Student Spotlight: Morgan Alley C’22

Morgan Alley C’22

What attracted you to Drew?

I was attracted to the wide variety of experiences available at Drew, especially in my field of media and communications and I have not been disappointed.  I think all the faculty in this department are rock stars, especially Dr. Jeremy Blatter. He is incredible!

What excites you about the field of media and communications?

My dream is to work in film and television as a producer or writer but as I’ve grown in the Media & Communications program my focus has shifted to advertising in the political field, particularly how short form video and graphics play a huge role in our political choices, especially now in an election year. It’s really important to produce easily digestible and aesthetically pleasing content that can inform the public  on important things that are happening in our world.  What’s great about Media and Communications as a major and a career is that you can dip your toes in many types of businesses and you gain a variety of transferable skills.  I have two camps of interests of “dream careers” but I could also do marketing for a variety of businesses including my own dental office.

What sparked your interest in political journalism and/or political advertising and marketing?

I’ve always been very active in politics and activism and quite a few classes have helped guide my political views in the way I view the world.  Something that struck me in my Drew Seminar, “Film and the City” with French professor, Dr. Muriel Placet-Kouassi, was the idea that we should read everything 5 times before forming an opinion or developing a response. When I was reading The NY Times every morning, because fortunately Drew offers its students a free subscription, I combed through every article for something different. First I read for general comprehension, then I looked for bias, etc. I also took Public Relations and Digital Sociology classes and they also sparked my interest in aesthetically pleasing advertising.  I find that young voters are more attracted to brightly colored graphics they could share on their Instagram.

Have you done any internships?

I’ve had an internship with Drew’s Communications Department for two years now and it has changed my life.  In my first year when I was on campus, I was photographing and documenting every campus event and trip. I travelled to NYC to see Broadway shows, Washington, D.C to visit the African American History Museum, and also went to the amazing club events held every weekend.  I was producing 30% of the content on Drew University’s Social Media accounts. Occasionally I wrote articles or long emails detailing the events including those with special guest speakers. Now in my second year, I am working remotely and my new focus is writing articles on virtual events and also spearheading TikTok campaigns and gathering video content to engage prospective students.  For example, on Discover Drew Day I had students create videos with Drew trivia. Right now I’m working on a special social media surprise for Halloween with a friend who recorded the Hoyt Residence Hall ghost.  You can check it out as an Instagram story on Halloween.

Do you have any mentors at Drew? 

Psychology professor Dr. Jill Cermele is my ride or die.  My rock.  I love this woman so much. She took me in my first week at Drew. I’m from Rhode Island and I moved to NJ not knowing anyone. A person my mom went to high school with knew Dr. Cermele and told me to reach out to her if I needed help with anything. I was having a hard time my first year so I reached out to Dr. Cermele and she gave me a funny little book called, An Honest Guide to Meditation and told me to keep it until I graduated.  I took a couple of psychology classes with her, “Stress and Coping” and “The Psychology of How Not to Be Miserable.”  Both of these classes are the most important classes I think I’ll ever take in my life.  I recommend them to everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you are a psych major or not.  You will learn some of the most important life skills that you will ever learn.  You learn coping strategies, breathing techniques, and you are required to journal about your week.  I make it a point to see Dr. Cermele every semester.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

Mental health and suicide prevention.

 What are a few highlights of Drew?

The first highlight that stands out are all the times I went to NYC to see Broadway shows through the Communications Department.  Another highlight for me, is The Day of Giving/the MLK Day of Service. You get a day off from classes and students are encouraged to do service projects at the Ehinger Center, like putting together packs for women’s shelters, writing valentines for children battling cancer or the elderly, knitting hats for the homeless.  It’s such an inspiring day that I think of it frequently.  I remember leaving the event and crying at how grateful I was that I went to a university that cared so much for the surrounding communities. It is something I highly recommend for Drew students.  Go down for an hour.  It’s really an incredible experience to do something for the greater good of others.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out?

It’s going to be hard at first and there will be lots of ups and downs but the best thing about Drew is that you have the most incredible faculty and staff. If you tell them you are having a hard time, they will give you the resources for your success.  In my time at Drew I’ve dealt with some of the worse things in my life. Within my first semester I lost my grandmother who lived with me my entire life. The day after the funeral I was rushed to the hospital to get my appendix out and a few weeks later I heard they found a tumor in my appendix when they removed it.  I was dealing with all of this my first semester, but I kept going and even got on the Dean’s list.  I was able to do that by reaching out to my professors, Dean Judith Redling, and the Counseling Center. There are so many resources to help you with your success. Your professors will be nothing but understanding, helpful, and caring.  That’s been my experience.  The reason suicide prevention is so important to me is that I lost my Aunt Ally in June to suicide and now I am taking care of my 14-year-old cousin pretty regularly.  All of these things have made me stronger, have forged more meaningful connections with the Drew community around me.  Every professor’s goal is for you to succeed. This is another thing that drew me to this university.  I heard so much about the wonderful faculty.  I never feel like a name on a roster here.  Reach out to faculty.  Don’t stay in your room. Go out and meet people.  It can feel like a quiet and isolating place but be that person to poke someone to say, Hi, how are you?  Make friends.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

My only goal for my life is that I want to be happy and be fulfilled.  I plan to move in NYC after I graduate and hope to work in either film, TV or journalism. Why I study Media & Communications is to keep my options open. I love the versatility of the skills that Drew has provided for me.  I hope to keep developing those skills in a professional context across the board.  Maybe I’ll do a few years of writing or a few years of filming.  It’s important that wherever life takes me I’m happy and fulfilled and I am doing something that is important for me.  My dream job is to work for Buzzfeed or NBC as one of their content producers.

What are some fun facts you would like to share?

I make earrings.  I am an avid crafter and sell them online through depop and at craft fairs.

I’ve also owned a photography company since I was 16 called Morgan Alley Photography.I specialize in  Portraits and Product Photography.

Photography Account:

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