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Career Exploration

Our department is pleased to offer three career exploration events through each academic year, as an opportunity for undergraduate students to meet and engage with prominent alumni in a variety of fields. We encourage our students to use these resources to network with other students and alumni and explore the vast array or career and internship options.

Our Career Exploration is divided into three categories in order to touch on all the different career interests of our students:

Entertainment Media – Television, Broadcasting and Production
Strategic Communication – Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising
News and Information – Journalism and News Media

Last year, we welcomed alums from various Communication and Media Industries.

News and Information

Stefanie Ilgenfritz
Stefanie Ilgenfritz is the bureau chief of the Health & Science group at The Wall Street Journal, leading a team of reporters who cover the hospital, health-insurance, pharmaceutical and medical-device industries, as well as medicine and science. Over the years with Dow Jones, she has helped shape prize-winning journalism, including as co-editor on a series of stories on fraud and abuse in Medicare that won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2015, and editor of a series on the dysfunction in drug prices that was a finalist for the Pulitzer in Explanatory Reporting in 2016.
 

Jennifer Podis
In her 22 years at The Palm Beach Post, Jennifer Podis evolved from staff photojournalist, to photo editor and finally digital multimedia editor, where she produced visual content for the website and social media platforms, and managed the Post's Instagram account. She also was part of the Swirl Girls, the Post's wine bloggers and columnists, for four years.
In September 2019, she joined the Columbia Restaurant Group in Tampa as a Marketing and PR Manager specializing in video storytelling and social media. The group includes locations in Ybor City, Sarasota, Clearwater Beach, St. Augustine and Celebration, as well as restaurants Cha Cha Coconuts in Sarasota, Goody Goody Famous Burgers in Tampa and Ulele in Tampa.

Kara Sundlun
Kara Sundlun is a two-time emmy award winning journalist. You can watch her weekdays as the Anchor of Eyewitness News at noon, and at 4pm as the Co-Host of Better Connecticut with Scot Haney. She also anchors Eyewitness News at Noon. Kara joined Channel 3 in 2000 and has covered many of the biggest stories of our time. Kara covered the War in Iraq from the nation's capital and reported live from Ground Zero after terror attacks on 9-11, even traveling to Bosnia to cover our local troops fighting the war on terror. She also delivered the first live reports of the horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.In 2005, Kara received an Emmy award for outstanding achievement in reporting. She has also won an Emmy award for the story "Swimming with Sharks," an in-depth look at sharks swimming in New England waters. Kara has also been named "Best Local TV News Reporter" by Hartford Magazine, and in 2006, Kara was included in the Hartford Business Journal's Top 40 Under 40.Kara grew up in suburban Detroit, but has many ties to New England with family in Rhode Island. She graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, where she earned a dual degree in political science and communications. Kara started her television journalism career as a youth reporter for WPRI-TV in Providence, R.I. She has also worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan and interned at the White House and CNN's Washington Bureau. She also studied in Spain and speaks Spanish.

Liz Vaccariello
Liz Vaccariello is editor in chief of Real Simple Magazine. In addition, she is currently the group editorial director for Parents Magazine, Parents Latina and Meredith’s lifestyle titles, including Shape, Real Simple, InStyle, Martha Stewart Living and Health.Vaccariello has led many of the media industry’s most recognizable brands, developing content across print, digital and social channels. Prior to joining Meredith, Vaccariello held numerous executive editorial roles, including serving as chief content officer for Reader’s Digest.  She has also served as editor in chief of Rachael Ray Every Day, editor in chief of Prevention, executive editor of Fitness and editor in chief of Cleveland Magazine.Vaccariello regularly appears on national broadcast media, including The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America and Dr. Oz.  She is the author of nine best-selling books, including the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Flat Belly Diet!She has received numerous awards and honors over her distinguished career and is a frequent speaker at major summits presented by the MPA, Folio, min and Digiday, among others.Vaccariello, who is the parent of twin daughters, earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications with distinction from the University of Michigan and lives in New Jersey with her family.

 

Entertainment Media

Michael Corn
Michael Corn is the Senior Executive Producer of ABC’s Good Morning America. In 2014, he returned to GMA for a second time where he was originally a senior producer for eight years before joining World News with Diane Sawyer as Executive Producer. In the past five years at GMA, he has been leading his extraordinary team on big stories and innovative series.  

Lauren Shonkoff
Lauren Shonkoff began her career at William Morris Endeavor (WME) in 2013. During her time at WME, she worked in the Literary department, helping to champion the work of NYT bestselling authors, including John U. Bacon, Sloane Crosley, and Mohsin Hamid. She was also selected to join the prestigious Agent Trainee program. She joined Brigade Talent as a talent manager, and the second ever employee, in fall 2018.  Some of the clients she's lucky to work with are ABT Principal dancer Isabella Boylston, Leandra Medine, and Lyn Slater.

Kaitlin Urka
Kaitlin is the senior associate producer with NBC Sports. A four-time Sports Emmy Award winner, she has helped to broadcast Olympic games, Super Bowls, Stanley Cup Finals, Triple Crowns, Tours de France, and World Championships. Kaitlin is  a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan with a BA in Communications Studies.

 

Strategic Communication

Matthew Halicki
Matthew Halicki is the Vice President of Marketing at FlexTrade Systems responsible for overseeing the global marketing organization.  Prior to joining FlexTrade, Matthew was the Director of Marketing for Context Summits, the world’s largest capital introduction platform for the alternative asset management industry responsible for content, product, and demand generation marketing.

Matthewlaunched his professional career at a digital events software company called INXPO (now part of Intrado) and worked with enterprise clients including Microsoft. At Microsoft, Matthew was responsible for building out the digital events technologies service and technology stack for the Global Marketing Organization and integrating the solution into the field marketer’s portfolio.

Additionally, Matthew built a similar virtual events service for Bloomberg LP’s Global Marketing team and served as a Global Marketing Manager covering the firm’s enterprise data solutions.  Matthew was influential in launching many products for Bloomberg Evaluated Pricing Services (BVAL) and other buy-side businesses.

Matthew received a dual B.A. degree in Economics and Communication Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Jennifer Korail
Jennifer Korail is currently the broadcast manager for General Motors. She sits on the company’s corporate news team where she is responsible for the news relations strategy on all things broadcast including cable, business and mainstream news networks, radio, digital and podcasts. In this role, she touches nearly every part of the business and has had the opportunity to support news team efforts around countless product introductions, finance and investment-focused announcements, sustainability efforts, HR and multicultural initiatives, manufacturing, labor communications and more. 

Jenn was previously a product communications manager for the Buick brand, leading the communications plan for Buick’s SUV lineup including the introduction of the first ever Enclave Avenir and the current generation Buick Envision and Encore. In this role, she and her counterparts supported perception-shifting PR efforts for the global brand. 

Jenn began her career at Airfoil Public Relations, a locally-based communications and marketing agency focusing on tech PR. She worked her way from intern in the company’s research department to account director. While at Airfoil, Jenn led and executed communications and marketing initiatives across the company’s client portfolio, supported the professional development of many of Airfoil’s staff and contributed to the agency’s formative growth efforts.  Her specialties include storytelling, national media relationship building across mediums, messaging, executive coaching and crisis communications.

Jennifer Korail is a 2005 alumna of the University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Global Media Studies.

David Kraft
David Kraft is the Director of Production of ESPN's CreativeWorks group.  He's been with ESPN since 2001, working out of the Bristol, CT headquarters and New York City offices.

As a Communications major at Michigan, David supplemented his academic interest with stints at the Michigan Daily, WTKA 1050AM sports radio and Ann Arbor Community Access Television. In his free time, he watched the Fab Five play at Chrisler and was on the 50-yard line for a rare Rose Bowl 'W' (the good seats went to those first on line at the ticket window @ 3am on New Year's Day). Safe to say, sports has always been in Kraft's DNA.

After completing his undergraduate studies in 1994, David worked in a variety of freelance positions for ABC, NBC and the NBA. He then moved to Hong Kong and Singapore where he produced a weekly magazine show on Asian athletes and sporting events. 

Upon his return to the US in 2001, Kraft joined ESPN as an Associate Producer on their SportsCentury documentary series. Since then, he has run the gamut of creative responsibility at ESPN -- producing, directing and/or writing for SportsCenter; original films/series and Wimbledon/U.S. Open tennis coverage.  Currently, he's one of the leaders of CreativeWorks, a team focused on developing and producing branded and co-branded content for ESPN's advertisers. 

In addition to traveling the globe for work, David has had the chance to produce and interview celebrities in sports, film, music and politics.  His most unique shoot was documenting Parkour in Morocco.  His favorite interview was with Ice Cube. 

Kristin Tyll
Kristi brings 17 years of experience and a robust agency background to lead Stratacomm’s Detroit office serving transportation, association and business-to-business clients. She is focused on delivering meaningful results across a broad spectrum of disciplines including strategic communications planning, executive visibility and training, media and analyst relations, consumer product communications, crisis communications, editorial services and event management.

For eight years, Kristi has brought her enthusiasm and talent to leading Stratacomm’s work as the primary agency for Nissan North America in the United States. Since 2012, she has overseen an umbrella of communications activities ranging from executive visibility strategy and regional grassroots outreach to new vehicle introductions and first drives. Through her work, she has crafted strong personal relationships with key automotive and new mobility influencers including vocal industry analysts, national business press, and niche automotive and transportation trade media. In the past decade, Kristi has managed executive media relations at more than 50 U.S. auto shows as well as implemented safety education and product awareness initiatives for a broad range of clients in the automotive sector. 

Kristi is an active member of the Metro Detroit business and media community and an alumna of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s prestigious Leadership Detroit program. She sits on the Detroit Economic Club Young Leaders’ Board, is a member of the Automotive Press Association and also serves as Vice President of Operations & Membership for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Detroit Alumnae Association. Kristi holds a B.A. degree in communications from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.