In 2015, Forbes published an article defining the number-one skill employers sought when hiring recent college graduates: the ability to effectively communicate.
On Dec. 15, graduates will receive their degree from Weber State University in communications: 59 bachelors, one associate and eight master degrees.
After semesters of writing, interviewing, publishing, interning and presenting, WSU communication graduates are ready to build their futures.
Meet four alumni who are living the dream.
Mike Caldwell, Ogden City Mayor
Born and raised in Ogden, Mayor Mike Caldwell takes pride in the city and Weber State University. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and said he aims to be a leader with transparency and a listening ear.
Caldwell was the oldest of six siblings, and his family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. While attending WSU, he worked as a ski instructor at Snowbasin to afford going to school full-time.
“Weber State University was a perfect school for me,” Caldwell said. “It is a true learning institution, which is much different from research institutions.”
He loved the ability to personally meet with his professors and the small class sizes.
The accessibility and affordability made WSU an obvious decision for Caldwell and thousands of students in northern Utah.
WSU has been a staple in Caldwell’s immediate family. His mother earned a Master’s in Teaching; two brothers completed pre-med, got into medical school and are now ER Physicians at McKay-Dee Hospital; another brother received his Master’s in Accounting and CPA; and his two sisters have their Bachelor’s in the Arts.
“We are all very lucky to have such an amazing institution in our community,” Caldwell said.
As Mayor of Ogden city, Caldwell said he places focus on economic development and progression.
He feels like he has a genuine connection and love for Ogden City. He considers himself a “bike geek” and a “ski bum” who enjoys Ogden’s high-adventure recreation lifestyle with his family.
Authenticity is important to Caldwell and insists that authenticity is part of what has made Ogden successful. Caldwell is honored and grateful to call himself an Ogdenite and a WSU Alumni.
Zach Cipriano wants others to think of him as a glorified storyteller. He received his degree in digital media with an emphasis in video production.
“If you look at WSU as ‘JUST WEBER’ you are doing the University wrong,” Cipriano said. “Get involved!”
Initially, Cipriano pursued another major because he didn’t think digital media would be a viable career path.
Meeting Dr. Drew Tyler changed Cipriano’s perception. It was Tyler who told Cipriano about the field and gave him the vote of confidence he needed to switch.
“Drew taught me to do what I love and ultimately the money would come,” Cipriano said.
He noted that the reason he loves his job so much is because he surrounds himself with good people. Cipriano believes he is nothing without the team he is working with and admires their hard work.
Cipriano currently produces an outdoor adventure TV show called “At Your Leisure” on ABC 4, now in its 16th season. He works as a producer, responsible for making the show happen.
Cipriano finds sponsors, exciting activities or topics, schedules shoots, films and edits the footage viewers watch each and every week.
He also produces an online show called “GE3K” which is in its infancy, but discusses a plethora of topics related to video games, comics and anime.
His hope is that the project meets national attention, and he believes it is possible because of the education and experience he received at WSU.
Cipriano has a strong belief in the power of communication. The digital world has changed the way that we interact, making video an invaluable means of communicating.
In 2015, Lisa Bossman received her bachelor’s in communication with an emphasis in digital media. She writes, shoots, directs, produces and edits TV shows and videos.
Bossman is currently the TV producer and on-air talent for CET/Xfinity’s “The Xfinity Sports Report, Your Utah High School Connection.”
The show highlights Utah high school sports and airs on Sunday nights.
“Working in the Digital Media field means everything to me because work doesn’t feel so much like work,” Bossman said. “I feel fortunate that I get to ‘play’ every single day.”
In early 2016, Bossman joined the team at Ingrum Sports Production Network (ISPN) to help jump-start the Salt Lake City office. Several ISPN’s productions including “Out West,” “Studio Sessions,” and “Lets Eat” are produced or co-produced by Bossman.
Future goals for Bossman include movie production and direction. She has her eye on working for a scary movie production company in California.
She suggests that students should do whatever it takes to find a field they love because the hardest part about attending college is finishing something you have started.
“Try a class in every field before deciding on a major and don’t let anyone stop you from something you are passionate about,” Bossman said.
Alex Larrabee graduated in 2012 with a degree in Electronic Media. He is a voice actor and an online entertainer, focusing on video games.
Larrabee is a gaming YouTuber, who often appears as a guest commentator on Top Trending and TGN, “The network where gamers get big on YouTube.”
Larrabee enjoys doing live streams, making videos and hosting podcasts. Some skills he has honed also include documentaries, radio, television and cartoons.
Occasionally, he will do character voice-overs in video games.
“I worked at the college radio station, KWCR, in some capacity from 2008-2012 and it provided the foundation for everything I do now,” Larrabee said.
Though he has no idea what his future entails, and doesn’t necessarily know what he’s doing next week, let alone next year, he has still found success in doing what he loves.
He thinks the best way to experience college is to join a club or organization.
Larrabee was the narrator of WSU’s 50 anniversary video compilation. He has participated in multiple freelance virtual organization projects. He also spends time writing and producing for www.gametaffy.com.
He is better known on YouTube as BaerTaffy and on Twitter @BaerTaffy.