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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

Communication Careers | Tessa Winkler

Posted by David Safin on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:09 AM
Continuing the series of successful Communication alumni, I had the chance to catch up with 2008 graduate, Tessa Winkler, a student I never saw without a smile on her face.

tessa headshot

Tessa double-majored in Communication and Spanish, then went on to American University where she received a Master's Degree in International Communication. Currently, she is the Communications Officer/Web Content Coordinator for The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. in Washington, D.C. 

tessa dc

What is the Catholic Legal Immigration Network?
Embracing the Gospel value of welcoming the stranger, The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) promotes the dignity and protects the rights of immigrants in partnership with a dedicated network of Catholic and community legal immigration programs.  CLINIC is a nonprofit organization established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to support its affiliates, now totaling over 200 legal immigration service providers in 47 states. 
CLINIC accomplishes its mission by offering trainings on program management and substantive legal immigration topics, focusing on administrative advocacy with government officials, and facilitating immigration for religious workers.   Currently, with comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) on the horizon, CLINIC is poised to play a pivotal role in preparing its network to respond to the needs of undocumented immigrants seeking legal status (and, eventually, citizenship) under new immigration laws.

tessa clinic
What do you do there?
My job is to maintain the organization’s public face by promoting its mission and work.  I am charged with pursuing web strategies and other outreach designed to inform and build support for immigrants and CLINIC’s work on their behalf.  I also write for brochures, quarterly reports and other publications for public distribution in addition to coordinating social media efforts and planning for various conferences and events.
How did Saint Vincent help prepare you for your career?

My experience as an undergraduate student at Saint Vincent College was central to my decision to pursue a career in cross-cultural communications with the Catholic Church.  Specifically, my study abroad experience in Cuernavaca, Mexico introduced me to what would become my passion, intercultural communication.  Through Spanish language and communication courses, I had the tools to foster my interests and hit the ground running in a career of service to vulnerable populations and public outreach.  Notably, the public speaking, writing, and technology skills acquired during my time at the School of Social Sciences, Communication, and Education have served as invaluable assets to my position in a non-profit organization where employees often wear several, diverse hats.
Additionally, the Benedictine spirituality of Saint Vincent College inspired me to seek a career with the Catholic Church.  I feel blessed to further the values of Catholic Social Teaching in my daily work and owe this, in part, to the example set by my friends, instructors and faith leaders at SVC.
How's life? Any big events in your immediate future?
I am thrilled to marry the most amazing man, Tim McKenzie (who is also a Saint Vincent Alum) on May 24, 2014!  We will be married by Fr. Thomas Hart at the Saint Vincent College Basilica.   

Topics: communication, degrees in communication, communication degrees, media, spanish, international communications, washington d.c., study abroad, public relations

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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