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For Immediate Release

July 28, 2010

Communication studies alums triumph in health, risk, and strategic communication opportunities


EWING, NJ ... Attending the nation’s top-ranked graduate schools in public health, health communication and public affairs, graduates of the communication studies department at TCNJ find excellent positions in health, risk, and strategic communication.

Three alums who attended the nation’s top-ranked school of public health at Johns Hopkins (JHU) have benefited substantially: Tom Hipper ’07, entering his second year at JHU, has a nine-month internship working for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in DC. Spiro Yulis’99 works in business-to-business marketing between pharmaceuticals and physicians, and Yvonne (Lachmann) Sprow’03 is employed in the healthcare unit of Burson-Marsteller, one of the largest public relations firms in the world. Another master’s in public health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry –NJ (UMDNJ), Jennifer Smith’99, works for the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services as Health Educator, Vaccine Preventable Disease Program

Two other communication studies alums have earned highly coveted internships at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health. After earning a master’s in health communication at Ohio State University, Dana Eisenberg ’07 spent one year at the NCI prior to joining a DC consulting firm, BLH Technologies, Inc., as a Communications Specialist on contracts for the Office of Family Assistance and Child Care Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families, DHHS. Alissa D’Amelio ’06 had a summer internship with NCI en route to master’s degrees in health communication at George Mason University (GMU) and now works for the Greater New York Hospital Association. Also finishing a master’s in health communication at GMU, Brian Keefe ’08 has worked for the Sun Safety Alliance, Reston, VA, and now tests the effectiveness of therapies for Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Two recent alums have just earned 2010 Master’s in Public Administration degrees from the nation’s top-ranked graduate school of public affairs, the Maxwell School at Syracuse, and are employed in health or risk communication. Amanda Burd ’09 works for the Department of Health and Human Services in Baltimore, and Kevin Gilligan ’09, former intern at DHHS, is IT Specialist and Presidential Management Fellow (one of only one thousand chosen each year by the federal government) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Stefanie Gratale ’06 was also selected as a Presidential Mangement Fellow after earning a master’s in public affairs from George Washington University (GWU), and currently works for the Internal Revenue Service. Older sister Daniella Gratale ’02 also earned a master’s in public affairs from GWU and is government relations manager at Trust for America’s Health. After earning a master’s in communication from the University of Delaware, Lindsey Oxley ’07 is working in health communication at Edelman public relations.

Other communication studies alumni are completing or pursuing advanced degrees in health or strategic communication fields. After completing a Ph.D. from the nation’s top-ranked program in health communication, the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Jean (Lutkenhouse) Brechman ’06 will work in private marketing research; a main client is Johnson & Johnson, where Matthew Johnson ’98 , after earning as master’s degree at Rutgers, is director of corporate communication. After completing a master’s in health communication at Penn State, Danielle Catona ’08 enrolled in the doctoral program in health communication at Rutgers. After completing a master’s in strategic communication at the University of Maryland (the nation’s top-ranked school in strategic communication), Rowena Briones ’08 is pursuing a doctorate there as well. Alums pursuing related master’s degrees include Kristen Kiernicki (’09:health communication at Kentucky), Melissa Koerner (’09:speech pathology at Kean), Janna Raudenbush (’09 : strategic communication at Maryland, working part time as an intern in the Office of Inspector General, DHHS), and Danny Giovenco (’10: master’s in public health at UMDNJ).

Addressing the extraordinary success of communication studies alumni in the related health, risk and strategic communication fields, John Pollock, professor and chair, and advisor to both TCNJ's health communication liberal learning concentration as well as the student public health communication club, said: “The superb health, risk, and strategic communication achievements of our communication studies graduates are due primarily, of course, to their own industry and intelligence. I also think that the faculty helped as well, encouraging students to craft papers and projects and documentaries that win national, regional and statewide awards, reinforcing our department’s hard-earned reputation as a ‘national leader in student-faculty engagement.’”