing and analytics. As a result, she took a semester of her Directed Study course to learn about audience growth and engagement. During that semester, Anna increased her monthly page views on her blog by 422 percent and her unique visitors by 200 percent in four months. Anna found her love for communications through media creation, and after taking AP Statistics her senior year, she decided to major in Media Analytics to work “behind the scenes” of the media world. Anna is so excited to be a part of the Communications Fellows program and is looking forward to all the opportunities it offers.
Gayatri Chopra is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated from Providence High School. During her time in high school, she was an active member of Speech & Debate, making her way to two national tournaments, the club’s honor society and team captain in her senior year. In addition, she was given the Student of the Year Award for her district. Her time on the team helped her develop a passion for public speaking and leadership. Gayatri was also a staff member for her school’s literary-arts magazine, Roars and Whispers, for three years. She became the nonfiction editor in her second year and the copy editor in her last year. Being on staff improved her writing skills, helping her win district and state awards for her prose, poetry and nonfiction. Gayatri has also been involved in National Honor Society and the Quill & Scroll Honor Society for high school journalists. Outside of school, she has been dancing Kathak, a classical Indian form of dance, since she was 4 and has been a teaching assistant at her dance studio since she began high school. Gayatri is very excited to be a Communications Fellow and cannot wait to get involved in the Elon community.
Megan Curling graduated in the top 15 percent of her class from R.J. Reynolds Arts Magnet High School in nearby Winston-Salem, North Carolina. While at Reynolds, she enjoyed holding leadership positions in National Honor Society, Habitat for Humanity, Youth and Government and men’s lacrosse management. Most notably, Megan held the title of co-editor-in-chief of Pine Whispers Student Newspaper for three years, during which time she helped publish a monthly paper, instituted an online presence and assisted in the production of two Pulitzer Center documentaries. Additionally, she served for two years as both a business and social manager for the renowned a cappella program at her high school, while also singing in their all-female competition group. Outside of school, Megan can most frequently be found exploring local coffee shops, reading or planning new places to travel both in the United States and abroad. Megan is excited to further pursue her passion for journalism at Elon and is grateful to do so as a Communications Fellow.
Reid Dahill grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he graduated from New Canaan High School with honors. While there, he was co-president of the Service League of Boys, the largest volunteer organization at his high school. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and co-captain of the boys’ varsity squash team. Throughout his high school career, he pursued his passion for art by taking classes to expand his drawing and painting skills. He explored film and digital photography by taking classes at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Through his art, he found himself focusing on the narrative aspects of his projects. He wants to share unique and often overlooked stories. His interest in storytelling drew him to the field of communications and more specifically to Cinema & Television Arts. Reid hopes to develop his skills in visual storytelling and one day work in the film industry.
Mary Kate Douglas is from Nashville, Tennessee, where she graduated with honors from Ravenwood High School. During her time there she was involved in swim team, speech and debate, church worship band, National Art Honors Society and theatre. She fell head over heels for these final two activities, participating in 10 productions, where she would divide her time performing and set designing. Her favorite roles included Logainne in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Felicia in “I Hate Hamlet” and head art director for “Catch Me if You Can.” Outside theatre and as president of the National Art Honors Society during her senior year, she facilitated a partnership among her art class, The Memory Project and UNICEF to create portraits of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. She filmed their progress so the footage could be used by UNICEF for informational videos that raise awareness for the refugees. This project, combined with her interest in theatre and the production process, is what inspired her to pursue filmmaking in college. As a Cinema and Television Arts major, she is beyond excited to discover the opportunities the Communication Fellows program has to offer.
Kasey Fountain is from Apex, North Carolina, and a graduate of Athens Drive High School. During high school, Kasey participated in a variety of activities, from theater to chorus to orchestra. She also loves to write and was the president of a literary journal put together by her creative writing class. Above all else, the thing Kasey takes most pride in is her service work. She has volunteered at and raised money for countless charity organizations, and she started one of her own called Fright Nights, which is a haunted house put together by Kasey, her family and several of her friends and other volunteers. Together, they raised over $5,000 several years in a row for Duke Children’s Hospital and the Food Bank. With so many passions, Kasey was drawn to the communications field because of its endless possibilities. Whether it’s music, writing, acting or service, the field of communications offers something for everyone. Kasey is excited to pursue her passions at Elon and looks forward to all the great things the future holds.
Lily Gardner was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She attended Trinity School for her last two years of high school, where she became the co-editor of the school’s newspaper and the senior class representative. In addition, Lily participated in Model United Nations, was a basketball team manager and acted in theatre productions. For her senior capstone project, she established a student-run writing center to better equip her peers with organizational and grammatical skills. Through her involvement in these activities, Lily has become experienced in website design and video editing. She is a huge fan of college sports, particularly basketball, and enjoys spending time going to games with her family and friends. Lily volunteers with Special Olympics of Orange County, and she is often described as a “people person.” In the future, Lily hopes to pursue a career that combines her love of journalism with her love of sports. She is ecstatic to be at Elon and is honored to be a Communications Fellow.
Joey Gentile is from Saint James, New York, where he graduated from Smithtown High School East. While attending East, Joey worked as co-editor-in-chief of his school newspaper, The Matador. For two years, he served as vice president of Habitat for Humanity, and as a senior he was elected president of the Italian Honor Society. His academic achievements secured his place as a member of the National Honor Society. Joey also played on Smithown’s junior varsity and varsity tennis teams. Joey’s social awareness extended beyond his participation in school. He was a member and Youth Leader of the Saints Philip and James Parish Youth Ministry for four years and participated in countless social and community projects. As a youth leader, Joey underwent leadership training and attended the National Catholic Youth Conference. In addition to his extracurriculars, Joey enjoys reading writing screenplays, in addition to watching and analyzing movies. One of Joey’s strongest personality traits is developing strong relationships with his teachers, peers and mentors. By establishing these valued relationships and discussing the detailed aspects of story and filmmaking, he found his passion to tell stories that feature characters he can relate to and that make a difference. Joey intends to major in Cinema and Television Arts and pursue a career in the film industry with a focus on screenwriting. Joey is beyond excited and feels truly blessed and honored to be entering Elon as a Communications Fellow.
Natalie Hasemann is from Montgomery County in Maryland. She graduated from Richard Montgomery High School, where she also received her IB diploma. Natalie was a three-sport athlete in high school, running for her cross country team, swimming, and playing lacrosse and powderpuff football. In her senior year, Natalie was the captain of the swim team and continued her leadership as the 2019 head coach of her summer swim team. During senior year, Natalie was an avid participant in the National Honor Society and enjoyed tutoring younger students around the county. Film and communications have always been a huge part of Natalie’s life—whether it’s making fun short adventure films with her friends or conducting business interviews and showcases throughout New York City. Natalie found her love for film through a middle school magnet communications program and has carried it with her ever since—exploring new classes and film techniques all through high school. Natalie is excited to begin her college career at Elon and is eager to explore all that it has in store.
Hayley Loftus is from Morrisville, North Carolina, where she graduated summa cum laude from Panther Creek High School. As a young girl, she loved to write stories and dreamed of becoming a well-known and beloved author. But it wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school that her newfound love of screenwriting blossomed, as she studied it in her creative writing class. She developed her love of writing by signing up for summer teen writing workshops and serving on the board for her school’s slam poet society. With her love for service, she volunteered as a peer writing tutor and served three years on her church’s high school youth council, leading as a co-president her senior year. Outside of academics, Hayley loves to cook and bake. She is proud of her contribution toward creating the Triangle’s Best Cupcake of 2019. As a young activist, she also led her school’s equity team during her senior year. Hayley is extremely honored to be a Communications Fellow and is excited to grow and deepen her education at Elon.
Gabriella Mansour is from Jackson, New Jersey, and graduated from the Performing Arts Academy. In addition to portraying lead roles in her school’s renditions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Chicago,” Gabriella was greatly involved with PAA’s Performance Troupe that traveled to the middle schools in her area to recruit eighth-graders to audition for the Academy. During her senior year, she was a member of the National Honor Society and the International Thespian Society, and she served as president of her school’s elite Vocal Ensemble. When Gabriella was not staying after school for rehearsals, she assisted with teaching lyrical and hip-hop to young girls at her local dance studio. In addition to having a love for performance, she discovered her passion for public relations after having the privilege of being featured in New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Amazing Things advertising campaign. This life-changing experience exposed Gabriella to different parts of the communications industry and introduced her to a field that ignites her desire to convey a story to an audience. Gabriella is humbled to have been chosen as a Communications Fellow for the Class of 2023 and cannot wait to begin studying Strategic Communications at Elon University.
Emma McGrath is from Clarksburg, Maryland, where she graduated from Clarksburg High School. She spent most of her time there working in her school’s theatre program, serving as assistant director, scenic designer and backstage manager. Emma earned the title of National Honors Thespian and was part of the inaugural groups for her school’s Math and English Honor Societies. She began competitively swimming at age 7 and continued into high school. She made it to the Junior Olympics and was part of a relay team representing her school at a metro competition. During her time in high school, Emma developed a passion for storytelling and began spending more time outside of the pool (but she still enjoys swimming as a pastime). Emma spends most of her time creating short films and watching movies to begin building her own style, and she is ready to learn more about herself creatively. She is honored to be an Elon Communications Fellow and is ready to begin developing her voice in a new environment.
Kate McMahon is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated with honors from Community School of Davidson as a member of the National Honor Society. Kate discovered her love for communications and social issues in her journalism class. It became an outlet for her love of film and social issues, as she was encouraged and given the freedom to write about her passions and interests. Her enthusiasm for the class led to her being the first student to reach Level Four Journalism in the school’s history. She continued pursuing her passions by spending the summer of her junior year at New York University in Manhattan studying cinema and social issues. Kate invested much of her free time into her school’s dance program which she was a part of for four years. She and her dance team worked together to student-produce a dance rendition of the musical “Chicago” in which she choreographed and starred as a lead. Kate has chosen to continue her studies by double majoring in Journalism and Cinema & Television Arts. She is excited to be a Communications Fellow and can’t wait to reach her full potential at Elon.
Jacob Meyers is from Durham, North Carolina, where he graduated from Jordan High School. In high school, Jacob discovered his love of filmmaking and communications in his work with the Durham Bulls and his freelancing as a camera operator for Duke University’s Blue Devil Network. Jacob gained valuable experience within a live broadcast environment while interning with the Bulls, which led to his opportunity to direct and produce full broadcasts of Durham Bulls games aired on MiLB.TV and a local TV station. In the last three years, he has been training and mentoring other high school students on the many positions that go into a live sports broadcast. During his senior year, Jacob also earned the opportunity to freelance for Duke’s Blue Devil Network, which broadcasts all of Duke’s home sporting events on ESPN3. Jacob ran camera for many Duke games, even getting his shot of Zion Williamson’s 360 dunk against Clemson onto ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Top 10. In his free time, Jacob enjoys making his own films, having produced music videos for some of his classmates. Jacob is thrilled for the opportunity to be a Communications Fellow at Elon University and plans to use his time at Elon, and in programs such as Elon in LA, to master the art of filmmaking and production.
Katie Norman hails from Needham, Massachusetts, and graduated with high honors from Lexington Christian Academy. Katie developed a passion for entertainment at a young age, originally in music and theater. She sang soprano in her high school’s Chorale and Chamber Singers ensembles and was section leader her junior and senior years. She also participated in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Festival chorus. As a senior, Katie served as the chorale prefect, where she organized school-wide events with other prefect board members, while serving as a student leader and advocate for the arts. She has also lent her voice to her school’s chapel band and Sunday School worship at her church. Katie has been involved in theatre both in and outside of school, with recent roles as Miss Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls” and Éponine in “Les Misérables.” She also completed a Theatre Arts Concentration in high school. She wrote reviews for several professional productions, analyzing shows’ various technical aspects, and took private acting classes to further enhance her storytelling skills. During the spring of her senior year, she interned in the offices of a Boston regional theater company, learning how publicity and marketing contribute to a production’s success. She sharpens her insight into the entertainment industry by reading movie news, reviews and box office trackings. Katie is excited to major in Cinema & Television Arts at Elon and to explore new opportunities and learn about the changing landscape of the media and entertainment industries.
Kyra O’Connor is from Dublin, Ohio, and graduated from Dublin Scioto High School. Kyra was involved in many extracurriculars during her time at Scioto, including Drama Club, National Honor Society, Girl Scouts, cross country, Irish Fiddle Fetish, French Club, Ladies Lunch and the Irish Eye, Scioto’s news magazine. She served as editor-In-chief of the Irish Eye in her final year on staff and gained a wealth of experience in both journalism and leadership. Kyra’s journalistic career began at age 13, when she was selected to be a Scholastic Kid Reporter for the state of Ohio. She attended many events along the 2016 campaign trail, including the first Republican debates and the Republican National Convention and wrote both local and national stories throughout her time at Scholastic. Since then Kyra has written and interned for READY magazine and published her first professional piece in the 2019 winter edition of Ms. Magazine. Kyra is excited to be part of the Communications Fellows program and to continue to improve as a journalist and grow as a human being. She plans on majoring in Journalism and cannot wait to be a Phoenix.
Tyler Oldham was born in Denver, Colorado, where he graduated cum laude from Regis Jesuit High School. Tyler played lacrosse for three years and was an admissions ambassador for the school. During his sophomore year, he fell in love with journalism and media-production while working with RJ Media, his school news organization. As an upperclassman, he became a leader of the organization, managing social media and producing films. During his time with RJ Media, he produced a variety of segments, from investigative journalism to live event coverage to a podcast. Tyler is planning on being a part of Elon News Network and Live Oak Communications. As a Colorado native, he’s excited to experience living somewhere new. He plans to major in Media Analytics with a Business minor.
Olivia Parks was born and raised in Reisterstown, Maryland, graduating third in her class from Franklin High School. Outside the classroom, Olivia was an active member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Key Club, and she served on the executive board of the National Art Honor Society and Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society. She was also a captain of the varsity softball and badminton teams at her school. Olivia has been interested in pursuing a creative career from a young age and has continued to develop her passions for art, photography, fashion and filmmaking as she has grown up. Finding her greatest inspiration through travel, Olivia has created documentaries of each of her family vacations for as long as she can remember, and she is excited to study abroad and continue her traveling tradition. She recently produced a film for her church’s youth group that highlighted the process of planning and choreographing its annual youth Sunday service, and she took senior portraits for many of her friends. Olivia enrolled in her first graphic design course as a junior in high school and quickly fell in love with the process of creating digital art, as well. She has since used her skills to create a logo for her school’s mock trial team and a variety of posters highlighting causes she is passionate about. In her free time, Olivia can be found editing her latest short film, planning her next photoshoot or playing the piano and ukulele. She is extremely grateful and excited to be spending the next four years as a Communication Design major and Communications Fellow, and she can’t wait to experience all that Elon has to offer.
Rebecca Potters was raised in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, where she graduated from Cedar Grove High School. Rebecca began high school with no clue what her future held. She jumped from extracurricular to extracurricular, trying to find who she was meant to be. It wasn’t until the end of her sophomore year that she found an organization that changed her life: the film club. Rebecca’s English teacher recruited her to help revive the school’s film club, after it had laid dormant for several years. Together with a tight-knit group of students passionate about film, Rebecca began creating short films and helped organize the first ever CGHS Annual Film Festival. Rebecca realized while writing scripts as part of the film club that she had a love for storytelling, creating and production. And she intends to major in Cinema and Television Arts and Strategic Communications. She also plans on minoring in Political Science because of her formative senior-year experience serving as secretary for her school’s new club Vox Populi: Education on Politics. Rebecca is honored to be a Communications Fellow and cannot wait to start her hard work and extensive learning with the cohort.
Simon Roach grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire, and graduated from Hanover High School. In school, Simon was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and lacrosse. He finished his high school career as captain of his respective teams and achieved All-State honors in football and lacrosse. He also participated in Student Council and Peer Leadership, which fit into a broad interest in group decision making and leadership. Hence, the School of Communication’s Sport Management major is a great fit. In addition to an interest in sports, Simon has enjoyed traveling and experiencing different cultures, and he is looking forward to studying abroad while at Elon. Simon is excited to jump into studies at Elon and to meet his new classmates.
Violet Robertson graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where she currently resides with her parents and younger brother. During her time at THS, she was a member of the varsity soccer, football, basketball, and track and field teams. While soccer has been her favorite sport since she first started playing at the age of 3, she took a chance on a new sport, becoming the first female football player in the history of her high school. When not on the field, court or track, Violet spent her time singing with the Trebles (a female a cappella group), volunteering with Pottstown CARES (a local community development organization for which she was a leader) or spending time with the cats at her local Petco (where she was an active volunteer). After a few opportunities shadowing professionals at the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) and Philadelphia Union (MLS) organizations, Violet knew the field of Sport Management was right for her. Once she had that figured out, Elon quickly became the clear choice for her. She is excited to join the community and the other Fellows in the fall.
Juliana Schiano is from Berwyn, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Conestoga High School with an All-School Scholar designation. Juliana has always been enthusiastic about her many diverse interests. During her four years at Conestoga, she held leadership positions in several organizations, including Kerrage (a service club specializing in helping those suffering from life-altering illnesses) theater, Peer Mediation (a wide-reaching service organization) and TEDxStoga (a platform for student speakers). While all of these experiences were incredibly rewarding, the most personally meaningful to Juliana was her involvement with Body Posi Stoga, a body positivity support and awareness club she founded as an outlet for her own struggles with mental health and body image. Juliana grew up with a fascination for the artistry and expression behind makeup and fashion, but her personal struggles caused her to have a difficult relationship with this industry. Her introduction to the body positivity movement on social media sparked a desire in her to use this powerful platform to encourage acceptance and authenticity online. She eventually found that she was able to combine these interests in makeup, photography and online transparency by creating and running her own website, where she shares her makeup designs, photography, fashion and writing. During her senior year, Juliana interned at the Free People headquarters in Philadelphia with their Social Media and Creative Marketing department, which solidified her desire for a career in this industry. Juliana is ecstatic to head to Elon this fall, where she cannot wait to learn and grow in such an innovative and nurturing environment.
Taylor Schmitt is from Glen Allen, Virginia, where she lives with her parents, her younger brother and her dog, Easton. A 2019 graduate of Glen Allen High School with high honors, Taylor was a member of many clubs and organizations, including National Honor Society, Math National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. She was also treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America her senior year. Taylor has grown up in a sports-oriented family. She was athletically active in each of her high school years and competed in multiple sports, including playing field hockey and being a successful sprinter on her track and field team, for which she earned several school records, all-region and all-state honors. If you can’t find her competing at her own events, you can certainly find her supporting her brother at his baseball games, cheering on her beloved Philadelphia Eagles, working at her family’s sports and entertainment related business at various venues around Virginia, or volunteering within her community. Taylor has always been an active member of her local community, volunteering closely with Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association as an umpire, scoreboard operator and concession manager. Additionally, she served as the volunteer coordinator of the 2017 Babe Ruth World Series, as well as the state tournament director in 2018. She has also managed a portion of her father’s social media promotions for his successful local political campaigns. Taylor is excited to be continuing her passion for sports at Elon University as a Communications Fellow majoring in Sport Management.
Brian Segovia was born in Lexington, North Carolina, but has lived in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area most of his life. He attended Charlotte Christian School, where he graduated in 2019, with a seal of biliteracy for his fluency in both English and Spanish. During his time at Charlotte Christian, he was a member of the TRI-M Honors Society, delegate and chair for Charlotte Model United Nations (CHARMUN), member of the school news channel “Knights Knews” and a sportscaster for the Charlotte Christian sports broadcasting livestream. He also played the viola in the school orchestra and was a member of the soccer, tennis and track teams. Brian has not only loved playing sports, but also connecting with others through sports. His involvement in the school and the community has set a burning passion inside of him for all things international and political, as well as a love for broadcasting and television. With these in mind, he was an intern at the Matthews Public Library Satellite Studio during his senior year, where he taught people about video production. He received the Steve Byrnes Memorial Broadcasting award, which led to an internship at Fox Sports 1 as a NASCAR production intern during the summer of 2019. His family is from Argentina and Uruguay, so he has always had a strong connection to the Hispanic culture that he wants to share with as many people as possible. In school, he helped start a global awareness program. Combining his love for Latin America and other cultures with broadcasting is his goal. He is thrilled to be a Communication Fellows, and he looks forward to continuing to pursue what he loves.
Abbie Skladan is from New Bern, North Carolina, where she graduated with honors from the Epiphany School of Global Studies. Growing up, Abbie was an avid swimmer who competed for both her local YMCA and school varsity team. Her interest in Communications began when she became a member of the Media Corps for the North Carolina Youth and Government program, an annual four-day conference for high school students based on a mock state government. She also participated in the national-level conference, where she proudly represented North Carolina as a media delegate. After serving NC YAG as photography editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief, she came to realize that Communications was her passion. Abbie was also involved in her school’s Student Ambassador program, National Honor Society, Junior Classical League and yearbook staff, where she served as business editor during her senior year. Her school gave her the opportunity to travel to England, Italy, Costa Rica, Ireland, China and Belize. Her passion for travel has her excited to participate in an Elon’s study abroad program. When she is not in the pool, behind a camera or on a plane, Abbie spends her time with her dogs and friends at the beach. Abbie is honored to be a Communications Fellow and looks forward to the opportunities it will give her in the future.
Maggie Smith grew up in the small town of Haddonfield, New Jersey, as the oldest of four children. She graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School as a member of the National Honor Society, as well as a peer leader in the Peer Leadership program, where she was selected among her teachers to guide younger students through their freshman year. Maggie was also involved in student government and served as secretary of her senior class. Participating in student government and serving her classmates during her four years of high school taught her about communication, organization and leadership. She was also voted to be the captain of the tennis team her senior year and led her team all the way to the state championship. Maggie enjoyed volunteering at her local theatre as the high school director for a program targeted to pre-k through early elementary-aged campers. Her most rewarding activity within the past four years was her work with the nonprofit organization Help Women and Children Now, whose goal is to raise money and awareness about premature heart diseases. As the charity’s event chairwoman, Maggie put together an auction that raised more than $30,000. Through her work with HWCN, Maggie discovered her love of marketing and advertising, as well as the concept of branding. While she is unsure of exactly what her future plans will hold, she does know that studying Strategic Communications and Marketing as a Communications Fellow will lead her in the right direction. Maggie is honored to be a part of the Fellows program, and she cannot wait to see what the next four years at Elon bring.
Andrea Stebbins is from Norwood, Massachusetts, where she graduated summa cum laude from Norwood High School and was a member of both the National Honor Society and the National Foreign Language Honor Society. During her high school years, Andrea served as a mentor to incoming freshmen, played on the tennis team (becoming captain in her senior year) and played a leading or featured role in many musical and theatrical productions. Andrea also acted in several productions at local community theaters, was a member of an award-winning musical theater competition team and was published in the Theatre Development Fund’s magazine, TDF Stages. Andrea volunteered tirelessly at local theater companies of all sizes, from the Bay Colony Performing Arts Academy to the Providence Performing Arts Center, working as a stage manager, backstage manager, choreographer, assistant director, teacher’s assistant, usher, greeter and more. She was one of the youngest of 20 volunteers selected to be a Boch Center Ambassador, where she performed grassroots marketing through media and print to promote professional shows for The Wang and Shubert Theatres in Boston. As a result of her volunteer work in the arts and the community, Andrea was recognized with a T.O.N.Y. Award (Ten Outstanding Norwood Youth) and received a citation from the governor of Massachusetts. In her senior year, Andrea was chosen by The Un-Common Theatre Company to direct 30 elementary school children in their production of “Peter Pan JR.” Andrea’s dream is to channel her love for the arts and communications into television and film as a producer. Andrea is honored to be a Communications Fellow and plans to double major in Cinema & Television Arts and Management.
Brandon Talton graduated with high honors from Wayne Country Day School in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He was active in various campus organizations, where he held leadership positions such as junior class president, president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and treasurer of the Student Government Association. During the summer before his junior year, Brandon spent a month in Ronda, Spain, where he lived with a host family and studied Spanish at Ronda Lingua. He ran track, was the statistician for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams and ran cross country on a state championship team. While on the bus rides to and from these athletic events, Brandon developed an interest in writing stories. When they became popular with his friends, with requests to write more, he realized that he wanted to create works that would not only be read but seen on the screen. Honored to be a member of Elon University’s Communications Fellows program, Brandon is looking forward to majoring in Cinema & Television Arts so that he may further explore his interest in storytelling and take advantage of the numerous opportunities the School of Communications and Elon University have to offer.
Taylor Truitt is from Mount Airy, Maryland, where she graduated with high honors from Urbana High School. Taylor was a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, and president of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Throughout high school, she was involved in a plethora of extracurricular activities including dance classes, the Urbana High Dance Team, club volleyball and the Urbana High volleyball team. She hopes to continue these hobbies in some capacity at Elon. From a young age Taylor has had a love for art. When she was younger, she indulged her passion by taking a variety of summer art classes. Once in high school, she continued to improve her skills by taking courses in drawing and painting and computer graphics. Through those classes and school projects, her love for art transformed into a passion for design. Taylor will be majoring in Communication Design with aspirations for a career related to design and media. She is extremely honored to be a Communications Fellow and is excited to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Taylor can’t wait for her next four years at Elon.
Jacob Van Buren was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, but grew up in Anderson, South Carolina. He graduated magna cum laude from Westside High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club. Additionally, Jacob has played the violin for eight years and has received numerous awards for his playing, including the National School Orchestra Student Award his senior year as well as over 15 ensemble and orchestra-wide superior ratings at competitions. Outside of high school, he spent a lot of his time professionally cooking and working at the cinema. Jacob developed a strong interest in communications while at Boys State the summer before his senior year, when he brought along his camera and documented the unique experience of his city. He hopes to combine his passions for storytelling, history and photography by working as an automotive photojournalist. Jacob is deeply honored to be a Communications Fellow and can’t wait to start his journey as an Elon Phoenix.