In the Spotlight

Greg Banig

Greg Banig

During his years at Miami, Greg Banig says he quickly realized that students were expected to excel.

He recalls a culture of academic competition, where every person was trying to outperform his or her peers.

“I never wanted to be average and I felt as if everyone else was equally driven,” says Banig, who studied speech communication with a public relations focus and graduated in 1997.

Banig's friends quickly realized that he was a people person. They recall that the North Canton, Ohio, native had a friendly and energetic demeanor.

“We lived in the same dorm freshman year at Miami," says David Weber, a friend of Banig's and fellow Miami alum. "Greg’s room was the main hangout room."

Banig has propelled that academic success and ease with other people into a digital marketing career that has taken him to California and back. He's a marketing consultant and strategist, and an expert in social media marketing and search engine optimization.

But the seeds of this career began in Miami strategic communications classes.

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Lisa Bannon

Lisa Bannon

When Lisa Bannon, a class of 1982 graduate, began her time at Miami she was, like many students, unsure of what she wanted her future to look like.

Bannon’s first major at Miami was zoology. After several changes, she decided to take classes based on her own personal interests to figure out what her true passions were.

She found herself taking classes in English and political science, and at the end of her sophomore year, met with a school counselor who advised her to declare both as her majors.

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Jennifer Boroff

Jennifer Boroff

Jennifer Boroff is a 2008 Miami University graduate from Beachwood, Ohio. With a major in Strategic Communications, Boroff set herself up for a career in the public relations world.

There is no such thing as a typical day for Boroff as a public relations professional at a small firm in Chicago. Whether she is working angles on a red carpet or participating in conference calls and strategic meetings, Boroff is always on the move. So her only routines are in the mornings. “I always start my day by flipping back and forth between the Today show and Good Morning America,” says Boroff, an account manager at Henson Consulting. “After getting ready, I hop on the Red Line to work and scoop up an iced Zen tea from Starbucks. Then I’m ready to roll.”

Boroff has worked on numerous PR accounts throughout her five-year career. Some of her past clients at Stern Advertising, a top Cleveland-based agency, included Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and Kay Jewelers. Boroff worked with Jane Seymour, the Emmy award-winning actress, to help promote Seymour’s Open Heart paintings and artwork through a national art tour.

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Al Butler

Al Butler

With a passion for sports, Al Butler isn’t afraid to shoot high.

During his time at Miami, the 2011 journalism grad always kept a list of names taped to the wall of the biggest athletes that he thought he would be able to interview. Through hard work and motivation he has crossed off a number of them, but the list continues to grow.

Butler is a sports editor for United Press International in Miami, Florida. He’s responsible for editing and optimizing national and international sports stories that come in for the UPI website. Additionally, he covers South Miami beat for the Miami Herald and does freelance work with what time he has left in the day. Butler produces his own original sports content, including interviews with famous athletes.

“Whenever a team comes to play the Miami Dolphins,” Butler said, “I go to the visiting locker room most of the time, and I interview the polarizing players on the other teams.” He sees an opportunity to get more page views for his articles with the visiting teams, as that will create more of a national story.

Butler has always had his eye on the big picture. As a self-proclaimed “writing addict” he devotes his time to his work and typically produces eight to 10 articles a day, seven days a week. His dedication to sports journalism has gotten him hundreds of thousands of pageviews on his articles.

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Andy Eninger

Andy Eninger

When Andy Eninger was a student at Miami, he tried to do it all.

He studied mass communication, advertising, improvisational comedy, and theater (just to name a few), and learned how to make his voice heard.

“Every voice gets heard at Miami.” says Eninger.

His many fields of study at Miami led Eninger to his position as the Learning Designer & Facilitator at Second City in Chicago. The 1991 grad also performed in Tower Players, and created a televised sketch show during his time at Miami. He extended his stay at Miami by getting a master’s in theater.

Now, Eninger works with Second City, an improvisational comedy company that has spawned alumni like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. His work with the company focuses mainly on bridging the gap between comedy and leadership, helping businesses empower their employees and improve communication using techniques found in improv.

He also recently finished up a five-year run as head of the writing program at Second City, focusing on creating the curriculum possible to “create the next generation of Tina Feys.”

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Greg Banig

Jon Gambrell

Culture. Fraud. War.

These are just a few of the many worldly topics that Jon Gambrell has been reporting about since his graduation from Miami in 2004.

The Miami alumnus studied both English and Spanish, but also maintained an ongoing passion for international issues and current events.

Gambrell said he realized he wanted to be a journalist after one of his first journalism classes at Miami, which was on Sept. 11, 2001.

“After the first tower was hit, I went onto the Washington Post website and followed the Associated Press account of what was happening,” Gambrell said. “Paragraphs kept switching around, there was a lot of misinformation going on, graphs were changing up and down and details were quickly emerging. I was amazed that an organization was able to harness the facts quickly and send them out in a readable form; it made me want to do the same one day.”

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Stacey Goers

Stacey Skotzko Goers

Stacey (Skotzko) Goers has made her mark on Washington, D.C. quickly moving up the ladder at Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Group as a data journalist since graduating from Miami in 2008.

thoroughly enjoyed combining her two passions of writing and learning about the world around her. “Stacey was somebody that embraced the double major,” said Richard Campbell, chair of the Department of Media, Journalism & Film. “She was the kind of student that welcomed that challenge and knew it would add value to her degree.”

As a former editor-in-chief of The Miami Student, she had a hefty responsibility to uphold the publication’s reputation while developing her writing, editing and leadership skills in the process. “The Miami Student is always as good as its editor,” Campbell said. “When Stacey was editor, it was in very good shape.”

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Greg Banig

Mike Gruss

Mike Gruss is a Miami graduate-turned-space news connoisseur.

The 1999 alum with a degree in English/journalism and American studies, Gruss established a prosperous career in Washington, D.C. as a military reporter at SpaceNews.

His day-to-day work involves breaking hard news about military space issues. He reports on everything from the buying and launching of Air Force satellites to the implementation of Defense Department space and missile defense programs.

“My favorite part about the job is learning something that not everyone else knows yet and finding a way to get that into the media, one way or another,” he said. He is one of the first to know about major space and satellite technology breakthroughs and it is his job to make sure that such issues get covered and out into the world.

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Greg Banig

Lauren Kelly

When Miami University alum Lauren Kelly graduated in 2011, she left behind a legacy for all fashion-loving media students by co-founding UP, Miami’s only fashion magazine on campus.

When Lauren came to Miami in 2009, she knew she wanted to major in journalism, having been greatly inspired by Atoosa Rubenstein, the former editor in chief of Seventeen magazine.

“I always knew if I did journalism it would be something in the realm of fashion or beauty,” Lauren recalled. “I wasn’t particularly interested in actual news.”

However, Lauren soon realized Miami didn’t have any publication on campus that she felt truly passionate about. Then one fateful day Lauren and her new friend, Kelly Phelan went to lunch and began discussing their love of fashion magazines. Straight after lunch, they went back to Phelan’s dorm and began ripping out pages of magazines and brainstorming ideas. Over the next few weeks they created UP, gathered sponsors, and hired a student staff.

Now, just five years after graduation, Lauren has found a career that includes her interest in fashion, entertainment and publishing as a talent agent for Forward Artists, which represents hair stylists, makeup artists and celebrities.

It all started with the creation of UP magazine, though.

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Christopher Molnar

Christopher Molnar

When Christopher Molnar graduated from Miami University in 2004, he knew exactly where he wanted to go.

The Springfield, Ohio, native had always had a passion for film. Within a few weeks of moving to the City of Angels and sending resumes to every production company in town, Molnar was employed.

Twelve years later, Molnar has worked his way up from a post-production coordinator on NCIS to a Producer on NCIS: Los Angeles, one of the top network shows on television. Molnar is responsible for the post-production aspects of the show, which includes everything from visual effects to color correction to contacting production companies in Russia to get international footage.

“My job is basically to finish the show video-wise: color correction, second-unit directing, special effects,” Molnar stated in a phone interview. He added that he often serves as a liaison between various departments at NCIS: LA.

Ideally, Molnar would like to eventually run production for television and/or film. He tries to do one to two side projects every year to get better at all aspects of production. One of these projects, a web series entitled “We Don’t Hate It Here,” premiered Feb. 1 and was promoted by NCIS: LA star LL Cool J.

Before he moved to LA and considered celebrities like Mark Harmon and LL Cool J as colleagues, though, Molnar was a driven and involved student at Miami University. A mass communication major with a minor in management, Molnar was involved in many Mass Communication ventures, including MUTV News Segments and a sitcom produced by students.

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Richie Owens

Richie Owens

Richie Owens, class of 1995 graduate, has always known his passion was filmmaking. A native of Middletown, he began studying mass communications at Miami’s Middletown campus in hopes of one day pursuing a career in film.

“I never even thought of doing anything other than movie or television making.” said Owens.

For the first two years of his undergraduate degree, Owens studied at Miami University Middletown. When he wasn’t on campus, he was working as a projectionist at Middletown’s movie theatre.

The last two years of his collegiate career, Owens commuted from Middletown to the Oxford campus, while still working full-time as a projectionist manager.

Owens says the production classes he took during his time at Miami were his fondest memories.

“The production classes really, really helped,” said Owens. “They were very practical and instrumental in knowing what to do.”

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Lauren Pulte

Lauren Pulte

After graduating from Miami in 2009, Lauren Pulte worked at a multi-faceted career in Washington, DC producing programs at C-Span and managing video production at POLITICO before moving into public relations.

This March, she revamped her career direction by moving to Chicago to become a PR and Communications Manager for The Onion.

Pulte was a journalism and political science double major at Miami, who participated in the Inside Washington program during the summer of 2008.

She was selected based on her high academic standing and leadership experiences, which enabled her to work for Voice of America as a Public Affairs Radio Intern. This internship completely changed her life and solidified her desired career path. It helped her to realize her true passions for the journalism and news industries while introducing her to Washington, D.C. in a very unique way.

Throughout the rest of her time at Miami, she worked as an I-Team intern for WCPO-TV, a staff reporter at the Oxford Press, an election reporter for MTV- U and a reporter/anchor for Miami University Television (MUTV). These experiences helped her to hone her journalistic skills and prepare her for her entrance into the workforce.

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Lindsay Rice

Lindsay Rice


The yell reverberates around the set and, as it was intended, causes production manager Lindsay Rice to bolt out of her office and come running downstairs.

Film director JC Schroder cannot figure out how to work a motion-activated gumball machine filled to the brim with M & Ms.

Rice, a 2009 Miami University Mass Communication graduate, is working with Schroder – also a Miami grad – on the feature film "Forever’s End."

She is in charge of compiling things for craft services (all the food and snacks available for the cast and crew) on the set, a job allocated to her because the budget doesn't allow for someone else to manage craft services separately.

“How do you get this thing to work?” asks an incredibly confused Schroder.

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Greg Banig

JM Rieger

JM Rieger has always been passionate about whatever he has explored.

So it is not surprising that he transformed from an undergraduate sports broadcast fanatic to a postgraduate political journalist.

He said his varied experiences led to his success since his graduation from Miami in 2013.

“I’ve drawn from all of the different experiences I’ve had. Working for The Miami Student enabled me to build base reporting skills while Redhawk Radio and MUTV really enhanced my knowledge of being able to do things across different mediums from a production standpoint.”

He double majored in journalism and political science while minoring in marketing.

Add to that a variety of internship experiences which has led to his position as head of video production for Congressional Quarterly’s Roll Call in Washington, D.C.

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Molly Shanks

Molly Shanks

Molly Shanks has transitioned from a self-motivated, charismatic student to an Emmy-nominated television producer.

During her time at Miami, she majored in journalism with a double minor in English and communications. Following graduation in 2012, Shanks immediately moved to the Los Angeles, Calif. area to hit the ground running in the fast-paced environment of show biz.

Initially, Molly worked for Original Productions in Burbank. She served as an associate producer for a reality show called “Ax Men,” which airs on the History Channel.

After six months, she decided that her heart was still with the Midwest and moved to the Chicago area for a position at Oakbrook productions. There, she worked for a television show entitled “Chicago’s Best,” which is a food-focused program that airs on WGN. After one year, she switched over to “Living Healthy Chicago,” which is a show within the same company with a different focus.

However, Shanks returned to “Chicago’s Best” after less than a year as an associate producer. During her time in the position, her team earned a Midwest Emmy nomination for the episode entitled, “Best of Ogden Avenue.”

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Christopher Washington

Christopher Washington

Christopher Washington has always loved writing stories.

He recalled constantly scribbling down stories as a child, as well as an instance in which he made his own newspaper using blank newsprint sheets that his grandmother had given him.

As the 2009 JRN alum put it, “I just really enjoyed the use of the written word to convey and communicate a message.” With such an enthusiastic passion for writing, he knew it would one day be a big part of whatever career he pursued.

Today, Washington finds himself applying that same zeal for writing with Fahlgren Mortine, an integrated marketing and communications agency based in Columbus, Ohio. He is a Senior Human Resources Associate, managing a wide array of responsibilities from professional development to recruiting initiatives to help along programming.

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Chad Wollett

Chad Wollett

When Chad Wollett enrolled at Miami in 1998, he already had a fair amount of production experience. He produced his high school’s morning announcements telecast and had a passion for making television.

This only accelerated when he stepped on campus.

Wollett took Bob Vogel’s Introduction to Mass Media classes and they had a lasting impression. Vogel’s lecture communication classes highlighted the importance of the relationship between medium and message.

“Intro to Mass Media Technology was a great look at the communications landscape,” Wollett said. “ How people consume media, what it means to them, and how it affects their lives. In turn, the impact of audience consumption on the media itself and its delivery method.”

Vogel remembers fondly. “Chad is a wonderful example of a risk taker in the most positive way,” he said. “When I said he took risks, he produced his own show and took advantage of opportunities. He became a leader as a result.”

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