Alumni Spotlight: Brianna Régine Walston

photo of Brianna Walston (CLAS '17)Communication is versatile, oftentimes embracing elements of strategy, creativity, and vision. Brianna Régine Walston, Class of 2017 and owner and founder of Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting, engages these principles to successfully run her own business post-graduation. Her firm is a strategic communications and marketing agency, whose main objective is to help business owners and creatives build brands of longevity. She provides creative strategy such as branding and public relations, as well as operations like aiding companies’ internal structures. By crafting stories for her clients, organizations can live and grow beyond their original founders and boundaries.

Walston has stayed connected with UConn since she graduated, serving as a guest speaker, coach, and mentor for many different organizations within UConn. She sees this involvement as part of her understanding of success, an understanding that was formed while she was a Communication major and has continued to evolve with the help of the Department and the University.

Just as UConn has helped Walston craft her definition of success, she hopes to give back to current students and recent graduates with both theoretical and practical advice. She stated that “Our perception of time is interesting. Do your best to find peace where you’re at, especially if you are ambitious. The sooner you learn to be patient with yourself, the more at peace you can be with the thought that you truly have done what you could do today.”

Not only that, but Walston encouraged recent graduates to “exercise the muscles that allow you to take initiative, have consistent work ethic, and ask questions.” She stated that in her line of work, she has found that many organizations look for problem solvers, so building those qualities within yourself can help you find success.

Walston is an alumna of the UConn Department of Communication who offers yet another successful resource to look to for guidance and inspiration. To learn more about Walston’s success, ideas, and organization, check out the Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting website.

Alumni Spotlight: Jake Rudolph

photo of Jake Rudolph, COMM alum

The UConn Department of Communication is always excited to hear about our alumni, so when we received a press release from Left of Center announcing Jake Rudolph's (CLAS '19) new role there, we had to share! Jake graduated cum laude in December 2019, having double-majored in Communication and Political Science. Her earned the Communication Researcher distinction in May 2019. Now he's taking on the role of Website Content Manager and Researcher at Left of Center, a woman-run, grassroots super PAC working to elect Democrats in strategic U.S. House races across the country.

From the press release:


Rudolph is part of a team responsible for analyzing and collecting data to inform Left of Center’s organizing and communications work. Additionally, he will be curating and organizing website content.

"Jake Rudoph is an outstanding addition to our team," said Co-founder Deb Kozikowski. "His training in politics and communications, coupled with his digital and organizational know-how make him a perfect fit. He’s doing great work for Left of Center." Rudolph’s work will help Left of Center’s initiatives in swing-state races. “I’m excited to manage the website while also providing research to inform important decisions,” Rudolph said.


Congratulations, Jake, and we look forward to following your career!

Alumni Spotlight: Alyssa Davanzo (CLAS ’15)

The Department of Communication prides itself in providing students with the skills they need to succeed in all of their career opportunities in the future. There are countless alumni pursuing innovative and meaningful careers, and some of those alumni stay closely connected with the department. Alyssa Davanzo, Class of 2015, pursued a career in corporate communications post-graduation, and she has since used her knowledge to work with current undergraduate students to prepare them for their future careers.

Alyssa is currently a Corporate Communications Specialist at the Henkel Corporation in Stamford, CT. After joining the team in 2017, she worked hard to transition into her current role. During her time working for Henkel she has contributed a wide variety of content such as articles, photography, videos and other communication assets to the organization. 

Before joining the Henkel team, Alyssa started her career in the television industry while working for NBC Universal. Within her time at NBC, she worked in production roles for The Maury Show, Crazy Talk and The Steve Wilkos Show. After working for the television industry for 2 years, she transitioned to the consumer packaged goods industry and has continued to excel and learn at Henkel.

After graduating from the UConn Department of Communication and building her career goals throughout all of the positions she’s held, she advised those who are early on in their careers to focus on themselves rather than comparing their journeys to other’s. “After graduation, your friends will be going in all different directions – Some will be going straight to grad school, others will jump into a full-time job, and a few might take some time to figure out their next steps.  There’s no ‘right’ way to start your career.  Do what makes the most sense for you,” advised Davanzo.

Alyssa has stayed connected with her UConn network throughout the years and pointed out the importance of maintaining UConn connections, “More often than not, there are at least a handful of UConn alumni working at every company. Use LinkedIn as a tool to connect with former UConn students – you already have something in common!”

Alyssa is one of the many alumni that makes the UConn Department of Communication proud by utilizing her communication skills to succeed in her career. To learn more about her journey with communication or connect with Alyssa, reach out via LinkedIn here:

Martin Horn Scholarship Recipient Meghan O’Neil

The Department of Communication annually selects one outstanding undergraduate student to be awarded with the Martin Horn Scholarship. Since achieving great success in marketing communications, alumnus Martin Horn has made several generous donations to the UConn Department of Communication, from which the scholarship is awarded. The 2017-2018 recipient is Meghan O’Niel.

Meghan is a Senior at the University. She is double majoring in Sociology and Communication with a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). She originally entered UConn as a sociology major, but after taking The Process of Communication (COMM 1000) as a sophomore, Professor Stifano and Graduate Assistant Kimberly Embacher inspired her to pursue a degree in communication. She found communications to be an interesting field to venture in to because it’s valuable to many sectors in her personal and professional life.

Through her undergraduate courses she learned what it takes to be a communications professional. Meghan is currently the UConn Club Sports Social Media Coordinator. This being her first position in the field of communication, it is a great learning experience for her and it’s allowing her to apply the skills that she’s learned thus far to this job.

After she graduates, she plans on continuing her education by attending graduate school. She has applied to multiple programs in the U.K., and has already been accepted to one. She’s incredibly passionate about gender equality and is looking to pursue a Masters Degree in an area related to WGSS.

This scholarship has already helped Meghan pursue her career goals. Not only did receiving this award give her the extra boost of confidence that she needed, it also allowed her to be able to afford to apply to all of the schools that she was interested in. 

In her time at UConn she has found that knowing how to communicate with others is an invaluable skill across all areas of life. Professionally she feels more confident when working in teams because of her undergraduate courses. She has also found that being a Communication major has prepared her for career opportunities in many different sectors, which gives her confidence knowing that she has freedom to find a career that she will love.

Martin Horn Scholarship Recipient Katie Landrey

katie MHEvery year the Department of Communication award the Martin Horn Scholarship to an outstanding undergraduate student. Since achieving great success in marketing communications, alumnus Martin Horn has made several generous donations to the department, from which the scholarship is awarded. The 2016-2017 recipient of the scholarship is Katie Landrey.


Katie is a senior, double majoring in Psychological Sciences and Communication. She added a Communication major in her junior year at the university. Interpersonal communication and public speaking have always been areas of interest for her studies because of her experiences facilitating small group discussions and giving presentations.


Katie has previous experience teaching for Freedom School, which is a national program that strives to improve literacy skills in low income minority students. Her role with the school was to create lesson plans and to work one-on-one with scholars and staff. In addition to the Freedom School, Katie has experience facilitating discussions. She was a teaching assistant for UConn’s First Year Experience program as well as a trained facilitator for The Body Project, which is a cognitive dissonance based program that promotes positive body image.


In the future, Katie aspires to earn her Masters in higher education where she can have a career that allows her to work with students on a daily basis, helping them with both career and academic development. She wants a career where her ability to effectively communicate in various settings is important, so studying communication was an easy choice for her to make and added to her knowledge and skills.


This scholarship created more opportunity for Katie. She stated, “My peers in the Communication department are outstanding, and it is an honor to be recognized amongst such an intelligent group of students. This recognition does help in my pursuit of a graduate education, and it has impacted my confidence as I continue to develop professionally and academically.” The Department of Communication is proud of Katie and is excited to see where this scholarship will take her.


Martin Horn Scholarship Recipient Alumni: Kaitlyn Young

kaitlyn youngFor the past five years, UConn’s Department of Communication has had the opportunity to award a scholarship to an outstanding undergraduate student, thanks to a very generous donation from alumnus Martin Horn. After earning a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from UConn, Martin Horn went on to achieve great success in marketing communications. The selection process for this scholarship is very in-depth, only to ensure that the recipient is one of the most hard working, successful, and driven students of the department. The scholarship gives students the opportunities to explore passions and take their future careers to new heights.

The 2013-2014 winner of the Martin Horn scholarship was Kaitlyn Young. This scholarship allowed Kaitlyn to spend her final semester abroad in Cuzco, Peru, which fueled her passion for Latin American culture. This trip inspired her so much, that within just a few short months she was back on a plane to Ecuador where she backpacked for six months and became a fluent Spanish speaker.  Kaitlyn Young has since graduated from the university, and then pursued her knowledge of communication and passion for yoga and health to work for her local wellness center as their social media and email marketing manager as well as a yoga instructor. She loves this position because she’s furthering her passion for communication by creating content that she’s actually passionate about.

Kaitlyn has already made large strides in her career as she currently teaches at two yoga studios and hosts her own highly praised workshops. These workshops guide beginner yoga students in order to feel safe and knowledgeable inside their bodies, creating a comfortable and judgment free space. She uses her social media and marketing background to run an online yoga community through Facebook. Kaitlyn shares local yoga events, live streams video chats every Sunday about mindfulness and yoga practices, and writes a blog that complements yoga as a lifestyle.

Amidst all of her new explorations in the world of health and wellness, she gives a lot of credit to the resources she earned at UConn:

The work I did in the COMM Society set the stage for these leadership roles I hold in my community.  Between programming, event planning, public speaking and working interpersonally I have felt so well-prepared for these new ventures. The Martin Horn Scholarship gave me the funds to study abroad and follow my passion. If it were not for this opportunity, I wouldn’t have learned so early on that stepping out of comfort zones can lead to unforeseen success.”
The Department of Communication is thrilled to share stories of our alumni stepping into the world and make it their own!