Around Annenberg: A blog for alumni

"Around Annenberg: A blog for alumni" is a place for you to reconnect, reminisce and share your feedback. The director of alumni relations and undergraduate and graduate student alumni relations interns will muse about goings-on at the School, what they're learning in class, how our work with alumni is impacting the School, where we need your help and how you can become involved.


Students and recruiters speak at the USC Annenberg Career Connection Internship and Job Fair

If there’s one event I recommend USC Annenberg students and alumni attend each year, it’s the annual Career Connection Internship and Job Fair held at the Town & Gown venue space. The USC Annenberg staff work very hard to provide students and alumni with a few hours of time with some of the biggest names in the advertising, broadcast, communications, entertainment, government and public relations industries.

The opportunities that students and alumni have at this event are abundant. A room full of recruiters and representatives from an impressive roster of employers come armed with handouts and giveaways (and sometimes candy!) ready for the lines to start forming at their table. While I have encountered students who voiced that they only came to speak with a particular employer or a specific group of agencies, I never hesitate to encourage them to see what other companies or industries might pique their interest. After all, you never know until you explore and ask questions, right? 

I’m sure I speak for a majority of representatives and recruiters when I say that we are particularly impressed when someone approaches the table knowing something about the agency and/or clients we represent (someone did their homework!). Sometimes, we only get a few minutes with each person who approaches our table so I make sure to take notice when someone speaks enthusiastically about their academic and professional achievements because that signals to me that they are passionate about where they see themselves with their career. The networking basics of a nice, firm handshake and eye contact are still applicable; so don’t let those collect too much dust in advance of this career fair. You’ll want to make sure you’re on you’re A-game!

With this being the fourth year that I’ve attended the Career Connection as an employer, I am honestly impressed at the level of talent and academic excellence that I interact with each and every time I stand at the table. It’s always interesting to hear why students and alumni want to talk to specific employers. Some are intrigued with the client list; others are looking for agency life to complement their in-house experience, or vice versa. Whatever the reason, it’s a win-win because our company returns to the office with a stack of résumés ready for us to review, in hopes of finding our next intern superstar!

I always jump at the chance to represent GolinHarris at USC events, USC Annenberg in particular, because I’m convinced that these students are the cream of the crop.  And this year was no different!

I truly wish I had more time to strike up conversation with each and every person that approached my table because I enjoy it that much. I just hope that every student and alum that I spoke to got just as much out of our conversation as I did.

Fight On!

Marissa Borjon
MA Strategic Public Relations ‘10

Giving Back at the Day of SCervice Login to comment

Friday, March 28 2014 11:16:02 AM

The USC Annenberg East Lobby brings back a lot of memories. From catching up with friends and talking to professors, to frantically studying for exams and writing papers, I spent a lot of my time as undergraduate student sitting at one of the round tables on the ground floor of the Annenberg building. However, this past Saturday I had the opportunity and privilege to come back to the USC Annenberg Lobby as an alum and influence the next generation of students. I participated in USC Annenberg's Day of SCervice event in which USC Annenberg alums teamed up with the non-profit organization HYPE Los Angeles (Helping Young People Excel). HYPE works with underprivileged middle school students from different parts of the city in preparing them to apply to prestigious high schools and obtain full scholarships in order to obtain a better education.

After having lunch with the students and getting to know them on a more personal level, we split up into teams and had a campus-wide scavenger hunt. This allowed the students to get a feel of the university and all the opportunities it has to offer. After returning to the Annenberg lobby, we held mock interviews for the middle school students in order to simulate admissions interviews they will have to pass in order to be admitted into private schools. Although I sincerely hope the students I interviewed benefitted from my interview advice, I can say with certainty that I definitely benefited from meeting and talking with them. It was refreshing and heartwarming to talk with students who truly recognized and appreciated the importance of a good education, even at such a young age. It was obvious that all of them had a genuine love of learning and a desire to take advantage of every opportunity they could find. Many of these students also grew up in households and communities with environments not conducive to learning. It was truly inspiring to hear their stories and witness their strong desire to learn.

I am extremely glad USC Annenberg organized this alumni event. It was great to meet fellow alums, while also getting to interact and spend time with a set of wonderful students as well. I hope USC Annenberg continues to plan similar alumni community service events in the future.

Angad Singh
BA Communication '12

My Semester (not) Abroad Login to comment

Tuesday, February 25 2014 01:44:49 PM

“Are you going abroad?”

                This is the question that I have been asked time and time again for the past year, the question that I have always answered with a begrudging “no.” No, I will not be traveling the world for six months. No, I will not be meeting an abundance of new people, and no, I will not be off experiencing a new culture and widening my horizons. And yes, I am a little bitter about it.

                At least, I thought I was. I did not have the option to study abroad due to the required courses for my major and minors – if I had gone, the end result would have been  my inability to graduate in four years. When I realized this, I wasn't just upset, I was heartbroken. And when most of my best friends applied, got into, and eventually left for their study abroad programs, I anticipated my second semester of my junior year to be lonely, unfulfilling, and frankly, a little boring.

                As we take on our seventh week of classes and realize that we’re (already?!) almost halfway through the semester, I decided to take a moment to reflect on my feelings surrounding this whole abroad situation. And I realized that despite my anguish over not being able to travel this semester, I’m surprisingly happy, fulfilled, and nowhere near bored. I realized that yes, this semester has been a very different experience thus far, but a bad one? Not in the slightest.

                For one thing, I’ve had more time to explore the glorious city around me. At times, I feel like USC is a bubble that I rarely need to leave to find something exciting to do. This semester, while so many of my classmates are trekking around European cities, I’ve been using the time to explore Los Angeles, visiting landmarks, museums and new neighborhoods that I may have never traveled to otherwise.

                I’ve also been forced to meet and befriend new people, and to forge friendships with people who I might not have met were my close friends still at school. My friends abroad may meet foreigners and learn their cultures and languages, but I’ve been able to meet friends who will be right there next to me for my final year of college.

It’s funny, I wouldn’t expect staying at USC to push me out of my comfort zone; after all, that’s usually what people say going abroad will do to you. But in so many ways, it has caused me to think about new ways to meet people and to get involved with USC and Annenberg. I’ve had more time to enjoy USC while I still can – as my senior year approaches, I can feel my time at USC dwindling and I want to take in every moment while there’s still time.

I don’t mean to diminish the wonderful experiences everyone is having overseas as they take on the world – I am sure living in another country is truly incredible, and I’m positive that I will hear stories upon stories about why going abroad was the best decision my friends have ever made. I just mean to explain what an amazing thing it is to attend a university where there are no bad semesters. Every semester at USC is full of life, excitement and new things to do, and I couldn’t be happier that I won’t be missing a second of that.

Cecilia Callas (B.A. Print and Digital Journalism '15)
Student Assistant
Annenberg Alumni Relations

Beyond the Classroom: The Norman Lear Center

Monday, February 24 2014 02:04:26 PM

                While the life of a student is certainly interesting and easier than being a full-fledged adult, there are often times when the constant dissemination of information, long hours sitting inside of a classroom, and constant looming of exams can lead to a rather stressful routine. Sometimes, the need for a change of pace, for a new opportunity amongst the hours of absorbing Powerpoint slide after Powerpoint slide, is necessary and unsatisfied until fulfilled. Therefore, when I walked into my Communication 300 class with Professor Daniela Baroffio and heard her announce that we were hosting a guest from The USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, I was immediately intrigued.

                The Norman Lear Center is a unique place amid the hundreds of atypical Hollywood institutions: whereas other institutions are consistently based upon business models and practices, the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center is focused on researching information for hundreds of different television show writers as they create new episodes for their series. Simply put, it is an institution based upon learning the right information and harnessing the power of media for the betterment of consumers. Such a concept is constantly being communicated to me and my fellow students as we learn and study the unique ideas of entertainment media’s function in our daily lives. It is therefore only fitting that The Norman Lear Center is a branch of USC Annenberg.

                Students from USC Annenberg are even encouraged to intern with the Center and we are afforded the unique opportunity to gain experience in research, media education, and entertainment through our connection to Annenberg. As we continue to learn more and more from our classes, Annenberg pushes us to put that information into practice, applying those Powerpoint slides to a real-life dialogue with media. Such a concept was the reason why the representative, a Masters student at Annenberg, came to Professor Baroffio’s class: to let us know about the opportunity waiting for us right in our backyard.  

                This is simply one of the many different opportunities specifically connected to USC Annenberg. While we walk to our classes each day, we enter into more than a classroom, but a wealth of information that is highly useful in real-world application. Through connections from Annenberg to this “real-world,” such as the connection afforded by The Norman Lear Center, we are able to see our education at work, and we are able to put our education to work.

Click here to learn more about The Norman Lear Center:

Patricia Silva 
BA Communications ‘15 
Undergraduate Student Assistant 
Annenberg Alumni Relations


Before this semester, I would have never chosen the word “feminist” to describe myself. I support women’s rights, of course, and would push for gender equality in the workplace in a heartbeat, but I never thought I would want to push for a tangible difference to be made in gender roles in society. In fact, I would say that I was relatively complacent and accepting of how women are treated – I have a supportive family, great friends, and a life that I’ve always been grateful for, so what would I ever have to complain about? Of course, there are times when the portrayal of women in the media has really gotten to me, but I never really took the time to explore those feelings of frustration that I often experience when consuming media that is so often detrimental to the female image.

                So when it came time to choose which upper division journalism electives to take to complete my Print and Digital Journalism major, I decided to enroll JOUR 467: Gender and the News Media, in an Annenberg course about gender portrayal in the media. I’ve never taken a class on gender before, so I was excited to learn more about the various struggles of women in the media. After all, I am a woman myself and will shortly be exposed to the monumental obstacles that female journalists are forced to face in the media landscape.

                After just a few classes, I’ve become fascinated with the subtle, yet obvious ways that men and women are defined by the media. Super Bowl advertisements, the covers of magazines, even our favorite television shows all contain messages that define the gender roles we are so limited to in our society. Men, too, are asked to behave a certain way and are often ridiculed if they stray from those limitations.

                But I digress. My point is not to ramble on about the quest for gender equality and how important it is that we all try to change the landscape of how gender roles are portrayed in the media (although, I’m sure I could chew your ear off after learning what I have in this class). No, my point is that the classes at Annenberg aren’t successful in simply educating, but also in inspiring and in raising awareness about important issues. Electives give us opportunities to not only learn more about the world and the field that we’re trying to break into, but also about ourselves and what is important to us as we grow into adults.

                I recognize that my days at USC are numbered, and that I only have so long to take advantage of the courses and professors at Annenberg that have thus far helped me realize my potential. However, I think that realizing this change of mindset can make all of the difference as I continue to grow into who I’m meant to be.

And this doesn't have to end come graduation. Instead of going to an event or taking a job you know you’ll enjoy, try something that challenges you and makes you think in new ways. Start considering that you don’t know what all of your passions are just yet, and remember that you are never done learning, even after your college days are over. Go through life with an open mind and the willingness to become interested in new things, and I guarantee that you’ll surprise yourself.

Cecilia Callas (B.A. Print and Digital Journalism '15)
Student Assistant
Annenberg Alumni Relations


New Semester, New Beginning

Friday, January 31 2014 03:57:40 PM

                Starting a new spring semester in college truly feels like staring a new school year.  New classes, new professors, and new classmates who will become new friends.  I love the start of a new semester at USC, especially when you return to campus after the break and see all of your friends who you have not seen in a month.  Nothing is better than reuniting with all of them and catching up on life.

                The first week of classes is always exciting because you are introduced to new professors and new subject material.  If one of your classes last semester was bothering you, there is good news:  you are all done.  If you are a freshman starting your second semester, you are probably finished with Writing 140 and breathing a sigh of relief.  Second semester freshmen get the chance to take more classes pertaining to their majors or explore various subjects if they are undecided majors.  As a business major in my second semester of school, I can now start taking business classes.  I am thrilled to start my new classes this spring because I have loved every class that I have taken at USC thus far.

                In addition, starting a new semester is like getting a fresh start in terms of what you are involved with on campus.  During my first semester, I did not have time to participate in many clubs because I was still getting adjusted.  This semester, I will have more time to join clubs and other organizations on campus, which I am so excited about.  I want to join a community service club, as well as the Marshall Women’s Leadership Board.  I can’t wait to see what is in store for my spring semester.

Meagan Danielak (B.S. Business Administration '17)
Student Assistant
Annenberg Alumni Relations


The Connected Classroom Login to comment

Wednesday, January 22 2014 01:12:07 PM

With the arrival of the first week of classes is the post Winter Break haze: students and faculty alike are hustling and bustling to make it to their classrooms, suddenly transitioning from the relaxing, holiday-break mode to the fast paced, new semester mode. Often begrudgingly, we make our way to new classes, filled with mostly new faces, and mostly new professors, and no one is quite ready for that 8am alarm.

                With every semester being the start of something new, there is a “new semester unease” present throughout the first week of classes: the constant looking at the class schedule to check the time and classroom to prevent accidentally stumbling into the wrong place, asking fellow classmates “are you here for (insert class name)?” and of course breathing a sigh of relief when the professor walked in and introduced himself along with the class. I have never accidentally walked into the wrong class and had to quietly walk out in slight panic over the mistake; therefore, as can be seen, I have a slight fear of undergoing such an experience.

                When the time came to go to my Communications 208 class, I was infinitely more relaxed: as it is a continuation of a class I took last semester, Communications 207, I knew what to expect. I walked in and saw my friends as well as other familiar faces from last semester. The professor, Paolo Sigismondi, walked in and welcomed us back; it was like being in high school again, when teachers and classmates remained the same, despite the changing content of the classwork. The comfort of the familiar is all too welcoming with the strangeness that is the first week of the semester.

                As I sat in the first day session for Communications 208, I began thinking about last semester: Professor Sigismondi had brought in a myriad of guest speakers, had helped us explore the changing media landscape, and had imparted his own knowledge of the media economics system, as he had written a textbook on the subject and had also worked in the world headquarters at Warner Bros. Studio in its International Television Distribution division. Then I realized: Professor Sigimondi worked at Warner Bros.; in its International Television Distribution division. I had been in his class for an entire semester, and only now realized what an important opportunity it is to be in this class, besides the obvious reasons of what I can gain from it education wise.

                It is these kinds of connections that are constantly present at Annenberg. While the busy nature of the first week is certainly distracting and time is hard to come by as the semester continues, the very notion that, as a student, I am connected to professors, faculty, and even fellow students with knowledge and networks that can take me to the careers I wish to explore is an advantage like no other. At Annenberg, there are more than just classrooms; there are connections.

Patricia Silva 
BA Communications ‘15 
Undergraduate Student Assistant 
Annenberg Alumni Relations


Favorite Annenberg Class: Fall 2013 Edition

Thursday, December 12 2013 12:46:42 PM

Each year Annenberg is home to some of the most unique and thrilling classes at USC. In my four years as an Annenberg student studying Public Relations, I have had the opportunity to take interesting courses outside of my major on social media, magazine layout and professional photography. Learning new skills and developing a creative mindset have been invaluable takeaways from these courses.

This fall I enrolled in a Sports Public Relations course at Annenberg, and it quickly became one of my favorite classes. Taking a sports-centric class was completely out of my comfort zone and I had no idea what to expect. Our professor, Jeff Moeller, the Senior Director of Communications for the Los Angeles Kings, helped us to become knowledgeable about the communications practitioner side of the business that plans interviews, writes press releases for the sports team or runs the social media accounts.

Our class heard from some of the top executives in the sports industry such as Scott Boras, a well-known Los Angeles sports agent, Cat Belanger of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tom Feuer, the executive producer at FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket to name a few. Each guest speaker brought with them a wealth of experience and advice for those of us who wanted to break into the industry and have a successful career. Taking this course allowed us to learn much more than how to write a press release, this course allowed students to gain an immense knowledge base for the sports industry and have an inside look into a future career.

However, my favorite part of the course was the field trips our class took to several sporting events throughout the semester. We had the opportunity to attend a Clippers game, LA Kings game and a Los Angeles Dodgers game this fall. At each event we watched the game from the press box, interviewed executives on each team and talked with players. We even sat in on press conferences after the Clippers game with Blake Griffin!

I loved having a sneak-peak behind what the executives, PR directors and journalists do while a game is in progress. Each game ran like a well-oiled machine and these interactive field trips are where I learned the most about the sports industry overall. As the semester draws to a close, I look back on this course as one of the best classes and most unique learning experiences at USC.

Our Sports Public Relations class after the Clippers game this fall!

              There are times when attending and living at USC can feel a bit like living in a bubble. My classes, job, friends, social life and study places are all in one place – not to mention that USC often keeps me too happy and busy to ever think about leaving the surrounding area. Why would I ever need to leave?

                But this semester, I’ve found myself venturing into unknown territory – albeit, not very far. The reason from my departure from campus can be attributed to the journalism class “Introduction to Online Media,” in which my classmates and I are asked to seek out and report on the untold stories of the residents of the areas of Los Angeles – neighborhoods that are much more known for their crime and poverty rates. In my case, that means the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. And, although I have only been driving just a few very short miles to get there, I might as well be worlds away from USC.

              Each of my classmates and I report about a different part of this local community – businesses, religions, restaurants, schools, and so on. It is my responsibility to tell the complete story of religion in the Crenshaw area, which has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least. For the past few Sundays, I have found myself celebrating the diverse religious faiths of the area: I have sung prayer hymns at a Baptist church, listened to voiced prayers at a Church of Christ, even looked on as people of the Islam faith pray on their prayer mats.


               Now, I have to backtrack here a little bit. When I first heard what kinds of assignments I would have to complete throughout the semester, I was more than a little nervous – I was scared. I am not necessarily the kind of person who can walk right up to a stranger and ask them to open up to me about his life, but that’s what I would need to do to get my stories. I was scared to be forced to venture into an unknown area with a bad reputation and frankly, wasn’t quite sure if I could do it or not.

                But I did, and I did it surprisingly well. I met members of the Crenshaw community that I would have never interacted with otherwise. I listened to the stories and testimonies of pastors and other religious leaders that had lived in Crenshaw for decades and heard the plights and hardships they’d suffered through and conquered. I turned their narrated stories into colorful online media packages complete with pictures, audio and articles, and then sent my work back to my subjects. They were overjoyed that someone had taken the time to listen and to care, when it often seemed like nobody had or ever would.

And, as I formed bonds and relationships with the people of Crenshaw, I slowly felt that bubble I’d been trapped in for the past three years fading away.

                After seeing what’s really outside of USC, I now feel like a more cultured and well-rounded individual and journalist. I don’t take my amazing education for granted, and I realize how insensitive we can all be to the neighborhoods that surround our beloved university. I now realize that just like us, the residents of Crenshaw have a history, a community and a purpose. They are there, they have a story, and we should all take the time to notice. We should take the time to pop the bubble.

Cecilia Callas (Print and Digital Journalism '15)
Student Assistant
Annenberg Alumni Relations

Becky from the Block Login to comment

Monday, November 11 2013 01:56:46 PM

“Remember that music video I showed you guys the first class?” asked Professor Josh Kun in my Communications 307 class, titled “Sound Clash: Popular Music and American Culture”. He was referring to a music video by up-and-coming artist, 16 year old Becky G, an immensely talented, and remarkably wise beyond her years, pop and rap artist, who, as Professor Kun mentioned during this first class, embodies many of the themes we were to explore throughout the course. Not to mention the fact that her video, “Becky from the Block” was his favorite track of the summer, and soon came to be my, along with many of my fellow students’, favorite track of the semester.            

“Becky from the Block” has reached over 7 million views on YouTube, Becky herself has become something of a teen sensation as her urban pop beats have caught the attention of all ages, and, on top of all this, she has recently been added to the prestigious lineup of CoverGirl spokeswomen. She may be the coolest 16 year old to ever hit the American pop charts, way cooler than I could have ever been at 16, and so it was no surprise that when Professor Kun mentioned in class on Tuesday that Becky herself was coming to our class as a guest speaker that coming Thursday, that the entire class, still waiting for the early morning caffeine to kick-in at our 9:30am lecture, became alive with excitement, as if it was 9:30pm on a Friday night, concert-hopping in Hollywood.            

Thursday arrived and the class was abuzz with anticipation. We waited for the arrival of Becky G; I sat in the second row as usual with the other usual second row sitters. In front of me was seating reserved for, we assumed and turned out to assume correctly, Becky’s family. I talked with a few of the others sitting next to me, until I turned my glance to the right and I saw Professor Kun walking in with the 4’11” Becky G, followed by her mother, father, and two of her cousins. What was a class humming with chatter became a combination of low whispers and interested observing; this is what USC Annenberg students call “school”. We study these artists, write papers on them, hold discussions about their functions in popular culture during lecture, and now we have the opportunity to communicate with them first-hand, to experience their personalities and hear their stories in a first-hand manner.            

I am not sure if these opportunities and experiences are a norm for other universities. Perhaps for a few they are, but for USC students it is a humbling normalcy: as students at USC in general, we are incredibly lucky. We are incredibly lucky to be afforded opportunities and experiences as this, meeting artists that we have not only studied throughout our course, but who have fans that would probably teem with jealousy upon hearing a class of 20-something year old students were in that close of proximity to them. It is thanks to the never-ending network that is partly responsible for USC’s ever-consistent fame, that these experiences are possible. There really is nothing comparable to being a USC Annenberg student and a USC student, in general.            

Which may be why, as mentioned by both Professor Kun and then Becky at multiple moments throughout the class, that USC is, and has always been, her dream school.

With good reason, Becky.

Patricia Silva
BA Communications ‘15
Undergraduate Student Assistant
Annenberg Alumni Relations and Development     
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