Alumni Testimonials

Doug Buser, Communication Studies, 2010

A volatile job market often forces forward-looking undergraduates to pursue specialized degrees with specific career paths. Although this philosophy works for some, your passions may change throughout the different seasons of your career. Communications professionals are needed by almost all organizations, and in the digital age, organizations are turning to communications professionals to tell their story; empowering you to decide if you want to be their storyteller. My degree in Communication Studies has made my young professional career anything but stagnate. It has allowed me to travel around the country; work for global and boutique organizations; be quoted in local, national, and international media publications; run emergency management exercises; restructure an organization's internal communication strategies; conduct training seminars and lectures; create organizational change through strategic initiatives; and discover my passions while actually in the workplace - not in a classroom. A successful career means enjoying what you do. If you don't enjoy it; stop doing it. My Communication Studies degree has given me the opportunity to explore and contribute to a just and humane world.

Lillian Carabeo, Communication Studies, 2001

I've worked in apparel merchandising and buying, bought promotional products and print, raised money for nonprofits, and market replacement parts for power equipment.  Now I'm preparing to launch a new esthetics business. So you could say I've done a little bit of everything. As I am launching my new business, I've identified getting and retaining clients will be the key to making my business successful.  My Communication degree has given me the tools to do more than just market my business, but also build the relationships to sustain it. Mara Adelman [retired Spring 2013] would always say that one of the great things about being a Communication Studies major is that we don't need to know a product, but we understood process and that would take us anywhere.  My Communication degree has taken me to the world of apparel, manufacturing, fundraising, marketing, and becoming a business owner.  I didn't always know or understand the product I worked with, but always know how to identify my audience, understand them, then persuade them.

Marilyn Clement, Journalism, 1977

The journalism degree I received from Seattle U provided me with the foundation upon which I was able to build a lifetime of learning and community outreach. Given the communications skills acquired,helped me to empower those unable to make their voices heard. Imbued with that sense of Jesuit mission, I served as a court appointed special advocate for abused, abandoned and neglected children in both King County Juvenile and Family Courts. As an independent hearing officer for Seattle Public Housing, I heard cases brought by residents against SHA. At the King County Dispute and Resolution Center, I listened to landlord/tenant complaints with the intention of working toward settlement. And, finally I have written personal narratives for Hospice patients imparting lasting legacies for their families. While some of these positions have been paid, others have not. But, each has been equally rewarding. I have been enriched beyond measure. Because of the exceptional education I received at the hands of such dedicated faculty, I have been committed to giving back to the institution that has given me so much. Having served on both the Board of Governors and the Board of Regents has not only enabled me to remain in close touch with the university, but to have made some lasting friendships. I have also volunteered as a mentor for the Entrepreneurship Center, and the Yesler Terrace Photography Project as part of the SU Youth Initiative.I never step onto the campus, without coming away with a sense of real fulfillment. For me, Seattle University, is a very special place.

Jabari Smith Fraser, Strategic Communication, 2008

Upon graduating, I moved to London to complete my first year of the joint master's degree program offered by the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC Annenberg). I am currently living in Los Angeles to finish my final year of the program at USC Annenberg, and expect to graduate in 2014. SU has played a pivotal role in motivating me to take an international approach to my post-graduate studies, while also providing me with the academic tools to make post-graduate education a reality. My SU education has also been a big contributor to the development of my own global consciousness, as well as my constant awareness of social justice issues.

John Paul Fukumae, Strategic Communications, 2011

Two days after graduation at Key Arena, I took my passions for the entertainment industry and moved down to California to pursue a career in entertainment media. I landed an internship at Soapbox Films, a creative agency that produces Disney Channel content and was introduced to the world of film production.

From there, I continued to pursue entertainment in a more focused direction in marketing and landed my current job at NBC Universal in the Home Entertainment Publicity Department. I've been blessed to work on national publicity campaigns for Despicable Me 2, Fast & Furious 6, Pitch Perfect, Oblivion & Dr. Suess' the Lorax and apply what I've learned about PR from our amazing Communication professors at SU.

In my spare time, I volunteer for Wong Fu Productions and International Secret Agents, both production companies that create original content on YouTube that highlight and showcase Asian-Americans with talent such as Far East Movement, Ryan Higa, KevJumba & Freddie Wong.

My latest project that I founded is called "Always Summer," a YouTube Channel that aims to educate and inspire individuals to chase after their dreams with passion and creativity. We highlight the stories of people who are passionate about their career paths to discover why they do what they do and how they got there, with aspirations to influence a new media generation and change the way they think about their career choices. Check out our videos at

Mark Gross, Communication Studies, 2003

After a stint with a marketing agency, I worked for a startup called Matter Group (maker of eco-friendly kids' entertainment products) for three years, serving first as director and then VP of marketing and communication. Then I returned to the corporate world, working for the past four years at Wunderman, a global marketing agency with annual revenues of one billion dollars.

I started as the senior marketing communication manager for the Seattle office, was promoted to director a year later, and was recently promoted to VP of communication for the company's North American region.  Given that I had just wrapped up a 10-year gig as a flight attendant when I entered SU in 2001, I'd say my education has more than paid off in terms of job satisfaction and opportunities for professional growth.   

In addition providing the foundational skills I needed to pursue a career in the communication field-my time in the communication department gave me an appreciation of the power of persuasive communication to effect societal change.  My communication-ethics classes also brought to light my passion for animal welfare, and I soon realized my talent for persuasive communication could be used to help that cause.

The culmination of my service-learning requirement at SU-a three-month gig as a kennel attendant at the PAWS canine shelter-has continued uninterrupted and led me to join the PAWS board of directors six years ago.  In December I will complete my second year as the president of the PAWS board, and I'm proud to say I've had a positive impact on the organization and overseen a period of prosperity and ambitious growth that allowed the organization to better spread its messages while helping even more companion animals and distressed/injured wildlife. 

 My experience at Seattle University was utterly transformative, and I speak highly of the quality of an SU education and the caliber of its educators to anyone who will listen.  I credit SU with helping me develop my ethical code and my ability to think critically, and the communication department was at the center of my growth and learning.

Lindsay Herbst, Communication Studies, 2005

I am a research analyst at Shook, Hardy and Bacon LLC. I've worked for the firm a little over 2.5 years. I feel like my time in the comm department helped me fine tune my written and interpersonal skills, both of which are crucial to any job post-college. I am so thankful for my comm degree because it is extremely versatile. Since graduating in 2005, I've worked in both the public and private sectors.

Sayaka Ikushima, Communication Studies, 2001

I went back to Japan after I graduated and I worked for a Systems Integration Company (IT) for 6 years starting off as an engineer, then a project manager, and then a product marketing manager. I've been blessed with so many great work opportunities including a mobile service deployment project in Russia where I had spent 9 months in Moscow. I managed to work in my company for 6 years but realized I wanted to go back to an English speaking country again so I decided to leave Japan and I've been living in Melbourne, Australia since 2008. After working for the Victorian Government, I now work as a Service Delivery Relationship Manager for an American Mobile device management company called AirWatch. I also completed my double degree in Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Information Technology at Deakin University in Melbourne.

 My study at SU changed me completely. To this day I still remember why I decided to major Communication Studies and not Psychology. The first ever class I took with Mara Adelman [retired 2013], she said "you can not NOT communicate" and that was what grabbed my heart. It was the beginning of my journey into the world of communication, rhetoric, public speaking, interpersonal, and persuasion. I'm sure you have heard so many students say this to you but Jeff Philpott [currently University core director] and Mara Adelman were my inspiration.  To this day, I still remember our classes; I still talk about it to my parents, my friends. Those 4 years weren't easy, but they certainly were some of the best years of my life.

 My career does not directly involve communications, meaning I am still in the IT industry and not communication or media. However, I do apply what I have studied in my work space on daily basis.

Caitlin Joyce, Strategic Communications, 2011

My education at Seattle University opened many doors and experiences for me. I've had the opportunity to work for clients ranging from Universal Pictures to Motorola Mobility. I've worn many different hats as an intern for a boutique entertainment firm and I've seen the world of global communications first hand, working as an intern at an influential PR giant - Weber Shandwick.

As a Strategic Communications major at Seattle University, I learned about the importance of managing a brand and client's reputation, as well as how to be intentional with messaging and true to a brand's identity. As a Seattle University alumna I am thrilled to be utilizing my knowledge of the SU brand on a daily basis as the Marketing Coordinator for the Office of Alumni Relations.

In my job I manage a bit of everything from social media strategy, copy and script writing, to website development and strategic brainstorms. All skills I developed during my education and continue to hone throughout my career. It's thanks to Seattle University that I was not only prepared to find a job in my career field, but was given the tools to excel as a communications professional.

Nick McCarvel, Journalism, 2008

I went through the Seattle U communication department in a span of four years that began without Facebook and ended with Twitter being a daily-news must. As the journalism landscape shifted over those years and since, I have continued to work to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. While in school, the department shifted and changed as the market did, my classes in new media journalism, website building and dynamic reporting preparing me for my move to media-centric New York in 2008.

What really sticks with me are the basics from the department, rooted in newspaper reporting and journalism ethics. As a freelance sports reporter and writer, I feel sturdied by my degree with my knowledge of sound fact-gathering, proper use of sources and reporting with a conscience. There was also a demand at SU for high-quality, no-corners-cut final products in the work we did for our professors, a practiced routine that employers and editors recognize and appreciate - and the kind of work ethic that plainly helps me land jobs in an extremely competitive and over-saturated market.

In my work, I've covered tennis at Wimbledon, the US Open and around the globe and have often had to toe the line between journalism and public relations. But knowing the difference of the two is something that is easily apparent to me because of my degree and of the importance of recognizing not only who my audience is, but also who I'm working for, and how I tailor my angles and writing style to suit.

Andres Munt, Communication Studies, 2012

My time at Seattle U was valuable in teaching me about communication, argument and the importance each of our interactions. Moreover, it taught me why communications matter. The knowledge that I gained at SU helped shape me in my personal and professional life. When I sat down for my first day of class I had clear goals, and the faculty made sure that I maximized my time at SU so that I could accomplish each one. After graduating in 2012, I applied and was accepted into the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. I would not have been able to complete such a feat without the support and knowledge that I gained during my time as an SU communications major.

Tristin Oldani, Communication Studies, 2004

The last I spoke with Jeff Philpott [now University Core Director] I was asking for a letter of recommendation for a PR internship opportunity in South Africa back in 2007. After completing my internship over there I came back and immediately started to pursue a new direction with my career and had an interest in the web and communications and how intertwined they were. I enrolled at Arizona State University for a Master’s in Graphic Information Technology and started working for a startup company called Stat Doctors. Stat Doctors was founded by an ER doctor who wanted to provide virtual visits online between ER doctors and patients, thus removing unnecessary non-life threatening visits (examples such as strep throat and bladder infections) from continuously clogging the ER. They had the added benefit of using my communication skills mixed with my technology skills to get this technology not only developed but also communicated. As I was working there I decided to submit for an internship at a company called Intel which was conveniently located across the street from where I was living. Intel called, I interviewed, and was given an offer of a technical graduate internship. I worked Stat Doctors and Intel and finished my Master’s from ASU in that same year. I quickly looked for an internal permanent position the summer before I graduated and found a group that needed someone with my skills. I have been with the Corporate Services group working as a web designer and have now transitioned into a Business Analyst roll, among other roles I’ve worked in such as User Experience and Project Management. One common theme and really important skill that I have always taken pride in is my communication abilities in a very engineer driven environment. I approach my work from this perspective and it has been an extremely important talent that I use on a daily basis.

Some of the classes such as speech, which I was already comfortable with, and Jeff Philpott’s class on rhetoric as well as our senior class, have helped me on shaping my messages and delivering them. Mara Adelman [retired Spring 2013] setup some career development seminars my senior year that I attended and they truly did resonate. “Network, network, network”, that was drilled into us and it stuck. Also when they brought Alums in from the communications program from all different careers was so helpful. The variety of their jobs and the different directions they went in were a very helpful perspective of how versatile my degree really was. When I was a student I got rat holed into thinking that I was supposed to be a journalist or work in PR but really my world was massive and I was able to build upon it with another degree to expand even more.

Thomas Overton, Journalism, 2013

I couldn't be more thankful for Seattle University. I transferred over, first from Oregon State and then two years later, Cascadia Community College. I chose journalism because I wanted to get into the broadcasting field and I knew this was as close as I would get to it. I didn't know however, that it would be so useful. My first day here in Anchorage I was asked to not only go out and shoot but write the voice overs for the story. I then edited it into a VOSOT, (Voice Over, Sound On Tape or an interview). I had to learn quickly and because of the writing skills and the training I received from the MPC Learning Center I was able to turn packages that day for the station. Since then I have been forecasting the weather and you can see me at

Jordan Symington, Communication Studies Minor (Spanish Major), 2011

My Communication degree has taken me to two new coasts! I lived and studied abroad in Granada, Spain, where I applied my Communication Studies knowledge to first-hand experiences in cross-cultural and bi-lingual communication.  I have also lived and worked in the NYC metro area, relying on my Communication degree to land and work two public relations jobs.  My time in the Communication Department has provided a strong foundation for becoming an increasingly engaging educator.  As a high school Spanish teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to facilitate meaningful communication between me, my students, parents, fellow faculty members, and administrators, so that we can together help students succeed.  Beyond my career, the Communication Department has also given me foundation I need to continue to improve my communication and messages no matter who I'm interacting with.

Betsy Yanasak, Communication Studies, 2000

I’m a Communication Director for Anchor QEA, a (mostly) national environmental consulting company.  I started with the company in 2000 when there were 20 people in Seattle. We’re now over 300 people in 26 offices and I lead business development.  My favorite responsibility is planning, organizing, and running the annual company retreat, where we get all employees in the same place for team building, training, and departmental collaboration. Our team is responsible for small projects, such as designing open house invitations and holiday cards, to large efforts – Brand Identity, communication plans for our clients, website design, and strategic planning.  All of our department’s projects are guided by the company core values, and communication balances technical expertise of the science and engineering with the need for any audience to understand the message.

The combination of coursework, activities, workshops, and internships really helped me prepare for my career. I remember being in the Professional Development night my Junior year and having that “Oh crap!” moment, where I realized I wasn’t doing everything I should to prepare myself for joining the professional world. The emphasis placed on networking, internships, and professional organization participation early on were critical in preparing me for the transition. As the younger generations come into the work force, I’ve noticed that there are fewer staff who have been through this type of training. Also, tailoring messages for your audience, using communication to spark specific outcomes, and critically looking at messages in the media have been personally valuable for me.

Christian Zabala, Communication Studies, 2013

Since graduating from Seattle University with a degree in Communication Studies I've been able to get an internship with a local marketing company to help with their social networking campaigns for their clients. Alongside of work, my degree has helped me create a mindset of working towards the next opportunity. I left my part time job at the hospital after working there for 4 years in order to pursue my goals in the music & entertainment business. Although doing such a thing can be frowned upon, I crave for the opportunity to do something exciting and different. Although the process of pursuing these goals are still fresh, I find no regrets in doing so and I believe that going to Seattle University helped me realize further that hard work pays off and if you want something then you have to be willing to do things that you have never done in order to get something that you have never had.


Contact Us

Christopher Paul, PhD
Department Chair

Verna McKinnon-Hipps
Administrative Assistant
Phone: 206.296.2034