Where are they now?

Feeling blue about assessments, or the futility of life in general? Check out some of UTS' Communications alumni, who'll show you that there's more to life than Turnitin and dodgy dumplings.

Jessica Maggio

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What did you study and when? Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Italy). I started my double degree in 2011 and completed it in 2015 – spending one year abroad in Italy at the Università di Bologna.

What was your favourite part of the degree/uni? My favourite part of the degree was studying abroad in Italy. I enjoyed all the subjects I did for International Studies, and completing the cultural and lingual aspect of it in the country itself was the most rewarding part of my education. It wasn’t just fulfilling in terms of my studies, it also gave me the experience and confidence to take on the world. I figured if I could live (and survive) overseas for a year solely independent in a foreign speaking country, I could just about do anything.

I also got super involved at uni, even as co-President and Treasurer of UTSoC! I was a Peer Networker, a U:Pass leader, and a caller for first-year students – and the friends I made in these activities made my university life all the more enjoyable. I felt at home at UTS, and I was rewarded with so many opportunities because of my involvement. If I can give advice to anyone, it’s to get involved at uni – and soon!

What was most challenging in the degree/uni? I’m a fairly confident person, but having to get on the road to interview people for Journalism stories, and simply cold-calling and facing the rejection of No, I don’t want to speak to a uni student on camera, was pretty tough. Especially when you’re someone who pushes themselves to get the best result and won’t take no for an answer. It takes a lot of courage to get out there and ask someone to trust you with their identity, story or ‘brand’. When you’re young, people assume you to be naïve, so you just have to get out there and prove your worth. Relying on ‘talent’ for stories is nerve-wracking, but not having any talent at all is worse. I’d had politicians tell me to stop calling, I’d been knocked back by cops for comments, and I’d lugged around tripods, cameras, and boom microphoness for four years. It might be challenging, but it certainly builds character. Trust yourself, and don’t ever doubt that you can do it.

Where do you work now, and can you tell us a bit about your role? I work at Channel 7 as a News Producer. When I first started at 7, I was doing work experience. I made myself available to anyone that needed help and was soon welcomed into the newsroom. I’d go after my shift at another job (hello 14-hour days), and learn as much as I could. I’d be sent as a field producer and would interview ministers, commissioners, witnesses and victims, mostly helping reporters when they couldn’t be everywhere at once. It was the most fun I’ve had, and I learnt things you can only get from experience. I then moved into the newsroom as a content producer helping with social, and now writing scripts for bulletins.

How did you find your job? Did you intend to work in the field that you're working in now? As media companies merge, they also split. And when the company I worked for split from Channel 7, I marched myself over to the 7 newsroom to ask for an opportunity. Any opportunity. I’m not too proud to work without pay, so I offered myself up for anything they needed just to gain the experience and see if broadcast really was the right fit.

I came home each night exhausted, yes, but grinning from ear to ear. It had always been my intention to work in broadcast, since I was a teen in high-school, and though some might say ‘television is dying’, it makes me feel so alive. It’s a buzz that I hope will stick around for years to come. Take up any opportunity you’re given. Learn from people that have years of experience, and apply their methods to your work ethic. I love shadowing reporters, and producers and watching how they work, how they make each story their own. That kind of experience is invaluable and I couldn’t recommend it more. Working alongside some of my idols from the industry, still warrants me pinching myself every day.  

What would you tell your student self about the field? I would tell myself to keep working hard, and accept that you need to work hard to get far. Expect to do the crappy shifts that senior staffers no longer have to. Prepare for the 3:00am alarm clock, and weekend shifts. Enjoy Christmas because for the next few, you’ll be working them. Keep putting your hand up for the work no one wants, it’ll get you where you want to be. And most importantly, I would tell myself: read the newspaper! Watch the news! Invest in Twitter. You can never consume too much of it. If you think you know everything, you don’t. Keep watching and learning from those you look up to and are inspired by. Don’t be afraid to be challenged. 

Isha Bassi

What did you study and when? I studied a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) from 2014 to 2017. 

What was your favourite part of the degree/uni? Definitely the social aspect! I hardly knew anyone in my first year, so making my first friend was an important (I know, very cheesy) moment for me. Later on, I became involved in UTSoC, which really helped me come out of my shell and meet so many new and amazing people. I honestly credit my entire university experience for making me the person I am today, and for allowing me to meet groups of individuals that I know are going to stick around for my entire life. 

What was most challenging in the degree/uni? Balancing everything (assignments, internships, UTSoC, shifts at work) was extremely hard. You try fit meals, sleep, and taking mental breaks as well, and it all becomes a bit chaotic, especially during my final year. There were a lot of tears and "I can't do this" moments, but I was lucky enough to have a great network of friends to help me through it. 

Where do you work now, and can you tell us a bit about your role? I currently work at BuzzFeed Australia as a Junior Staff Writer. It's a bit of an all-sorts role meaning that I'm writing posts, creating memes, and filming videos. It's a lot of fun and I work with a great team, but it's also mentally challenging. There's a lot of creativity involved and staying on top of current trends and news. 

How did you find your job? Did you intend to work in the field that you're working in now? Funnily enough, one of my uni friends messaged the job listing to me (thank you, Isaac!). It's crazy because I almost didn't apply. There was a lengthy application to complete, and I had that mentality of not being good enough to work at BuzzFeed. But I completed the application, went through all the interview stages, and now I'm here and I couldn't be happier! It feels like a good fit for me, which is a relief because after I graduated I had no idea where I wanted to go. All I knew was that I loved everything about pop culture, and if there's one thing I learned from uni, it's that you should be writing about what you're most passionate about. 

What would you tell your student self about the field? I think I would say something along the lines of, "Isha, this is going to be an extremely tough period of time for you. You're going to be rejected. You're going to fail, which I know you hate to do because you place an immense amount of pressure on yourself. But somewhere down the line, you'll find a place that welcomes you with open arms. You'll keep working hard, you'll keep being exhausted, and you'll lose a couple of friends that won't understand what you're going through. But that's okay, because you will, you always do, make it out to the other side and be proud of everything you've accomplished."

Jake Bayssari

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What did you study and when? Bachelor of Communications (Media Arts and Production) and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation.

What was your favourite part of the degree/uni? The ability to make connections with like-minded people and foster friendships that can bridge the gaps of professional and personal.

What was most challenging in the degree/uni? Honestly trying to fit it all in between societies, parties, extra circular and of course the actual work haha

Where do you work now, and can you tell us a bit about your role? I run UltraCult, it’s a production company - we aim to create works that provide entertainment through the Australian guise. I focus primarily on directing personally. In fact, you may have heard of the upcoming show that I'm directing, Inner West Side: The Musical, which has a lot of current UTS students and UTS Alumni starring in it. Inner West Side: The Musical is the head-banging, boot-stomping story of a North Shore runaway who strolls into Newtown (on Daddy's dollar), determined to become Queen of King St. To the tune of all-original Aussie alt, this cautionary tale with Triple J-themed music is playing at Seymour Centre’s Reginald Theatre, and will run from 18 September 2018 to 22 September 2018. 

How did you find your job? Did you intend to work in the field that you're working in now? I owned a children’s theatre company before this and had experience, knowing I wanted to branch to an older demographic, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

What would you tell your student self about the field? Don’t ever listen to people who say to slow down, as they just want someone to be at the back of the race with!

Chloe Marcelino

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What did you study and when? Bachelor of Communications Digital and Social Media  

What was your favourite part of the degree/uni? I really enjoyed how hands-on the subjects were at UTS, and how there were subjects that were very practical such as Design Thinking for Social Innovation and Digital Futures. But my ultimate favourite part of uni was being a part of UTSoC and other societies. This really enhances your experience at uni, as you make life-long friends and get involved in activities you will only ever get to do at uni. Through all the socialising I did through getting involved in UTSoC, I was able get to know more people and it just made classes and subjects more enjoyable, as I was able to connect with students outside of class.  

What was most challenging in the degree/uni? Since the subjects are very hands-on and practical, the type of assignments and workloads can get quite heavy. So deadlines, trying to manage time whilst trying to put my best work forward was quite challenging. However, funnily enough, even though balancing all the extra curricular activities, social life, and uni work was hard at times, it surprisingly helped me stay organised and on top of everything, which helped me get focused and good marks in my subjects. 

Where do you work now, and can you tell us a bit about your role? Today I work at SBS Media as a Digital Sales Coordinator. I work in the advertising sales department, which is responsible for selling TV and Digital Media to go onto all of the SBS TV and digital channels. I specifically work in the digital team, where my role focuses on supporting the sales team and developing digital media collateral which they can take out to market. This is pretty much putting together PowerPoint presentations, responding to briefs, and finding the best and most creative way for clients to buy digital advertising space on SBS.

How did you find your job? Did you intend to work in the field that you're working in now? I was looking through the internet trying to find what kind of companies I would love to work for, and I stumbled upon the SBS Careers page and applied online! I've always wanted to work in the Media and Communications field, however I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I just took any opportunity that I thought would look interesting.  So, if you are ever watching The Handmaid's Tale on SBS On Demand, and watching those ads as well, you are making my life! SBS is a great company, and has very strong cultural values, which I have been lucky enough to be a part of. There are great opportunities for career development, and starting my role has definitely paved the way to what I want to do in the future, and given me a good insight of what kind of opportunities are out there which you aren't exposed to at uni.

What would you tell your student self about the field? Always put your hand up and get involved in any way possible. You won't find out what you like and don't like unless you try it. Find something that you know you are passionate about, and try work on that in your job to develop yourself not only in your role, but as well as your experience, and you will soon be able to find new opportunities and skills that you never really knew existed, which is great!

Mansour Shukoor

What did you study and when? I studied a degree in Communication, with a major in Public Communication between the years of 2015 to 2017. Officially graduating in 2018. 

What was your favourite part of the degree/uni? My favourite part of my degree was during the first semester of my final year in 2017, when I took part in the Professional Internship elective. The Professional Internship elective enabled me to venture out into the corporate world and experience life as an adult for two months.

What was most challenging in the degree/uni? The most challenging part of my degree was finding that work/life/university balance, which would have enabled me to truly excel in all three areas.  

Where do you work now, and can you tell us a bit about your role? I currently am working at Akolade, an events and marketing firm, which produces conferences for industry sectors such as the health sector, NFP sector, and Government sector. My current role is a Social Media Coordinator. Within my role, I manage all the social media channels and create all the relevant content. 

How did you find your job? Did you intend to work in the field that you're working in now? Funnily enough, I found my job because of UTS, specially the Professional Internship elective. I was struggling to find an internship, and Akolade was my second choice to Polkadot Communications. However, I was not upset in the slightest. Interning at Akolade resulted in the creation of a vast network, which directly resulted in an employment opportunity after completing my degree. Marketing was not really where I thought I would end up. However, I am using my communication tools learnt throughout my degree, so in a sense I am working in the field I completed my degree for.   

What would you tell your student self about the field? I would tell myself not to stress about finding a job directly within my field; sometimes job opportunities need to be created.