A new interview series highlighting remarkable Montclair alumni premiered on Hawk+, the University’s student-run video streaming service, in October. The two initial episodes featured Chris Fitzpatrick ’04, senior manager of Talent Development at Crestron Electronics, and Ines Rosales ’04, traffic anchor at WNYW/Fox5 Good Day New York. The series serves as a chance to highlight alumni stories while also educating and inspiring fellow alumni and current students.
Fitzpatrick and Rosales both reminisce about their time at Montclair and how it set them up for success. For Fitzpatrick, his Montclair roots run deep and the University continues to be a big part of his life. Now with a successful career in business, he seeks to pay it forward.
“I immensely enjoyed sharing my Montclair State story for Hawk+,” says Fitzpatrick. “The experience reminded me of how many fun stories and fond memories I have of Montclair. Whether it was meeting my wife on campus, discussing my time leading Student Government, or the friendships I continue to have to this day from my Montclair experience, it was nice enjoying the nostalgia while at the same time hopefully providing useful advice to current and future Red Hawks.” This past spring, Fitzpatrick served as an alumni speaker at Commencement and also as the keynote speaker for the Future Alumni Network (FAN) Speed Networking event.
Rosales shares the impact the television production program had on her career and notes that many of her favorite memories of Montclair revolve around the TV station and the friends she made there. Now in her 17th year as the traffic anchor at Good Day New York, she credits her professors at Montclair for preparing her for the rigors of professional television production, including her 2:30 a.m. wake-up call.
“Being here [at Montclair], the curriculum was tough and it was for a reason. The professors at that time…instilled in us such a strong work ethic preparing us for the real world,” says Rosales. In her time at Good Day, she has covered some challenging events, including the 2008 blizzard, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. She remarked on returning to campus, “It was a privilege being part of the Hawk+ Alumni series. It was thrilling to see how much the Broadcasting department has grown from my years at Montclair State.” Rosales was recently honored for her accomplishments at the University’s Women’s Leadership Conference and has served as a panelist at our Hispanic Student College Institute.
“We have so many accomplished alumni, and we are thrilled to give them the chance to share their stories through this new series on Hawk+,” says Jeanne Marano, assistant vice president for Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement. “We hope fellow alumni and current students will be inspired by their stories and learn more about various career paths that are available.”
A third episode featuring Emma Kaptein ’09, social media coordinator for the New York Giants, is in the works and slated to air in December. Like Fitzpatrick and Rosales, she is looking forward to visiting campus for the interview and “returning to the nest.”
Mark Effron, professor in the School of Communication and Media and coordinator of the News Lab, shares his inspiration for creating the show: “At Homecoming last year, I met alums who were excited to see how our campus has changed, how our students have so many more opportunities, and when I showed them Hawk+, more than one said to me: ‘I wish we had something like this.’ That got us thinking about collaborating with the Office of Alumni Engagement. And, what better way to do that than to produce ongoing profiles of our amazing alumni?”
Henry Tighe, student manager of Hawk+, served as producer for the videos with the goal of showing students what’s possible after graduation. “I wanted to break down any barriers so current students could see themselves in these accomplished alumni,” says Tighe. “If they realize that they’re in the same position that these graduates were, then it makes the stories and advice mean a lot more.”
The Alumni Series, as well as other student-created content, including the News Lab’s award-winning news show, live sports coverage by the Red Hawk Sports Network and WMSC’s show The Morning Buzz, which streams live every weekday morning from 7 – 9 a.m., are available for streaming anytime on Hawk+ at hawkplus.tv.
Hawk+ is a relatively new addition to the School of Communication and Media, debuting in April 2022. It seeks to familiarize students with the rapidly evolving technology of streaming and its best practices while providing a place to showcase student work.
“We are living in a streaming world,” Effron says. “Our interns get to learn what the jobs are like in that world, how to program a channel, how to market a channel, how to integrate a channel with social media, how to produce for a channel and how to collaborate to create that channel.”
The Hawk+ platform features content from shows across the School of Communication and Media, as well as Collegiate Emmy award-winning documentaries such as “New Orleans: Raging Storms,” along with videos from the Feliciano School of Business, the George Segal Gallery and university-wide collaborations including “Cooking with Koppell,” where President Koppell bonds with faculty, staff and students over food and family.
One reason for its rapid growth is that Effron and Hawk+ are always looking for new additions to the platform. “Hawk+ is always open for business and we’d love to hear from students, faculty and alumni if they have any ideas for new programs,” says Effron.