Class of 2020 Commencement events to be held Sept. 17-19

Syracuse University will host a Commencement ceremony—delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020 during the weekend of Sept. 17–19.  

Commencement will be held Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Stadium. This University-wide ceremony, where Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud will formally confer degrees, is for all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Following Commencement, all 2020 Newhouse graduates and their families are invited to join Dean Mark J. Lodato and the faculty and staff for a celebratory reception. The event will include a dean’s welcome, recognition of participating graduates and an opportunity to reconnect with faculty. A precise time and location will be announced soon; stay tuned for details.

For more information about Commencement activities for the Class of 2020, see the event listing.

Scholarship, established in memory of alumna, aims to support diverse perspectives

A new scholarship has been established at the Newhouse School in memory of a 2016 alumna.

The Nina Kapur Broadcast and Digital Journalism Scholarship will provide financial assistance to Newhouse undergraduate students, with preference given to those studying broadcast and digital journalism whose backgrounds and experiences allow them to bring diverse perspectives to the school.

Nina Kapur
Nina Kapur

“We are honored to be able to further Nina’s legacy through this new scholarship,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “She was a compassionate, skilled broadcast journalist and this gift will help others achieve similar success.”

The $100,000 Endowed Fund Gift was established by a leadership gift from CBS Broadcasting Inc. and additional gifts from News 12 Connecticut, Newhouse alumni and Kapur’s friends and family. The first awards will be made for the Spring 2022 semester. Selection of the recipients will be made by the Office of Financial Aid.

Kapur was a graduate of the broadcast and digital journalism program and worked as a reporter with CBS New York. Her parents, Anup and Monica Kapur, and her brother, Ajay, had this to say about their daughter and sister:

In this world, there are visionaries and there are dreamers. Our daughter Nina wore both these lenses from a young age. Emerging as early as middle school, Nina developed a passion for news and journalism. By high school, it was evident that the best choice for her to further her studies would be the Newhouse School, and here she flourished, graduating magna cum laude. Within a week of graduation, she was on television. In a small town in Hagerstown, Maryland, she honed her skills and learned from her rookie mistakes, while still prioritizing her commitment to family.

Nina accepted a position a year and a half later as a mass media journalist with News 12 Connecticut. This is where Nina found her stature, her self-confidence and her voice. Soon after this, she accepted a position delivering news with CBS New York; in one of the largest markets in the world, she had “made it.” And yet, she still recognized that her true professional goals wouldn’t be achieved until she “brought the news back to the news.” For this her closest friends began to call her “News Nina.” It was this vision and commitment that inspired many, including her sorority sisters, friends, colleagues, CBS, News 12 Connecticut, to support her cause.

Nina was special in a way that everyone she met felt uniquely important during those interactions. Her smile was known to light a room. These qualities, coupled with her natural charm and humor, innately fueled her successes professionally. She was grounded in family and love, worked with strong ethics and strove to bring joy and fun to those around her. In the words of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, she was “filled with life, energy and compassion. Nina was truly a shining star, on and off the camera.”

This endowment is one way that Nina will live on and continue her mission. Her enthusiasm and passion for her work and overall integrity and commitment to journalism inspired others and challenged the industry. Unquestionably, Nina left this world too soon. Had she stayed with us, she would have moved mountains. However, with the help of thousands that have contributed to this effort in her honor, and because of the powerful impact she made in her young years, her vision and her dream will continue to be shared and will provide for others to carry on this work.

To make a gift to the Nina Kapur Broadcast and Digital Journalism Scholarship, contact Carol Satchwell, assistant dean for advancement, at or 315.443.5281. You may also give online; be sure to specify the Nina Kapur Broadcast and Digital Journalism Scholarship when you make your gift.

Alumnus returns to call Orange football game for ESPN

Three years ago, Drew Carter ’19 sat in the press box at the Carrier Dome calling Syracuse University football games for WAER. On Sept. 24, Carter returned to Syracuse to call the Liberty Flames vs. Syracuse Orange football game for ESPN, where he works as a play-by-play announcer.

As a Newhouse student, Carter spent his time outside the classroom learning how to be a sports broadcaster by doing the job live on the air for campus media outlets like WAER, Z89 and the ACC Network. His hard work paid off when, as a senior, he earned the Jim Nantz Award, presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster.

Drew Carter taking a selfie with students.
Carter took time out for a selfie while meeting with students.

“​​Everything I learned about broadcasting, I learned at Newhouse,” Carter says.

Carter worked closely with Newhouse Sports Media Center director Olivia Stomski, who connected him with multiple job opportunities during his last few months as a student. Carter says Stomski and his former professors helped him get where he is today. 

“[Newhouse professors] all know what they’re talking about and they have that credibility because they’ve been in the industry,” Carter says. “They took a serious interest in every student’s learning and their preparation for the real world. I think that’s what makes the faculty here so special, because every person feels like they’re the most important.”

Following graduation, Carter spent two years in Birmingham, Alabama, as a sports reporter at the local CBS affiliate. He joined ESPN as a college sports broadcaster last summer.  He says he wants to help Newhouse students find their own paths. 

Carter advises students calling games to “think about how [they] can teach someone something or put a smile on someone’s face or make someone emotional at the moment they call. Students should never say no to an opportunity, especially at a place like SU, where so many people want to do the same thing [they] do.”

When asked where he hopes to be in five years, Carter says he is happy where he is today. 

“[I will] hopefully pay it forward a little bit to help some students because I was helped by so many people when I was at SU,” Carter says. “I think a big thing is focusing on the present and not thinking about the future. There are still some goals I want to hit in the broadcasting industry, but for right now all I want to do is crush it.”

Benjamin Schiller is a sophomore broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.

We’re not in Missouri anymore

Moving away from home for college is tough. Graduate student Halle Upshaw has done it twice in the past five years.

Halle Upshaw

I’m still shocked that the past four years of my life could fit in a 10 by 10 U-Haul van. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree, it was time to move on to my next chapter.

My dad drove from my hometown in Arkansas to Missouri in order to help me move 1,000 miles away. Mizzou has been my home for the past four years. I made so many friends that turned into family, memories that will most certainly last a lifetime and a community that supported my success.

It wasn’t until I was driving away with my dad in a U-Haul that I felt crazy for leaving it behind. I questioned if I had made the right decision, or if I should have just gone to work or attended graduate school at my alma mater.

I can say with confidence now, that no decision you make in your twenties is “wrong.” They may be terrifying, uncomfortable, or outlandish—but never wrong. In one of the scariest decisions I’ve made to date, I survived.

I’ve not only survived here, but I’ve had the opportunity to thrive. Syracuse has provided an environment that encourages curiosity. That curiosity for life is what got me to this point, and I can attest to the fact that promise is fulfilled here.

Being from Arkansas, I was very used to seeing the same types of people involved in a lot of the same types of activities. In Missouri, I was exposed to a little bit more in terms of culture and diversity, but again nothing I hadn’t experienced before.

Syracuse would have to be the most diverse place I have ever lived. I know that probably sounds crazy to some of you, but I know it resonates with someone. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek out of the little bubble we tend to live in, this is the place to do it.  

I love that I have friends here who tell me stories about the west coast, the midwest, the Philippines, Korea… honestly, you name it. By being in one place I’ve learned more about the world in one year than I would have anywhere else.

It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least, but I’ve gained so much. 

In the short amount of time that I’ve been on campus, I have grown tremendously in my knowledge of the advertising industry by hearing first-hand accounts from some of the leaders in the industry. Uprooting your life is never easy, and I can imagine it never will be, but we all have to start somewhere. Syracuse is my somewhere. My next chapter has just begun.

Halle Upshaw is a graduate student in the advertising program at the Newhouse School.

Journalist Natasha Alford connects media and community

Natasha Alford
Natasha Alford

Award-winning journalist Natasha Alford visited the Newhouse School the week of Sept. 20 as a guest of the Leaders in Communications speaker series, and to visit classes and meet with students.

Alford, who is the vice president of digital content and senior correspondent at theGrio and a CNN political analyst, wants to encourage students to use their power as journalists to give a voice to people who might otherwise not be heard.

“I like to encourage aspiring journalists to not think of themselves as aspiring journalists, but to see themselves as journalists already, to understand their power,” Alford says. “[Students] have absolute power to make a difference.” 

Alford spent the week hosting group discussions, serving as a guest lecturer in classes and hosting one-on-one sessions with students. Her advice to them? Get out of your comfort zone.

“Get as much work experience as you can while you’re in school, and you have the safety net of your professors and your classmates to experiment and try different things out,” she says. 

Natasha Alford taking a selfie with students
Alford takes a selfie with Newhouse students after a workshop Sept. 24. Photo by Courtney Glen White.

Telling stories in a virtual society could could create new possibilities for the digital world, Alford says. The pandemic forced media companies to consider new strategies to bring in revenue, turning more toward subscription-based services. Alford says she’s already seen these changes take root in media, especially in minority-run media startups like theGrio.

“I think there’s the traditional ad model that journalism has always relied on and the [pool of available ad dollars] gets smaller and smaller,” Alford says. “If you work in ethnic media… our pool is even smaller, and advertising agencies do not reflect the principle of equity when they think about how they allot ad dollars for Black media versus mainstream media.” 

Alford, who is a native of Syracuse, plans to return to the city this fall to teach local community members how to work with the media.

“I felt that there was a need to work with community organizations, nonprofits, activists and everyday people to educate them about the role of the press and how they can utilize the press to advance and advocate for their own issues,” Alford says. “Oftentimes, the relationship with the media, particularly in inner city communities, is really weighed down by mistrust.” 

When she is back home in Brooklyn, however, Alford has plans beyond her roles at theGrio and CNN. 

“I plan to write books, deliver lectures and continue to do workshops for students and aspiring journalists,” Alford says. She says she wants to produce more documentaries like “Afro-Latinx Revolution: Puerto Rico,” which she produced in 2020. “I just want to do even deeper storytelling, even richer storytelling in the future.”

Benjamin Schiller is a sophomore broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.

For eight first-year students, Branham Scholarships make the Newhouse dream a reality

Eight first-year students are pursuing degrees at the Newhouse School with support from a scholarship bearing the name of late dean Lorraine Branham.

Established last fall by Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato, the Lorraine Branham Scholarship Program primarily supports students from socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and other underrepresented groups, and provides under-resourced, talented students the opportunity to attend Syracuse University and the Newhouse School debt-free.

Branham, who died in 2019, was the first woman and first person of color to serve as dean of the Newhouse School.

“Lorraine Branham was committed to supporting a bright, diverse, inclusive student community here at the Newhouse School,” Lodato says. “She would be very proud of this first class of Branham Scholars, as am I.”

Clair Ceccoli

Claire Ceccoli
Claire Ceccoli is a public relations major from Norwalk, Ohio. She says she is looking forward to the academic and personal growth she’ll experience at Newhouse. “In the short time that I’ve been here, I have already seen how exceptional and caring the staff is,” she says. Ceccoli hopes to pursue a career in service, perhaps at a nonprofit. She says attending Syracuse University would not have been possible for her without the Branham Scholarship. “The financial help allowed my Newhouse dream to become a reality. I cannot express in words how much this scholarship means to me.”

Sebastian Lopez

Sebastian Lopez
Advertising major Sebastian Lopez hails from New York City. He was active in high school—serving on student council and the TV club, taking a leadership role in the Everest Leadership Academy, interning at TV station BronxNet and pursuing a hobby in photography—and he hopes to be equally involved at Newhouse. He applied to the school after learning about it while researching colleges. “The staff, the inclusion, the opportunities, everything just fascinated me beyond belief. I just had to join.” He calls the Branham Scholarship “an important part of me. It is a physical piece of evidence that all my hard work is starting to pay off. All the achievements… [are] being noticed, and that is a wonderful feeling.”

Caleb Jaramillo

Caleb Jaramillo
Caleb Jaramillo, a broadcast and digital journalism major from West Philadelphia, says Newhouse is “the best school to help me chase my career goals and aspirations,” which include a career in sports broadcasting. “I’m looking forward to making connections with all my professors and advisers, and the possible internships and job opportunities I can get to better my knowledge of the media industry.” He says receiving the Branham Scholarship was special and made him feel appreciated to be recognized for “what I can bring to the table.”

Brianna Dollar

Brianna Dollar
“I picked Newhouse over all my other options because of the hands-on experiences the school offers, Newhouse’s wide range of connections and the community of bright, driven individuals I want to surround myself with,” says Albany, New York native Brianna Dollar. An undeclared major, she is looking forward to exploring Newhouse’s academic programs and developing her career goals. “I’m most looking forward to getting real life experiences in the communications field and finding my passion,” she says. Being a Branham Scholar motivates her to give back. “I have a responsibility to my school and peers to get involved in as much as I can and help in leading my fellow classmates to success… I need to use the resources and opportunities Syracuse has to offer to make an impact on the world outside of campus in a way that reflects back positively on my school.”

Dillon Brendle

Dillon Brendle
Broadcast and digital journalism major Dillon Brendle is from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania. Among his many extracurricular activities in high school was a stint as president of the school’s news network. He wants to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, but says he is also interested in news reporting. When asked why he chose to attend Newhouse he says, “I want to be the best and so I decided to come and learn from the best.” He says the Branham Scholarship not only provides needed financial support, it also gives him a sense of belonging at Newhouse.

Barbara Pozo

Barbara Pozo
Public relations major Barbara Pozo lives in the small border town of Calexico, California, but grew up in Mexicali, Baja California, “so I get the best of both cultures!” she says. In high school, she was involved with the mock trial team, which went to the state finals twice. She says that experience led her to choose the PR major. “The trials, the scripts, the dedication, communication and punctuality are skills that I take with me forever,” she says. Pozo plans to attend law school following her time at Newhouse.

Madeleine Oliveros

Madeleine Oliveros

Johnstown, Pennsylvania native Madeleine Oliveros says she chose the Newhouse School for its “excellent reputation,” and chose to major in magazine, news and digital journalism because she loves writing. “I am looking forward to meeting students and faculty that will expose me to new experiences and help me to learn and grow,” Oliveros says. “I hope to make connections with people in the communications field and make a name for myself.” She says the Branham Scholarship allows her to receive a high-level education without the financial burden.

Madeleine Oliveros

Joohee Na
Originally from South Korea, Joohee Na came to the U.S. with her family at age four, eventually settling in the Ellicott City area of Baltimore. The broadcast and digital journalism major says she loves listening to people’s stories. She chose Newhouse because “it’s the best communications school in the world. I would be crazy not to choose Newhouse,” she says. “But certain parts of Newhouse really spoke to me, like the abundant resources readily available for me to get hands-on experience, the infinitely growing clubs that have their own clout and standing in the professional world…and the opportunity to network with the most commendable journalists in the world.” Na, who never knew Lorraine Branham, says she researched the late dean after learning about the scholarship. “To me, the Branham Scholarship is continuing the legacy that Dean Branham left all over the world… [it] was the ultimate testament to the hours of work I poured into my assignments, achievements and job. The Branham Scholarship felt like Dean Branham was patting my head and rewarding me for persevering when I wanted to give up.”

Photos by Courtney Glen White.

Newhouse students take top prizes in BEA student awards

The Newhouse School had a strong showing at the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) 2021 On-Location Creative Competition. Newhouse students and projects brought home two Best of Show honors and four Awards of Excellence, including a sweep of the Student Photojournalism category for “Deconstructing the Divide” photo stories.

Student Interactive Multimedia Competition

Best of Show
“Deconstructing the Divide”
“Deconstructing the Divide” Staff

Award of Excellence
“Visualizing 81”
Sonny Cirasuolo, Lawry Boyer, Kevin Camelo, Molly Gibbs and Amanda Paule

Student Photojournalism Competition

Best of Show
“For the Win”
TJ Shaw and Laura Oliverio

Award of Excellence
“Stepping Up for Justice”
Renée Deemer and Laura Oliverio

Award of Excellence
“Our Poisoned Kids”
Jessica Ruiz and Laura Oliverio

Student Documentary Competition

Award of Excellence
“Syracuse Senior Confronts Inherited Trauma Through Painting”
Patrick Linehan (The NewsHouse)

View the 2021 Creative Competition Winners>>

Globe-Trotting Aspirations

Senior Daniel J. Wood, a broadcast and digital journalism major, says Syracuse University has provided him with “the perfect college experience.”

Daniel Wood
Daniel J. Wood

“Newhouse is really what led me here. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with a billion different things about Syracuse, but Newhouse is definitely my pride and joy,” he says.

Wood plans to pursue a career as an international news correspondent and is a a dual major in international relations. During his time at Newhouse, he has built his journalism skills through coursework, participation in the Newhouse NYC program and internships—including his current stint as an NBCUniversal intern assigned to NBC News and MSNBC, where he works with “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“With the role of a journalist comes so much knowledge, drive and ambition to find more information, to tell stories and to find the unique parts about human society,” he says.

3 questions with: Kahlil Greene

Kahlil Greene

Kahlil Greene is the first Black student body president in Yale University’s 318-year history. The self-described Gen Z historian and online educator has over 500,000 followers on Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, and is the author of op-eds that have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and the Harvard Business Review. He was recently profiled by The New York Times. At Yale, he studies the history of social change and social movements.

Greene will take part in the Newhouse School’s Leaders in Communications speaker series Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. ET in a virtual event hosted by Melissa Chessher, interim associate dean of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA).

We sat down with Greene to get his thoughts on leadership, public discourse and what the future holds for his generation.

How do you define leadership? What are the essential qualities of a leader, particularly for members of your generation?

I would define leadership as the ability to organize people to accomplish a specific goal. Leaders need to be inspiring, visionary, tenacious and charismatic.

How has/will Gen Z influence(d) the conversation about and actions around IDEA issues?

We add an extra layer of nuance to IDEA conversations by bringing in topics, such as intersectionality, which have only just became mainstream.

What are the biggest threats and the biggest opportunities facing Gen Z?

The biggest threats facing Gen Z are the ones that are breaking down our society, like climate change, social and economic inequality and political conflict. The biggest opportunities are the creative ways in which we are using innovations like social media and the internet to combat these issues.

Leaders in Communications

Leaders in Communications is a monthly speaker series that brings media leaders, influencers and newsmakers to the Newhouse School for candid and insightful conversations with students and other guests. With a special emphasis on current trends and challenges, the series helps students keep apace of a quickly changing communications industry and provides them with a connection to the professions they will eventually lead. The series also offers valuable networking and learning opportunities, as guests visit classrooms or student organizations in addition to participating in the public conversation. The series is supported by the Hearst Speakers Fund.

Henderson part of research team awarded $1.5M NSF grant

Keren Henderson

Keren Henderson, associate professor of broadcast and digital journalism at the Newhouse School, is part of a research team that has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the impact of technology on journalism.

Kevin Crowston, distinguished professor of information science and associate dean for research at the School of Information Studies, is principal investigator.

The project will explore the technologies journalists use, the impacts of those technologies and how technology can influence the journalism industry. The grant team will also design new narrative discovery and production tools for journalists.

The grant is part of NSF’s Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier program, which is focused on research exploring challenges and opportunities for the future of work.

Stevens publishes book on designing for extended reality

Renée Stevens and the book cover
Assistant professor of visual communications Renée Stevens and the cover of “Designing Immersive 3D Experiences.”

Renée Stevens, associate chair and assistant professor of visual communications, is an award-winning motion and augmented-reality (AR) designer, educator and public speaker whose creative research explores how AR can help overcome learning disabilities. Her new textbook, “Designing Immersive 3D Experiences,” was published by Peachpit Press in July. We sat down with Stevens to ask a few questions about her new book.

What inspired you to write this book?

This book was created out of a need in the design industry. I was looking for a book I could recommend to designers getting into the extended reality (XR), but there wasn’t one. There are books for developers and for people who wanted to know more about the technology, but none created from the design perspective. For mass adoption of XR to occur, designers need to be working with programmers to create immersive interactions that focus on the user experience. This book was written in that space.

How is designing for 3D and extended reality different from other kinds of design work?

The foundation and theories of design remain the same as they apply to everything you design. However, when you add a third dimension to your space, you have new problems and relationships to solve. Within augmented reality (AR) there are parts of the experience you can’t control. The background and the lighting are just two examples that will be dynamic since they are controlled by each individual user. You have to learn to design for the uncontrollable and allow the user to personalize their experience to best suit their needs. On the other end of that, one of the biggest benefits of creating an experience in XR is the multiple modalities that you can engage. Instead of just seeing information a user can touch it, move it, hear it, and in some cases even smell it.

What is your best advice for young designers interested in learning about 3D and extended reality designing?

Try it. The best way to really learn about it is to use the technology and see first hand what some of the challenges are, and what the experience is like for you as a new user. Try some applications and experiences that exist currently. Then take notes on what you liked and what you didn’t like. From there you can begin to work out ways to design experiences that continue to get better and better. The second piece of advice I have is to start to think in 3D by creating for real physical objects. Design packaging for a product and make a paper prototype with your design wrapped around it that you can hold in your hands. This way you can start to experience and evaluate designing every plane.

Designing Immersive 3D Experiences” is available now from Peachpit Press.