Archive for the ‘alumni’ Category


Alumni Updates

April 8, 2010

Our alumni are engaged in some exciting projects and initiatives. We want to make sure we’re keeping up with all the exciting work you’re doing. So be sure to contact us at with updates about what you’re doing. Send us any details about projects you’re working on, honors you’ve won or changes in your employment status.

  • Erin Barnett

    Erin Barnett

    ERIN BARNETT ’09 had a documentary she produced as a student broadcast in the spring on One Africa TV. Erin Barnett’s film, “My Name is Anita,” introduces viewers to Anita Isaacs, a former Periclean-in-Residence at Elon and an HIV/AIDS activist in Namibia. The “Anita” film was also screened in October 2009 at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in Canada. Barnett is now an assistant to Alex Gibney at Jigsaw Productions in New York.

  • AUDREY SEAGRAVES ’02 won one of 15 Tech Award Laureates for 2009, an award that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity. The online “Fair Wage Guide,” managed by Seagraves, is a tool to assist millions of workers in the developing world who live below the poverty level. Seagraves is Director of Programs for World of Good Development Organization, a non-profit organization focused on improving economic and social conditions for women and adolescent girls in the developing world who live on less than $2/day.
  • Alumni team that produced "Sequoia"

    Alumni team that produced "Sequoia"

    KATY BRANSTON, CONOR BRITAIN, CHRIS FORD, TIM JOHNSON, EMILY KAMISCHKE, LAUREN LIMERICK, KELLY MURTAUGH AND LIZZIE NAPIER, all 2009 alumni, produced a documentary titled “Sequoia: A Sailor and His Ship,” which won the North Carolina Filmmaker award at the Carolina Film and Video Festival in Greensboro, N.C. The students completed the all the filming and basic work in the fall semester Communications Fellows capstone course and then put finishing touches on the project in the spring with the support of elondocs. The film also will be screened at the Asheville Film Festival in November.

  • BILLY CAHILL ’09 won an award for his film “A Slice of Key Lime Pie” from The Canadian International Film Festival. The film, which Cahill made during his senior year at Elon, is about a college student’s attempt to impress a boy she likes as she prepares for her first date.
  • NATALIE FAVA AND TAYLOR JOHNSON, both 2009 alumnae, had their film “Elsewhere: 3 Stories Afterwards” selected for the 2009 Carrboro Film Festival in November. The film is about a woman named Sylvia, who collected everything and sold almost nothing from her family’s Army surplus store. What was left after she died in 1997 were three stories of American memorabilia stacked floor to ceiling in a building in downtown Greensboro, N.C.
  • SCOTT GUSTAFSON ’00, OLIVIA HUBERT-ALLEN ’09, TOM MULLEN ’00 and BETH ROBERTS ’07 spoke to a packed room of undergraduate and graduate students in February as part of a panel discussion titled “How to Win Friends and Influence Your Career.” All panelists agreed that networking was a necessary component of their job and internship searches. They acknowledged that students can’t be afraid to meet people and, most importantly, remember people.
  • RICH BLOMQUIST ’00, a writer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” who has won a number of Emmys for his work, co-wrote a book titled “Sexy Book of Sexy Sex” with “Daily Show” contributor Kristen Schaal.
  • HEATH OLDHAM ’00 on an Emmy award from The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter for marketing work he did for WTVR-TV CBS 6 news in Richmond, Va., earlier in June. Oldham, the promotions manager for the news organization, worked with two other people on the Emmy-award winning promotional spot featuring CBS 6 reporter Mark Holmberg.
  • MATT DAVIS ’09 presented a research paper in November at a scholarly conference of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Association for Asian Studies at Villanova University. Davis’s paper, “Loanwords in Lyrics: An Audience-Oriented Study of English in J-Pop Music,” examines English-language loan words in Japanese popular music.
  • COLLEEN CALLAHAN and CAROLYN KLASNICK, both 2009 alumnae, won the GLEE Photobucket Show Us Your Gold Star Potential contest administered by Photobucket. They submitted an episode of a series called titled “Transitions,” which Callahan produced in her seminar project class. (Watch the VIDEO.)
  • Bobby Hoppey

    Bobby Hoppey

    ROBERT HOPPEY ’09 saw a tough job market in the year leading up to his graduation, he built a “souped-up multimedia resume” that included a video spoof of “The Office” television program to show potential employers his creative side. CBS Evening News took note, too, and Hoppey was featured in a June 8 nationwide segment on the ways college graduates are marketing themselves in an economic recession.


Alumni Spotlight: Laith Majali produces film, gears up to deliver May Commencement address

April 7, 2010
Laith Majali

Laith Majali

Alumnus and acclaimed filmmaker Laith Majali ’05 will deliver Elon University’s 120th Commencement address scheduled May 22, Under the Oaks in front of West Residence Hall. But in the five years since his graduation, he has been a constant source of support for students, faculty and staff in the School of Communications. He returns to campus several times during the year and lends a hand in the Elon in Los Angeles summer program. He valued his education at Elon and now shares his wealth of experience as a filmmaker, editor and photographer.

“Elon is where I got my base and was allowed to develop my own projects,” Majali says. “Doing my own projects and seeking out internships are the main things that have helped me out. And having mentors like professor Ray Johnson and (staff member) J. McMerty to look at my work and help me out, that was the big thing.”

Majali came to Elon in 2001 as the university’s first King Hussein of Jordan Scholar. He quickly distinguished himself as a campus leader, becoming an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow and Elon Ambassador, and joining the Intercultural Relations Club. In the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Majali served as a unifying voice during campus gatherings, sharing his Arabic culture with fellow students.

Embracing Elon’s engaged learning philosophy, Majali was active in campus media, regularly volunteering to videotape athletics events and Elon Student Television programs in addition to working on his own film projects. Called a “true student of film and photography,” he often could be found working late into the night in the School of Communications, honing his editing skills. In 2002, he received an Aegis Award for a music video he produced about his hometown.


As a student, Laith displayed tremendous potential and promise as a filmmaker, and early in 2008 his hard work paid off when “Captain Abu Raed,” a feature film he produced and edited, won the World Cinema Audience Award for Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. (READ MORE ABOUT LAITH’S FILM.) The honor was one of the top bestowed on filmmakers at Sundance.

“From the moment we started, we never knew how far we could go, but we always thought good about it,” he says. “It’s gratifying to see all our efforts and the collaboration of 120 people from 16 countries end up in such a beautiful film.”

Since the film’s release, it has been screened all over the world. It is now available on DVD. (READ MORE ABOUT THE DVD RELEASE.)