Graduation Gift Sets Alumnus on a Lifetime of Journeys

Posted on: July 23, 2015

Scott Stone main

When William Scott Stone graduated from Michigan State University in 1976, he never thought a simple gift would transform his life. But it did.

Stone received a 10-day backpacking trip across Europe as a gift from his parents for earning his bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications. Then after crossing the Atlantic in an ocean liner and exploring London and Paris, he decided he wanted to see more.

"It was like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz," Stone said. "I wasn't in Kansas anymore, but unlike Dorothy, I didn't want to come home."

Stone called his parents and said he was staying longer. His mom was ecstatic. His dad was less enamored. Stone assured them he had a simple plan: to backpack across Europe for two more years. He would fund the adventure himself with his life savings of $914.

That odyssey became the basis for "Insatiable," Stone's self-published memoir that promotes international travel as a form of self-discovery. The book weaves 36 stories from different times, places, and people – creating a compelling narrative that captures Stone's passions.

Insatiable front cover"I decided that was the most effective way to write it, rather than having it written in chronological order," said Stone, President of Stone International Media in the New York City area. "The book covers what I had to go through as a traveler, and how you pay for such a global odyssey. Everything was taken from my journals and ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous to other worldly."

Stone says the experience of relying on his own resources for two years abroad made him a bolder person, as well as someone who can think out-of-the-box and write and talk about many things.

"I have my A to Z list on what travel has done for me," Stone said. "It's made me a better person in all aspects."

The two-year journey outlined in "Insatiable" took Stone to urban and rural areas of 34 countries, including those in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and through the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent. He picked up odd jobs, learned to be nimble, and discovered that kindness was the key to finding the lodging, food and transportation he needed.

"You can talk about the landscape and the museums and the cathedrals, but when I think back to 40 years ago, it's the people I remember," Stone said. "Being kind to others made for the ultimate 'domino effect' all around the world."

Unleashing Enthusiasm

Stone grew up in Grosse Isle, Mich. – a self-described "American guy," typical of the 1970s. As a teen, he liked sports idols Gordie Howe and Al Kaline. He spent his days hanging out with the guys. His mother told him he needed to expand his horizons. His dad told him he needed to put his nose to the grindstone.

"My mom told me that the more interests and enthusiasms you have the more interesting your life will be," Stone said. "She was always dragging me to chamber orchestras and art galleries."

scott stone main 2Stone attended Grahm Junior College in Boston after high school and then transferred to MSU. He says he was an ordinary college guy, too, and began exploring his knack for storytelling and communications.

"My mom was thrilled, thinking I had maybe turned the corner," he said. "She was always the one spurring me on."

His mom was a native New Yorker, with a firm belief that understanding and seeing the world was paramount to leading a full life. She continues to be a prominent influence in Stone's life, having set him on a path of travel and international adventure.

Stone now travels with his wife once a year to a place she picks, and he also takes an annual four- to six-week backpacking trip on his own. He's quick to share his experiences, keeps a lively Facebook page, and fully embraces the ideal his mother passed down: that international travel is vital to a full and meaningful life.

"I've continued to travel like I did that first time, except I'm more aware of hotspots, and it might cost $10 a day instead of $2," Stone said. "The key is making contact with others, and treating everyone with courtesy. People are not only basically good, they're interested and want to help out."

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Six Alumni to Receive ComArtSci Alumni Awards

Posted on: April 8, 2015

The Celebration

The College of Communication Arts and Sciences will present this year's Outstanding Alumni Awards and the Rising Star Award at "The Celebration," the college's annual awards dinner and ceremony, on Saturday, May 9, at 6 p.m. in the WKAR Studios, located in the ComArtSci Building, 404 Wilson Road, East Lansing.

Five alumni will receive Outstanding Alumni Awards, which recognizes alumni who have obtained the highest level of professional or academic achievement and demonstrated service to the college and community.

The 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award recipients are:

  • Nicholas D. Becharas, B.A. Advertising '84 , President and CEO of Becharas Brothers Coffee
  • Geoff Johns, B.A. Telecommunication '95, Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment
  • Angela R. Massenberg, Ph.D. Audiology & Speech Sciences '88, President of Massenberg & Associates
  • Diane Neal, B.S. Retailing '79, CEO of Sur La Table
  • Dale Petroskey, B.A. Journalism '78, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce

Derek Wallbank, B.A. Journalism '06 , Editor of Bloomberg First Word-D.C. Breaking News Desk, will receive the 2015 Rising Star Award, which honors alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and have shown a strong record of accomplishment and service to the college.

The Celebration is free to attend, but registration is required. Reservations will be accepted in the order received up to the capacity of the venue. Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 29.

To make a reservation by email or phone, obtain additional information or request accommodation for persons with disabilities, contact Rachael Ruis at or (517) 432-7207.

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Major League Broadcaster Got His Start at MSU

Posted on: September 16, 2014

Mario Impemba mainAlumnus Mario Impemba grew up watching the Detroit Tigers and dreaming of a job in major league baseball. His interest in broadcasting sparked when he listened to Ernie Harwell, Paul Carey, George Kell and Al Kaline. Now Impemba is the one Detroit Tigers fans listen to as he inspires the next generation of major league broadcasters.

For 20 years, Impemba has been broadcasting major league baseball as the play-by-play TV voice of the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit and before that as the radio voice of the Anaheim Angels.

"I had two goals when I left MSU," said Impemba, a Detroit native who graduated from MSU in 1985 with a degree in Telecommunication. "The first was to reach the major leagues as a broadcaster and the second was to do it in Detroit if I ever had the opportunity. I will always be grateful to the Angels for giving me my first major league job. I enjoyed my seven years in Southern California (1995-2001) and learned a lot, but to have a chance to return to my home was a dream come true."

This year marks Impemba's 13th season with the Tigers. In that time, he has
covered everything from the 119-loss season in 2003 to two trips to the World Series in 2006 and 2012.

"The fact that Comerica Park is my office every summer evening is probably the best part of the job," he said.

Some of the most memorable moments Impemba has covered include the two Justin Verlander no-hitters, the home run by Magglio Ordonez in 2006 that sent the Tigers to the World Series, watching Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown, and announcing the game when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played.

Having the opportunity to work with his professional role model Detroit Tigers broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell, is one of the biggest highlights of Impemba's career.

mario Impemba main 3"Working with Ernie was surreal in many ways," Impemba said. "I grew up listening to Tigers baseball and was glued to his every word as a kid. To have a chance to share the mic with him was a tremendous learning opportunity. He was a great mentor and always had time for me."

Impemba was voted 2011 Michigan Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. His work on Tigers games earned him a Michigan Emmy Award in June 2006 in the Sports Play-By-Play category.

This season, he began producing one-minute features about the Tigers, called Mario's Minute, which air on more than 30 radio stations around the state.

He also just released his first book, "If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers," in April. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the personalities and events that have shaped the Detroit Tigers since 2002, when Impemba first arrived in the Tigers broadcast booth. Included in the book are stories from the Detroit Tigers dugout, locker room and press box.

During the off-season, Impemba is the radio and TV voice of the Oakland University men's basketball team. He also has provided play-by-play on Fox Sports Detroit of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) football and basketball championship games as well as CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Association) hockey.

Prior to covering major league baseball, Impemba called games for the Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League (1991-94), was the voice of the Quad City Angels Single A team in Davenport, Iowa (1989-1990), and announced games for the Peoria Chiefs Single A team in Peoria, Ill. (1987-1988).

While a student at Michigan State, Impemba served as sports director at the campus radio station WLFT and provided play-by-play for Spartans baseball, basketball and hockey.

"My time at MSU was four of the best years of my life," Impemba said. "The opportunities to call play-by-play for Spartan baseball, basketball and hockey was invaluable to me. Along with a great education, my time at MSU left me totally prepared for my first job."

Impemba, who has served as a mentor in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Mentor Program, emphasizes to students the importance of gaining experience along with earning your degree.

"Get your degree, but practical experience is vital," he said. "Get involved in as many opportunities to practice your craft as possible, whether it is writing or broadcasting. Experience is the best teacher. It always has been, and it always will be. (Also) don't be afraid to pay your dues. I spent nearly 10 years moving around the country broadcasting in the minor leagues before I got my first big league opportunity. It will help ensure you are ready when you finally get your chance."

Impemba met with CAS alumni, faculty and friends at "CAS at the Ballpark" on Sept. 13 at Comerica Park and spoke to them about what it's like having a ballpark for an office. To see photos from this event, check out the CAS Flickr account.

Mario Impemba main 2

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Alumnus Wins Three Emmy Awards

Posted on: June 27, 2014

Anthony Sicilian EmmysMedia and Information alumnus Anthony Siciliano, who works as a producer, editor and videographer for MSU's Communications and Brand Strategy (CABS) and MSUToday, won three Emmy Awards from the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Representing the most experienced and talented film and television professionals from all disciplines of the industry, the 2014 Emmy Awards were presented at the 36th annual Michigan Emmy Gala June 14 at the MotorCity Sound Board Theater in Detroit.

"It is an honor to be recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the work I have done," Siciliano said. "When creating a video, you don't really know if it is going to resonate with others. You craft the story to what you think people will respond to, but until it airs you never really know. Being recognized with these awards certainly reinforces that you did a good job. Knowing that people enjoyed your work, that feeling never gets old."

Siciliano received Emmys in the following categories:

  • Best Promotion/Program/Image for "Spartans Will. 360-Take the Journey," a two-minute spot highlighting the MSU President's Report project capturing stories of MSU researchers who are solving some of the world's most challenging problems.
  • Best Community/Public Service-Single Spot for "Schooled," which he worked on with Jim Peck, CABS Director of University Photography and Videography and Big Ten Network Executive Producer. This 150-second spot features MSU alumnus William T. Langford IV, aka Will the Poet, and his original spoken-word poem, "Schooled."
  • Best Human Interest Program/Special for "Swimming Toward a Cure," which Siciliano worked on with Peck and Alberto Moreno, CABS Director and Big Ten Network Television Producer. The 26-minute documentary chronicles the journey of six women from the state of Michigan who swim the English Channel in an effort to raise money and awareness for ALS research (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Anthony Siciliano 6"Anthony's well-developed skills and great work ethic were evident as soon as he joined our team as a student intern. So when he graduated, we hired him almost immediately. Since then, he's been an integral part of many of our award-winning productions, including three that won Emmys this spring," said Heather Swain, Vice President of MSU Communications and Brand Strategy. "But his contributions extend beyond his superb television work. He's also brought creative ideas and exceptional visual storytelling expertise to our web and social media areas, helping us connect to our audiences in a more emotional way."

Siciliano graduated from MSU in 2010 with a B.A. in Digital Media and Technology.

"I very much enjoyed my time at CAS. Not only did the school provide me with a fantastic education, but it provided an infrastructure that allowed me to succeed," Siciliano said. "What I mean by that is, they didn't just provide me with the physical tools - computers, cameras, lights, etc. - they provided me with opportunities to tell a story, or shoot an independent movie, or produce and direct a sketch comedy show for three years."

As a student, Siciliano was a part of the MSU Telecasters student group, where for three years he was the Director and Producer of the sketch comedy show, "Sideshow," which earned him a student Emmy his senior year.

"An integral part of my education was being a part of MSU Telecasters," Siciliano said. "MSU allowed me to produce a half-hour television show when I was 19. The fact that I was able to 'get my feet wet and hands dirty' by producing content, really helped prepare me for a career after college. Not to mention, I was able to meet many, many close friends who remain in close contact with me to this day, both for social and professional reasons."

It has only been four years since Siciliano graduated and already he has earned seven Emmys, including the student Emmy and the three from this year. He also has eight Telly Awards, two Gold American Pixel Academy Pixie Awards, a Gold C.A.S.E. Award and a Silver Michigan ADDY Award.

Anthony Siciliano 4

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Six Alums to Receive Outstanding Alumni Awards May 3

Posted on: April 15, 2014

CAS-ALUMNI-AWARD-FeatureSix alumni are being honored by the College of Communication Arts and Sciences with the Outstanding Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have obtained the highest level of professional or academic achievement and demonstrated service to the college and community.

The 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award recipients are Susan Dalebout, Rick Gosselin, Mary Grealy, Stephen Schram, Mike Sheldon and Ken Winter.

The awards will be presented at "The Celebration," the college's annual awards dinner and ceremony, on Saturday, May 3, at 6 p.m. in WKAR Studio A, located in the CAS Building.

Tickets to The Celebration are now on sale and can be purchased through The Celebration web page. Cost is $50 per ticket. The deadline for ticket purchases is Friday, April 25.

Susan Dalebout
B.A. '74, M.A. '75 Audiology and Speech Sciences

Dalebout-Susan-SmallDalebout is Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Education at Michigan State University. In this role, she oversees functions related to academic advising, admissions, summer orientation, commencement, data management and data reporting for the college. However, her most important work involves resolving problems that threaten the success of individual students at MSU. As Certification Officer for the university, she also is responsible for ensuring that all candidates recommended for certification as teachers or administrators have successfully met requirements.

Before returning to MSU, Dalebout was Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Communication Disorders program at the University of Virginia. As Director of the Adelman Auditory Research Laboratory, she explored the use of auditory evoked potentials in the identification of children with learning difficulties. Her work received a number of honors.

Dalebout was a member of MSU's Honors College and is proud to have earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Audiology and Speech Sciences (now CSD) in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. The education she received at MSU enabled her to earn a Ph.D. in Hearing and Speech Sciences at The Ohio State University. While spending decades at other highly regarded institutions, she remained a Spartan at heart and was delighted to return to MSU in 2008.

Rick Gosselin
B.A. Journalism '72

Gosslin-Rick-SmallIn his career, Gosselin has covered two summer and one winter Olympics, five World Series, four Final Fours, the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs, a World Cup and 31 Super Bowls.

He worked for United Press International for two years in his hometown of Detroit on the state desk, then transferred to New York City in 1975 to cover the New York Giants and coordinate NFC coverage for the wire service. He transferred to Kansas City in 1977, spending nine years as UPI's Midlands Sports Editor, before moving to the Kansas City Star in 1986. He covered the Chiefs and the NFL for four years there before moving to The Dallas Morning News in 1990.

At The Dallas Morning News, he covered the Cowboys from 1990-91, then served as the newspaper's NFL columnist from 1992-2010 until his appointment as a general sports columnist in August 2011.

Gosselin has won writing awards from The Associated Press, The Professional Football Writers of America and The Dallas Press Club. He serves on the national advisory board of the John Wooden Award and also votes on both the major league baseball and pro football Halls of Fame.

Mary Grealy
B.A. Audiology and Speech Sciences '71

Grealy-Mary-SmallGrealy is president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, a coalition of chief executives of the nation's leading health care companies and organizations. She was appointed to the position in August 1999 and has an extensive background in health care policy. She has led important initiatives on the uninsured, Medicare reform, improving patient safety and quality, protecting the privacy of patient medical information and reforming the medical liability laws. She testifies frequently before Congress and federal regulatory agencies.

From 1995 until she began her tenure at HLC, Grealy served as Chief Washington Counsel for the American Hospital Association, a national organization representing all types of hospitals, health systems and health care networks. And from 1979 to 1995, she was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Counsel for the Federation of American Hospitals, a trade association representing 1,700 investor-owned and managed hospitals and health systems. She coordinated legislative and regulatory policies as well as lobbying activities for the Federation.

Grealy is a frequent public speaker on health issues and has been ranked many times by Modern Healthcare as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare and has been named to Modern Healthcare's list of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare.

Stephen Schram
B.A. Television and Radio '75

Stephen-Schram-SmallSchram is an established industry leader in electronic media management and marketing. In his more than 35 years of media management assignments, he has held senior management positions in multiple business units, with responsibility for revenue generation, marketing, expense control and personnel negotiations. His knowledge of the electronic and digital media business includes in-depth experience with research, programming, advertising and client solutions.

Schram currently serves as Director of Broadcasting and General Manager for Michigan Public Media at the University of Michigan, overseeing Michigan Radio - WUOM, an NPR news station broadcasting on FM signals in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Flint. Under his direction, the station has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally with significant journalism awards for news reporting, documentary production and special programs, including multiple Edward R. Murrow awards for excellence in journalism.

Schram's extensive career experience in senior media management includes earlier roles as Senior Vice President/General Manager of CBS Radio's WOMC 104.3 and WYCD 99.5 as well as Director of Sales for its six leading radio stations in Detroit; Senior Vice President for America Online/AOL, directing their Web Properties programming and content operations for brands such as and CompuServe; Market Executive & Vice President for Clear Channel Radio Detroit; and Director of Marketing for WJBK-TV Fox 2, Detroit.

Mike Sheldon
B.A. Advertising '82

MikeSheldon-SmallSheldon is the agency founder and CEO of Deutsch LA advertising agency. Under his leadership, Deutsch LA has grown from four people and one payment-challenged client to a 490-person, $1.7 billion, full-service agency that does advertising, media planning and digital marketing.

Sheldon has twice been named Leader of The Year by LA's advertising association, ThinkLA, where he has served as president. He has been featured on Good Morning America, CBS Super Bowl Preview, CNN, CNBC and NPR, as well as in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.

Prior to Deutsch, he spent time at TBWA\Chiat\Day and Y&R. He also built a $70 million investment firm over four years during the late 80s.

Ken Winter
B.A. Journalism '72

K_Winter-smallWinter has given a lifetime of commitment to the highest standards of journalism - from being a 14-year-old reporter to becoming publisher of one of northern Michigan's largest daily newspapers, the Petoskey News-Review.

Winter's newspapers have repeatedly been judged the best in their circulation category in national and state contests. He set a standard for aggressive, yet compassionate, community news coverage. He insisted that his newspapers hold public officials accountable for their actions. Yet, he also recognized the importance of public service leadership. For his dedication, he twice served on nominating juries for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

Winter also has distinguished himself in the field of education as an instructor for Michigan State University and North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. He received the 2010 Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.

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Alum on Mission to Educate Public About Financial Market

Posted on: March 25, 2014

Angela MilesFinancial journalist Angela Miles says coming to Michigan State was one of the best decisions of her life.

Having earned her B.A. in Telecommunication in 1984, Miles is now the anchor and managing editor for First Business, a 30-minute nationally syndicated financial news and analysis television program produced by Weigel Broadcasting in Chicago.

"It remains my greatest joy covering the financial markets and passing along useful information and tips to viewers that affect their wallets," Miles said. "I am so happy to help other people make money."

As the host and managing editor, Miles has full control of the show and says she is on a mission to educate the public about the financial market.

"We don't talk over people's heads; we talk to them," she said. "My mission is to level the playing field between Wall Street and Main Street. Information is power."

Miles started her financial broadcasting career by reporting from the press booth above the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) trading floor for WEBfn, a 24-hour financial news station that aired on TV and the Internet.

While working for WEBfn, Miles quickly gained the confidence of traders from the CBOE floor. Within six months she was promoted to anchor for WEBfn, but continued to report opening bell activity from the Options Exchange.

Miles' first broadcasting job out of college was as a copywriter for WOOD- FM Radio in Grand Rapids, Mich. She then went on to become an afternoon drive-time news anchor at WITL Radio in Lansing, Mich. "I was very determined. I knew what I wanted and was doing the best of what I could to get there," she said. "Once I got on the air and did a show, I knew this was for me."

Since her days at WITL-FM, Miles went on to many other reporting and anchoring jobs including for MSNBC; WGN-TV and CLTV in Chicago; and WNEW TV in Saginaw, Mich. For MSNBC, she was a correspondent who helped cover the 2004 Presidential Election.

"My career has taken so many twists and turns, but not one thing I have done has been wasted. I am glad for every moment," Miles said. "I also never wanted to pigeonhole myself. I never wanted to be an anchor who didn't know how to report or a reporter who didn't know how to anchor."

Miles came back to campus March 24 and spoke to a few classes in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, including Janet Lillie and Karin Hanson's CAS 492 class, where Miles was joined by fellow MSU alumnae Francie Russell (B.A. Journalism '85) and Donna Halinski (B.A. James Madison College '86). The trio shared career advice with the students.

"If you can shoot, edit and write, you are going to have a job. Content is king,"

Miles told the students and also recommended that before they graduate they have some sort of resume tape if they want to go into broadcasting.

Miles says one of her greatest loves is coming back to MSU for games and other events.

"I was so sad when I left here because I had the time of my life," she said. "It was a blast."

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Alum Covers Rose Bowl, Big Sporting Events

Posted on: January 28, 2014


When the Spartans won the Rose Bowl, CAS alumnus Steve Keller was there on the sidelines providing video coverage as part of ESPN's broadcast team. Two days later, he was filming the Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, Texas, for Fox Sports.

Keller, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts and Technology, is a freelance steadicam operator in the sports broadcast television industry and has covered a number of nationally televised sporting events.

Not only did he work the Rose Bowl, he also was there for Fox Sports when MSU won the Big Ten Football Championship Game against Ohio State.

"Being able to do both the Big Ten title game and Rose Bowl this year, given the success of the Spartans in both games, was quite surreal," Keller said. "After both of those games when my job was finished for the night, I stood on the field and looked around to try and take it all in for a second. Those are memories I will have for a lifetime. It doesn't get much better than that for me."

Keller-Steave-ClassKeller was back on campus on Saturday doing steadicam coverage of the MSU/U of M basketball game for ESPN's College GameDay.

"Coming back to the Breslin for College GameDay and still being treated as a part of the Spartan family was really cool. As if I needed a reason to love Michigan State anymore. It's quite an incredible place," Keller said.

While on campus last week, Keller took time out to speak to L.A. Dickerson's sports journalism class about his experiences as a steadicam operator and as a student at MSU. One of the messages he shared was the importance of extracurricular activities, and the experience gained by doing an internship and being involved in student groups such as Telecasters.

"Of course, we all receive an incredible education from MSU, but the extra opportunities available for the taking are great," Keller said. "Telecasters was an incredible experience and I have friends for life because of it. Same goes for SpartanVision sports broadcasting."

Keller also emphasized the importance of networking and trying to find a mentor or someone who has had success in the field that interests you most.

"It will amaze you what simply reaching out to those types of people can lead to," he said.

Keller began his career at ESPN in Bristol, Conn., as a steadicam and jib operator for Domestic Studio Production after graduating from MSU in May 2010. He left ESPN one year later to purchase his own equipment and pursue a freelance steadicam career. This move took him from Connecticut to New York City, and eventually to Dallas, Texas, where he now lives.

His main clients include ESPN, Fox Sports, ABC, TNT, Bravo and the Golf Channel.

"Being a freelance Steadicam operator for live sports became a goal and dream of mine when I realized such a job existed. The fact that it is now reality is something that is still unreal to me," Keller said. "On this same note, some people thrive in a staff job environment like ESPN where I began my career. And the industry needs both types of people or else it just wouldn't work. So I always tell people to find out what best suits them and their personality and the lifestyle they want to have instead of trying to figure out which one is 'better.'"

Besides the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl Classic, Big Ten Football Championship Game and other college football games, Keller has covered Monday Night Football, SportsCenter, SportsNation, Major League Soccer, the X Games and Ryder Cup.

He also has worked at some big non-sporting related events, including the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum dedication in April 2013, where he stood on stage with President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter. And, he covered the solemn ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 2013.

Right now, he is looking forward to working for ESPN's College GameDay in February and at the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Final Four April 5-7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He also will be covering the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, March 8-12 for Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live."

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Bertolini Begins Term as CAS Alumni Board VP

Posted on: January 14, 2014

Phil-BertoliniPhil Bertolini, a telecommunication's 1985 graduate and 2010 CAS Outstanding Alumni Award recipient, recently was named vice president of the CAS Alumni Board. He has served on the board the past three years and took over as vice president on Jan. 1.

Bertolini is the deputy county executive and chief information officer for Oakland County, Mich., where he oversees all technology and facility operations, business continuity recovery, and technology strategic planning for the county government. He was appointed to the position in January 2005 by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

"Throughout my career in government, I have learned what it means to give back to your community," Bertolini said. "Attending MSU changed my life and working with the Alumni Board allows me to give back to my university. I hope to make a difference in people's lives and the work with CAS gives me that chance."

CAS Dean Pamela Whitten is looking forward to Bertolini stepping into this role on the CAS Alumni Board. "He is a true Spartan in every way with a reputation for excellence and innovation, and a strong track record for getting things done. As a technology executive, he knows firsthand what opportunities we as a college need to provide our students to ensure they are competitive in today's workplace," Dean Whitten said.

Bertolini began his career with Oakland County in 1988 with the Equalization Division. Prior to serving as deputy county executive and chief information officer, he was the county's director of information technology.

One of the government technology programs Bertolini has overseen is the development of the G2G Cloud Solutions initiative, Oakland County's government-to-government service, which offers online payment collection and Web publishing for other local governments. It was developed by Oakland County to improve government services by sharing technology with other government agencies at little or no cost.

"A career in government requires dedication, the willingness to serve and a need to work with people. I learned these skills at MSU as I worked my way through my CAS education," Bertolini said. "Serving other people is a noble endeavor, but having the skills to work with people and the need to communicate effectively must be acquired through a quality education. I received that education at MSU and giving back is the right thing to do."

Bertolini has written a number of resources to help other organizations modernize information technology operations, including "IT Budgeting and Decision Making: Maximizing Your Government's Technology Investments," published in 2009, which he co-authored and co-edited.

He recently was one of four people honored by Crain's Detroit Business as a 2013 CIO of the year for innovation in the use of technology strategy, leadership in the industry and a track record of going beyond the call of duty. Winners were honored Oct. 2 at Crain's CIO Summit in Plymouth, Mich.

The White House also honored Bertolini in September 2012 as a Champion of Change, which recognizes individuals for doing extraordinary things to bring about change and make a difference in their communities. Bertolini received the national honor along with 12 others for being committed to creating a more open and innovative government through entrepreneurship.

The White House credited Bertolini as having "created models that can be implemented by other governments interested in improving operations while containing costs." Among other honors and awards, Bertolini also received Government Technology magazine's "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2007" for shaping the future of government.

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Alum Wins Film Festival Award

Posted on: December 10, 2013

Complex-poster-mainIndependent filmmaker and freelance videographer Curtis Matzke recently won the award for best narrative feature at the 5th Annual Made-in-Michigan Film Festival.

Matzke directed and produced the award-winning film "Complex" as his thesis project while earning his master's degree from the Department of Media and Informationin the College of Communication Arts & Sciences in 2012.

"Complex" follows main character Jeremy, a 20-something who moves into his first apartment after being kicked out of his parent's house. He struggles with independence through relationships and finds that a girl he knew and was secretly in love with in high school, Anna, lives in the same apartment complex. While coping with these feelings, his eccentric neighbor Ben convinces him to help build a device for the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

"I wanted to make a film that would be different than those I had previously done, both stylistically and in terms of scale," Matzke said. "The goal was to make something that felt more real and intimate as opposed to imitating a big-budget feature, which is something that just isn't feasible. So I was directly inspired by independent film and embraced that independence in the story."

Matzke also is a CAS undergraduate alumnus, earning his B.A. in media arts and technology in 2010.

"The sum of the material I learned from all the courses I took, along with courses through the English department, helped me understand the fundamentals of filmmaking," Matzke said. "The technical aspects become second nature, which makes it possible to focus on the story."

Curtis-MatzkeMatzke credits Bob Albers, Senior Video Specialist, and Jeff Wray, Associate Professor in the English department, for their support. He also credits Distinguished Senior Academic Specialist and WDBM-FM Station Manager Gary Reid for teaching him about sound and Brian Kusch, Broadcast and Systems Information Engineer, for teaching him about lighting.

"They taught me a lot about the process, which greatly influenced how I wanted to film 'COMPLEX.' Jeff (Wray) also is credited as an executive producer on the film," Matzke said. "Having access to the resources at DMAT was a great help. The film is a stripped-down production, but the technical courses helped me know what I really needed and what I didn't. I was able to use various pieces of equipment from the department during production, especially for lighting and audio."

Some advice Matzke said he would give to those seeking a career in film includes don't wait for a class project to make something you care about; put the effort in yourself; learn the rules, perfect them, and then break them; there's a reason why things are done a certain way because they usually tend to work; and lastly don't take criticism personally or be defensive.

"Constantly critiquing and analyzing your own work throughout the process will make you a better filmmaker," Matzke said. "The willingness to collaborate with others is important but also be ready to fight for your vision when you have to. And you should always have projects and ideas in the queue."

The Made-in-Michigan Film Festival celebrates and promotes independent films exclusively from the state of Michigan through an annual film festival. This year's festival took place in October at the Bronner Performing Arts Center in Frankenmuth, Mich.

"COMPLEX" also was screened at the East Lansing Film Festival and the Flint Film Festival. Matzke plans to submit the film to other festivals and is considering options to distribute the film on Netflix or iTunes.

Matzke currently is in post-production for a feature-length documentary, titled "First Feature," about an MSU alum who is wrapping up his own film. He also is working on a short film, titled "Splinter," about an ailing vampire that he hopes to shoot in January.

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Telecomm Alumna 'Living the Dream'

Posted on: September 16, 2013

dreamBeth Oliver, 1984 telecommunications grad, has excelled at more than 10 different jobs over the span of her career, ranging from vice president of corporate marketing to bed and breakfast owner/manager, and for a time, she even worked on product placement in Hollywood films and television shows, working with such leading filmmakers as Steven Spielberg and John Lasseter.

"At MSU, I learned to seize opportunities, and if one wasn't readily apparent, I strived to create the opportunity," Oliver said. "I chose to get very involved and achieved both educational and social success."

After graduation, Oliver accepted a position with Ross Roy Communications in Detroit where she worked on Chrysler merchandising, training and new car announcement shows. Eventually, she rose to become vice president of corporate marketing.

She returned to the agency side with Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG)'s Momentum - Detroit as VP, general manager, and at the client's request, transferred to General Motors Eventworks to manage the relationship between GM and the Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., and product placement in Hollywood films and television shows.

Oliver had the unique experience of working on behalf of Cadillac for its role in "The Matrix Reloaded" and co-hosted Arnold Schwarzenegger's tour of the GM Design Center for another film project.

She worked at other IPG agencies as well, including Octagon and Campbell-Ewald as senior VP, group management supervisor, where she led the Tour, Promotions & Event Group, overseeing all of Chevrolet's sports and entertainment marketing programs.

As part of that team, Oliver represented clients in meetings with Steven Spielberg to present promotion/media plans to leverage Chevrolet's role in the "Transformers" film franchise, participated in meetings with John Lasseter at Pixar, and oversaw integrated marketing programs with the Country Music Association, Conde Nast's "Fashion Rocks" and "Movies Rock," and CBS and the Olympic Games.

Oliver took a hiatus from corporate America in 2008 and 2009 when she leased and ran a six-room bed and breakfast, named The West End Inn, in Portland, Maine.

Oliver said the role was demanding and challenging, but still included responsibilities for marketing, advertising, promotion, customer service and relationship management.

"It was highly satisfying and fulfilling, especially when The West End Inn was recommended as the best place to stay in 2009," Oliver said. "Overall, it taught me not to be afraid of reinvention. It has served me well and become my hallmark."

Oliver relocated to Florida in 2010 to develop corporate partnerships for the annual Imagine Solutions Conference, which draws world-class speakers to discuss social and civic issues of global importance.

In July of this year, she became the director of marketing for Steve and Doris Colgate's Offshore Sailing School, which is among the top-rated sailing schools in America with locations in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Chesapeake Bay and the British Virgin Islands.

"My accomplishments have been achieved through hard work and always believing in myself," Oliver said. "I believe things happen for a reason and have never let adversity stop me, it just creates another opportunity. I've strived to appreciate every moment and am living the dream."

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