Reaching unimagined heights after Dean College

Featured Alumni

Below is a sampling of alumni success stories, told in their own words. Click on the drop down menu to learn why these students chose Dean College and what they have been up to since graduating. 

Dance and Business Management double major

Erin Grady '21

I was a double major in Dance and Business Management for the three years I spent at Dean. Dance had been such a prominent thing in my life for as long as I could remember and trying to imagine my life without it just seemed surreal. However, I realized that there is a shelf life when it comes to the performing arts, so I wanted to pursue something where I could support myself financially for as long as possible. Dean was one of the few schools where I was able to pursue both Business and Dance and follow both of my interests.

I was also a member of Dean’s Tap Team (Loose Screws) for two years and Dean’s Pom team for three, where I served as Captain my second year and Co-President my final year. I was fortunate enough to participate in numerous shows put on by both faculty and students during my time as well. I got to meet so many new people, found ways I was able to grow individually with leadership, and was able to work on my pom technique. I met some of my best friends through this team and will always be grateful for the experiences and opportunities I got because of it.

My experiences at Dean are what helped me get my current position as an Assistant Director in Training with Diva Dance Competition. As a young dancer, I used to compete at the competition and ran into them again at the internship and career fair that Dean holds every year. As if no time had passed, it was awesome reconnecting with the directors again – which eventually led to being asked if I would be interested in being a full-time Diva! In my role, I help our all-female team prepare and set up all equipment and materials, such as the stage flooring, lighting, backdrops and sound system. Throughout competition weekends, I can be found working merchandise in the lobby, in the front of the auditorium as MC and running music, backstage making sure dancers are ready for their upcoming number, and taking care of catering for our entire staff for the weekend. This position has forced me to become more independent in ways I had never imagined, while giving me the incredible opportunity to travel every weekend and witness some amazing talent.

Peoria Chiefs Broadcast Assistant

Brendan Howe '20

When I first began the college application process, I wasn’t even considering Dean as an option. It was my parents that pushed me to “just do a tour.” I obliged and I was sold. I was looking for three things on that tour: a sense of unity and comfort with my surroundings, confidence that I’d be able to thrive in their academic environment, and a growing sports broadcasting program. That tour hit the nail on the head and then some. 

I was able to complete my bachelor’s degree in four years, switching from a Communications major to Sports Broadcasting halfway through my undergrad. I was on the air within two weeks of being on campus my freshman year, getting reps hosting and producing sports talk shows in addition to calling a variety of sports on WGAO.

With the help of staff and faculty, I was able to secure and complete not one, not two, but three internships within the sports broadcasting field. I spent three consecutive summers calling baseball in some of the finest collegiate leagues the country has to offer, the NECBL, Cape Cod League, and Texas Collegiate League. The nicest part about it all? You’re on your own to apply the skills and lessons you’ve taken from the classroom into the real world to make a name for yourself.

That experience I was able to gain from those internships then led me to my first job out of school as a Broadcast Assistant with the Peoria Chiefs, the High-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m now firmly in the field I’ve always wanted to work in, doing what I love each day, which is calling baseball.

I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone and everything they did for me while I was at Dean. It’s one of those places you always feel connected to, even if you’re not there, and I know they’ll always welcome me, and all alum, back with open arms.

My career goal is to make it into a broadcast booth in Major League Baseball someday, and while I still have plenty of work to do in order to achieve that goal, Dean was the first step along that path to getting there.

Editorial Assistant at Red Wheel/Weiser

Mica Rich '21

I came to Dean with one goal for my life in mind, to be a writer and book editor, and everyone I met at Dean had a piece in helping me get there. I loved all of my English and writing classes and had great relationships with those professors, who were excited to help me succeed and always had wonderful insight to give. I benefited immensely from the career- and internship-oriented classes in my junior and senior years. But I think the most significant thing that helped me get to where I am was having the ability to create opportunities for myself. In my time at Dean, I was encouraged to write new work and got to practice things like writing the perfect query letter and crafting perfect poetry submissions. I was able to create and maintain great relationships with professors who helped me edit projects in their spare time, and I co-founded and ran the literary magazine, Wrote Unquote, which was a major part of how I got the job I have today.

Today, I have successfully published a handful of poems and short stories in various magazines including Wingless Dreamer's Dark Poetry Collection, The Avocet, and NHPR's National Poetry Month website, I run a freelance book editing business, work full-time as an editorial assistant at a successful publishing house, and my first collection of poetry is due to be published through Barnes and Noble Press later this year.

I am so grateful for the time I had at Dean and for everyone who helped me along the way.


Cam Ward

At Dean, I was a theatre major with a concentration in Acting as well as a minor in History Studies. In terms of involvement, my wonderfully exhaustive list includes being involved in the School of the Arts theatre productions (both through performance and technical capacities), President of the Student Body/Student Government Association (SGA), Peer Tutor, Student Ambassador, Orientation Leader, Phonathon Caller, Speakeasies Improv Troupe, Move-In Crew, National Society of Leadership and Success, the Social Responsibility, Equity, and Anti-Racism Work Team, the Voter Education Subgroup, Class of 2021 Graduation Gives Committee, and possibly my favorite of them all a 2x New England Patriots Banner Ceremony Participant.

Dean prepared me to enter an entertainment industry that is constantly changing, especially with the challenges of COVID-19. Through in-person and online courses focused on stage and screen performance, directing, technical theatre, arts and entertainment management and many others, I feel that I am the true definition of a holistic artist who can successfully book more jobs than simply just acting gigs. The professors at the College also helped me establish myself as a professional brand, giving me tips, tricks, and advice on my resumes, cover letters, C/Vs, headshots, audition self-tapes and more.

My advice to current students looking to go professional is to not be afraid to get your name out there. You should be applying and auditioning for anything and everything you are interested in doing, regardless of location. You never know who will be in the area of a theatre you want to work at and you never know where or when your inbox is going to be hit with the next great opportunity after you take the leap.

Company Management Fellow, Jacob’s Pillow

Isabella Curci

I chose Dean because of the community. From the second I stepped on campus, I felt welcomed. Everyone is so encouraging, and the professors really care about their student's success.

Throughout my time at Dean, I realized that I enjoyed not only performing, but also the behind-the-scenes work it takes to put on a performance. I have a deep appreciation for the arts and want to be able to share that with people in any way I can. My favorite memory at Dean was when the first piece I ever choreographed premiered on stage for the first time. I worked so hard for a couple months with the dancers in the piece and being able to see my work on stage was so rewarding. It inspired my love of creating choreography, which I continued to do throughout my time at Dean.

My dance history classes at Dean helped to expose me to Jacob's Pillow and inspired me to want to pursue a career with the organization. After finding out it was the first place in the US that was created specifically for dance, I immediately was interested in it. My professors helped me realize the importance of the Pillow and encouraged me to pursue it as a possible organization to work for, while being a student ambassador helped me feel comfortable interacting with new people and improved my leadership skills.

After working at Jacob’s Pillow as a Patron Services Intern, I am now a Company Management Fellow. I manage artists’ logistics for their residences and performances, welcome artists to campus and plan their time while at the Pillow, help write and distribute artists’ contracts, plan campus events, and manage interns. The Pillow is about to go into its 90th season of presenting dance, and I find that very inspiring because for the last 90 years, so many people have had the opportunity to experience dance and find their love for the art.

Master’s Degree Candidate, Messiah University

Fatima Naidjate

I graduated from Dean College with a bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. While at Dean, I was actively involved on campus, including participating in the student academic advising program and working as a peer writing tutor. One of my proudest moments at Dean was giving the student speech at the 2019 Commencement Ceremony – it was such a great way to conclude my four years.   

Currently, I am enrolled in a master's degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Messiah University. Soon I will begin my clinical experience, where I hope to focus on multi-cultural counseling. I credit Dean College for giving me the confidence to pursue my dream of being a therapist. My professors have been incredible mentors throughout my graduate school experience. I love and appreciate how many of my professors make an effort to help out even after I graduated from Dean.

Head Coach, Syracuse University Dance Team

Megan Toomey

After graduating from Dean College in 2019, I accepted the position of head coach for the Syracuse University Dance Team. My position as head coach includes choreographing, teaching, and helping students achieve their highest level of technique.

The faculty and staff at Dean really pushed me to be the best dancer and teacher I could possibly be. Dean College not only gave me a dance degree, but also prepared me for the real world. Dean helped with everything I needed to succeed, from countless amounts of opportunities to network with people in my field to making sure I was interview ready when I graduated.

During the time I spent at Dean, I learned a lot about myself and the things I was capable of. Being on the leadership team for the Dean College Student Ambassadors and being president of Loose Screws Tap Team pushed me to be the best leader I could be. Staying organized and being conscientious of my time and work were also skills that I was able to perfect while at Dean.

I would like to thank the Dean College community for helping me achieve my dreams. Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog!

Product Manager, Carmax

Nabeel Barqawi

Since graduating from Dean College, I have worked full-time for two fortune 200 companies, earned my Master of Product Innovation (MPI) degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and supported the launch of Medicine Value Partners, Inc. (MVP), a MedTech start-up focused on revolutionizing the future of the medicines market through analytics.

After realizing that I have a passion for technology, I pivoted my career from brand management to product management. My day-to-day includes working with and empowering a team of designers, engineers, and cross-functional departments to ensure that we are building iconic digital experiences for our consumers.

Dean enabled me to turn my life around through their rich resources that helped me develop myself academically and professionally. I was supported and coached to tap into my potential and realize what I am capable of. Dean set me up for long-term success and I am forever grateful for everything that the faculty and staff have done to help me succeed and get to where I am today.

Forever a Bulldog!

Nabeel was the student speaker at Dean's 2018 Commencement Ceremony. Watch the video below to hear his inspirational speech.  

Physical Therapist, Sports & Wellness Physical Therapy

Hailey Kasper

My personal experiences as an injured dancer were what drew me to physical therapy. I spent countless hours working through injuries and helping to prevent future injuries. After becoming interested in the field of dance medicine, Dean allowed me to create my own track to be aligned with requirements to apply to a doctorate program in physical therapy. The mentorship I received from Amanda Donahue, Dean's performing arts athletic trainer, and the opportunity to attend the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science's conference helped me to network with other dance medicine practitioners, understand what dance medicine was and solidify my interest in the field of physical therapy. The discipline, time management and organization required to succeed in the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance helped prepare me for both graduate school and beyond. After earning my doctorate, I am now working at a physical therapy clinic. As a dancer, I’m accustomed to analyzing movement, and that’s something I use every day in my career as a PT.

Orthopedic Sports Medicine Physician Assistant, EmergeOrtho

Murilo Zanette

I had an amazing experience as an undergraduate student in Exercise Science program at Dean College. The variety of classes helped me obtain a broad understanding of human anatomy and physiology. The hands-on experience provided me with the opportunity to practice what I learned in class in real-time. The capstone project helped me understand the importance of evidence-based research and how it is conducted. Ultimately, all these components were crucial in preparing me for a career as a healthcare provider.

I recently graduated Northeastern University with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and soon after passed the PANCE board exam. Following graduation, I began working as a physician assistant in orthopedic sports medicine at EmergeOrtho based in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. As an orthopedic sports medicine physician assistant, I get to see patients in the clinic, perform in-office procedures and assist in surgeries ranging from simple arthroscopic procedures to open joint replacements.

Global Partnerships & Premium Hospitality Coordinator, Brooklyn Nets

Camille Johnson

I will be forever grateful for Dean College. The professors and staff here helped shape me into the person I am today, both personally and professionally. Thank you, Dean College, for providing the encouragement and support that helped me obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business with a concentration in Sport Management and pursue a career in sports.

Since graduation, I’ve had the opportunity to work for both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association corporate offices – and now the front office of the Brooklyn Nets!

The greatest thing about Dean’s Sport Management program is its partnerships with professional teams and a plethora of opportunities for internships in sports. Being in the sports world for about three years now, I realize how important it is to try different internships and opportunities in order to maximize and find your strengths in such a demanding career.

I’m a proud graduate of Dean College, and I hope to inspire all future and current Sport Management students to stay the course, crush their goals and make the world a better place!

Associate, Individual Giving at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Rachel Maria Stuart

Since graduating from Dean College with a BA in Arts and Entertainment Management in 2017, I’ve had the great fortune of utilizing my degree through various positions in my career in the arts. During my time at Dean, I took advantage of the many opportunities that were offered such as spending three summers as an Orientation Leader, participating in the Student Activities and Leadership & Development office, and getting involved in all aspects of Front of House. All these experiences helped shape and grow skill sets that were and still are used in every position I’ve held since. 

Immediately after graduating, I accepted a year-long fellowship in Development at the regional theatre company American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco. Being able to complete a fellowship directly after college and to instantly begin applying the qualifications and new knowledge from my education was extremely instrumental in shaping the next steps in my career. Directly after my fellowship, I moved back to the East Coast and settled in New York City, where I am still based, to work at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre Company as the Development Assistant. In my free time while simultaneously working at Signature, I had the great pleasure of stepping into a leadership officer position of Managing Director at a new non-profit producing company, Refracted Theatre Company, where I oversaw and implemented the fundraising and partnership initiatives of a young and growing theatre organization -- I am now a member of Refracted’s Advisory Board. Which brings me to my current role in the Advancement, specifically Individual Giving, department at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where I assist in managing our major gift strategic initiatives for acquisitions, exhibitions, education, conversation, and general operations. 

Each role requires the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with quick and thoughtful thinking, along with communication and interpersonal skills -- all of which I developed through my various activities in college. I owe much of my growth, both personally and professionally, to my mentors and time at Dean College, and for that I’m ever grateful.