ElonComm puts the ‘home’ in Homecoming

Students, faculty and staff connected with 14 alumni during the School of Communications’ “Networking from Home” virtual event held during Homecoming Week.

The School of Communications’ “Networking From Home” program, hosted on Oct. 15 during the university’s weeklong Homecoming celebration, drew tremendous interest.

From their dorm rooms, editing suites and outdoor tents, students were introduced to 14 alumni during the School of Communications’ “Networking From Home” program, a virtual take on the annual Homecoming networking event.

A digital slide promoting the “Networking From Home” event.

The casual networking event on Oct. 15 allowed students to ask alumni about their experiences at Elon, during internships and throughout their careers. The participating alumni introduced themselves before the event dispersed into breakout rooms for more intimate conversations

The alumni said taking advantage of Elon’s many resources inside and outside the classroom is key, and helped them post graduation. Hayley Longbottom ‘16, a lead visual designer at Bbot, said getting involved in the school’s publications, like The Pendulum and the Edge, as well as Live Oak Communications, helped her create foundational skills.

“Because I was a communication design major, getting this out-of-classroom experience and feeling this responsibility to a job was very, very important,” Longbottom said.

Longbottom and several of her accompanying alumni explained that they wished they had taken more classes outside of their majors while at Elon, seeking opportunities beyond the School of Communications. This is advice Patrick Rees ‘05, vice president of communications for the Philadelphia 76ers, has shared time and again when talking to students. And it’s something he wishes he had heard as a student.

Neima Abdulhai ’13, a four-time Emmy-nominated journalist, said the on-campus experience that inspired her the most was helping launch Limelight Records, the university’s student-run record label. It was an idea Abdulhai first proposed as a first-year student, and an experience she looks back on fondly. The alumna encouraged current students to make their own opportunities in the School of Communications.

“If there’s something that you’re passionate about and it doesn’t make sense, it’s OK if your job doesn’t have a job title yet, it’s up to you to create,” Abdulhai said. 

Nick Margherita ’14, G’15 implored students to use the resources and technology available in The Gear Room and learn how to use equipment on sets, which were important for his development.

While several of the alumni knew from a young age what they wanted to do in college, Sam Coury ‘13 said she was undecided and uncertain, but an internship ultimately helped dictate her path. Today, Coury works as the manager for advertising strategy and planning for the PGA TOUR.

“I did a lot of [internships], and they were incredibly helpful for taking the academic learning and putting that into practice, and deciding if that actually fit me in a full-time job perspective,” Coury said. “It’s one thing to hear about it and learn about, and it’s another to be spending 40-plus hours a week doing that thing.”

Alumni participants

Neima Abdulahi ’13

Katherine Blunt ’15

Sam Coury ’13

Stephanie Hays ’18

Tarah Holland G’16

Haley Longbottom ’16

Nick Margherita ’14 G’15

Shelby McKay ’13

Patrick Rees ’05

Jane Seidel ’17

Rachel Sun ’15

Ben Stringfellow ’15

Gabriela Walding ’13

Asha Michelle Wilson ’13