COM Giving

Continuing Our Memories


Koyah Rivera

One of the things that I am most proud of in my life is the opportunity that Dr. Bolduc and Dr. Olson provided me in allowing me to utilize my independent study experience to form UNCW's first-ever television news show for communication studies majors in 2000. The opportunity to collaborate with other students to build a creative outlet to gain  hands-on broadcasting experience and the ability to apply leadership skills through this endeavor set the foundation for my future career success! Further, the internship experience that my advisor provided for me at WECT-TV allowed me to show my writing and leadership abilities and translated into me being offered a full-time job at WECT-TV as the producer of the morning show, while heading into my last year at UNCW. If not for the training and leadership development that I received through being a COMM major, I would not have been able to translate my media-related dreams to reality. I was able to go on to work as a motivational speaker, Writer/Associate Producer at NBC-17 in Raleigh and even land a job as a national television host on a cable network, while also launching my own educational television talk show. I even have a new educational TV show in the works with another station at the moment. My foundation as a speaker, teacher, and media personality was all set firmly at UNCW. It is because of my positive, uplifting experiences there that I had the confidence to forge forward in reaching all of my career aspirations. In regards to leadership, I was able to apply the leadership skills learned while managing  graduate admissions for UNC School of Dentistry and while serving as the Assistant Director of the Undergraduate Business Program at UNC's Kenan-Flagler School of Business. Many of the communication theories and content learned in my interracial and intercultural communication class helped me to be able to connect with my international students at UNC and my audiences across the country, as a speaker.

The communication courses that I took during my undergraduate career truly gave me the base knowledge  that I needed to effectively communicate in the workplace and flourish in my career.

Currently, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Leadership Studies and an Adjunct Faculty member. I am still utilizing the invaluable skills that I received as a COMM student at UNCW. I love that I can email or call my COM professors lmost 20 years later and still receive the needed and valuable advice, support, and guidance that I received as a student. They care and are still there for me as an alum.  I would not be the professional I am today without the foundation laid by the Communications Department at UNCW.  People always compliment me on my public speaking abilities. What they don't know is that those skills were honed and developed during my days as a COM major at UNCW! I am forever grateful.

What area/classes did you focus on while you were in COM Studies Major?

While at UNCW, I focused on the area of Digital Media and Video Production.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself if you could go back?

o my "undergraduate college self", the advice that I would give would be the following:

-Do not lose contact with other communication studies majors in your area of concentration. Those college friends can one day become valuable colleagues and connections in the future for networking opportunities and collaboration.

-Do not forget to exchange contact information with them upon graduation and stay in touch with them through the years. Networking is so important; and the early connections you make in college can translate to lifelong connections and networking opportunities to do valuable projects during your post-undergraduate career.


Jeanne PersuitComment