Alumni Spotlight #20: Melissa Gomez, '08

Today’s “Alumni Spotlight” shines like a fashion show spotlight onto 2008 Communication Studies graduate Melissa Gomez. I’m very excited to profile Melissa because she is in an industry that I know many of you are interested in: fashion! So for all of you fashionistas out there, let’s catch up with Melissa!

2008 Communication Studies graduate Melissa Gomez

Melissa currently works as a Product Development Manager for Target, Material Girl & Fire Clothing for a company called Topson Downs of California. They are a domestic importer based out of LA that works with domestic customers and manufactures clothing internationally. The company’s focus is “fast fashion.” Melissa’s position entails working as the liaison between their internal design team taking styles and fabric from inception into tangible product and transitioning it into actual clothing production. She also helps to get production orders based on current trends seen in the market. This position is incredibly creative and fast-paced. It entails keeping an eye on what is popular and up-and-coming in terms of fabric in the market (since her company focuses on fast fashion) and sourcing all fabrics directly with their factories and agents working out of China and Korea.

I asked Melissa how she got involved in the fashion industry, especially since her background is in Communication Studies. “I always knew I was both business-minded and creatively inclined. As an undergrad I worked retail for 2 years primarily at Nordstrom and briefly at Spanish retailer ZARA. I moved to LA in the summer of ’08 shortly after graduation and landed my first job in the industry, working for a T-shirt manufacturer’s showroom in the California Market Center. I love how creative my job is, and that my opinion and level of taste matters in product development for our extensive client base. I also love seeing the public wearing what I developed. What I do is anything but boring!”

Melissa at a fashion show!

I also asked Melissa how her Communication Studies degree helps her in her current position: “It helped in every capacity under the sun. To say my job is detail oriented is a grave understatement- you have to be a great writer in order to decipher and communicate clearly when you are developing upwards of 350 plus fabrics for a group of demanding designers while sourcing with endless international mills. Interpersonal skills are not to be underestimated, this industry is for the thick-skinned and honing in on your skills, as well as seeing other people’s weaknesses makes you a cut above the rest in this high-pressure no room for mistakes business.”

Melissa’s advice for those of you interested in fashion? “Do what you love and never lose your enthusiasm for it. This industry chooses you, fashion never stops and it never sleeps. This business is a fortress to enter, but the possibilities to succeed are endless.”

Melissa’s dream is to open her own boutique. I think she is well on her way! Congratulations, Melissa, and thanks for sharing your experience!  


94 Days of Summer, Day 94: Ishtar's Globe-Trotting Adventures

Although summer vacation is over, we are still reminiscing about it via our “94 Days of Summer” guest blog posts! Today we are checking in once again with Communication Studies major Ishtar Schneider. You may have thought that Ishtar did all of her traveling over the summer (Washington DC, NYC), but nope! She is just getting started!

“So the summer has officially passed and I’m staring senior year directly in the face. Whoa, so crazy.  I feel like it was just a few months ago that I was sitting in Professor Doohan’s office double and triple checking my schedule for the semester, nervous and totally in awe of the whole idea of college! Time really does fly.

To continue where I left off last time, I spent my last 2 and a half weeks in a whirlwind of travelling between DC, NYC, Albuquerque and ultimately, now, Australia.  I took a mega-bus up to the big apple for the first time—cost me $8 and is totally enviro conscious J– and I was blown away.  I loved every second of the 72 hrs I spent there.  I stayed with my friend in Manhattan and over on the upper east side (a la Gossip Girl) and we celebrated my best friend’s 21st with a bunch of my girlfriends from highschool. Even though I was only there a short time I loved every single second of it.  I definitely need to make it back there soon!

the view from Ishtar's manhattan residence

Ishtar and friends in Times Square

Lady Liberty

Riding the Staten Island Ferry

DC= underwhelming

NYC = most amazing visit of the summer

After that I flew to New Mexico, which was nice and relaxing.  I got to see my grandpa (still kickin’ it at 97 years young), my daddy and a bunch of friends I haven’t caught up with in a while. On the 15th I flew out from ABQ to LAX.. we had a stopover in Vegas and guess who I see getting on the plane and who ends up sitting directly behind me in the plane? CSI actor Kevin Weisman. No George Clooney but hey, I rarely celeb spot so I’ll take what I can get. He was actually super nice and called goodbye to me as he exited, remembering my name correctly, so props to you Kev.

Ishtar's "brush with fame" -- actor Kevin Weisman

Around 4pm I get to LA and turns out my flight [orig. supposed to leave at 1030pm] was CANCELLED. This wasn’t too bad because the ticket agent saw me about to hyperventilate at this news and promptly switched me onto an 1145 flight and transferred my bags without any overweight charges. Score. However, I was supposed to be in a group flight with other people in my program and having no idea how to find any of them, I spent the next 8 hrs in the airport watching episodes of Criminal Minds.


I’m as addicted to CM as Prof Doohan is to American Idol.

Also, did I mention that this flight replaced our direct flight to Sydney with a 4 hr layover in Auckland, New Zealand? Peachy. So after a just lovely 40 hours of travel time we arrive in Sydney jet lagged and exhausted.

But I’m finally here and so far the BU Sydney program has surpassed all my expectations—minus the flight drama—the apartment is the cutest little thing ever, so clean and located right next to our class building, and super close to Sydney Uni and University of Technology Sydney so we’ve met a bunch of other Australian college students just walking around. All 3 of my suitemates are totally fun and normal which is a welcome relief after the G-town disaster that was this summer. Bess is the one I’ve been spending the most time with- she’s a junior at UNC Chapel Hill and totally chic.We went on a harbor cruise the other day for a welcome activity and got to see the Sydney Opera House which is just breathtaking.  Classes start this week and I’m taking an Australian Culture and Society class, it includes a field trip to Melbourne that I’m really excited about, and a Mass Media class.

Ishtar's new home


The Sydney Opera House

Ishtar and her friend Bess

Can’t wait to see what this semester has in store, knowing Australia its bound to be an adventure.  I also started a travelogue-blog of more Aussie antics so feel free to check it out if you like www.IshtarInAussieland.blogspot.com. I’ll post pics and stories up there!  All in all its been a full summer and I feel blessed to have met the people and had the experiences I did over the last few months.

Ciao for now!


Thanks, Ishtar! Have a wonderful time down under!


Red Alert: Meet the new Communication Studies Program Assistant, Christine!

I am so happy to introduce our new Department of Communication Studies Program Assistant, Christine Lee! If you are a current student, you will likely get to know Christine quite well when you visit our department office, Kalmanovitz 313. I asked Christine to share some information about herself with us…

The new Department of Communication Studies Program Assistant: Christine!

Q: What is your educational background?

Christine: “I received my B.A. in Communications at UC Berkeley in 2010. I chose Communications for my degree because of its practicality and usefulness in the real world, most notably in my career interests, which includes education and advertising/marketing.”

Q: What did you do before coming to USF?

Christine: “Before working at USF, I worked as an office manager/principal’s assistant at a new public charter high school in San Francisco. Working in a start-up environment was a great learning experience (although I really don’t miss the 10+ hour work days).”

Q: What you like about USF so far?

Christine: “I love the hustle and bustle of the academic environment. All the staff, faculty, and students are kind and full of positive energy. It’s quite infectious and inspires me to work harder!”

Q: When is the office open and what can you help students with?

Christine: “The department office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm. The office may be closed from 12-1pm for lunch but please stop by to check! I am here to help you with just about anything, from scheduling appointments with the faculty to general information about the COMS department. If I don’t have the answer, I will try my best to find out (since I am also curious too). Don’t hesitate to visit the office! I am an open book and would love to share my college and real world experiences.”

Q: Any random facts about yourself that you don’t mind sharing?

Christine: “1. I live and breathe for FOOD. I am more than happy to share food recommendations (and impart your wisdom too!).
2. I am a huge fan of Kobe Bryant.
3. I am ashamed to admit this…but I don’t know how to drive (yet).”

How great is it that Christine was a communication major?! Please join me in welcoming Christine to our department and to USF! We are so happy to have you!


The Expert Files: 11 Tips to Keep on Track in College from Alum Kelly Tenn

I’m excited today to feature a guest post from 2010 USF Communication Studies graduate Kelly Tenn in “The Expert Files.” Kelly currently works as an associate account executive at Blanc & Otus, a San Francisco-based technology public relations/consulting firm. Check out Kelly’s expert advice on what you should do while in college to stay on track and prepare for life after college!

Outstanding alum Kelly Tenn, '10

From School to the Working World:

11 Tips to Keep on Track from USF Alumna, Kelly Tenn, Class of 2010

“At the launch of the school year, you have a unique opportunity to start with a fresh slate. You likely have some resolutions and goals in mind, but may be overwhelmed as where to start. As a USF alumna having entered the professional world last year, I found a handful of skills and habits that not only helped me through school, but really geared me up for the real, career-oriented, working world. Check out my 11 tips to keep in mind as you embark on the fall ’11 school year:

  1. Listen attentively. Be engaged while in class and take notes. Minimizing your distractions, such as shutting off mobile devices, will help you to retain information and allow you to ask informed questions. After all, there’s nothing more embarrassing than being called out by your boss during a meeting while you were weren’t paying attention.
  2. Read. Whether for school, leisure, or information/news, reading will help you grow your knowledge base and will influence your writing. Remember, keeping up on the news sparks a great opportunity to start a conversation. You’ll always have something interesting to talk about, which will work in your favor during a job interview.
  3. Manage your time.  Maintaining a calendar of your deadlines is a vital asset to have in the professional world. Missing a deadline in school may only affect you and your grade, but in the working world, dropping the ball could hugely impact your coworkers, bosses and clients.
  4. Use your resources. Work on your writing by attending professors’ office hours, scheduling a tutorial at the Learning and Writing Center, or even asking a trusted peer to review your paper for feedback. In the office, find a peer who recently served in your position to review your work or bounce ideas off of.
  5. Attend events that pique your interest. Be bold and try something new. Go to a CAB event, a club meeting, a baseball game, or an exercise class at the Koret Center – it sounds cliché but really, you might make a new friend. When you start your job, go with your coworkers to happy hour or on a lunch run. For me, attending small outings really helped me to connect with my coworkers on a more personal level.
  6. Introduce yourself.  The more you rely on others to introduce you, the less confident you’ll be at introducing yourself in the future. Empower yourself to start a conversation. I got my foot in the door for a job by introducing myself to a recruiter that visited USF and gave a presentation to my class.
  7. Pose questions. Don’t be afraid to ask informed questions and inquire with an authority. Posing questions will help address any issues at hand, both in academia and at work. At work, you have the ideal opportunity to express your voice during brainstorms, and your thoughts could really impress your team!
  8. Connect locally. Join a team, volunteer, get a job, intern – do whatever fits your interests to engage with San Francisco. Any experience could inspire your career path. It was my fourth internship that allowed me to discover how I fit into public relations.
  9. Stay savvy on online media, but don’t let it run your life. Nothing’s wrong with spending time on Facebook, Twitter, gaming sites, celebrity gossip blogs, etc. but beware; these things can inspire major procrastination and really suck your time away. How might you combat the temptation at work? Only check your Facebook at lunch. You don’t want your CEO walking by, catching a glimpse of your Facebook account up on your monitor while you should be working.
  10. Think before you post. I’ve heard this from many mentors and colleagues. Before sending an email, message, online wall post, picture, or status update on social media channels – realize your online identity is always under scrutiny. What’s posted isn’t easily forgotten as a digital trail can be blasted to many people at once, and be logged forever. Many organizations perform online identity checks through the hiring process, so take a moment to think about the implications before you post online.
  11. Take care of yourself. Create a schedule that will help you maintain your sanity. What do I do? Take Friday nights off to do something fun and go to a regular class at the gym on Saturdays.”
Kelly knows what she is talking about… she graduated with honors and was recognized as one of our two Outstanding Students in Communication Studies! Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your expert advice! We are so proud of you!

Welcome to the Communication Studies Department!

We in the Communication Studies Department are so happy to welcome our new first year and transfer students to the major and to USF! We hope that you find your time here to be rewarding and that you take advantage of the many opportunities in the department and at USF.

We met most of our 69 new students yesterday at the Orientation to the Major session. Check out the pictures below of our new students and the faculty:

Don’t our new students look smart? And doesn’t it look like the faculty talked a lot? (We did). We gave an overview of our major, talked about special opportunities, such as research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and internships, and, of course, talked about our social media as a way to learn about the department and connect with other students and alums. I know I am a bit biased, but I think we have a wonderful community here in our major and I hope that you, new students, feel part of it and at home here.

Special thanks to the Lambda Pi Eta officers, President An Mai, Vice President Cayden Berkmoyer, and Secretary/Treasurer Jamey Padojino for joining us to talk about Lambda Pi Eta, the mentorship program, and internships. A shout-out to GO Team Leader, Communication Studies major, and LPH member Alyssa Micciche for attending the session as well!

Welcome to USF and to the Communication Studies Department! Any advice for our new students? Comment back!


94 Days of Summer, Day 90: Jamey's Trip to the Academy of Sciences

Our 94 days of summer is winding down (today is day 94!), but we still have a few more “94 Days of Summer” blog posts! Let’s check in with Communication Studies major Jamey Padojino…

“As summer slowly draws to a close I wanted to take advantage of my last week of freedom. So I decided to take time off from my internship and give some time for myself. I’ve been catching up with friends whom I don’t see very often before which has made time go a fast than I thought.

Yesterday I went to the California Academy of Sciences with my boyfriend to take advantage of their free admission every third Wednesday of the month. This was my 5th visit to the Academy but I’m still fascinated by all the diversity that’s all in one place. I always enjoy especially the Rainforests  of the World exhibit where you’re walking alongside  butterflies in high humidity.

Butterflies at the California Academy of Sciences

At the entrance I couldn’t help but notice the signs pasted everywhere for the “Snakes and Lizards” Exhibit. I’ve seen the commercials advertising the exhibit for the past few months. And if there’s one thing to know about me – one of my biggest fears are snakes. By all means I tried to avoid walking towards the exhibit but there was no way my boyfriend would miss out on this one.

So we ended up seeing the exhibit. And instead of kicking and screaming (trust me I would not do that in public) I decided to face my fears. With a deep breathe I stepped through the doors.

And it wasn’t as bad as I had thought! Amidst the cobra, boa constrictor and of course Lemondrop, the male, albino python. I was able stay composed. Luckily none of them were on display to pet.


Jamey, braver than me, posing with a snake

I also got to see a Green Basilisk! (You know, from Harry Potter?)” 🙂


A basilisk (smaller than in Harry Potter!)

Thanks, Jamey! You are braver than me (I am terrified of snakes!). Good tip for all of our new students on the free admission day to the Academy of Sciences!


94 Days of Summer, Day 85: Kelly's Lessons from her Job Search

It is time for our last summer check-in with recent graduate Kelly Sanders…

“As this is my last summer blog entry, I thought I’d come full circle and write another top ten list. Over the past couple of months I’ve applied for a lot of jobs (somewhere over a hundred – I’ve stopped counting), and gone on many interviews. In that time, I’ve noticed a lot of things about the job search process, and I’d like to share them!

Recent COMS graduate Kelly Sanders

The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned From My Job Search

  1. Tweak your resume for each job you apply for – make your background applicable to what you’re applying for, and watch the length of your resume. For instance, my ‘full’ resume is three pages long. Generally, for entry-level positions, you don’t want to submit a resume longer than one page. So, I always cut my resume down to one page and only include the experience that is most relevant to the position I’m applying for.
  1. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a call back right away – the hiring process takes a LONG time. Even if you get a call back and then have a successful interview, it might be weeks before you actually start a job. So start looking for a job AT LEAST one month before you want to start working.
  1. Have a backup plan – even if you have some great connections, they may not help! I have plenty of friends and former coworkers who have provided job leads, but that only goes so far (unless your friend happens to be the hiring manager!). Don’t rely solely on your connections, and continue working to meet new people and find new leads.
  1. Use recruiting firms – there are many firms out there that specialize in placing new grads in full time positions. For instance, Naviron is a recruiting firm that specifically looks for new graduates to place in sales and marketing positions. Seeking out companies like this can be really helpful in your job search.
  1. Broaden your search – don’t confine yourself to one industry because it really limits your options. If you’re looking for entry-level positions, you should be open to trying different industries or job functions – something may surprise you and you might find your new passion!
  1. Buy a suit – or something similarly professional. It really can’t hurt to be dressed up for an interview, so a suit (or matching separates) is a great investment when you’re looking for a job. If you’re low on cash, consignment stores often have some great finds (a Calvin Klein blazer for $10? What?). Generally, just look put together and professional, but be comfortable – there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable in your clothes when you’re already nervous for an interview.
  1. Be confident, but not cocky – I was recently on an interview, and the VP of Human Resources told me that many ‘kids my age’ didn’t have the right mentality, that they come in for an interview and ask how long until they’re running the place. Basically, don’t be that person! You can be gracious while still expressing confidence in yourself and your abilities.
  1. Do your research – and I don’t just mean that you need to read the company’s website before the interview! Look for news involving the company (or its parent company), read about their clients, their case studies, etc. Know why you’re interested in working there, and have information to back it up.
  1. Have meaningful questions prepared to ask – basically, don’t ask questions just because you feel like you need to. Find questions that mean something to you. For instance, I’m always really interested in the corporate culture and why people chose to work for that company, so I always try to work in questions based on those two things. And, if you’re informed and all of your pre-prepared questions are answered over the course of the interview, just say so! Silly questions will just end up hurting you.
  1. Always, always, always write thank you notes – and I don’t mean emails, I mean real, handwritten thank you cards. Your interviewers will appreciate it, and it gives you a leg up on the candidates that didn’t think to do it.”
What great tips, Kelly! Thanks for sharing! Keep us posted on your job search… good luck!

94 Days of Summer, Day 75: Tess Blogs the Praises of the CSC!

We’re checking in for one last time with senior Communication Studies major Tess Parsons, who has been guest blogging for us this summer. Check out her excellent advice below:

“Here we are, less than a month away from the start of school.” Note: Tess has not gone crazy, and neither have you. Yes, school starts in less than a week. Tess sent me this post a few weeks ago. Don’t get confused. Back to Tess:  “For those of us graduating soon, the end of our time here at USF seems a little (or a lot) daunting.  Most of us at USF realized early on that a college degree meant a whole lot more to future employers than the standard high school diploma.  However, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the myth that being a college graduate means you automatically will get a great job straight after shaking hands with Father Privett at graduation.

This is not to say that students do not find jobs before or right after they graduate, but it is to say that it takes effort on the part of the student.  So where to start?

I am currently working up on the 5th floor of the University Center.  For those of you who haven’t checked out our cool, new digs, here’s an excuse to come up: Career Services Center is on the same floor!


Senior COMS major and Career Services Center user Tess

The folks up here at Career Services have dedicated their entire Center to helping students just like you and me, find internships, jobs, and even decide if grad school is the right move.  Here are some of their main services:

  • Drop-In Hours- everyday from 11-2, counselors and student staff can help you with a last minute resume check or give advice on future appointment needs
    • Super helpful and the quickest solution to your job search needs.
  • Career Assessment Meeting- conducted through in person appointment only, this meeting is in depth and can include career assessment tests, identification of job skills and interests, and even help planning a career path that best suits your job needs/major.
    • The best start for any student whose feeling a little lost with the whole ‘finding a job thing.’
  • Help students learn how to use DonsCareers- by learning how to utilize this job posting website, you can get started on your search.
  • Appointments for Interview Skill building- by building skills with the career counselors you can improve your chances of being a success during the interview process.

So let’s do a recap.  The Career Services Center is completely free for current USF students, and even students who have just graduated.  Career Services is your one stop shop for anything career related, including job search, career planning, and skill improvement.  Why wouldn’t you take full advantage of this service?

**Call 415.422.6216 TODAY to make an appointment with a counselor**”

Thanks, Tess, for the excellent advice! I second and third her recommendations to check out the Career Services Center. You can even follow them on twitter @USFcareer!