University of Washington - Communication Leadership
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Student Spotlights

Communication Leadership students benefit from a deep professional network, tailored to their career objectives. These invaluable opportunities to connect with media innovators and industry leaders enhance their unique educational experience.

Our Students & Alumni Have a Vision for the Future…

Drew Stone

Drew Stone / Cohort 14

“I am fulfilled by creating and innovating through collaboration. I am an artist, entrepreneur, and mentor filmmaking visual arts programs for an alternative education group, foundry10.” READ MORE >

Maren Hamilton

Maren Hamilton / Cohort 14

“I can honestly say that I’ve taken notes during every Comm Lead course to work the next day or week. One of my favorite parts about the program is the practicality of the knowledge.” READ MORE >

Shannon Hutchins

Shannon Hutchins / Cohort 14

“Every day at work is an opportunity to use my skills from the program, but what’s most inspiring is the motivation and impact it’s having on my personal projects and artistry.” READ MORE >

Beijuan Miao

Beijuan Miao / Cohort 14

“My professional goal is to become a UX designer who really understands users’ needs and designs Apps for them, especially for helping people to find better selves and make the communities more engaging.” READ MORE >

Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson / Cohort 13

“One of the best things about the Comm Lead program is that it provides students with the means to take risks and embrace opportunities they otherwise would not. This is a highly supportive environment, and the instructors and fellow students will do whatever they can to help you on your journey.” READ MORE >

Andrew Mitrak

Andrew Mitrak / Cohort 13

“I’m a filmmaker. My short documentaries and narratives have screened internationally and at local film festivals.” READ MORE >

Amaroney Thach

Amaroney Thach / Cohort 13

“I really enjoyed Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamentals in Digital Media.  I took it the first quarter I started the program and the class really set the bar for the program.” READ MORE >

Jenny Burns medium

Jenny Burns / Cohort 13

“The Master of Communication in Communities & Networks degree program builds upon my personal and professional interests by teaching trending and foundational concepts for effective communication in the networked age.” READ MORE >

Vera Lu

Vera Lu / Cohort 13

“The MCDM has given me a variety of opportunities to engage myself with people in and out of this program, an open mind to work creatively on my class projects, and a strong support from the faculty and our cohort whenever I need help.” READ MORE >

Cynthia Andrews

Cynthia Andrews / Cohort 13

“The iterative process is something I use every day and by framing it as a positive learning experience, I am able to find new, potentially unknown solutions.” READ MORE >

Alex Montalvo

Alex Montalvo / Cohort 13

“The program has changed the way I think about the flow of information, and how people connect to that information–the technological side of communications and the emotional connection that makes storytelling successful.” READ MORE >

Paul Rees

Paul Rees / Cohort 13

“My goal is to continue to learn how to help companies grow through organizational storytelling that connects with target audiences and meets business goals.” READ MORE >

Matt McWilliams

Matt McWilliams / Cohort 13

“I have become focused on the importance of practicing transparency to inspire trust among customers or constituents. People expect greater choices and better experiences that promote a better quality life.” READ MORE >

Aparna Das

Aparna Das / Cohort 13

“The entire process of Screen Summit 2014 would be one of my most memorable experiences in the program.” READ MORE >

Kathy Matosich

Kathy Matosich / Cohort 13

“With a background in traditional advertising, I was interested in having a more holistic approach to communications and have been able to step out of the silo of television.” READ MORE >

Fritz Kessler

Fritz Kessler / Cohort 13

“I love how publications are keeping long-form storytelling alive by adapting to modern trends in web design and content strategy.” READ MORE >


Ana Visneski / Cohort 12

“I honestly can’t think of a day on the job where I haven’t used something I learned during my MCDM and MCCN work.” READ MORE >


Amber Cortes / Cohort 12

“My first real film was challenging and Alex [Stonehill] and Sarah [Stuteville] were there to guide students every step of the way, both in terms of complicated technical stuff and getting to the heart of the narrative and making it shine.” READ MORE >

Kristen Walker

Kristen Walker / Cohort 12

“My experience with the MCDM has been invaluable, both in opening professional opportunities in Marketing and communications, as well as giving me the knowledge and skills to grow as a digital media storyteller.” READ MORE >

Carolyn Higgins

Carolyn Higgins / Cohort 12

“Contributing to and editing Flip the Media has to go down as my favorite Comm Lead experience.” READ MORE >

Hanns-Peter Nagel

Hanns-Peter Nagel / Cohort 12

“Staying close to the program as a fellow is a way to keep me exposed to new ideas. Plus, I really like to stay in touch with the Commlead community.” READ MORE >

Edward Chang

Edward Chang / Cohort 12

“People are hungry for stories, and the power of stories has been the vehicle to help us understand and remember things for generations. Therefore I’d like to try to integrate the storytelling technique when I’m explaining abstruse or obscure concepts to a layperson or a young mind in the future.” READ MORE >

 Molly O'Donnell

Molly O’Donnell / Cohort 12

“It’s been amazing how timely and relevant every class has been in my work as a researcher. Almost every quarter, I found myself bringing books, articles, and discussions from class to share with my colleagues.” READ MORE >

Jenny DeRaspe-Bolles

Jenny DeRaspe-Bolles / Cohort 12

“Working alongside big time reporters from the AP, CNN and MSN was thrilling, and I loved the challenge. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool to see your name in a byline, too!” READ MORE >

Kendall Barnett / Cohort 12

“My professional goals are to do what I love. I want to work for a non-profit company (or companies) within the greater Seattle area. I have a heart for non-profits and would want to help them with digital strategy and digital branding.” READ MORE >

Tanner Taylor

Tanner Taylor / Cohort 11

“Every day I find myself referencing something I learned or heard or saw from the MCDM program. This can range from deciding what to show on a presentation slide to picking the shot composition for a video interview.” READ MORE >

Maren Higbee

Maren Higbee / Cohort 11

“If you wish to become part of an amazing, supportive and creative group look no further than MCDM. The network in the program is one of the best experiences I have ever had.” READ MORE >

Inge Scheve

Inge Scheve / Cohort 11

“I am an online journalist, currently working with a Norwegian magazine publisher Fri Flyt (English: Free Flow) writing about mountain biking, road biking, skiing, triathlons and adventure racing” READ MORE >

Amy Ball / Cohort 11

“In the Narratives and Networks class I was able to create my own content channel (blog) and develop a network engagement strategy. In doing so, I am able to understand the key communication and social changes facilitated by digital media through networks, along with their opportunities and risks.” READ MORE >

Dacia Sáenz / Cohort 11

“I want to travel the world making media, documenting people’s narratives, and putting media tools in the hands of as many people as possible so that they can amplify their own stories.” READ MORE >

Patrick Doherty / Cohort 11

“Through the MCDM I am seeking to bring together my 20-plus years experience with new ideas and learning from the program to help the way organizations do business and engage with their customers, communities, workers and partners.” READ MORE >

Elizabeth Wiley / Cohort 11

“Spring quarter this year [2012] I took UW Election Eye, which focused writing for and marketing a political blog on the Seattle Times website… The highlight was a week-long trip to the East Coast that featured stops in six states.” READ MORE >


Jeff Barr / Cohort 10

“It was neat to be in the company of all those folks and they’re the type of people that you just know as you watch their careers that you’re going to see a lot of awesomeness come.” READ MORE >

Thor Tolo / Cohort 10

“Professionally, I believe the storytelling course taught by MCDM Director Hanson Hosein, Scott Macklin, and Feliz Efe did more to enhance my skills and excite my passion for writing & editing than any other class. Such skills are at the core of what I wish to accomplish in my media career moving forward.” READ MORE >

Joseph Pavey

Joseph Pavey / Cohort 10

“On a near daily basis, I use the storytelling skills the Comm Lead taught me to write business documents that combine research data with narrative storytelling to describe a problem space and present potential solutions in clear, concise, and effective language.” READ MORE >

Beth Koemans

Beth Koemans / Cohort 10

“While I was in school I had several different jobs that were only possible through the MCDM program – I could explore everything I was learning in class and immediately apply it to the work I was doing.” READ MORE >

Dominique Barni / Cohort 10

“There’s so much content out there, and I know that I personally am often overwhelmed by the amount of ‘noise’. I’m really intrigued by this process of looking at what your audience or end user wants, and figuring out how to communicate that to them, rather than looking at what you as an organization want to say and how you want to say it.” READ MORE >

Evan Westenberger / Cohort 10

“I had the opportunity to expand my business while in the MCDM because of the connections I made within the program. I was fortunate enough to do projects for a George Lucas Foundation sponsored project from the College of Education, create a highlight reel of an eight week lecture series on food for the College of the Environment, and create a promo video for the College of Public Health.” READ MORE >

Dan Thornton / Cohort 10

“All of my classes at the MCDM were influential. I was particularly taken with those instructors who were willing to push beyond the traditional teacher/student duality and explore experimental forms of learning and instruction.” READ MORE >

Derek Belt

Derek Belt / Cohort 9

“The MCDM challenged me to be a critical thinker and to look at each project holistically, and I use those skills every day.” READ MORE >

Amy Rolph

Amy Rolph / Cohort 9

“The CommLead program occupies a unique place in the social sciences, because it straddles a line between two incredibly powerful areas of study: storytelling, a soft science where intuition and creativity are paramount, and the hard-and-rational field of data science.” READ MORE >

Mary Perkins

Mary Perkins / Cohort 9

“My main goal as a fellow is fostering a link between alumni and current students. I’m game for anything that brings us together socially and strengthens the network.” READ MORE >

Andrea Sherrodd / Cohort 9

“I’d love to be a video producer and/or editor, working for non-profits and small companies to make videos for their websites, fundraising purposes…” READ MORE >

Madeline Moy / Cohort 9

“For the last 14 years, I’ve used my marketing and communications expertise to help nonprofit organizations connect, persuade, and inspire people to take action.” READ MORE >

Paolo Mottola

Paolo Mottola / Cohort 8

“I manage content marketing and content strategy at REI, an outdoor retailer and the largest consumer cooperative in the U.S.” READ MORE >

Harry Hayward / Cohort 8

“Many of my MCDM classes have had a direct impact on moving the UW forward in messaging, channel selection and storytelling. I’d like to leave the legacy at the UW that every student gets some exposure to digital storytelling and learns how to tell a good story…” READ MORE >

Ross Reynolds / Cohort 8

“I would like to lead a public radio station in adopting digital media to advance the program mission of creating a more informed public. And invent a killer public radio news game…” READ MORE >


Nancy Dick / Cohort 6

“My MCDM degree led to a job that I never anticipated or expected.” READ MORE >

Vaun Raymond / Cohort 6

“To me, it’s like a painter staring at a blank canvas. What kind of beauty, meaning, and emotion can we create using the web as a canvas? It’s a fantastic opportunity and I really encourage people to explore it.” READ MORE >

Click here for student profile directory.

Click here for alumni profile directory.