DePaul University College of Communication > Alumni > Alumni Profiles By Program > Media & Cinema Studies Alumni

Media & Cinema Studies Alumni

Here are a few of our recent alumni and information on what they have been working on since graduating from Media and Cinema Studies graduate program. Their experiences after college go to show the wide range of work to which study in MCS can lead.

Benjamin Bateman

Benjamin earned his MA in Media & Cinema Studies in June of 2013. For his thesis project, he investigated “the pursuit of objectivity in a subjective medium” and produced, filmed, and edited a short documentary film. This short film chronicled the life of singer-songwriter Cameron McGill. Benjamin continues to film and sift through the nearly three hundred and fifty hours of film spanning more than nine years to developing a feature-length documentary film. This is Benjamin’s ninth year teaching secondary education social studies and visual arts for CPS and in 2015-2016 he will begin teaching, among other courses, film and media studies.

Angela Brown

Angela completed her MA in Media and Cinema Studies in the Fall of 2013 and now works for Nielsen TV Ratings & Computer Research in Seattle, Washington. As a membership rep for the Watch side of Nielsen, she manages relationships with families in the Seattle market who are participating in national television and computer viewing measurement. She is passionate about media literacy and social media and excited to work in a role that emphasizes her interests in digital media. One day she would like to run a cinema cafe that specializes in media literacy development for urban kids and teens.

Jef Burnham

Jef earned his MA in Media Cinema Studies from DePaul University in the Fall of 2013. He currently serves as an instructor in DePaul University’s College of Communication as well as the College of Computing and Digital Media, but previously taught courses for Columbia College Chicago’s Film & Video program and Facets Multimedia’s Facets Film School. As a scholar, Jef has co-authored essays featured in Reading Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Scarecrow Press, 2013), Remake Television: Reboot, Reuse, Recycle (Lexington Books, 2014), and Rashomon Effects: Kurosawa, Rashomon, and Their Legacies (Routledge, 2015), and contributed a chapter to Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy (Open Court, 2011). His work outside of academia finds his time occupied with film/media criticism as well as film production, most recently serving as Assistant Director on Jason Coffman’s feature film, Still (2015).

Lisa Buscani

Lisa got her start in Chicago's performance poetry scene and ultimately became a National Poetry Slam Champion as well as a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry. A three-time Chicago Arts Assistance Program grant recipient, she has published one book of poetry, Jangle (Tia Chucha Press), and has produced three critically and publicly acclaimed solo shows, Carnival Animale, At That Time and Solid Citizen. She has appeared on HBO, CNN, PBS, Much Music and NPR. Her new show, Redletter, debuts at the NeoFuturarium February 26. Lisa currently teaches Ethics in Computer Gaming and Cinema in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media.

Grace Choi

Grace is currently a PhD student and graduate instructor in the Mass Media Communication division at University of Missouri at Columbia majoring in Communication. She is working on Virtual Health research with Dr. Lissa Behm-Morawitz. For her studies, Grace is focused on new media technology, new media literacy education, social media, and cyberbullying. She is teaching a Public Speaking course and will be teaching Media and Society course. Grace’s goal is to be a professor and to own her own company someday.

Alexis Jaworski

Since completing her MA in Media, Culture & Society in 2012, Alexis has worked in media production and communication strategy across creative disciplines. With 15 years experience in non-profit arts management, Alexis currently serves as the Director of Marketing & Communications for River North Dance Chicago. She is also a Producer with Yellow Wing Productions, an award-winning media company that provides a creative outlet for women filmmakers, specializing in documentaries that aim to educate, heal, and transform communities. Alexis began working on her first documentary feature, Sole Survivor by Chicago Director Ky Dickens, in conjunction with her MCS studies. The film profiles four people who were the lone survivors of otherwise fatal commercial plane crashes. Sole Survivor premiered at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival in 2013 and was named “Best Feature Film” at the 2013 BMA Awards. Following a successful festival run, the film was acquired by CNN Films and premiered on the network in January 2014 to critical acclaim. She is currently producing two more feature films with director Ky Dickens, Zero Weeks and Chicago: Ad Town, with expected releases in 2016.

Peter Kelly

Peter has been working as a Content Strategist at Critical Mass, an international digital marketing agency, for over two years now. The discipline focuses on the planning, implementation, and governance of useful content across a variety of websites and digital executions. In particular, Peter has helped develop content for clients such as Citibank, AT&T, Humana, and HP. This June, Peter was relocated to CM's Toronto office, where he has been working hard to establish a new tradition of content strategy in an office that previously lacked the discipline. In his spare time, he has been writing and editing content for Lost in Concert (www.lostinconcert.com) that aims to bring the live music experience to life through imagery and words. LIC began focused on the Chicago scene; Peter is aiming to establish a Toronto presence now as well.

Michael Lachney

Michael is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant in the Science and Technology Studies department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He lives with his wife Elizabeth Schewe and Labrador retriever Jake in Troy, NY. Michael employs a mix of media studies and science and technology studies theory to frame his research on educational technology. He is currently collecting data for a cross-cultural comparison of the educational uses of LEGOMindstorms in Ghana and the United States. He focuses specifically on how teachers and other educators negotiate these technologies in the context of curriculum standardization and economic austerity. Michael is a member of the Culturally Situated Design Tools research team, which works with underserved communities across the globe to develop educational software that connects cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge systems to math and computing curricula. He works together with teachers and technologists to design software that is culturally relevant and computationally rich. Currently, Michael is working to implement the visual programming environment CSnap into math, computing, and art classrooms. Michael's work has appeared in the edited collections Fan Culture: Theory/Practice (2012) and LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon (2014), and in the encyclopedia Ethics, Science, Technology and Engineering: An International Resource, 2nd Edition (2014).

Nico Lang

While completing his MA in Media and Cinema Studies in June of 2014, Nico accepted a job at the Daily Dot as their Opinion Editor. During Lang’s time at DePaul, he wrote a book, The Young People Who Traverse Dimensions While Wearing Sunglasses, a memoir about having a nervous breakdown in Paris, and also co-edited the first installment of an anthology series, BOYS, which debuted at #1 in Amazon’s LGBT non-fiction section. In addition to being a frequent guest on the Fusion network, Nico is a contributor at The Advocate, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, Salon, Mic, the Los Angeles Times, and the Onion A.V. Club. His work has also been featured in Gawker, Jezebel, The Guardian, Yahoo!, The Frisky, xoJane, OUT, Flavorwire, Bitch, and NPR, as well as getting trolled by Fox News.

Dominick Mayer

Since receiving his MA in Media and Cinema Studies in June 2013, Dominick Suzanne-Mayer has been active as a film critic around Chicago and elsewhere. He was accepted into the Chicago Film Critics Association that same summer, and in 2014 took on a leading editorial position with Consequence of Sound, where he planned and helped launch their film section. He is also the co-founder of The Kelly Affair, a locally-based criticism site, alongside fellow MCS graduate Blake Goble. His work has also been featured by TIME, Salon, and The Daily Dot. He also co-hosts two podcasts and founded a monthly reading night titled Permanent Records, dedicated to the dramatic reading of people's embarrassing writing of all kinds from their younger years.

Kristen Micek

Kristen graduated from MCS in 2014. She presented at academic conferences on topics including the intersection of fandom and religion in travel culture, mythology and intertextuality in Joss Whedon’s works, and temporal character complexity in Once Upon a Time. Her MA thesis examined how media representations of European and American mythological figures have adapted over time to address contemporary concerns, specifically fears of internet anonymity, disempowerment in a globalized society, and concerns of identity fragmentation. She is currently pursuing a JD at Northwestern University School of Law.

Christopher Olson

Christopher has chosen to pursue a career in academia, having developed a course on Masculinity and Communication, which he will be teaching during the spring semester at Dominican University. He also serves as co-editor (with Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard of Dominican University) on a volume of essays regarding empirical approaches to film reception studies to be published in 2016 and titled Making Sense of Cinema: Empirical Studies into Film Spectators and Spectatorship. Furthermore, again with Dr. Reinhard, Christopher co-created and co-hosts The Pop Culture Lens Podcast, a scholarly podcast offering fresh perspectives on the media and popular culture of the past. Christopher is scheduled to present two papers at the upcoming CSCA conference in Madison, Wisconsin, one on professional wrestling as convergent media and the other on gender in the animated series Adventure Time.

Luis Pascasio

Luis is currently pursuing a PhD in Mass Communication in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University. His MA thesis in the MCS program is focused on the analysis of resistance discourse in cinema from a postcolonial perspective and how it helps in the construction of nation imaginary. For his doctoral dissertation, he is planning to concentrate on new media technologies and aesthetics of resistance and how they converge as a platform for participatory democracy and social movements that challenge dominant ideologies of oppression.

Jim Sandherr

Since graduating from the MCS program in 2011, Jim Sandherr has been working with the Digital Youth Network here in Chicago to design and implement digital media literacy programming in schools, libraries, and community organizations. Currently, he is working as a research assistant on a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the use and development of online social learning networks in classrooms. Additionally, he is working on frameworks for designing badge and learning pathways for use in blended digital and face to face learning environments. He is also working with the Paideia Center in Asheville, NC to support their national teaching faculty in the use of online learning spaces and digital media. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, he taught the Introduction to Film course for Columbia College Chicago’s Upward Bound program which prepares high school students with limited financial resources for a successful college experience.

Eli Steenlage

Eli is committed to involving himself in creative film and media production and instruction. For his MCS thesis project, he wrote, directed, shot and edited the feature-length film, Photostoria, which was screened at the 2014 Landlocked Film Festival. The film is currently in consideration for several other festivals for the 2015 season. Soon after graduation in the fall of 2013, Eli’s second son, Maxwell, was born and his family relocated to Madison, Wisconsin. He is currently working as a consumer software and video instructor with Apple. Eli has developed an outlet for new film and media projects called Fern Productions, in partnership with his wife and brother. He is also developing a feature-length film and in the spring of 2015, with Eli as director, Fern Productions will begin shooting a related short film about Internet activism and the human condition in the near future.

Katie Wilson

Katie is now finishing her PhD in Humanities from the University of Louisville with a focus on cultural studies. Her research looks at the way fan communities address current political and social issues within their fan activities. In addition to being a student, Katie teaches Basic Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communications at Jefferson Community and Technical College’s Bullitt County Campus. Katie is also the Information Chair for the University of Louisville Graduate Student Council, as well as the Fan Studies Area Chair and the Student/New Professional Representative for the Midwest Popular Culture/American Culture Association.

Lara Barnes

Since graduating from DePaul with a BA in Media and Cinema Studies in June 2014, Lara has since moved to Atlanta, GA, where she began working at a local commercial production studio. She worked on commercials for four major networks including National Geographic, Bravo, E!, and HGTV, and even had the opportunity to work with the cast of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta". Lara then went on to follow her passion for production, and became a set production assistant on the supernatural CW show, "The Originals". There, she worked with directors, actors, extras, and crew members to help ensure a seamless production and smooth day of shooting. Once the season wrapped, Lara began seeking other opportunities and landed a job at one of the world’s best news organizations, CNN. She now works as a news assistant and is still pursuing her career aspirations in production. She teleprompts for shows on CNN, HLN, and CNN International, and helps deliver scripts to the on-air talent. Lara is also excited to announce that "The David Dance", a film she performed in, is now debuting at film festivals around the country and throughout Europe.