Alumni connections spell success for students

Whether through an Oswego Alumni Association Alumni-In-Residence presentation, an Alumni Sharing Knowledge mentorship or events like New York City Career Connections, alumni connections mean opportunities for current students.

Joe Yacura ’74 was looking for someone to do research into wineries’ presence on the Internet in preparation for the launch of his new website, So he contacted School of Business Dean Richard Skolnik. It wasn’t the first time Yacura had given students an opportunity for real-world experience. Two years ago he had three business majors doing research into the wine industry in the Finger Lakes area.

Outside of CBS studios

Students paid an afternoon visit to BET/CBS Studios hosted by Zelkadis Elvi ’91 in January as part of the Oswego Alumni Association’s annual NYC Career Connections program.

This time, the dean suggested Joe Massaro ’11 and Yacura was impressed with him from the very first phone call.

“Joe contacted me and we talked — He had high energy, and did follow through right away,” Yacura said. “He had done some research on how various wineries were using the Internet.”

Yacura was so pleased with Massaro’s work as an intern, he offered him a job.
“I said, ‘What are you doing when you graduate? Why not come and work for us and get the website going?’”

Massaro is now managing the Facebook and Twitter correspondence for and will be managing an online “Local Services” section of the site.

Paul Brennan ’93 helped Sarah Rabideau ’09 launch her career in the highly competitive world of broadcast advertising in a tough economy. Rabideau reached out to Brennan through ASK and met with him during the Career Connections event. “I had no idea where to start. He helped me figure out where I’m going,” Rabideau said. Brennan, senior vice president for ad sales at SONY Pictures Television, set up interviews for her at CBS, Major League Baseball and A&E. She landed a job at MPG and earlier this year was promoted to national media buyer. Rabideau is one of dozens of Oswego students Brennan has helped, passing on the career boost he received early on from a mentor.

Cinema and screen studies and English major Kimberly A. Behzadi ’12 met film producer Andrew Miano ’95 at an Alumni-In-Residence class appearance last fall, and he helped her land a coveted internship as a summer production development intern at New York City’s Focus Features.

“Mr. Miano has been more than a miracle to me,” wrote Behzadi. “His guidance and encouragement has been a major support throughout my internship search.” She called him, “friendly, open and willing to help.”

“All I did was help push the door open a little bit,” said Miano, who called contacts at the studio he’d recently made a film with, to recommend Behzadi.

“I’m proud of my time at SUNY Oswego and had wanted to come back for some time,” he said of his AIR visit. “I spent 36 of the craziest hours I ever had on campus running around speaking to classes and answering questions.

I’m also hopeful that I will be able to come back and speak with students again.”

At New York City Career Connections in January, Marco Ellman ’79 opened a door for student Mike Marchetta ’10. During the alumni presentation Ellman, who is president and owner of Ellman Realty Advisors in New York City, caught Marchetta’s attention and the student hurried over to talk with him. “He ended up asking me to come shadow him the next day and we really hit it off. Now I have a job offer there and I am moving down to the city,” Marchetta wrote. “Kind of funny that I can honestly say, that networking event pretty much changed my life.”

Alumni interested in helping students launch their careers can contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 315-312-2258 or to volunteer for the AIR or Alumni Sharing Knowledge programs or invite students to shadow them or visit their workplaces.

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