Meet Our Hosts

Hunter Reis '17, Journalism

Hunter Reis '17 is an Emmy-winning entertainment news journalist and digital producer. A Massachusetts native, Hunter knew right away that Emerson was the perfect fit for him due to the school's prestigious journalism program and its proximity to his hometown of Fall River. Hunter finished his time at Emerson College at the ELA program, interning for The Today Show covering the 2016 presidential election. After graduating, Hunter worked in various entertainment newsrooms around Los Angeles, including at Entertainment Tonight where he won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2022. Hunter was awarded Emerson's "Distinguished Young Alumni" Award that same year, and is the latest host of 'Making it Big in 30 Minutes.'

Georgette Pierre, MA ‘09, Integrated Marketing Communication

Georgette Pierre is an Emmy award winning producer, multimedia personality, and voice actor. She’s worked at VH1, MTV, Nickelodeon, and various radio stations. Her creative projects include her podcast, Black + Nuanced, two web series (#DearGeorgette and After Dark), and bylines on Entertainment Weekly, VH1, MTV RapFix, Blavity, and Killer Boombox. She was also the local host for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show at 99Jamz in Miami. Currently based in New York, she consults as a creative producer under her company imprint, M.Y.S. Productions, and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Terri Trespicio, MFA ’02 Creative Writing

She is an award-winning writer, speaker, and brand advisor. Her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has more than 6MM views and Hubspot named her one of the “Top 18 female speakers who are killing it.” A former magazine editor and radio host at Martha Stewart, she has appeared on the Today show, Dr. Oz, The Early Show, The Anderson Cooper Show—as well as Oprah magazine, Marie Claire, and Business Insider. An in-demand speaker, Terri has also performed stand-up at famous venues including Caroline’s, Dangerfield’s, and Gotham. Terri earned her BA in English from Boston College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she currently sits on the Alumni Board of Directors. Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled Stop Searching for Your Passion, will be published in spring 2022 by Atria Books. She lives in Manhattan. Visit her at

Season 7 Guests

Seth Adam ‘08

Seth Adam is a diplomat in the Foreign Service at the United States Department of State. Prior to his time in government, Seth led communications strategies for some of the nation's top nonprofits working to advance LGBTQ equality as well as globally-recognized entertainment media companies. Seth graduated Emerson in 2008 with a degree in theater studies.

Jessica Joseph ‘13

Jessica Joseph is a world-class Marketing Strategist, Advertising Instructor and Business Consultant. Her area of expertise is in building purpose-driven brands; helping businesses across a variety of industries move towards sustainable growth. Jessica is a first generation Aruban-American and native New Yorker now living in South Florida. She is passionate about connecting to her island heritage, rediscovering her ancestral roots in agriculture and sharing that journey through written and visual storytelling. In the fall of 2023, Jessica launched a newsletter, Letters from The Safe House.

Jamie Loftus ‘14

Jamie Loftus is an Emmy-nominated TV writer and comedian who just released her first book, Raw Dog: A Naked History of Hot Dogs. She has her baby teeth loaded into a gun for when the time is right.

Sarah Spiers ‘17

Sarah Spiers is an award-winning game producer in Boston, MA, serving as a Development Director at Maxis Studios on the upcoming game Project Rene. Previously, Sarah was a senior producer at PUBG, overseeing the development of live updates for PUBG Battlegrounds on PC and Console. In 2022, Sarah was listed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Games and named one of the Women In Games’ Hall of Fame recipients in 2021. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for the IGDA Foundation and is the non-profit’s Director of Global Development.

Kevin McKeon ‘07

Kevin McKeon is the VP of Production at Mattel Films shepherding feature projects through development and production. Properties including: BARBIE and HOT WHEELS. He also served as a producer on films such as: CALL JANE, THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES, and BURDEN (Sundance US Dramatic Audience Award). McKeon also worked as an Executive at Relativity Squared and before Relativity, as Robbie Brenner's assistant during the film DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. McKeon also worked at Oliver Stone's Ixtlan Inc and at Flower Films as Drew Barrymore’s assistant. McKeon's career began in production on such films as VALENTINE'S DAY, and EDGE OF DARKNESS.

Nyla Wissa ‘15

Born and raised in Dorchester, MA, Nyla Wissa currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and works at Nike LA HQ as a Brand Narrative Manager. She graduated from Emerson College in May 2015 with a BA in Theater Education: Acting and is the founder of Flawless Brown.

Season 6 Guests

Evy Chen '10

Evy Chen is a Boston-based serial entrepreneur and innovator in the consumer packaged goods industry with a track record of building successful products, companies, and equity. Over the past decade, she founded and scaled Evy Tea, a national cold brew tea brand, from scratch to exit. Evy's work has been recognized by major media outlets such as Forbes, Fortune, BBC, and NPR, and she is regarded as a pioneer in the CPG space. Evy is pursuing her MBA as a Sloan Fellow at MIT Sloan School of Management and earned her BS in Marketing Communication from Emerson College. She also advises people of color entrepreneurs and mission-driven companies.

Jasmine Solano ‘06

Jasmine Solano is known for bridging the gap between culture, corporate and community, and is consistently pinned by major brands and music artists as a premier music influencer. Over the past 10 years, Jasmine has gained an international reputation as a DJ, on-camera/radio host and curator to a range of clients in music, film, fashion and philanthropy. In 2017, Jasmine founded Unity In Color, a global photography series and platform showcasing inclusive solidarity for Women's Equality. In 2020, Jasmine Co-Founded Club House Global, a social impact live stream platform that has since employed over 300 artists and amassed over 20 million channel views during the pandemic. In addition to being featured for her uniquely well rounded perspective on the arts in The New York Times, Vogue, Coveteur, Billboard, Guest of a Guest and Forbes, to name a few - featured her in an article, citing that "her relentless dedication - to both honing her craft and expanding her professional capacity - pays off."

Madeline Kay Sneed MFA ‘20

Madeline Kay Sneed is the author of THE GOLDEN SEASON and the forthcoming novel TODAY TONIGHT FOREVER. She received her BA in English Literature from Baylor University and her MFA in Fiction from Emerson College. She lives in Houston, Texas, a city she dearly loves, despite its sports franchises so frequently breaking her heart.

Ballard C. Boyd '04

Ballard C. Boyd is an Emmy Award-winning & Peabody Award-winning director & producer, based in NYC. He’s currently a producer & segment director at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he has directed over 150 segments for CBS. His music video “Runaway” by sElf made the Top 10 Music Videos of 2014 by Rolling Stone, and “The 10 Greatest Cat Music Videos of All Time” by Yahoo! Music. He has also directed commercials for companies including Google, Wild Turkey, Captain Morgan, Mountain Dew, 3M, and DICK’s Sporting Goods. He lives in Sunnyside, Queens, NY with his wife & daughter.

Winnie Carrillo ‘14

Winnie was born and raised in Guatemala. She moved to Boston for her undergraduate degree at Emerson College, before returning to Guatemala where she produced commercial productions for distribution throughout Central and South America. Winnie then moved to Los Angeles for her master’s degree at USC’s Peter Stark Producer’s Program, and simultaneously began working at MGM Studios. Winnie is currently the Director of Development at MGM’s film division, which recently merged with Amazon Studios. As Director of Development, Winnie is responsible for sourcing new material for the studio, while also working on the day-to-day development of library tiles and original material.

Chrystee Pharris

Chrystee Pharris blazed onto NBC-TV as Simone Russell on the hit daytime soap opera, Passions, and she returned to NBC at night creating passion with Golden Globe Nominee, Zach Braff, on the hit show Scrubs as “J.D.’S” girlfriend, Kylie. Currently, she can be seen on Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy on ALLBLK.  And you will catch her recurring on Season 3, Goliath on Amazon Prime. She has received 2 Best Actress Awards and 3 Best Films Awards for her starring role in Steps of Faith, a faith based film currently on Purflix & Amazon. Chrystee has now put on her directing hat with the stage musical, Suessical, with 35 kids & adults as well as the short Aimee Victoria which has won two awards; Best Director and Best Covid Film.

Season 5 Guests

Dominique Bañas ‘13

Dominique Bañas ‘13 is a NYC-based Filipinx television and live event producer. She currently works at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where she produces guest interviews and comedy bits for the show. She has produced a diverse array of illustrious guests such as Stephen Sondheim, Dionne Warwick, Issa Rae and Michaela Coel. She previously worked as a researcher at The Ellen DeGenerous Show in Los Angeles. Dominique is also a co-founder of the non-profit, Your Neighbor’s Backyard, which is an organization that puts on live shows that raise awareness and funds for various causes.

Shanaé Burch ‘13

Shanaé Burch ‘13 (she/her) believes in the power of storytelling to revive health and reconcile hearts. Her hunch has led her to pursue a doctorate in public health education at Teachers College, Columbia University where she's studying health equity through the lens of better leveraging arts and culture for wellbeing. She previously attended Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received her Ed.M in Arts in Education. Shanaé is proud to be a Gates Scholar, RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar, as well as member-leader of her union, Actors’ Equity Association. She's a board member of Health Promotion Practice and is co-section editor of "Poetry for the Public's Health."

Alan Gwizdowski ‘09

Alan Gwizdowski ‘09 is a cinematographer based in Los Angeles, CA. An Emerson graduate of 2009, he started his career shooting music videos and short films; this eventually grew into TV shows, features and commercials, all while consistently working with Emerson alumni on almost every project.

Zach Kornfeld ‘12

Zach Kornfeld ‘12 is a producer and director best known for co-creating and starring in The Try Guys, a comedy quartet and popular YouTube channel with over 3 Billion lifetime views. He's a #1 New York Times Best Selling author, award winning podcast host, and runs a production company in Los Angeles that focuses on bridging the gap between digital and traditional. Kornfeld is a chronic pain advocate and founded Zadiko Tea Co. to help with his own invisible illness. Previously, Kornfeld was a Development Partner at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.

Dion Lim ‘06

Dion Lim ‘06 is an Emmy Award-winning TV news anchor and reporter at ABC7/KGO-TV in San Francisco and author of Make Your Moment: The Savvy Woman’s Communication Playbook to Getting The Success You Want (McGraw-Hill) based on her experiences as the first Asian American woman to be at the helm of a weekday newscast in three major markets including Kansas City, Charlotte and Tampa Bay. Dion is passionate about amplifying voices of color and has led the charge worldwide in shedding light on the hate and assaults targeting Asian Americans in the Bay Area. Her work has resonated across the country on ABC News Live, Nightline, World News Now, Good Morning America and 20/20. She was also named, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and other prominent AAPI leaders, a 2021 Goldhouse 100 A1 most impactful Asians for storytelling in the midst of the #StopAsianHate movement. Dion is also SF Cause’s 1st recipient of the Champion of Truth award and Dress for Success San Francisco 2022 honoree for her work elevating women in our community. She and her husband live in San Francisco. In their spare time they enjoy traveling and discovering new hidden gem restaurants in the Bay Area!

Quinn Marcus ‘13

Quinn Marcus ‘13 studied a major of her own creation, Comedy Writing and Performance. As an undergrad, she hosted a show on mtvU called Quinnterviews where she interviewed celebrities like Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Octavia Spencer, and Betty White. Quinn has been a cast member on MTV’s Girl Code, created and hosted a short-form talk show series for ABC’s digital platform, A Little of Your Time with Quinn Marcus. She has written and starred in pilots for Comedy Central and Pop TV and is currently in the Sony Pictures Television Diverse Writers Program.

David Yoon, MFA ‘00

David Yoon, MFA ‘00 is the New York Times bestselling author of Frankly in Love, Super Fake Love Song, and for adult readers, Version Zero and City of Orange. He’s a William C. Morris Award finalist and an Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature Honor book recipient. He's co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. He's also co-founder of Yooniverse Media, which currently has a first look deal with Anonymous Content for film/TV development. David grew up in Orange County, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Nicola Yoon, and their daughter.

Pamela Zapata ‘10

Pamela Zapata ‘10 is a Latinx entreprenista, diversity and inclusion trailblazer, and CEO/founder of the leading 7-figure talent agency, Society 18. Her unique range of experience includes over 12 years of mastering influencer strategy, integrated marketing, talent relations, casting, and production for some of the biggest networks, brands, and agencies in the industry; helping them meaningfully activate diverse and inclusive brand campaigns that resonate with multicultural and multiethnic audiences. She has supported influencer strategy and procurement for brands such as Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, MAC, La Mer, Suave, Dove, Love Beauty Planet, Axe, and Popsicle. Prior to creating Society 18, she held roles at E! Entertainment, Ryan Seacrest Productions, Style Haul, Sweety High, United Entertainment Group, and Starpower. Pamela’s expertise in entertainment has been featured in Forbes, Entreprenista, Medium and WWD. In 2020, Pamela was named Business Insider’s Top YouTube Talent Manager and Top 15 Talent Managers for Micro Influencers. Most recently, Pamela was named a 2021 Forbes Next 1000 Honoree.

Season 4 Guests

May Calamawy ‘08

May Calamawy is a half Palestinian, half Egyptian actress born and raised in Bahrain. She transferred to Emerson after a foundation year at MassArt. May went on to do a two year program at William Esper Studios in NYC before starting to work in TV and can be seen on the Marvel television series, Moon Knight.

Howard “D” Simpson ‘94

From teenage fan to station General Manager, Howard "D" Simpson now leads WERS Boston. His history with the station and Emerson College fuel his commitment to teaching future leaders of the media industry the power behind the microphone. Learn more about WERS here.

Jill Bream ‘03

Jill Bream is a New York City-based costume designer & stylist, working in tv, film, and commercials. She is a well-versed and enthusiastic chameleon, able to nail any genre, span any decade, and tap into any style. She enjoys the witty and the absurd, but always serves the characters and the scene first. Jill is best known for her work as costume designer for the film unit at Saturday Night Live. Other featured work includes Netflix’s John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch, and Comedy Central’s The Other Two. She has worked with clients such as Google, Budweiser, FedEx, Amazon, Ford, and Bacardi and her work can be seen on Netflix, NBC, CBS, Hulu, Bravo, IFC, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central & The Disney Channel. Jill began her career as an assistant to June Ambrose, one of the industry’s most creative and influential stylists, helping to create iconic looks for artists such as Jay-Z, Ne-Yo and Mary J. Blige. Jill next spent time at Isaac Mizrahi NY, working alongside Isaac and creative director Kristen Naiman, to style and design over 7 runway shows and several national advertising campaigns. Jill was also proud to work as a broadcasting stylist for NBC on both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. More from Jill, here.

Traci Blackwell, MA ‘14

Traci Blackwell is an experienced Scripted Television Executive who most recently served as Executive Vice President, Scripted Programming at BET Networks. Previously, Blackwell served as Senior Vice President of Current Programs at The CW Network, where she shepherded the day-to-day creative production for some of the network’s biggest brands, such as Supergirl, Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Prior to joining CW, she began her career with UPN, and during her tenure, she worked on the production of successful sitcoms The Parkers and Moesha. Blackwell is a member of the Emerson College Board of Trustees, the Grammy Museum Board of Directors, the Advisory Boards of The American Black Film Festival (ABFF), Morehouse College’s Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies program (CTEMS), the Board of Directors of the Black Women Film Network, and is the co-founder of The Career Advisory Network at Emerson College. She is also Co-Chair of the Merge Summit, an organization and yearly conference that merges the worlds of faith and entertainment.

Deborah Feingold ‘73

Born in Cranston, Rhode Island, Deborah Feingold’s love of photography began at the age of twelve when her father taught her how to photograph and work in their darkroom. In the mid-70’s, Feingold began to immerse herself in the jazz world. She moved to New York City, earning assignments with small independent jazz labels. This work led to a feature in Musician magazine, where she quickly became their staff photographer, shooting music legends such as James Brown, Miles Davis, David Byrne, Aerosmith, The Ramones and B.B. King. Feingold has continued shooting musicians, actors, politicians, writers, and many more iconic figures over the last four decades, along with contributing her talents to numerous album covers, book covers, movie posters, and ad campaigns. Her visionary sensibilities have had a hand in immortalizing the personas attached to these names, highlighting their personalities in a naturalistic, candid manner that’s personal and personable. Deborah Feingold lives in Southold, NY and New York City. More from Deborah, here.

Matt Labov ‘90

Matt Labov is a longtime veteran public relations executive who has transitioned to add talent management to his skillset.

Hunter Harris ‘16

Hunter Harris is a writer and reporter based in New York. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, the New York Times, and GQ. She recently wrote on season two of HBO Max's Gossip Girl. More from Hunter, here.

Season 3 Guests

Sara Morgan ‘05, MA ‘10, Radio/VMA, Grad; Integrated Marketing Communications

Sara Morgan is a Product Marketer at Dell EMC. Previously, she has held various marketing positions focused on brand management, marketing strategy, and execution. She has worked in a variety of industries, for companies such as Pearson Education, Liberty Mutual Insurance, SAI Global and Harvard University. In addition to Sara's marketing experience, she produced two top-rated morning radio shows in Boston for WJMN-FM 94.5, as Assistant Producer, and WBQT-FM 96.9, as Executive Producer. As a graduate student of Emerson College, Sara received the Lagrant Foundation Scholarship, which aims to increase diversity in fields of marketing, advertising, and public relations.

Brent Baughman ‘10, Broadcast Journalism and Creative Writing

Brent Baughman is a senior producer in the Programming division at NPR, where he works on new and existing podcasts. He's helped to produce and develop many shows since joining the division in 2012, including The TED Radio Hour, The NPR Politics Podcast, It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders, Short Wave and Consider This. Before that, he worked in NPR's news division as a weekend producer for NPR's All Things Considered with host Guy Raz.

Carolyn Snell ‘97, Public Relations

Carolyn Snell is an accomplished music industry veteran with nearly 25 years of combined touring, live event, management and marketing experience. Carolyn has overseen and coordinated worldwide tours for artists including Reba McEntire, Janet Jackson, John Mayer, Kenny Chesney, and the Indigo Girls, among others. Her strong sense of logistics and proven track record for organizing cultural events means she’s capable of handling both the smallest detail and the largest challenge with ease. Most recently, Carolyn joined Brandi Carlile's management team through Red Light Management. Additionally, Carolyn is an advocate and former member of the Board of the Directors for Thistle Farms in Nashville, which provides housing, employment, and healing for women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. She defines her highest level of success by blending her two worlds: introducing the artists she works with to the work of the organization she supports. She can usually be found plotting her next adventure with a cup of coffee and her laptop at the Café at Thistle Farms. She is also a published photographer.

John Grisby, MA ‘95, Global Marketing Communications and Advertising

John Grisby is a Professor in Practice (academia) and Managing Partner at Grey Matter Global Ltd. He helps leaders in different industries and parts of the world prepare/shift leadership mindset to be effective in business/industry 4.0.

Edwin Hill, MFA ‘02, Creative Writing

Edwin Hill’s critically-acclaimed crime novels include Watch Her, The Missing Ones, and Little Comfort. He has been nominated for Edgar and Agatha Awards, featured in Us Magazine, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, and was recognized as one of “Six Crime Writers to Watch” in Mystery Scene magazine. His latest novel, The Secrets We Share, will be available in April of 2022. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

Mal Meyer ‘15, Journalism

Mal Meyer is a reporter and multimedia journalist for WGME/WPFO in Portland, Maine. He previously served as the investigation team lead, weekend anchor and multimedia journalist for WKBT in La Crosse, Wisconsin. But Mal got his start as a journalist at Lakeland News in Bemidji. News is his passion but when he has a moment, he really enjoys checking out restaurants around town or going for a hike.

Alexis C. Clements ‘02, Theater Studies

Alexis Clements is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. An alumna of the WP Theater Playwrights Lab, she has been awarded a Bruce and Arch Brown Foundation Grant, a Dramatists Guild of America fellowship, two Puffin Foundation Artist Grants, a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant, the Source Theatre’s Washington Theatre Festival Literary Prize, and she has been a resident at the Millay Colony. She is also founder of the multi-disciplinary arts project New Acquisition, which produced projects from 2007–2010, and a co-founder of the queer writing group and publisher, Private Commission, which was active from 2012–2017.

Season 2 Guests

Chelsey Cartwright ‘13, Broadcast Journalism

Chelsey served as Northeast Regional Political Director on the Biden Harris Presidential campaign. Before joining the Biden campaign, she served as Southern Political Director for Warren Democrats. During the 2020 Presidential Primary season, she was Southern Regional Political Director on Warren for President. Previously, she held the roles of Deputy Political Director on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2018 re-election campaign and as Director of Constituent Services to former Boston At-Large City Councilor, now Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Boston's first African American woman elected to Congress. She started her career as a Constituent Services aide in the administration of former MA Governor Deval L. Patrick. Chelsey earned her bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College. She is a proud native of Houston's historic Third Ward neighborhood. Visit Chelsey Cartwright on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Jill Gearin ‘18, Journalism & Sports Communication

Jill Gearin, native of Hermosa Beach, CA, graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Journalism and minor in Sports Communication. Gearin, a 4-year starter on the Emerson softball team, was named Co-Captain her Senior year. While in Boston, she interned for WHDH-TV, the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the Boston Red Sox. The summer after graduation, Gearin continued her Red Sox internship while broadcasting play-by-play for the Nashua Silver Knights, a summer collegiate baseball team. In January 2019, Gearin broke barriers as the third woman broadcaster in Minor League Baseball history as the Voice of the Visalia Rawhide. Visit Jill Gearin on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Marc Douthit ‘86, Communication, Politics and Law

Marc Douthit believes that the practice of law has created many opportunities for him to give back to both his community and his profession. In 2002, he was honored by the Dade County Bar Association with its Pro Bono Award for providing free legal services to the poor in the area of bankruptcy law. He formerly served as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Farquhar School of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. He is a former President of the Black Lawyers Association of Miami-Dade County, has been the Chairman of the Trustee Board of the Deaf Services Bureau, and was a member of the Board and Chair of the Development Committee of Charlee Homes for Children, Inc. He published in the American Bar Association Journal (“Humbling Experiences - The Trials of Small Claims”). He has written articles for Black Enterprise Magazine and LaKay Magazine and presented numerous workshops on business development and law firm growth. He resides in Miami, Florida with his wife, Karen and two boys Bryan and Ryan. Visit Marc Douthit on LinkedIn.

Felicia Pride MA ‘05, Publishing and Writing

Felicia Pride is a writer and award-winning filmmaker. She was a writer on Ava DuVernay’s QUEEN SUGAR and currently writes on GREY’S ANATOMY. She sold the erotic romance DEEPER to Universal Pictures and is the co-writer and executive producer of the feature REALLY LOVE, which won a Special Jury Prize at SXSW. She made her directing debut with the short film tender, which is now airing on STARZ. Felicia was a Film Independent Screenwriting Fellow and a graduate of NBC’s Writers on the Verge as a comedy writer. Prior to, she worked as a film distribution executive and an impact producer. Felicia runs The Create Daily , a resource for underrepresented storytellers that she founded in 2012. Visit Felicia Pride on LinkedIn , Twitter and Instagram

Dr. Rik Lemoncello MS ‘99, Speech-Language Pathology

Dr. Lemoncello is an Associate Professor of speech-language pathology at Pacific University (Oregon). His work focuses on functional rehabilitation and supports for adults with acquired brain injury. He is also the founder and director for Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop, a non-profit organization providing return-to-work opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury in Portland, OR. Visit Dr. Rik on Twitter and Instagram.

Laura Zurowski ‘90, Mass Communication

Pittsburgh has the most public staircases of any city in the United States. With 800 sets of stairways – containing more than 45,000 individual steps - public staircases were an engineering approach designed to bring a burgeoning city of nearly 700,000 from the "hills to the mills," lining the riverfront. Despite the recent decades of faltering economies and significant depopulation, almost all these early twentieth-century city steps are still viewable if not traversable. In 2017, Laura began to systematically document the stairways and, to-date, has visited over 550 locations throughout the city's 90 neighborhoods to curate Mis-steps. Visit Laura Zurowski on Twitter and Instagram.

Jae Williams ‘08, MA ‘16, Film; Integrated Marketing Communications

Jae Williams brings a range of talents to Emerson's Elma Lewis Social Justice Center, including expertise as a content strategist, previous experience launching and growing social action efforts, and a deep commitment to supporting access to education and the arts for communities who are often marginalized.

Most recently, Jae served as affiliated faculty in Communication Studies, where he taught digital storytelling, argument and advocacy, and public affairs. He also has substantial professional experience in content creation and strategic communications, having served as founder and CEO of Culture Key Agency, where he worked with a range of social action organizations as they developed their social media and marketing strategies.

Jae is also the founder and executive director of Forever Ink Foundation, an organization created to support Boston area community members in their exploration of creative experiences through the visual arts. The organization’s programs include the Forever Ink Mentoring program, the Reel Life Experience, and the Celebration of the Arts Red Carpet Experience. Among other roles, Jae previously served as Director of Marketing and Content Strategy for the Toronto-based company OneClass, and as Associate Director of Content Strategy at Emerson. Visit Jae Williams on Instagram.

Chen Tang ‘10, Theater Arts

Chen Tang has an international background that instilled in him early a lifelong love and curiosity for different cultures, peoples, and experiences. As a Chinese citizen and US Permanent Resident, and fluent in both Mandarin and English, he has been able to bridge a gap between both Hollywood and China during his career. He has acted in numerous films and television series, most recently as "Yao" in the much-anticipated Disney live-action remake of Mulan (2020) directed by Niki Caro, and as the main cast member "Hong" of the Bruce Lee inspired Cinemax show Warrior (2019) from Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin. Other recurring credits include Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), Bosch (2014), Grey's Anatomy (2005), and Being Mary Jane (2013), among others. Visit Chen Tang on Instagram.

Season 1 Guests

Megan Mitchell ’14, Broadcast Journalism

Megan Mitchell is an anchor and reporter at the NBC Affiliate, WLWT, in Cincinnati. She is a three-time Emmy Award nominee, received the 2017 Excellence in Local Broadcasting Award from the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists and has been awarded half a dozen other regional broadcasting awards, including Best TV News Reporter by the NDBA. While an anchor and reporter at KFYR-TV, Megan was the first journalist to break the Standing Rock Reservation’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, sparking international outcry. Megan sits on the Alumni Board at Emerson College and has interned for MSNBC and Viacom. Visit Megan Mitchell on, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Eitan Chitayat, MA ’99, Integrated Marketing Communication

A global citizen and founder of the Natie Branding Agency in Tel Aviv, Eitan has been delivering international brands for over 20 years and has lived in Hong-Kong, London, Tel Aviv, New York and Boston. He created "I'm That Jew" which has been viewed over 10 million times on various platforms and has been exhibited at the Museum of the Jewish People. He also recently gave a TEDx talk about why he created it. Clients have included Google, Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Medisafe, Nutrino and Waterlogic. He’s worked at Arnold Worldwide in Boston, Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO in New York and was TBWA Digital’s executive CD in Tel Aviv. Eitan consults regularly, speaks at global conferences and has been a judge for the One Show. Visit Eitan Chitayat on, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Maurene Goo, MA ’07, Publishing & Writing

Maurene Goo is the author of several acclaimed books for young adults, including I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE, THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL, and SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Visit Maurene Goo on, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Jaimee Hall ’03, Theater Studies

Jaimee has been in the legal industry for over 8 years. She started by leading a 100+ person back office for a global litigation firm as the CEO. She helped grow this firm from a 22 state presence to over 40 states and the UK in 6 years as well as reduced turnover and improved financial performance! Legal Back Office launched in 2018 because of a need in the industry to help smaller firms become more successful. Legal Back Office is passionate about helping attorneys build a successful business. Legal Back Office powers the business of law by offering strategic planning and consulting as well as outsourced accounting, marketing and HR services to small and mid-sized law firms across the U.S. Visit Jaimee Hall on, LinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.

Manny Jaquez ’13, Writing for Film & Television

Manny is a Miami native who began his career at Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) in the Comedy Touring department. He moved on to the Talent & Development team at Comedy Central, where he's spent the last five years identifying comedic voices and developing content for Comedy Central's on-air and digital channels. At Emerson he was on the inaugural staff of Emerson Channel's "Breaking News!" and a member of Stroopwafel. He's pretty sure there are still some DH credits on his Emerson ID for anyone who can find it.

Janice O'Leary, MFA ’96, Creative Writing

Janice began her career in book publishing and has touched about every kind of publication out there over the last 20 years, from literary journals to alumni mags, to newspapers and big, slick newsstand titles, and of course, digital and now podcasts and Zoom happy hours. She began in New York, did a lot in Boston, and now lives out in LA. Janice thinks she’s held nearly every editorial title on a masthead you can hold, from intern to editor in chief and she’s also managed to publish and still write some fiction and poetry. Janice is looking forward to the next evolutions in media and storytelling, which she hopes to drive forward with Emerson's new grads in the coming years. Visit Janice O'Leary on and LinkedIn.

Bunny Kinney ’07, Film

Canadian-born, Texas-raised, London-based writer, filmmaker and creative director working in fashion and digital media. Visit Bunny Kinney on, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Paloma Valenzuela ’09, Writing for Film & Television

Paloma Valenzuela is a Dominican-American writer, director and actress originally from the city of Boston. She is the creative director of the production operation La Gringa Loca Productions based in Boston and the Dominican Republic. She is the writer/producer/creator of the comedic web series "The Pineapple Diaries". The show was featured in the Latina Magazine's "5 Web Series Every Latinx Needs to Watch Right Now". In 2019 Paloma was featured in Boston Magazine's "Boston's New Creative Guard" and selected as one of the WBUR The Artery 25, a series highlighting millennials of color making an impact in the Boston arts scene. Paloma has collaborated with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and is currently editing and launching the third season of "The Pineapple Diaries". She is the recipient of the 2016 Creative City Grant, 2018 City of Boston Opportunity Grant and the 2019 City of Boston Artist Fellowship. She also works as a teaching artist at GrubStreet in Boston teaching classes in Dramatic Writing and Screenwriting. Visit Paloma Valenzuela on Youtube@La Gringa Loca, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and The Pineapple Diaries.