Syracuse University

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SU alumni from Cisco, Google, NBC to speak on campus

February 16, 2011

Dan Klamm
(315) 443-7187

From broadcast television to government activism to food blogging and everything in between, Syracuse University boasts an alumni base spanning virtually all industries and career fields. This semester, Career Services and the Office of Alumni Relations will bring five SU alumni back to campus to speak about their unique and exciting careers for the Alumni Speaker Series.

In its second year, the Alumni Speaker Series provides students with an opportunity to learn about interesting career possibilities and to hear, first hand, how alumni launched rewarding careers in various industries.

The Alumni Speaker Series will kick off on Friday, Feb. 25, with NBC News correspondent Jeff Rossen ’98. In the following weeks, Rachel Sears Casanta ’96 (Hypercat Racing), Marla Meridith ’93 (Family Fresh Cooking), Travis Mason ’06 (Google), and Deanna Govoni ’02 (Cisco) will speak.

The alumni will discuss their own career journeys, as well as offer tips for current students on exploring careers, searching for jobs and getting started in the professional world.

Jeff Rossen ’98
rossenFrom the Craigslist killer to the death of Michael Jackson, Rossen has been the lead reporter on a number of high-profile stories at NBC. He earned an Emmy Award for “Deadline News Writing,” as well as a Peabody Award. He will speak at 2 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium of Newhouse 3. Olivia Metzger, agent at Creative Artists Agency, will also be in attendance as a guest of Rossen.

Rachel Sears Casanta ’96
casantaBiking, swimming and running are all Casanta’s passions. As a professional triathlete, she has competed in dozens of multisport races, often finishing in the top 10. Owner of Hypercat Racing, she offers coaching for swimmers, runners and cyclists. Casanta will speak on March 3; time/location to be announced. Her speech will focus on fitness and athletics, as well as the ups and downs of being a small- business owner.

Marla Meridith ’93
meridithA former graphic designer for Walt Disney, Meridith now spends her time developing creative, healthy recipes with whole foods. She is the creator and publisher of the internationally popular recipe and lifestyle blog Family Fresh Cooking . Meridith will speak on March 30; time/location to be announced.

Travis Mason ’06
masonMason works in public policy and government affairs at Google. He is an advocate for educational reform and eliminating educational inequity, and has received numerous citations—including one from President George W. Bush—in recognition of his efforts. He is a rising star among the new generation of strategists leading change in America’s churches and Fortune 500 companies. At SU, Mason was president of the Student Association. His speech will take place on April 7; time/location to be announced.

Deanna Govoni ’02
govoniSocial media, networking and blogging make up a day in the life of Govoni, who is a social media marketing manager at Cisco. In this role, she provides training and education to employees throughout Cisco on social media best practices and guidelines. She also oversees the company’s blogs. On April 13, Govoni will speak in collaboration with the iSchool’s HUB Speaker Series; location/time to be announced.

“We’re thrilled to bring this diverse group of alumni to campus,” says Kim Brown, alumni programs coordinator in Career Services. “Students will benefit from hearing their stories of success, as well as the different paths they took to get to where they are today. As students will learn, one’s college major does not always determine a person’s career path.”

Each speech will be open to the SU community. Details regarding time/location for the speeches will be released on the Career Services website in the coming weeks. For more information, contact Brown at, or 443-3616.

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