Blog Alumni

Nagwa Abdallah comes from Egypt where she spent seven years as senior foreign affairs editor for Al -Ahram Daily Newspaper in Egypt. She was a fellow of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford University in 2010-2011. She worked as an international affairs editor, researcher and reporter for a number of news outlets, including  Al -Ahram Quarterly’s “Democracy Review,” in which her main focus was on democracy issues internationally and internally. She also worked for Al -Ahram El Reiady Weekly magazine, Al-Ahram Al Araby Weekly Magazine, and Al -Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS). She also worked in 2007 as an international affairs editor for Die Welt, a German daily newspaper, where she covered Middle East and Egyptian affairs.

Curt Devine is a freelance writer, graduate student and human rights advocate. He graduated in 2010 from the University of Florida with a dual degree in journalism and English literature. Shortly after graduation, he traveled to 11 countries in 11 months through the World Race, and he hopes to travel to dozens more after completing his International Media master’s degree at American University. He plans to use his degree to create sustainable social change in Latin America.

Allison J. Dickinson earned her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University with a double major in Latin American Studies and Spanish. She comes to the International Media program after stints in Minneapolis, Boston and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She speaks fluent Spanish, works in public media, loves to run, and sings far too much.

Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath (better known as Elledub)  is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but spent the past year living in Palestine, and it was there that she fell in love with a culture and a region. In Palestine, Laurin-Whitney volunteered in a school and refugee camp teaching film, radio and photography.  Before living in Palestine,  Laurin-Whitney received her bachelor’s degree  in Television and Radio Production from Valparaiso University.  While she loves learning about all countries in the world, she is most interested in how the media affects the peace process, specifically in Israel-Palestine.

Eva Harder is like many International Media graduate students as she couldn’t decide after college what she liked more, writing about the world or traveling across it. From exploring genocide at the museum of Auschwitz to interviewing local Italians during the 2008 U.S. presidential election on a semester abroad, she has long been interested in global culture and global consequences. A native Texan with a background in Communication and English, Eva’s time in Washington, D.C., has made her sure of only one thing: No matter how you spin it, a segway is just not an acceptable means of transportation.

Oloruntobi “IBK” Jaiyeola is a Pepperdine University alum who has an interest in cross-cultural communication and media advocacy. She is a traveler and loves to explore world cultures through the arts. Although she enjoys learning about new cultures, particularly Asian cultures, her regional focus is West Africa. As a native of Lagos, Nigeria, she wants to use her International Media degree to recover and restore fading cultures in parts of Western Africa. She also enjoys cooking, watching foreign movies and TV shows, reading blogs, and singing.

Abdullah Kadasa is a seasoned international journalist and media executive whose work has included accompanying Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Al Saud to producing TV programs to publishing investigative work. He has worked as a journalist for Al Hayat newspaper.  Prior to this, he managed the television and telecommunications services at Albarahin International Company and served as the publishing manger for the Arabian Printing and Publishing House.  A native of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Kadasa received his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication at King Saud University in Riyadh.

Jason Kanno comes from many places. He was born in Ohio but has lived in Hawaii, Japan, Alabama, Texas, South Korea, and Virginia, courtesy of the Air Force. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and he works for the Department of Homeland Security. He enjoys travel and international affairs but can’t learn a second language to save his life.

Yulia Koval-Molodtsova is originally from Russia where she has worked as a public relations and communications consultant for various non-profits,  as a freelance writer for several major publishing houses, and as a research assistant for the Russian bureau of The Guardian newspaper. She spent her senior school year studying in Proctor, Vermont, as part of the American Councils youth cultural exchange program.  Her university education in English Philology provided her with keen insight into the use of language and inspired her interest in native and foreign cultures and history. Her background in journalism has given her a profound interest in the interrelation of culture, language and communications in regards to social issues. She is currently a Fulbright scholar enrolled in the International Media program at American University. Her professional motto inherited from her father is: “Stories keep people alive.”

Gabby LaVerghetta is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She comes from Columbia, Maryland. Last summer, she was a Dow Jones News Fund copy editing intern at The Richmond Times-Dispatch. She has also interned on the sports copy desk at The Baltimore Sun. She joined the International Media program at American University because her research interests lie in strategic communication and the media’s influence on foreign policy. After studying abroad in Rome, she fell in love with the Italian language. Her other loves include traveling anywhere, reading old books, eating spicy foods, and cheering for the home teams.  To see all of her posts, please go here.

Becky Mezzanotte (or Becky Mezz as she is often called) has been described as a paper crane amidst a world of boxes. Becky is a beauty pageant contestant turned ballerina turned musician turned actor turned filmmaker/photographer turned graduate student. A Baltimore native, she has lived in Prague, Czech Republic, Cairo, Egypt and of course Washington, D.C. In her free time, Becky can be found writing television/movie scripts (which she actually hopes to film), reading books, obsessing over British TV shows, working on various Shakespeare shows, making fake blood, or re-enacting the American Civil War. She is also attempting to train for the London Marathon in 2013.  To see all of her posts, please go here.

Erin Powell is from northern Virginia. She has visited England, Scotland and France, and she hopes to continue her travels with a study abroad opportunity through the International Media graduate program at American University. In her free time, Erin loves to cook, read, volunteer, watch movies, kayak, play the ukulele, take photographs, and explore Washington, D.C. Her academic interests include human rights, foreign policy, sustainable development, and social entrepreneurship.

Vicktery Sanchez is a native New Yorker.  She studied International Affairs with a concentration in Latin America and International Development at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  For the past two years, she has been working with the U.S. Department of State in the fields of human rights and public diplomacy.  Her region of interest is Latin America, and she hopes to continue to advance U.S. diplomacy efforts through her studies in the International Media program. She has lived in Costa Rica and Chile.

Erica Sanchez-Vazquez has been interested in working in media most of her life. Her dreams originated with watching American TV shows. A few years later, she developed an obsession with 24-hour news and so her future plans shifted.  She studied journalism at the University of Puerto Rico, along with modern languages and film production. She just finished her first year of the International Media program a American University, a program that she thinks gathers all of her interests in one neat package. To see her work on this blog, please check here.

Corey Smith is a young professional in the fields of international education and media. He received a BA in Journalism from Keene State College in Keene, N.H., in 2010. Smith also worked at the college newspaper. After traveling to South Africa, Smith decided to focus on international affairs. Smith has worked with a number of internationally-focused organizations, including Road Scholar, the Alliance for Global Education and Abroad101. He is currently completing a graduate degree in International Media at American University. Smith is also interested in photography, travel and trivia and hopes to work as a communications and media specialist for international education organizations. To see an archive of his blog work, please go here.

Katie L. Wallace has a penchant for global media and a fondness for random factoids. She spent years as a tech-savvy super-geek working for companies like Apple, Motion Computing and America Online.  Her consulting experience in workflow analytics and process mapping fused with her love of learning to inspire her to continue her education in global communication.   Katie’s drive to study communication and media methodology led her to the International Media program at American University.  Katie felt that American University was the best place to develop the intercultural and world affairs knowledge required to work with global leaders on generating solutions aimed at bettering the lives of people globally.  Katie completed her B.A. in International Affairs and Strategic Communication at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

Echo Xie is a dreamer in the real world. While growing up in Beijing, China, Echo developed a deep interest in music, film and literature. Like most children, she followed a path designed by parents and society. She graduated from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing with a bachelor’s degree in business. She then worked as an auditor for two years, only to find her true passion lies in media and communication. In media, she believes, lies the key to a better world. So she resigned and came to the U.S. to start over. Echo is now majoring in International Media, and with many others sharing the same dream. Echo is a dreamer. And she is not the only one.  To see her posts on this blog, please go here.

Jessica Andrews is a student in the two-year International Media program at American University in the School of International Service. She received her undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism at the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University, where she worked as a reporter for the completely student-run, nightly newscast, Newswatch. She completed her undergraduate thesis by making a documentary about a homeless resource center in Phoenix. An archive of her contributions can be found here.

Tara Ashraf must have missed the day when a life GPS was given to each baby.  Her constant twists and turns have taught her a sense of direction with many career zigzags.
She majored in three areas in her undergraduate life: Spanish, Communication/Journalism, and English. She speaks and writes in English, Spanish, Urdu, and Arabic. But her enthusiasm doesn’t just cover her classes (or her love for coffee  – but that’s a story for another time); she genuinely enjoys the activities she does outside of the classroom as well. While she never stops moving, she wouldn’t have it any other way.  An archive of her work on this blog can be found here.

Jeff Hutter is a graduate of the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.  Because he suffers from a serious case of wanderlust, Hutter constantly seeks an excuse to travel. Roadtripping across the U.S., watching the Spice Girls reunion concert in London, and white-watering rafting in Costa Rica are among his favorite moments.  While tracing Winston Churchill’s path across South Africa, he wore the same oversized red raincoat for 28 days straight, inspiring Lady Mary Churchill Soames to nickname him, “the Tomato.”  Hutter says he is the creator of the theory that global awareness and understanding of the pop culture phenomenon can save the world. An archive of his blog work can be found here.

Ginnie Seger graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in broadcast journalism. During her undergraduate education, she studied abroad in both Ghana and China. Ginnie worked for WCVE PBS Richmond, as a production technician in the Virginia House of Representatives.  After completing her degree in 2008, she joined the Peace Corps where she served in Kenya as a deaf education volunteer until 2011. While in the Peace Corps, she worked to create a strategic health campaign for the Kenyan deaf population. In the future she hopes to work for a non-profit organization, and is interested in the use of social media and technology in the developing world.  To read all of her posts on this blog, please go here.

Fatemeh Shahkolahi has a deeply rooted interest in communication; she was born in Fort Worth, Texas to the only Muslim family within a 20-mile radius.  As a first generation Iranian-American, Fatemeh grew up witnessing the transfusion of her Eastern heritage and the Western culture around her, shaping her into the hyphenated citizen that she is today.  She received her Bachelor’s degree with honors from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in English literature and communication. Her interests include: intercultural communication, the Arab Spring, social media, and media in the Arab and Islamic world. She enjoys Colombian coffee, Swiss chocolate, French bread, and a good story. To see all of her posts on this blog, please go here.

Swati Singh was a contributor to Sutradhar’s Market as a member of the Media Writing class at American University in 2011.  She is pursuing her MBA at the Kogod School of Business at American University. Prior to her MBA pursuits, she worked for  four years in the marketing and communications industry in India with a diverse set of companies, namely HSBC, Jet Airways and McCann Erickson. She also holds the position of a peer leader at Kogod and is responsible for mentoring first year MBA students in the subject of managerial economics.  In her spare time, she likes to travel internationally, ride her bike and cook fusion food.  An archive of her contributions can be found here.