Alumni All-Star Panel 2014

The Journalism Department will welcome six distinguished alums back to UMass for the All-Star Alumni Panel from 6 - 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 30, 2014, on the 10th Floor of the Campus Center. All seats for the alumni panel dinner have been reserved, but majors will get to meet many of the panelists during their classes.

Attending students should dress up, as you would for an interview. You will have a chance for one-on-one conversation with the alums below.

Ashleigh Barry, class of '99, is currently a reporter in Phoenix, AZ, at  KTVK/KPHO (CBS Duopoly.) She is a three-time Emmy Award winner.  She also has been honored with a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award and a first place Associated Press Award for continuous coverage. Ashleigh has anchored and reported at stations across the country including Columbus, OH, Milwaukee, WI, New York, NY, and Lubbock, TX.  She has an extensive production background as a producer at the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CBS News. 

Bill Gallagher, class of '05, was the Line Producer for the Academy Award nominated documentary “If a Tree Falls.”  He began his career working as Production Manager on Marshall Curry’s award-winning “Racing Dreams,” which Dreamworks is currently adapting into a movie. Both documentaries aired on the BBC and PBS. Prior to that he completed his graduate work at the Documentary Media Studies program at The New School in New York City. In addition to working at NBC’s Washington Bureau and at Harvard Business School Publishing, Bill also has lectured on documentary production at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.

Mackenzie Issler Rigg, class of '07, is a reporter at Newsday on Long Island, focusing on municipal, political and education stories.  She covered the town of Huntington for more than two years and now has changed beats to cover neighboring Oyster Bay. Two weeks after her graduation from UMass, she went to work for The Recorder in Greenfield for four years. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2012, traveling to Haiti and completing a 5,000-word thesis/article on the issue of illegal detentions in the women's prison there and U.S. culpability.

Aaron Schachter, class of '92, is an editor at PRI’s The World, heard on NPR stations, assigning and editing reporters based around the world. He also fills in as host of The World. Schachter's own experience includes eight years as the program’s Middle East reporter, living first in Israel and then Beirut and reporting extensively from Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. His stories have won awards from the duPont-Columbia School of Journalism and the Scripps-Howard Institute. Prior to his time in the Middle East, Schachter worked in Los Angeles as editor, reporter and host of the Marketplace Morning Report and as a reporter for National Public Radio.  He also did stints in Denver, at WBUR in Boston and at WFCR, New England Public Radio, in Amherst.

S.P. Sullivan, class of '10, works as a reporter for and The Star-Ledger, where he recently joined the media group's enterprise team.  Sean is a former producer for in Springfield, a former fellow at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the 2014 winner of the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists' first place prize for online health, science and environmental reporting.

Elisa Thomas, class of '95, is the Executive Director Digital Marketing--Social and CRM at Clinique. She leads the global strategy and content for Clinique’s social platforms and consumer engagement programs. For the past four years, she was on the Corporate Digital Marketing Team of Estee Lauder as the Director of Digital Education. Prior to ELC, Elisa worked as the digital creative director at Jack Morton Worldwide, leading her team in the creative strategy and execution for clients including the 911 Memorial and Museum, Fidelity Investments, Hewlett-Packard, Subway Restaurants, Hyundai and Harvard Business School. She earned her Master’s from Emerson College in 2004.

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