*UPDATED* “Where Are They Now?” Binghamton University Edition
Posted by Junior Rachel Fisher on March 30, 2016
Binghamton alumni do amazing things — and we love to tell their stories. But, as time goes by, we often wonder, "What happened to some of the people we have featured in our magazines, on websites and social media posts?" We went back and talked to a few of them so we could answer that one big question: “Where are they now?”
Then: Jessie graduated in 2013 with a bachelor of arts in English rhetoric. As a student, she was a member of the D1 tennis team, a teaching assistant for the English Department and a member of the Hillel-Jewish Student Union. In addition, she served as a "Leader From The Locker Room" with the Athletics Department and Magic Paintbrush Project, and was on the lead planning committee for Chabad's Fashion For A Cure. She also was selected to be one of the student speakers at her commencement ceremony.
Now: Following graduation, Jessie worked as the social media coordinator for VH1 for two years. She is now currently working for NBC Universal as a social media manager for shows like Late Night with Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live.
Quotable: "One of my favorite professors at Binghamton was Mary Haupt. She is an incredible person and educator. She taught me so much about the world of journalism and crafting my own writing voice. She had me start a blog as an assignment that I later used when applying for jobs after graduation. We are still in touch and I hope that never changes!"
Then: Santino graduated with a degree in classical civilization, myth and performance in 2013. He created his own degree which allowed him to study the ancient performance practices of indigenous cultures and transform them into modern work. He was also involved with Explorchestra, BTV and Pipe Dream, and spent a lot of time working with the Theatre Department. He was also a 2011 Harpur Fellow.
Now: Santino is now a succesful writer, composer and producer. He wrote the music, lyrics and script for “Foolerie,” which was presented at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in July 2015 and was a huge success. He's currently in grad school at Columbia University and is working on several new plays in New York City. He also has a commission for a brand new farce that will premiere at the Cider Mill Playhouse this fall and a commission for a new orchestral piece for the Binghamton Philharmonic early next year.
Quotable: "Binghamton was the place where I really began to understand how important building relationships are. You are the people you surround yourself with and Binghamton University allowed me to surround myself with such incredibly kind and talented teachers, staff and students who shaped the man I have (sort of) grown up to be."
Then: Jami graduated in 1986 with a BA in political science and a concentration in journalism. While a student at Binghamton, she worked as a disc jockey at WHRW and was the ombudsperson for Pipe Dream. Jami was also active in campus politics and ran two political campaigns for the student government. Jami was a resident assistant for Cayuga Hall in College in the Woods and a teaching assistant in the political science department.
Now: Jami served as a network correspondent and investigative reporter at ABC News for many years. She also was the former anchor of Court TV’s “Jami Floyd: Best Defense.” Jami is currently the host of the WNYC show “All Things Considered.” In addition, she just consulted on a film about OJ Simpson, the case that started her down the path to a career in journalism 20 years ago. She is working on writing her own book, and is most excited about a museum project she is running that will explore race and identity in the 20th century.
Quotable: "My advice for Binghamton students is to remain open to opportunities that come your way. Don't become so focused on the goals you think you have that you miss out on an exciting mind- and life-expanding opportunity because you fear it may take you slightly off course, or in the "wrong" direction. Also, don't just go along to get along. Live each day with purpose and make each decision -- about career and everything else -- with intention. That way you won't wake up one day and say, "Wait a minute, how did I get here?" You want to direct your life and carve out your own path, rather than allowing things to simply happen to you."
Then: Armand graduated with a BA in economics and architectural history in 2009. While at Binghamton, he helped found the Omega Zeta chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, and served as their first vice president of membership and second president. He also played an active role in the School of Management Dean’s Advisory Board, and was a member of the American Marketing Association.
Now: After Armand graduated, he started his career in Binghamton as an account manager at Performance Bridge Media, a boutique advertising agency. He then moved to Manhattan and started as an account executive at Federated Media Publishing. Afterward he further focused on his interest in social media and helped Fortune 500 companies establish their presence and voice as a brand strategist at Tumblr. He's now a partner at nativ.ly, in charge of opening their New York office and helping top startups partner with brands.
Quotable: "Binghamton University was home for some of the most fascinating and formative years of my life. Not only did it prove to be a hotbed for likeminded enterprising and intelligent people, but also its faculty and staff were incredibly supportive in nurturing the energy that we as students created."
Then: Lucy graduated from the Watson School of Engineering with a BS in bioengineering in 2013. While a student, she was the co-founder and president of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club, and a member of the Society of Women Engineers.
Now: Lucy is now the director of marketplace operations at adMarketplace, an internet search advertising platform. She also has helped to launch the partnership between Bing and adMarketplace, which was a really exciting project for her! Her goal is to start her own business that would create a movement of leveraging big data to improve schools, hospitals or social welfare systems, and make a difference on a larger scale.
Quotable: "Talk to as many people as you can, and read as much as possible. These are the two ways of gathering knowledge, and college gives you every opportunity to do both. Find things you are naturally curious about and learn as much as you can about them. Connect with other people with the same interests. Also, have fun!"
Mike Zella and Ashley Haugstatter
Then: In 2012, Mike and Ashley built their 345-square-foot home in Endicott. When they began building, Mike was a student in the School of Management. But his involvement in the construction inspired him to switch his major to mechanical engineering, and he hoped to start his own construction company. Ashley was a sophomore majoring in psychology, a member/captain of the kickline team and an undergraduate admissions tour guide.
Now: Ashley is a pediatric intensive care unit nurse at Upstate Medical University and a member of the Syracuse Silver Knights Dance Team. Michael is a mechanical engineer at UTC Carrier. During their final year at school, they built a truck-mounted camper from the bottom up and traveled across the country in it after graduation. The camper was even smaller than their house! They spent an entire month visiting 27 states and nine national parks.
Quotable: "Good things never came from comfort zones — so step out of yours and do something new and exciting!" -- Ashley Haugstatter
Then: Angelo was the owner and CEO of Adirondack Beverages from 1980–93. After leaving that position, he attended SUNY Albany and graduated in 2000 with a PhD in organizational studies. He was the only person to ever do so without earning his undergraduate degree first. From 2001 to 2013, he was a professor for MBA leadership and MBA/undergraduate entrepreneurship classes at Binghamton.
Now: Angelo is now working with students to create a food hub in downtown Binghamton. The hub would include a food factory and food preparation facility, as well as an online marketplace component. He was recently named a 2015 Career Champion for helping students pursue their dream careers. In addition, his new book, Entrepreneurial Leadership: A Practical Guide to Generating New Business, was released in January 2016.
Quotable: “They [students] keep me in the loop forever, sending emails from around the world, telling me about their businesses and asking for advice, which I love to give."
Then: Aaron graduated from the School of Management in 2011 with a BS in consulting and leadership, and accounting. He also completed his master’s in accounting at Binghamton. As a student, he was the vice president of programming for the Student Association, a co-founder and president of the SnoCats Ski and Snowboard Club, president of CIW, president of Cayuga Hall and part of the PwC Scholars Program executive board. Aaron also created the first library rave!
Now: After graduation, Aaron co-founded LaundryPuppy and served as CEO of the company. In 2014, LaundryPuppy was acquired by FlyCleaners, of which Aaron is now director of customer experience and growth. He is also the co-founder of LIU, the largest Ultimate Frisbee community on Long Island. His goal is to create really cool experiences that people love and to make an impact on the world.
Quotable: "I love a phrase that my old roommate, Andrew Silverman, used to use: ‘Be a [expletive]-ing person.’ In other words, stop being such a business robot in the office. Make friends with people, offer help, don't expect anything in return. Stop with the elevator pitches … become interested in other people and have genuine conversations. Generally, be nice. And don't stress so hard — things don't work out all the time. You'll be okay."
Then: Erik graduated in 1994 with degrees in Arabic and anthropology. As a rice farmer and baker in Vermont, he is a champion of community-supported agriculture. He built a sailing barge named Ceres, loaded it with local produce and goods, and sailed it 300 miles from the shores of Lake Champlain to New York City in 2013 and 2014. The Vermont Sail Project, as it is known, was an enormous project for which many people volunteered their time and talent. But the effort was not sustainable, and Ceres did not sail in 2015.
Now: Andrus writes on his blog, The Vermont Sail Freight Project, that it wasn’t the economics of the travel or the price of what was being sold that scuttled the project. It was finding the right partners — because with a farm and a young family, Andrus could not do it all himself. “Ideally, the operator of the boat would be an equity partner in the company. I couldn't find anyone to take this on.”
Quotable: “I haven’t lost my love for this work … but currently our mission is on hold, with no plans to revive. It’s also for sale, as is.”
Then: In 2013, tenor Hana Ryu, then a master’s student at Binghamton, traveled to Los Angeles to become part of the singing group Forte, “a classical crossover operatic pop trio,” which appeared on the television reality show America’s Got Talent. Their performance drew a standing ovation from the audience and judges. Forte was on its way to the finals when Ryu had to drop out of the competition because he was not a U.S. citizen.
Now: Ryu has put school on hiatus and rejoined Forte, which has performed at a number of high-profile charity events. The group has also recorded its second album, The Future Classics, which includes its take on music composed for Game of Thrones. Follow Forte on Facebook for updates and hear their Game of Thrones song on YouTube.
Quotable: “What I enjoy about being a crossover musician is diversity. I sing classical music, Broadway musical theater stuff and modern pop songs, even electronic dance-style music. So people can approach, very easily, our music. I think it's more relaxed and comfortable. I would love to do [a tour of Asia] so we can show our music to Asian people, too. That is one of my goals.”
Then: Jenna graduated with a BA in English and French in 1996. As a student, she interned at WICZ Fox 40, the Binghamton Fox affiliate. After graduation, she was the news and sports reporter for WICZ.
Now: Between 2007 and 2014, Jenna worked for NBC News as a Today Show news correspondent and then, for the past year, as the lifestyle and fitness correspondent. She recently left the show and is currently pursuing her own endeavors, including freelancing as a correspondent for The Dr. Oz Show, filming an episode of Law and Order: SVU, training clients and launching her website, jennawolfe.com.
Quotable: “Say yes to things you never would have. Say yes to experiences you normally would shy away from. Say yes to mistakes, blunders and bloopers. Don't worry about scraping your knees. Re-engage and say yes."
Rachel Fisher is a junior from Hewlett, N.Y., majoring in psychology. She works for Undergraduate Admissions as a campus tour guide and is a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. She's looking to pursue a career in marketing/communications and event planning.
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