24 Binghamton University Alumni with Cool Careers

Posted by Kaitlyn Hart on May 13, 2021

Binghamton has many amazing alumni who have pursued a ton of different careers after they graduated. From scientists to small business owners, here are just a few of the alumni we’re proud to call Bearcats!

Darryl Melissa Charles '12

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While most of us spent the year at home, Charles spent 2020 helping to develop a COVID-19 vaccine! As a vaccine research scientist at Pfizer, she was a part of the team that created the first vaccine authorized in the U.S., and is a strong advocate for Black women in science.

Ilene Friedman '06

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Friedman is the owner of a business called “Send Me Waffles,” which is exactly what it sounds like! Her love of cooking blossomed at Binghamton, when she moved into the Apartment Communities. Now she provides the Albany, N.Y., area with soft, sugary waffles made with fresh and local ingredients.

Ingrid Michaelson '01

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This Binghamton alumna is a noted singer and songwriter, and she recently had a song come out with ZAYN! Aside from that, she’s also known for her song “Girls Chase Boys” and has recently written the music for a musical inspired by the film The Notebook.

Andy Appelbaum '88

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If you’ve ever ordered food to your dorm using the Seamless app, you have a Binghamton alum to thank for that! Appelbaum is a co-founder of the app alongside his brother, Paul Appelbaum '95. They sold the company to Aramark in 2006, and it is now one of the largest mobile food ordering companies in the U.S.!

Lisa Materazzo '90, MBA '97

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Materazzo is the former vice president of marketing for Lexus, and is now the group vice president of Toyota Division Marketing for Toyota Motor North America! She’s responsible for all of the advertising, media, digital marketing, experiential marketing and more for the group.

Peter Alessandria '83

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Alessandria is a noted photographer who takes pictures of the New York City skyline, but he didn’t start out that way! He pursued his passion for photography after his law business closed in 2009, and he has been doing what he loves ever since! He’s also an author and a speaker.

David Whalen '05

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If you’ve ever been in Downtown Binghamton at night looking for something to eat, chances are you’ve been to Binghamton Hots. Whalen created the small business after he graduated from the School of Management, wanting to cater to those who live downtown and want dining options late at night.

Jackie McFadden '08

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McFadden is a threat intelligence analyst for Facebook, where she works to combat the spread of false information on the site, both from individuals and organizations. She’s also an app developer who developed her own app, Keeyp, which helps you organize the clutter of photos on your phone and create interactive scrapbooks with friends and family!

Warren Sager '91

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Through his company, Moxey, Sager wants to help small businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic operate and interact with other small businesses in their community. Moxey is a barter system where businesses can trade goods with others, meaning that they can help each other out during a time when businesses across the country are suffering.

Christopher Knight, MA '76

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This alumnus recently won a Pulitzer Prize for art criticism! He writes for The Los Angeles Times and won the award in 2020 for his coverage of the plans for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Knight has also appeared on a variety of news programs, including 60 Minutes.

Steven Canals '05, MA '08

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Canals’ time at Binghamton helped to inspire the Emmy-nominated drama Pose after taking a cinema class and watching the documentary “Paris is Burning.” Pose is one of my favorite shows of all time, and it’s so amazing knowing that part of the idea for the show was born right in the Lecture Hall!

Ruben Santiago-Hudson '78

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Santiago-Huson has had an amazing career as an actor in both theatre and television -- he’s even a Tony Award winner! He’s also a director and playwright. Recently, Santiago-Hudson has been gaining acclaim for the film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring Academy Award nominees Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. The film also ended up winning Oscars for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design!

John Wilson '08

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After graduating with a degree in cinema at Binghamton, Wilson became a documentary filmmaker. He’s currently working on How To with John Wilson, a comedy docuseries on HBO that has recently been renewed for a second season! In the show, Wilson, an “anxious New Yorker,” films fellow New Yorkers and attempts to give advice on a variety of topics.

Jessie Rubin '13

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Rubin is a social media manager for NBC Universal, and manages the social media pages for TV shows like Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Before that, she ran social media for VH1 for shows like Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta!

Margie Cohn '78

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This alumna is the president of DreamWorks Animation and has overseen projects and films such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Trolls World Tour and The Croods 2. Before that, she was the president of DreamWorks Animation Television and also worked at Nickelodeon for 20 years, working on series such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Fairly Odd Parents, SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly.

Joshua B. Ludzki MBA '13

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If you’ve ever been to the LUMA festival in downtown Binghamton, you’ll know that it’s a beautiful area tradition, but did you know that an alum helped create it? Though the festival was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, LUMA has been working on virtual theatre pieces, such as helping to create a live streaming virtual opera!

John Shaffer '75

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Shaffer is the brains, and taste buds, behind many iconic Ben & Jerry’s flavors like Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night Snack” and Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road” during his over 20 years as a flavor guru for the company. Fallon even called him an “ice cream genius!”

Nathaalie Carey '02 MPA '03

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Carey is an alumna with a long and amazing career in government. She was the youngest person, first woman and first person of color appointed as budget director of Broome County. More recently, she was the executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor, where she was responsible for supporting New York state workers, providing unemployment benefits and more. Carey’s current position is senior vice president, industry affairs and social responsibility of Nareit.

Maggie Chan Jones '96

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Before creating her startup, Tenshey, Chan Jones was the first female CMO of SAP, a software giant, and was named one of the world’s most influential CMOs by Forbes in 2017. Tenshey, which means “angels” in Japanese, is a startup that promotes diverse leaders in male-dominated workplaces and connects those with similar goals to executive coaches and a community of people with unique perspectives and backgrounds!

David Kashan '08

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Ever since graduating from Binghamton University, Kashan went on to become a general surgeon and is now a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He was also a part of a groundbreaking face transplant (yeah, you read that right, a face transplant). National Geographic even spent a year covering it!

Ron Brownstein '79

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Brownstein is a journalist and a historian, as well as a political correspondent. He works as a senior editor for The Atlantic, a contributing editor for National Journal and a senior political analyst for CNN. He’s also an author and an editor of several books, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice!

Nicole Armstrong '91

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Armstrong has loved technology since she was a child and taught herself how to code, and she’s combined her love of technology with her love of service throughout her career. Most recently she’s done this as CEO of TechBridge, a company that gives technology solutions to non-profit organizations such as Goodwill and Feeding America!

Matt Gill '18

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Through his work with his company, Enhance-VR, this Watson alum was named the 2020 Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by the New York Small Business Development Center (NYSBDC). He’s based out of the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, where he creates content through virtual and augmented reality technology. The company originated from a HackBU skiing simulator project in 2015, and was officially launched in 2017.

Jacki Jing '08

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Jing is an Emmy-nominated journalist who covers entertainment. She’s a former IGN host and producer and is currently an independent content creator! She was recently announced as one of the three hosts of this year’s E3, a convention where video game companies unveil new projects and upcoming games.

Kaitlyn Hart is an intern in the Office of Media and Public Relations, and a junior double-majoring in English Rhetoric and Political Science, with a minor in Anthropology. She loves to write, watch movies and spend way too many hours of the day on TikTok.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.