One of the best ways to gain insight on your future career choices is to look to the professionals around you and learn from their experiences.

Who came before you and what did they do?  What were their passions and where did they end up?

In these webpages you’ll get to meet UVM graduates that have followed their passions through their years at UVM and into various professions in the field of media. Their stories aim to serve as a source of inspiration and a starting point for career exploration.  By sharing these stories, we hope to develop a platform for connection, one that could link current students to successful University of Vermont alumnae and alumni, while strengthening our ever-growing Reporting and Documentary Storytelling (RDS) journalism community.

Ask the Experts:

What advice do you have for future UVMer’s, future media students, and future storytellers?


Look for stories in places you'd least expect and keep writing.

“Look for stories in places like that you wouldn't expect, that's how I ended up with my podcast episodes, focusing on stories many people just pass by. . .Remember that storytelling is storytelling, if you do it with your voice, if you do it with your pen or your keyboard, just keep doing it. Because then eventually, you'll be good at it and someone will want to pay you for it”.

- Jordan Barry, Animal Science, 2010

Set goals, develop a plan, and pursue your passions vigorously.

“Develop a plan, which can be subject to revision, and then pursue it aggressively, with incredible determination and focus. It doesn't necessarily matter what that plan is, it's just something that you find interesting, and that you commit yourself to executing on. And do it until you decide that it's something you don't want to do. All that matters is that you start somewhere because, you know, if you don't have a plan, no one's gonna have a plan for you.”

- Eric Lipton, Philosophy and History, 1987

Think broadly, Seek Passion, and Embrace rejection.

“My advice is to think broadly about how you want to apply your writing and communicating skills, because you never know where opportunities are going to pop up, or where you'll find a real passion. The other thing I would say is embrace rejection, just dive into it and do the hard thing. You'll survive it”.

- Meg Little Reilly, Geography, 2001

Recognize the power of stories to change lives.

“Recognize that stories are the core of the human identity, and make up the fabric of our humanity. Through stories, we grow and change and learn; that's always been true. Now how we tell stories has gone from just a person with the talking stick around the fire, to using multimedia. But it's still a pretty basic art form, and like great art, stories can leave the listener forever changed”.

- Eric Schwarz, History and Political Science, 1983

There’s Always More Love.

“I would say there's always more love. Connections are everywhere and when we nourish ourselves and nourish each other. Think about the people that love us and have never said it. The people we know love us, and say it often. . .  There's love on the horizon, people I've yet to meet that are gonna love me. That is so hopeful, so whenever you feel like oh, I'm down and there's nothing more, just be patient, because there's more love coming”.

- Joey Oteng, Religion, 2015

Listen Honestly and Go to the story.

“What you find is that you'll be shocked by how much people will talk to you, even under really difficult circumstances. . . As a reporter you make people feel valuable, listening creates human connection, and so you have to be confident and be present. And the other thing to keep in mind, is that as easy as it is to use the internet and cell phones, to do all your research, if you physically go to the story, your story will be so much better. You’ll be surprised by all the stuff you'd never find out just sitting in your office at your desk.”

- Robert Rosenthal, Political Science, 1970

  • Eric Lipton

    Class of 1987 (Philosophy and History), Investigative Journalist for the New York Times.

    "Over the course of his career, Lipton has won three Pulitzer Prize awards for his writing three different categories: explanatory journalism, investigative reporting, and foreign reporting.  Looking back on all of them, he reflected each was a detailed reconstruct that dove into a split-second moment of a world-altering event. Whether he’s uncovering corruption in the state office of the attorney general or writing about the culture that led to the failure of the Hubble Space Telescope, Lipton’s style of long-form journalism centers itself in the creation of a story."



You’ll use storytelling skills throughout your whole life, but do so you first have to learn how to truly listen.

“If you're a current UVM student, whether or not you go into the storytelling field, know you will use storytelling your whole life. You'll use storytelling to get a job, to build relationships, you'll use storytelling to advance any idea you care about. But to tell a story, you have to hear a story, you have to learn how to listen. So building skills around really active listening, and then pulling together thematic threads early on in your career”.

- Eric Schwarz, History and Political Science, 1983

Writing is a craft you can always improve.

“Writing is a craft that you'll always get better at. So, the best thing to do is read really good writing and sort of absorb it all, both fiction and nonfiction, and you’ll learn how to create a narrative”.

- Robert Rosenthal, Political Science, 1970

Be brave, be vulnerable, and choose yourself.

“Be brave, and by that, I mean, be vulnerable. I think bravery is vulnerability. Choose to do things that are hard or do things that scare you because it will force you to figure out who you are, and learn to love who you are by yourself. I think that is so powerful when you are fully in tune with who you are, and can say, wow, I really like me, so other people are gonna like me, and whether other people like me or not, I still like me, and so it doesn't matter. It changes your entire perspective, because you start choosing yourself ”.

- Joey Oteng, Religion, 2015

There is no one path to becoming a food writer, or any type of writer for that matter. Everyone in this industry has taken some different route to arrive.

“Food writing is not something with a clear path. Every person who ends up in this career is getting here a different way. And that's what's really cool about it, because we all have really different perspectives. Whether you worked on the line in a restaurant, or you farmed, or you traveled and learned about food; we’re all here to learn more and share stories”.

- Jordan Barry, Animal Science, 2010

Joey Oteng

Class of 2015, Religion

Law student, social justice educator, blogger, and podcast host

Read Joey's story >>


Robert Jon Rosenthal

Class of 1970, Political Science

Executive Director at the Center for Investigative Reporting

Read Robert's story >>


Meg Little Reilly

Class of 2001, Geography

Novelist and Director of Project 14

Read Meg's story >>