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College of Information and Communications

Alumni Society

Alumni Showcase

Our alumni are not afraid of taking risks and standing out. Check out the Alumni Notes from the Fall 2020 InterCom for recent updates from some of our alumni. In the links below, you'll see more detail on how our alumni have taken their degrees to the next level.

Current News

Jenna Strawbridge

Research rabbit holes

With boundless information at our fingertips, it’s easy to get lost in curiosity. A simple search can lead to a page, which leads to another, which leads to several more . . . . MLIS alumna Jenna Strawbridge channels this same unique, relentless curiosity daily — and she’s lucky enough to call it her career. 

Sarah Sinclair

True grit

MMC and health communication certificate alumna Sara Sinclair wants to help people live a healthy lifestyle and improve their food mindset through her business, Get Gritty Nutrition. 

Tori Richman

Tori Richman scores big at the Super Bowl

Nearly 6 million Americans gathered to watch the 2021 Super Bowl as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought home the title. But as most people watched from their TVs, SJMC alumna Tori Richman watched through her camera lens on the sideline.

Fuller Gregory

Library Journal names iSchool alumna to class of 2021 Movers & Shakers

Christina Fuller-Gregory was one of 46 individuals honored for moving the profession forward. She was chosen for her advocacy for justice and commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in the field of librarianship.


iSchool alumna's new book gives children with limb differences a character like themselves

School media specialist Alexis Cannon Hale (2010 MLIS) was disappointed when she found out about the under representation of limb loss in children's literature. Her discovery inspired her to write "It's Me, Zoey!" starring her daughter as the main character.


iSchool Innovators: Jonah Rotholz

Jonah Rotholz, who made headlines last year after he and Nick Jeffcoat won the undergraduate division of The Proving Ground, shares how his information science major prepared him to become an entrepreneur and offers advice to students hoping to follow in his footsteps.

Analis Bailey

From NABJ to USA Today

Analis Bailey landed a reporting job during one of the craziest times a newsroom has ever seen — 2020. But Bailey is succeeding in her new role thanks to the tools, lessons and experiences she acquired at the SJMC.

Nya Simone

The path to Twitter

Nya Simone ('19 public relations) paved a path for herself during her undergraduate years at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and continues to do so. Now she's landed one of her biggest roles yet -- customer success specialist for Twitter. Read our spotlight on Simone to learn more.

Valerie Byrd-Fort and Cocky

The heart of the school

For many students, March 2020 became a pivotal moment. Classes went online, and teachers began rescheduling deadlines while trying to figure out how exactly the pandemic would affect learning. Luckily, school librarians have played a critical role in helping everyone adapt.

Ken Baldwin and President Caslen

Empowering excellence: Ken Baldwin

Ken Baldwin always wanted to help budding journalists excel in business and financial reporting. After a successful career in journalism, he is finally able to do it.

Amanda and Joe Biden

A woman's place is in politics

Powerful women in politics are responsible for some of the world’s greatest accomplishments and innovations. And two of our alumni, Lauren Harper and Amanda Loveday, are among those leaving their mark and paving the way for others.

Learning with love

Puppets, puppies and karaoke. These are some of the nontraditional tools that alumna Penny Esterley uses to teach at Community Literacy Lab.

Lee Wardlaw

A little push goes a long way

Lee Wardlaw almost changed his major — until he met professor Michelle LaRoche. Her class and a "push" prepared him for challenges he would face later in his career.

Congress still shall make no law

J-school alumnae Miranda Parnell experienced violence firsthand while reporting for WIS News at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Columbia. It prompted discussions on how to balance the importance of covering these events with the safety of those covering them.

Larry Thomas

Quick takes

News and notes from the College of Information and Communications, which includes short updates on outstanding alumni, Cocky's Reading Express and a video created by SJMC students which featured Dawn Staley, Dabo Swinney and Darius Rucker.

Josh Dawsey

How growing up in Aynor prepared one of the nation’s top reporters to cover Trump

Years before he would be covering the most powerful people in the world, SJMC alumnus Dawsey began his journalism career in Aynor, his hometown where his parents still have a farm today. Read more about Dawsey in this story from The Post and Courier.

Rosalyn Durant

An immense love of people

Broadcast journalism alumna Rosalyn Durant is now senior vice president of operations at Walt Disney World Resort supporting Disney Springs, Water Parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports — a long way from Columbia. But the lessons she learned at South Carolina have guided her through her career and still push her forward today.

CIC duo cashes in at business startup competition

Amidst the glow of cameras, teleprompters and various screens, Nick Jeffcoat and Jonah Rotholz pitched their startup business, parAnimo, to a panel of experts and spectators at The Proving Ground, the Darla Moore School of Business’ entrepreneurial ventures pitch competition.

Durette and Richmand

Paving the path

To some, the NFL may seem like an industry dominated by men, but photographers Kara Durrette and Tori Richman have a different thought.

George Patterson

A degree 49 years in the making

After a life of presidential planes, television commercials and documentaries, George Patterson is keeping his promise to his parents and finishing his degree at the University of South Carolina.

Carson Mason

Alumni Spotlight: Carson Mason

Growing up, Carson Mason was a huge sports fan. In college, she majored in public relations. Those two interests have allowed her to excel in a career creating social media for several professional sports teams.

PROOF icecream

A tasty course: PROOF alcohol ice cream

This past semester the J-school offered a satisfying course “Integrated Campaigns,” where the learning covered all facets of integrated brand communications for a UofSC alumna's startup company

Rachel Beanland's book

Q&A with author Rachel Beanland

Rachel Beanland’s first novel, Florence Adler Swims Forever, was published last month to strong reviews. We caught up with the SJMC alumna to talk about her book, her family, the writing process and her time at UofSC.

Patrice Green

Leaders with helping hands

Only 50 librarians are selected each year in the ALA’s competitive Emerging Leaders Program, but several of our alumnae were chosen in recent years. We sat down with three of them to talk about their academic journeys and experiences.

Robin Roberts

Journalism alumnus is the new president of the Alumni Association's Board of Governors

Robin Roberts, ’76, a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus award and founding member of the college's Dean’s Leadership Council, will serve a two-year term and preside over the 19 -member board.

John Carrington

UofSC alumnus’ company makes millions of face shields for health care workers

ZVerse, a Columbia company founded by 2004 advertising alumnus John Carrington, has become an important player in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Passion for the profession

Passion for profession lands SC librarians on Movers & Shakers list

Having an impact on their students and communities, being more inclusive for underserved populations and encouraging a lifelong love of reading and learning are passions shared by three alumnae who have been recognized as 2020 Movers & Shakers by Library Journal.

Kathy Carroll

Alumna takes reins as president of national school librarians association

School librarian Kathy Carroll likes to be in the middle of the action and that’s where she finds herself every day, whether it’s helping students at Westwood High School in Blythewood or advocating for her profession as president-elect of the American Association of School Librarians.

Jason Broughton

A path for public service

Jason Broughton made headlines when he was named Vermont’s first African American state librarian and commissioner of libraries. How did SLIS prepare him for the post and what advice does he have for students hoping to follow in his footsteps?

Melanie Huggins

From aspirations to reality

Executive Director Melanie Huggins (MLIS,1995) has been a driving force behind Richland Library's transformation since taking the helm more than a decade ago. We caught up with Huggins to ask about her vision and the role the CIC played in shaping it.

Tamara Cox

Shining the spotlight on libraries

As a finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year, SLIS alumna Tamara Cox has a chance to become the first school librarian ever to take home the state’s top honor for educators. A win could bring more awareness to her profession’s powerful impact on student success.

Tamara King

Making the magic happen: SLIS alumna Tamara King honored by Library Journal

King's mantra, that libraries make magic happen every single day, is what guides her actions as community relations director for Richland Library — actions that earned her this national recognition

Jennifer Thrift

Building relationships to succeed: SLIS alumna Jennifer Thrift honored by Library Journal

A teacher librarian for third through fifth graders, Thrift cites collaboration and community involvement as key to receiving this national recognition.

Pamela Davenport

Alumni Spotlight: Pamela Nash Davenport

Many librarians can only dream about working for the Library of Congress. But for Pamela Nash Davenport (MLIS, '95), it's reality. 

La'Keisha Sutton

La'Keisha Sutton: Broadcast alum is building her brand

Since her time as a Gamecock, Sutton has continued life on the court as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. Known to fans as Swish, she also spends time inspiring young people through her organization, Fan Favorite University.


Leaving a legacy

When Mimi Cunningham graduated from the J-school, she was ready to launch a successful career in public information. Now retired, Mimi shares why she and her husband, Tom, have chosen to give back.


From interests to investments

Therese Griffin (B.A., 1982) has done everything from hosting public affairs shows to corporate marketing and communications. Since graduating, her broadcast degree has opened doors — now, she's finding ways to return the favor.


All in the family

"Say 'Gamecocks,'"Erika Grimes' dad said. "G-A-M-E-C-O-C-K!" She was only 1 at the time. Now she's graduating from USC, as both her parents did and as her two siblings will, too. It's something of a family tradition.


From classmates to coworkers

When they're not working together as library media specialist at Westwood High School,Marti Brown and Kathy Carroll are serving together as the newest members of the CIC's Alumni Council.

Killer career

A killer career

J-school alumnus Jame Jude Courtney stars alongside actress Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, a sequel to the same-named 1978 slasher film. But you won't recognize his face. That's because he plays Michael Myers, the masked murderer who's inspired night mares - and Halloween costumes - for the past 40 years.


A 'knack' for production

She may have started out as a pharmacy major, but it didn’t take long for Jessie Knaak to figure out that broadcast journalism was her real calling. Now, she’s racking up Emmy Awards as a producer in the NFL.

David Robinson

Brick by brick

Alumnus David Robinson and his 15-year-old son used more than 5,000 Legos to construct the field, stands, ramps, press box, coaches' offices, scoreboard and the rest of Williams-Brice Stadium.

Bob Wertz

USC's associate director of visual branding finds purpose in going back to school

Despite working full time, Bob Wertz has been able to balance family time, teaching, being a student and multiple side projects involving his love of typeface, design and writing.

Jack Bryan

Bryan's donations provide opportunities for current students

Jack Bryan credits his degree from the then-College of Librarianship for making his long career in public service possible and hopes that by giving back he can empower others to do the same.

Eva Pilgrim

Alumna Eva Pilgrim to anchor Good Morning America Weekend Edition

ABC News has just announced that Eva Pilgrim will be an anchor for their Good Morning America weekend show. Pilgrim is a graduate of the journalism school and a past recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Alyssa Lang

SEC Network adds South Carolina alum Alyssa Lang

SEC Network has hired Alyssa Lang as a host and anchor for its studio show programming. Lang joins the network as the new host of SEC Featured on Monday nights, and will have a supporting role in SEC Network's hit studio show, Thinking Out Loud.

Merrit McNeely

Alumna continues to make a difference in Columbia

After graduation, Merritt McNeely used her PR education promoting some of the city's most significant projects. But now these skills are being employed for clients of a boutique integrated communications firm.

Susan Elofson

Alumna Susan Elofson reflects on lessons learned

During her time in the MLIS program, Susan Elofson says the lessons she learned from her internships, professors and classmates helped prepare her for her current job as school librarian at Eau Claire High School. Read more about how her experience at SLIS and how she's making a difference in students' lives.

Ashley Stevens

Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Stevens

Ashley Stevens, MLIS ’11, manages the emerging archival program at the Historic Ford Estates in Michigan. 

Khadijah Dennis

The Conqueror Movement

Alumna Khadijah Dennis founded The Conqueror Movement which gives young, black creative and professional individuals, primarily from the Carolinas, a platform to help establish their brand.

Josh Dawsey

From the schoolhouse to the White House

Josh Dawsey, a 2012 SJMC grad, is making a name for himself in the political realm. Dawsey started his career at The Wall Street Journal as a City Hall reporter, then got picked up by POLITICO to be a White House correspondent. Very recently, he was poached by The Washington Post.

Ron Stafford

Alumni Spotlight: Ron Stafford

Ron Stafford may be a recent alumnus, but he’s already applying the lessons he learned at SLIS in his work as a digitization technician. Read more about how Ron’s passion for preservation and information access is making a difference in his community.

Jamie Hoffman Brooks

Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Hoffman Brooks

From walking cats in New York to overseeing food photo shoots in Texas, there’s never a dull moment in Jamie Hoffman Brooks’ career. Read about how she uses her degrees from SJMC .

Elizabeth West

Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Cassidy West

As university archivist, Elizabeth Cassidy West specializes in bringing stories from USC’s history to life. It’s the perfect career for someone with degrees in journalism, history and library and information science.

Alumni Spotlight Suzi Roberts

Alumni Spotlight: Suzi Roberts

Suzi Roberts is proof that an SJMC education can prepare graduates for just about anything. The 2016 public relations alumna will compete in the Miss America Pageant in mid-September.

Turner Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: Chaunté Turner

Alumna Chaunte’ (McLean) Turner has helped cover some of the biggest stories in South Carolina. But before she was executive producer at WCSC in Charleston, Turner was a broadcast student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Read about how the lessons she learned at the CIC still resonate today.

Marty Young Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: Marty Young

For alumnus Marty Young, fun is just part of the job. Whether he’s interviewing celebrities, cracking jokes or winning broadcast awards, Young finds ways to incorporate his J-school education into nearly everything he does.

Susan Lyon

Alumni Spotlight: Susan Lyon

Richland Library Learning Engagement Manager Susan Lyon is more than just a 2006 MLIS alumna – she’s also a 2017 Public Library Association Fellow. Lyon recently participated in a week-long leadership development program with other library leaders from across the nation.

Kara Durrette

Alum captures the Falcons in action

Kara Durrette, '10 journalism, showcases the Atlanta Falcons and uses all aspects of her Carolina education as the team's digital media producer.

Nicole Smith

MMC alumna wins top prize in ChooseATL Ultimate Job Interview Contest

After a rigorous social media campaign, interview, trip to Atlanta and televised competition, a School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduate won a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to interview with some of Atlanta's biggest companies.

Ashley Griffith

Alumna credit her programs of study for confidence, success

An undergraduate degree in information science prepared Ashley Griffith for her current job and to excel in the master's program at the School of Library and Information Science. She's passionate about her career and her programs of study.

Lauren Harper

Managing the mayor

Lauren Harper, a 2016 public relations major, now works full time with the mayor of Columbia as his policy and communications advisor. See how her experiences at USC led to success in the work force and more.

Heather McCue

McCue named 2016 Outstanding Librarian in S.C.

Alumna Heather McCue was recognized by the South Carolina Library Association for her outstanding service to the community. McCue says the recognition encourages her to "dream bigger." 

Mandy Malone

Alumni Spotlight: Mandy Malone

Pete the Cat is one cool cat, and so is Katie (Mandy Malone. The 2013 MLIS alumna works as a technical services specialist at the Williamsburg Regional Library in Williamsburg, Va. From dressing as the famous feline children's book character to cataloging materials, see how Malone uses skills she learned through in the School of Library and Information Science.


Alumni Spotlight: Desiree Murphy

Desiree Murphy graduated in 2011 with a journalism degree. As a writer/reporter for ETonline and Entertainment Tonight, rubbing elbows with celebrities is all in a day’s work. She credits her professors at the CIC— as well as her experience on the InterCom staff —for preparing her for the fast-paced world of entertainment news.


Michael LaForgia: Investigative journalism is not dead

Former Daily Gamecock editor and Pulitzer Prize-winner Micheal LaForgia exhorted young journalists attending the Buchheit Lecture to carry the mantle of investigative journalism forward, in spite of skeptics who believe the industry is dying. 


Alumni Spotlight: Tobias Brasier

Tobias Brasier, MLIS, 1994, is the director of web services for the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is passionate about web redesign and is putting his degree to use through a variety of projects for the law school and the Coleman Karesh Law Library. Through his many endeavors, Brasier illustrates just how versatile an MLIS can be.

Karen McMullen

Alumni Spotlight: Karen McMullen

Karen McMullen is a 1994 MLIS graduate. In addition to working as head of access services for the USC School of Medicine Library, Karen also finds time to make a difference in her community.


Madisyn Kellough: SE Emmy Winner

Madisyn Kellough, who graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2015 with a broadcast journalism degree, won a Southeast Emmy from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


Mark Slice: Lights, camera, audio

The tradition of the USC football team entering in to "2001" works successfully in part to School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate Mark Slice, the associate director of live operations and engineering for USC athletics. 

Vicky Free

Free to Be

Vicky Free's office at BET Networks offers an enviable view of Midtown Manhattan, but the Spartanburg native and 1992 journalism graduate didn't come to New York to enjoy the view. As the international media company's executive vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer, she's there to do business and get things done.

Joy Callaway

Joy Callaway

Joy Callaway is a 2009 MMC graduate. Her novel, The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, was recently published by HarperCollins. See how her experience at the CIC has shaped her career today.

Tamara King

The perfect marriage

For Tamara King, two things have been major players in her life since day one — community and books. She finally found a way to work both into her career. 

Jennifer Blencowe

From the classroom to the newsroom

M.M.C. student Jennifer Blencowe credits her USC graduate education for helping her land her first job in a television newsroom. 

John O'Hara

John O'Hara: Spotlight on sales

What do Ellen, TMZ and the Big Bang Theory have in common? They are sales properties managed by John O’Hara, a 1982 graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Lee Family

Baby showers and master's degrees at Davis College

The last thing one may associate with Davis College and the School of Library and Information Science is a baby shower. But that is one of many fond memories for Cecilia and Josh Hem Lee, who both earned Master of Library and Information Science degrees.

Laura Griner

Words for the world

Laura Griner's never been to Afghanistan. She doesn't speak Dari or Pashto but the University of South Carolina graduate is hoping to bring a little peace to the country, one children's book at a time.

Stephen Brown

PR alum opens the door for others

Stephen Brown’s parents joke that his first words were Bi-Lo and Sears. As a young child, he sang advertising jingles and could recognize a company’s logo. A pop culture fanatic, he would memorize the HBO guide and recite movie reviews for kindergarten show-and-tell.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.