Careers in Communications


When asked about the skills that graduate students develop in the course of their training, "communications" is a common response. But how can the communications skills that you develop in the context of coursework, labwork, and thesis or dissertation writing find meaning in the workplace? During this panel, participants will learn how our alumni have cultivated their skills to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. Pathways include writers, editors, public relations, marketing, advertising, social media television and documentaries.


Marianthi Bumbaris Thanopoulos (MA, Social Sciences) is currently the Public Information Officer for the Village of Mount Prospect, a northwest suburb of Chicago. Throughout her career, she has helped organizations rebrand, secure media stories and reach target audiences using storytelling as a core communication tool. Marianthi has spearheaded communication projects for a variety of organizations, including a local library, school district, not-for-profit professional membership association and not-for-profit production companies. She has served as a broadcast reporter for NBC affiliate, WTWO, near Terre Haute, Indiana, and worked as a field producer for NBC Olympics in the 2004 Athens Games and as a production assistant during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. She authored the article, “American media, intercultural stories and the 2004 Olympic flame lighting ceremonies,” in Bearing Light: Flame Relays and the Struggle for the Olympic Movement, 2013. In 2006, the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C. invited Marianthi to represent American journalists at a Conference in Athens. Marianthi is currently producing a documentary on refugee children of the Greek Civil War for her not-for-profit, Tharos Productions, NFP. 

John Kenny, Chief Strategy Officer at FCB (PhD'00, Political Science) is currently Chief Strategy Officer for FCB Chicago, working with clients such as Anheuser Busch, Fiat/Chrysler, Big Heart Pets and Cox communication, on all aspects of modern communications. A native of Ireland, John previously worked at Diageo Europe, and prior to that C&R Research in Chicago.

Sara Serritella (BA, Medill School of Journalism) leads communications at the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), where she orchestrates its marketing and strategic storytelling. The ITM helps convert biomedical research from the lab into real-world applications that improve people's health as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium. Serritella has reported at news organizations across the country, with her work appearing in publications like The Wall Street Journal, TIME, The Miami Herald, the Associated Press, The Times of Northwest Indiana, and the Detroit Free Press, where she contributed to its Pulitzer Prize-winning team reporting. In her journalism days, she covered everything from health care to federal criminal courts, and she was among the pioneers of multimedia reporting on those beats. That background comes in handy with the family business, a professional investigations firm, where she contributes to investigations of wrongful convictions and other federal and state criminal matters as a licensed private detective. Serritella is also a proud alumna of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications.