‘There will always be a need for the truth’

Two journalism alumni landed jobs at CNN. Here’s how they did it.


Niki Farahmand, left, and Amir Vera show off professional headshots from their work at CNN.

Two recent graduates of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Humanities and Sciences have defied warnings about the death of journalism jobs to find early success. Amir Vera (B.S.’14/MC) and Niki Farahmand (B.S.’14/MC) both landed jobs at world news organization CNN in 2018, Vera as an associate writer and Farahmand as a news producer. Both say they never expected to work at such a big name so soon after graduation, but that didn’t stop them from aiming high. Read more.

How VCU’s Rodney Robinson became the nation’s finest teacher

Robinson teaches kids in juvenile detention through a 'personal and profound' lens.


Rodney Robinson stands beside a sign that details the biography of Virgie Binford, Ed.D., for whom the education center where he teaches is named.

Rodney Robinson (M.Ed.’11/E) teaches history of all types at the Virgie Binford Education Center, which serves students housed at the Richmond (Virginia) Juvenile Detention Center. Many of the students haven’t been to class regularly in years, and Robinson sees one of his main duties as helping them to deal with trauma and confusion enough to reset and get on track. Read more.

‘You’re coming here to feel better’

An alumnus founded a shuffleboard social club to contribute positive, inclusive culture to Richmond.


David Gallagher wears a colorful blazer as he stands beneath a large, lit sign proclaiming "love."

The founding partner of Tang and Biscuit, a large indoor shuffleboard social club, says his business isn’t actually about shuffleboard. Read more.

Finding a home in government: An alumna’s journey from homelessness to influencing state-level policy

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Adele McClure review documents together.

Forbes magazine recently named Adele McClure (B.S.’11/B) to its Top 30 Under 30 in the category of law and politics, citing her leading role in developing state-level policies, the statewide roundtables she led to encourage stakeholders to discuss the issue of high eviction rates in Virginia and her participation in Arlington, Virginia’s plan to end homelessness. Read more.

The art of the unraveled: Arts alumna used dryer lint to rescue her artistic career, save herself from depression and create beautiful and unusual new work

A photograph of Heidi Hooper sits in the foreground. In the background is a partial view of her work "Catatonic."

Heidi Hooper (B.F.A.’81/A) was a metalsmith working and teaching classes in the late ’90s in Boston before a cancerous tumor destroyed the strength of her right arm. She searched for a way she could still create but even working with material such as soft clay was painful. “In order to keep from getting too depressed, each day I gave myself something new to try, whether it was artistic or just cooking an egg,” Hooper says. This experimentation led her to the artistic medium that has made her famous: dryer lint. Read more.

‘This is my heart’: Professor-nurse anesthetist uses technology to make time for the human element

Harold Barnwell stands outside VCU's West Hospital on Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia.

Harold Barnwell, D.N.A.P., CRNA (M.S.N.A.’14/HP; D.N.A.P.’15/HP), who considers himself a part of the millennial generation, thinks it is important to bring educational content to tablets and mobile devices. One of the teaching techniques he’s experimenting with is breaking his lecture content into short videos that students can access at any time. “I’m looking out there saying, ‘What’s working? What are people engaging with?’ There are millions of people watching videos online. Can we tap into that?” he says. Read more.