Where is your hometown and what’s your education background?
I grew up in Reynolds, Ill. and attended Rockridge High School. I attended St. Ambrose and graduated in December of 2009.
How did you end up here and what were your jobs prior to coming to SAU?
After graduation I worked at CBS 4 as a reporter for a little over two years and then worked at KWQC as a reporter for about one year. I’m full time at SAU now as a production specialist. I split my time between the campus TV station and radio station. I oversee the internship program at radio, and help with production and news classes as well as video projects.
What are you most excited about in working at SAU?
I’m excited about sharing what I learned about broadcasting and reporting and the industry in general with students. I learned a lot in the three years I worked as a reporter and hopefully I can help students be better prepared for when they go get a job—help them along their journey and seeing what they want to do when they are done with college.
What are your goals to accomplish in your new position?
One of my goals is to get more students involved with radio station—we have such great facilities at KALA with state-of-the-art equipment. There are a lot of untapped opportunities. Another goal is to help the SAU Dateline students and to take their new class to next level, both writing and content wise.
What will you miss most about working as a reporter?
I will miss telling peoples’ stories and getting to experience things that the average person never gets to. For example, I did a story about a world champion hot air balloon pilot and I got to ride in the sky with him, capturing the whole journey on camera. On the flip side, I have done some very sad, but touching stories. I did a story about a woman who was very sick with cancer. The whole community (around 500 people) walked to her backyard, said a prayer, sang “Amazing Grace,” and did a balloon release. At that moment she passed away in her home. It was terribly sad, but touching and amazing all at the same time. It’s those types of experiences that I will never forget and will miss having.
Any advice for students looking to get into the broadcasting/communication field?
They should get as much experience as possible. SAU offers so many wonderful opportunities, between the campus TV and radio station. I would encourage them to take advantage of those.
Most interesting/funny thing you reported on?
One of my favorite stories was when the Barnum & Bailey Circus was in town and they had a “touch” tour for kids with disabilities. The kids were able to interact with the clowns and performers and they even got to feed an elephant. The elephant really liked my camera and kept trying to take it away from me with his trunk. I got elephant slobber all over my mic, but it was such a cool moment.
Another interesting, but sad story, was when a plane crashed at the Quad City Air Show. I was doing an interview with one of the organizers when it happened and I will never forget it. My story went from being about the rain not stopping spectators from coming to the Air Show, to this fiery and fatal crash. It was such a shock, the person I was interviewing took off running and I just turned my camera toward the black smoke, trying to figure out what I was going to do next. That was definitely a challenging day.
Tell us about your family.
I have a fiancée; we’re getting married next June. We have two dogs, Hooch, a 3-year-old lab and a puppy, Sophia.
Hobbies and interests.
I love both cooking and baking. I also like spending time with my friends and family. I enjoy hunting and fishing, and is something that I do with my family. I like country music a lot. I like crafting too, when I have time.
Are there any differences in SAU since you were a student here?
Some things are different, but there’s not a huge difference. Students now have newer cameras to use, which is cool to see. Technology has changed since I’ve been here, and it’s good to see that the university is investing. It’s still the very friendly atmosphere that I remember, which is why I wanted to come back and work here. I thought it would be a cool place to work—it’s fun working under people who taught me and to work with them now.