Digital Media Mavens
Meet the Dyson College students and alumni who are finding success on various digital platforms.
Brianna Adkins ’21
About Brianna What started as a passion project for Brianna Adkins has become a launch pad for digital media success. As a high school student, she created Pretty Smart magazine—an online publication centered around body positivity and highlighting inspirational women of all shapes—and was invited to participate in Kode with Klossy, a nonprofit computer coding program founded by model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss. That experience inspired Adkins to attend Pace University’s New York City campus, where she’s continued her digital media pursuits interning with Estée Lauder Companies and Caroline Vazzana, a style influencer, author, and founder of Making it in Manhattan, an online platform for aspiring fashion industry professionals.
“Pace has opened my eyes to the world of influencer culture in a substantial way,” the communication studies major said. “I became really fascinated with the links among social media, fashion, and influence.” Adkins, who also serves as social media manager for Pace’s Seidenberg School of CSIS, is currently looking forward to expanding her Pretty Smart platform (currently on hiatus) and finding other opportunities to use her experience in media, fashion, and beauty to benefit others.
Matt Bailey ’17
About Matt As creator and host of Talk for Two, podcaster Matt Bailey has interviewed everyone from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone to television personality Jerry Springer and country music legend Garth Brooks. Bailey started his show—with ventriloquist and comedian Terry Fator as his first guest—just prior to beginning his first year as a film and screen studies major at Pace University on the New York City campus. Since then, it has grown to more than 10,000 downloads per episode. While audience members tune-in digitally, it is Bailey’s genuine, inquisitive nature and conversational skill that have made Talk for Two a success.
Emily DiNuzzo ’16
About Emily Emily DiNuzzo got her start creating digital content studying communications at Pace University. As a student, she interned at HerCampus.com and HooplaHa.com and started a Pace University (Westchester campus) chapter of SpoonUniversity.com, an online community for college students, both seasoned foodies and those who are new to the kitchen. Today, she’s the associate editor of thehealthy.com, a new platform from the publishers of Reader’s Digest. “I write and edit content about all things health and wellness. I track analytics, build, and choose the content for our daily newsletter,” DiNuzzo said. “I love the diversity of duties in my role. It keeps things exciting and ensures I’m always learning something new.”
Shea Donnelly ’21
About Shea It was the COVID-19 pandemic that inspired Shea Donnelly to begin creating content for TikTok, the video sharing site, and in just a few short months she’s been able to grow her audience by staying true to herself and tapping into all of the features and trends that are driving one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. “I started as a way to cope with quarantine and being isolated. Since then, it’s grown into a hobby, helping me to form my small business—I sell my art prints on Etsy—and grow community,” Donnelly, a Women’s and Gender Studies and Peace and Justice Studies major, said.
She also often shares LGBTQ+ history and perspective in her videos.
“What I’ve learned at Pace motivated me to make the content I do,” Donnelly said. “I’ve been pushed to think critically about the privilege I have and how I can use it. I have the economic privilege to go to college and learn about queerness, I have the privilege to live in New York City and feel confident in my identity and live as an out queer woman. Not everyone in my audience has those privileges, so I try to share even a fraction of what I can to ensure others in the community don’t feel alone.”
Joe Ferraro ’99
About Joe “How can we go to sleep tonight just a little bit wiser, a little bit better, than we were yesterday?” That’s the question that Joe Ferraro hopes to answer with each episode of his One Percent Better podcast. Since starting the project in 2017, Ferraro has interviewed individuals who have found success in everything from sports to chocolate (Episode 139: Shawn Askinosie), discussing their insight and advice for personal and professional empowerment and growth. To date, the podcast has more than 250,000 downloads and some of Ferraro’s top One Percent Better videos have been viewed more than 16,000 times on YouTube. To keep his audience engaged, Ferraro embraces his philosophy of continuous learning by following other blogs and podcasts and attending conferences. As an undergraduate on the Pleasantville campus, he studied literature and communications. “So much of what I did at Pace prepared me for podcasting,” Ferraro said.
Nina Freeman ’12
About Nina Published writer. Data analyst. Cofounder of Code Liberation, a 501(c)3 empowering girls and women to learn computer science and coding. Nina Freeman was a creative force even before finding her niche as an independent video game designer. That was at the 2014 Global Game Jam when her semi-autobiographical game How Do You Do It? caught the attention of the industry. At Pace, she studied English, on the New York City campus, and eventually founder her way into gaming through friends. Since 2014, she has worked with the game studio Fullbright on Tacoma, and now is a game developer and partnered streamer on the Twitch platform. Two of her other most well-known games are Cibele and We Met in May.
“It can be difficult to make a living as an independent artist, but with new ways to support creators popping up, it's now possible for a whole lot of folks, including me,” Freeman said. “My wonderful and supportive community that I've built around my Twitch channel has really changed my career over the last few years. I'm super happy streaming and working on my own games every day!”
Alex Grover '15
About Alex Alex Grover had always dreamed about writing the next great American novel, but now he’s focused on bringing the words of others to a digital audience.
As an ebook technologies manager at Penguin Random House, Grover leads a team that is responsible for researching and enhancing reader experience with ebook products across the spectrum of digital reading systems. This includes a focus on accessibility for individuals with varying visual, physical, or cognitive abilities.
“Digital media is a levelling media in terms of making content accessible for all,” Grover said. “That’s a cause my colleagues and I have been proud to support.”
He discovered book production through his experience in Pace’s MS in Publishing program, and he’s fascinated by the ever-changing nature of the digital landscape.
“Exploring new methods of translating an author’s vision across media is one of my top priorities,” Grover said. “I also plan on continuing to share our reading system feedback with the industry so that we can make ebooks their best selves for all readers.”
Carlie Rice ’16
About Carlie As social media manager and graphic designer at Betches.com, a sharp, women-centered multimedia platform, Carlie Rice creates and shares unique visual content with millions of followers. She studied communications on Pace’s New York City campus, and says her education helped her to discover her passion for the creative and frenetic nature of digital media.
“It's fun to constantly challenge yourself with the ever-changing pace of this industry,” Rice said. “When I started at Betches, we mostly just posted tweets and memes with an occasional video. Now, we post graphics, videos, reels, TikToks, etc. The trends are always changing so we are, too. We see what the audience likes and we adapt. I don't plan to slow down any time soon.”
Abi Shorter ’24
About Abi Abi Shorter ’24, an Acting for Film, Television, Voice-overs, and Commercials major, has only completed a handful of episodes of her new scripted podcast so far, but it’s already a labor of love, literally. DefLove, is an anthology series exploring what love feels like, and Shorter created it with the help of her roommates, also Pace Performing Arts students in New York City. What’s next for the podcast is an open question, but for now, Shorter is enjoying the new opportunities that the medium presents. She describes herself as a “relentless creator,” who is fascinated by web series, so it’s a sure bet that there will be more to come, in one form or another, for audiences big and small.
“All the stories I tell are for one person. I’ve never met them, but I like to imagine each word hitting their chest in a bright beam of light,” Shorter said. “What I’ve written and the stories I’ve collected are the things they need to hear. If everything only got one view, then that’s still a story told.”