If you are an alumnus and would like to submit an update, please send your information to Gillian Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to know what you’re up to.
Alumna Erica Olsen is COO and co-founder of OnStrategy (formerly, M3 Planning and MyStrategicPlan) a strategic planning software company. OnStrategy is an enterprise, cloud-based leader in strategy management that provides clients with online tools and hands-on services to empower people to create and execute strategy to achieve enduring success.
Alumna Jamie Neal in is serving as a Public Affairs Officer for the United States Navy stationed in San Diego, Calif. She currently serves at Naval Special Warfare Command and assists with Media Operations.
A native Reno-ite, Neal fell in love with media while working as a production assistant at KRNV-TV in Reno at 16 years old. While studying at the University of Nevada, she gained more experience in the trade with KTVN-TV and KDOT-FM. She also worked as the traffic director for Mile High Sports Radio in Denver, Color. prior to beginning Naval Service.
Among her military decorations, Neal has been the recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Kelley previously did marketing for Resource Action Programs, a Sparks, Nev. company that implements energy and water conservation programs nationwide. He is a former Washoe County School District Board of Trustee, business owner, and U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer.
Alumna Joan Grover works as the director of communications for the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission. She was associate editor of, “Miracles in Sin City II,” a book that documents 50 years of lives changed by the Mission through personal accounts.
Alumna Chelsea Otakan recently accepted a position as a product designer with Change.org. She works with a team of developers and a product manager to design tools to promote empowerment through petitions. Her work includes everything from creating internal tools to creating tools for people to create and promote their petitions.
Before Change.org, Otakan was working at TaskRabbit as a UI Designer and Product Lead and, prior to that, as a UI Designer at Automattic. She initially went to Change.org through the DesignerFund Bridge program, a support program for practicing designers to complete residencies at startups in the bay area.
Alumnus Lukas Eggen recently accepted a position as the sports editor for the Polk County Itemizer-Observer in Oregon. Eggen previously worked for The Ely Times, first as a reporter–a position he accepted less than one month after graduating from the Reynolds School–and, most recently, as managing editor. Eggen is an award-winning journalist whose accolades include Nevada Press Association Better Newspaper Contest Awards for: second place for Best Feature Story, third place for Best Sports Story and second place for both Best Sports Feature and Sports Photo.
“Being a one-man newsroom in Ely taught me to manage time and to attack every day with a sense of purpose. Being a reporter is all I’ve wanted to be since the age of 14 when I began writing for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and I am honored to have that chance now.” Eggen said of his new position with the Polk County Itemizer-Observer.
Alumna Brandi Anderson was recently promoted to vice president of marketing and community outreach for Prospect Education and Charter College, a Reno-based company that provides career college educational services. Anderson’s department shapes branding for the entire company, including 11 on-ground Charter College campuses and an online program. Anderson’s promotion comes after serving as the company’s director of marketing and community outreach for the past two years.
Alumnus Koji Ueda recently covered the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan for the Associated Press (AP), Tokyo Bureau. Ueda documents his life-changing experience in Tacloban city–the worst-hit city in the Philippines–here.
“After spending 10 days in Tacloban, I realized the preciousness of my normal life at home,” Ueda said of the experience.
Alumna Megan Duggan recently accepted a position with Noble Studios in Reno, Nevada. Working as a strategy coordinator, Megan works closely with internal teams to develop and implement forward-thinking digital marketing campaigns. She also assists with content and social media strategy, market research and industry analysis.
Alumna Morgan Mason recently contributed to the New York Times bestselling book, “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.” During her last semester as a student, Mason aided the book’s author, Brad Stone, by interviewing employees at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Fernley, Nev. The connection between student and author was made by Professor Alan Deutschman, the Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism. Author Stone, who is based in San Francisco, asked Deutschman for a referral of an outstanding journalism student who could interview hourly employees at Amazon’s site in Fernley.
“I couldn’t have worked on this project if it weren’t for the great opportunities presented to me by Alan. He is a wonderful professor, and reflects perfectly on all of the inspirational people who make up the RSJ. It was an opportunity to find mentors and friends; I’m not sure where I would be had I not been surrounded by such positivity and brilliance,” Mason said of her experience.
Alumna Jackie Shelton was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas. Her piece, “A Flood of Blessings” focuses on a Christmas flood and the events that transformed the holiday from the worst to best Christmas ever. Shelton teaches part-time for the Reynolds School and submitted her story for publishing at the urging of her Magazine Writing students.
Shelton has also used her 25 years of communications experience to launch Jax Communications, a full-service marketing firm based in Northern Nevada.
Prior to working for Pepco, Kudelka was an account executive for Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where she advised a number of prominent clients in crises communications. Notably, she led national broadcast outreach for a major government association, which generated 36 TV stories in 13 markets. H+K also selected Kudelka to provide onsite media, community relations and strategic support for the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in response to a crises event.
Alumnus B.C. LeDoux, president, executive creative director and partner of The Glenn Group, was named 2013 Ad Person of the Year by Reno’s Ad Club, AAF Reno. Under Ledoux’s leadership, The Glenn Group received over 50 American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards in 2013. LeDoux currently resides in Las Vegas, which made receiving Reno’s Ad Person of the Year award, in his words, “extra special.”
“I spent many years in Reno, and it will always be home to me, so I love that I’ve been able to face new challenges in a new city while still being able to remain a part of this amazing community. This award is validation to me that that connection is not just in my head. For me that connection started at UNR, especially in the J-school,” LeDoux said during his acceptance speech.
Alumna Heidi Baldwin recently accepted a position with J Public Relations in San Diego. Working as an account supervisor, Baldwin spearheads travel and hospitality accounts. She was also recently chosen to be on the PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties Board of Directors.
Alumnus Brian Duggan (whose degree is focused in print journalism) was recently promoted to key topics editor at the Reno Gazette-Journal. Duggan brings with him years of professional experience in the field, having previously worked as a city reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal, a business reporter for the Nevada Appeal and, prior to that, as a political reporter for The Bismarck Tribune—a job he took just months after graduating from the Reynolds School.
“After spending five years as a reporter, moving into an editing role has been both exciting and challenging,” Duggan said. “It’s an honor to get to work with the many talented people here at the Reno Gazette-Journal week in and week out.”
Alumna Renelle Piñero was recently promoted to executive director for the Growing Worldwide Opportunity Foundation (GWOF), an organization that supports a number of grassroots initiatives in education, health and fitness, and entrepreneurship. GWOF’s annual fundraiser, Fittest of the Sierras, has become Reno-Tahoe’s premier CrossFit competition, hosting over 150 competitors and raising more than $30,000 for charitable causes. The organization has been featured in CrossFit Journal and WOD Talk magazine.
Alumnus Matthew Shuckerow was recently hired as press secretary for Alaska Congressman Don Young. Joining Young’s office in Washington, D.C., Shuckerow’s responsibilities will include internal and external communications and media relations. Shuckerow brings with him years of invaluable experience in D.C., as he was previously the press secretary for Senator Lisa Murkowski–and prior to that served as Murkowski’s legislative corespondent, intern coordinator, staff assistant and college intern. Read more about Shuckerow’s new position here.
Alumna Chelsey Farnworth recently joined The Impetus Agency in Reno as an account coordinator. She provides organizational and creative support on a number of local and national accounts. Read more about Farnworth’s position here.
Alumnus Anthony Griffith (whose degree was focused in advertising) accepted a position with Vector Media, an advertising company that offers diverse, out-of-home large-format advertising opportunities, just months after graduating from the Reynolds School.
As an account executive, Griffith is responsible for maintaining client communications, managing campaign time schedules and assisting with creative strategy. He currently works with clients from a wide range of industries, including gaming, real-estate and health care. Griffith also competes in a Las Vegas golf league and currently holds first place.
Alumna Lauren Hudman (whose degree is focused in public relations and advertising) was recently promoted to account executive at Wicked Creative in Las Vegas. The agency recently signed former-NFL-player Terry Bradshaw as a full-time client after Hudman worked on the PR campaign for his stage show, “Terry Bradshaw: America’s Favorite Dumb Blonde…A Life in Four Quarters.” Hudman is also the recipient of a 2013 PRSA Pinnacle Award.
Alumnus Bob Conrad co-founded thisisreno.com. Volunteer-ran since 2009, This is Reno is a website that presents a new model of news and information dissemination, focusing on providing smart, bold local news to the community in a time of radical transformation in the media field. A handful of This is Reno volunteer contributors are also j-school alums.
Conrad was also recently cited in a piece in the Reno Gazette-Journal’s “Reno Rebirth” blog focusing on the use of local hashtags to shape outsiders’ opinions of the biggest little city.
Alumna Lauren Hober (whose degree is focused in public relations) is teaching English to students in Ghana through the University Studies Abroad Consortium. Hober recently won first place in The Next Great Travel Writers contest for her piece, “Losing Words and Finding Stories in Africa.”
Of her experience, Hober said, ”The reason I am even capable of being here and teaching in Ghana in the first place is because of the education I received. Being able to encourage a sense of urgency for a globally educated future is an experience I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else.”
Alumnus Adam Varahachaikol was recently promoted to weekday reporter for KTVN Channel 2 News, where his work airs on the 11 p.m. newscasts. (You can also view his work on Facebook.) Varahachaikol has been with KTVN since Summer of 2008 when he accepted a position with the company as an intern. From there, Varahachaikol continued moving up in the company at a rapid pace–first accepting a promotion to morning show associate producer, then accepting another to weekday assignment editor/weekday 11 p.m. producer, then to video journalist and, finally, to weekday reporter.
“My co-workers tell me I’m a journeyman at KTVN. Moving up like I have here truly helped me appreciate my promotion that much more, and I would do it all over again,” Varahachaikol said of his time at KTVN.
Alumna Nicole Rose Dion (whose degree is focused in advertising and public relations) is working as a digital communications manager for The Abbi Agency in Reno. She is also currently helping to organize Startup Weekend Reno, which takes place on November 22.
After working at KRNV News 4 (NBC) in Reno, alumnus Nic Dunn moved to Salt Lake City to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at the University of Utah. Dunn subsequently became involved in state government, and served as the associate director of communications and speechwriter for Governor Gary R. Herbert. He then accepted a position as the public information officer for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, where he act as the official spokesperson and directs all public relations efforts.
Alumna Krystal Pyatt was recently hired as a marketing specialist for Circus Circus Reno. In the beginning of 2013, Pyatt also co-founded Pypeline Editing with another University of Nevada, Reno alum, Jennifer Perry. Pypeline Editing focuses on book editing and helping local authors publish polished work, but also contributes to websites, brochures and anything else with the written word.
Rachael McCoy recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as marketing coordinator for Roebbelen Contracting in El Dorado Hills, Calif. McCoy is tasked with designing marketing collateral, advertisements, graphics and designing/assembling quarterly company-wide newsletters. She also plays a supporting role in organizing and executing company special events and also assist with project proposals when needed.
McCoy also writes freelance for the Mountain Democrat newspaper and has recently been asked to join the Best Version Media team as a Content Coordinator for a local neighborhood magazine.
Alumnus Paul George was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: From Lemons to Lemonade. George’s story, “Adventures of a Middle-Aged College Student” focuses on the events that led him to enroll in college and pursue a career in writing. He originally wrote the piece for a Magazine Writing course at the Reynolds School and, at the urging of his classmates, submitted it for publication.