Master of Entertainment Industry Management - Student Bios
Aziz was born & raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He moved to the U.S. to pursue his bachelor's in business at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he also taught a fully matriculated course in the School of Arts & Sciences. After graduation, Aziz began working for Uber as a Social Media & Marketing Coordinator for two years before deciding to go back to school and pursue a degree in Entertainment Industry Management at Carnegie Mellon University.
At CMU, Aziz was a Data Analytics Intern at CreatorIQ, a software company that optimizes influencer marketing for enterprises, and his role primarily revolved around enabling CIQ's expansion to the Middle East. He recently began at Prodigal Entertainment as a Development Intern. Aziz is an avid writer, storyteller, technology enthusiast, and is currently writing a series of short stories about the Saudi upper class as an eBook and plans to eventually adapt into a screenplay.
Michael graduated from the Entertainment Arts and Engineering program at the University of Utah where he focused on video game development. It was here where he started his education in computer science but then switched his focus to expanding his knowledge to all aspects of the pipeline.
Through a 3-year part time position with the Psychology Department he created all aspects of VR worlds and tools for data analysis for research projects. He also developed a passion for helping others realize their goals. Moving forward he confirmed his career goals by taking a management role on his capstone team; the team developed and released a title on Steam over the course of nine months. With a love of media-based entertainment in all forms, he is excited to continue pursuing a career path.
Marina was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she completed her undergraduate education with a Bachelor's degree in Cultural Production from the Federal Institute of Education, Science, and Technology of Rio de Janeiro. Her interest in the logistics and operational aspects of arts and entertainment led her to obtain experience in production - having worked in the production of a film festival, several art exhibitions, as well as in the State Department of Culture of Rio de Janeiro.
Her passion for minorities' representation in media was what motivated her desire to work in the film and television industry, ultimately leading her to the Entertainment Industry Management graduate program at Carnegie Mellon University. During the program, she has worked as the Logistics Coordinator at the CMU International Film Festival, as well as a Creative Development and Production Intern at Threshold Entertainment. Her goal is to work in film or television production and to contribute to media products that help put forth important discussions.
During her final year pursuing a BS in Marketing from the University of Nevada-Reno, Mikayla struggled to find creative fulfillment in her upcoming career in the business world. With a fascination with pop culture and fan communities this desire drove her to join Carnegie Mellon's Master of Entertainment Industry Management.
Mikayla is eager to bring her passion for strong narrative storytelling, knowledge of consumer behavior in the marketplace, and industry-specific skills learned from the MEIM program into the world of television and cinema. She strives to help bring innovative worlds and meaningful characters to life onscreen through work in development or screenwriting.
Amarachi always knew that she wanted to be in the entertainment industry, but it took a bit longer for her to make the big leap. After graduating from Bucknell with a degree in Psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies, she knew those two fields, while helpful, were not where her career goals lay. Therefore, upon graduating, she took on multiple jobs in various sectors of the industry, to gain more knowledge and experience. After interning at places like CNN and Mix 107.3 and working at Ogilvy DC, Amarachi decided it was time to further her education to continue to learn about the entertainment industry and all it has to offer. Amarachi’s ultimate goal is to be a Media Personality, where she can touch many sectors of the industry. She is also interested in the Music Business, specifically A&R and Artist Development.
Brandon moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles to pursue the MEIM program and his desire of bringing great stories to life by becoming a creative film producer. Brandon has always had a passion for producing creative projects from his beginnings in Musical Theatre productions to his transition to Film and Television production. Prior to becoming a Master of Entertainment Industry Management candidate, he was working on films ranging from Disney’s Aladdin to the Star Wars Franchise coordinating artists at Lucasfilm’s VFX studio, Industrial Light and Magic. He has recently spent the summer learning at Tim Miller’s Blur Studio and is now working with them for the Fall, expanding industry relationships and finding project opportunities for the talented teams at Blur.
Originally from South Florida, Brianna moved to Syracuse, NY where she pursued a Bachelor of Music with French Horn Performance Honors at Syracuse University. After graduating, she figured the best way to succeed is to find an area that can combine various aspects of the industry. During her first-year and a half in the MEIM program, she has held five internships both in marketing and digital talent management. Her internship this summer at Select Management Group as a Talent Management intern created a passion for the digital media landscape. She continues to learn more in-depth about the digital media space at her current internship at Studio71 as a Talent Partnerships intern. The experiences Brianna has held at Select Management Group and Studio71 have cultivated her career goal of working with content creators.
Lava Hong is a bilingual singer-songwriter, music playlist manager, music promoter, and a social media manager with industry experience in both China and the US. Passionate about music supervision and live music events, she aspires to use her background as an artist, performer, audio engineer, and knowledge in business management to succeed in the entertainment industry.
Whitney’s passion for the entertainment industry began when she was a teenager. She decided to attend Albright College to get a bachelor degree in music industry studies. This degree equipped Whitney with the understanding of the industry she wanted to work in, but she wanted to know how the music industry worked with film and television. That is why she decided to come to Heinz College.
During her graduate studies, Whitney has had the opportunity to intern with Calliope, a non-profit concert promoter, the Arts Management and Technology Lab, and Trend: PR, Branding, & Social Media. Whitney is interested in music licensing and live entertainment. She’s excited to see how the reliance on virtual and augmented reality for concerts during Covid-19 will impact physical concerts and licensing in the future.
After graduating from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a BA in American Studies, Ashley worked for several years before making the decision to pursue a degree in entertainment. As a MEIM candidate, she’s gaining knowledge about how the entertainment industry works in a different way. Over the summer she worked at Schemer’s Entertainment as a Literary Development Intern where she did film and television script coverage. For the fall she is interning at Megalomedia as an Unscripted Development Intern and at Soulshine Projects as a Music Licensing Intern.
Ashley feels it’s important for everyone to see themselves on screen and is interested in increasing diversity on the small screen. While headway has been made in this area, she believes that in order to have lasting change, the people in leadership need to reflect those underrepresented groups. Ultimately, her goal is to be an executive of original programming at a network.
Shannon graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 with a B.A. in Film and Program of Liberal Studies. While in undergrad, she wrote, directed, and produced several short films and was the producer and director of Notre Dame's largest student-run theater company. After graduating, she moved to Seattle to work in digital marketing. She then worked at the Walt Disney Company as a Project Coordinator on the Digital Media - Forecasting and Analytics team, which gave her insight into entertainment analytics and digital viewership. Shannon decided to pursue her graduate degree to acquire more business and quantitative skills with a focus on film.
Long-term, Shannon would like to be a producer or studio executive. In the meantime, she is interested in production, acquisitions, distribution, programming, and content strategy. Over the summer, she worked as a Development Intern at Megalomedia. This fall, she is working as a Production Intern at Troika and an International Sales and Acquisitions Intern at Myriad Pictures.
After graduating from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in English Literature as well as holding an accounting background, Victoria found her passion in business analytics specifically for the entertainment industry. After a year of study in the MEIM program, Victoria has obtained exposure to data analytics tools and how to utilize them for entertainment-related cases. She worked as a research assistant for Dr. Brett Crawford, a faculty member at Heinz College during the summer. She specifically looked into the impact of the pandemic on the entertainment industry from a global perspective during her summer research. This experience motivated her to pursue a research and data analytics path in the entertainment industry in the future.
John developed a passion for the entertainment industry after studying language in film as part of his undergraduate curriculum in Scandinavian Studies and English Language at The University of Edinburgh. After working in the classroom, he decided to turn this interest into his career by entering Carnegie Mellon's Master of Entertainment Industry Management program. He is interested in working in unscripted development because of its ability to give a platform and insight into underrepresented or unknown social groups and narratives.
This past summer John completed internships at Voltage Pictures working in feature film development, as well as at Megalomedia in unscripted development. Currently, he is interning at Solstice Studios in their International Sales and Domestic Acquisitions department. John looks forward to being involved in talent-driven, unscripted television that has the power to both entertain and create social change after graduation.
AUTUMN BREAZ MCARTHUR
Autumn is interested in the creation and dissemination of culture through the media. As a life-long activist, Autumn wishes to tell authentic, visceral stories. She holds the core belief that through diversity and exposure to new topics, audiences can improve their self-advocacy skills. After growing up in a suburb of Houston, TX, Autumn studied sociology and business administration at Boston University. Autumn has interned at the Pittsburgh Film Office, as well as at Alta Global Media and Threshold Entertainment. She is eager to explore digital media, docuseries production, and unscripted competition shows, since she is inspired by series like Survivor and We’re Here.
With a bachelor's degree in Art and passion for education, Megan is focused on the theme of childhood trauma. After working with Teach for America for two years, Megan is confident that all a child wants is to be distracted from their worlds rather than be reminded of how challenging it is. After integrating animation, video games, and music in the classroom, she learned that this is how children learn best- in the classroom and in life.
Knowing that entertainment can be a powerful tool for learning as well as a way to cope with stress, Megan hopes to work in animation and children's programming to entertain, teach, and inspire children from diverse backgrounds. She has worked in youth outreach at the CMU Film Festival, as an education intern at the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, as a story development intern at Toonstar, and as a management intern at Alta Global Media.
CLARA PEREZ ALFARO
Originally from Argentina, Clara moved around Latin America where she developed a passion for travelling and experiencing new cultures. After studying Communications for her undergrad in Argentina, she pursued a career in broadcast television. This, together with her passion for sports, brought her to working in the Operations department at ESPN in Buenos Aires. She joined the MEIM program at Carnegie Mellon University to further understand the entertainment business and to pursue a career in sports and entertainment.
After the first year in the program, Clara spent her summer as an Athlete Development Associate at The Marketing Jersey, a media and entertainment agency that focuses on female soccer players. Additionally, she interned at the Arts Management & Technology (AMT) Lab as a research assistant focusing on Arts & Entertainment during COVID-19. She led the live sports vertical and her research got published by AMT Lab. Currently, Clara is continuing her work with The Marketing Jersey and is a Production Assistant at Troika.
Melanie grew up in New York City and went to Macalester College in Minnesota where she studied history. After college she worked in several different industries including law, tech and publishing. She ultimately decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry in either film or television. This led Melanie to the MEIM program and an internship at Prodigal, a production company that has projects across film, television and theatre. Melanie's dream job is to work in television development for scripted content.
Christina graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Decision Science. She minored in Business Administration and Politics & Public Policy, reflected in her interests in activism and social justice. In the future, Christina wants to be a film producer or agent for movies that impact culture beyond the film screen that voice unheard stories. Her previous internship and externship experiences include United Talent Agency, 20th Century Fox, Threshold Productions, and the Pittsburgh Film Office. As a Lancaster, PA native, she is excited to explore her new neighborhood near Santa Monica this year.
Esther has been a movie fan ever since she was a young girl growing up in Beijing, China. The wonderful stories on the silver screen inspired her imagination and encouraged her to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. After graduating from Durham University and The University of Edinburgh (UK) with an MSc Economics (Distinction) degree, she found her passion in data analytics and entertainment research. Her past academic projects include testing the effect of social learning on box office data and modeling movie release schedules with game theory. Currently, she is interning at PSB Insights and FilmNation Entertainment, mainly contributing to market research and financial analysis. In the future, she would like to continue on this path as an analyst and marketer. Being a firm believer in the power of data-led creativity, Esther hopes to utilize her quantitative skillset in better serving creative businesses.
Abhijeet’s passion for the entertainment industry motivated him to quit his technical job and join the MEIM Program. Since starting at Manipal University as an undergraduate Electrical Engineering major, he has always tried to fulfill his passion for the media industry through both professional and academic experiences. All these experiences gave him the courage to pursue a professional degree to learn advanced methodologies and be a leader in the space. Over the summer, Abhijeet interned with The Administration MP (Music Publishing) and Confluential Films and is currently interning with Fox Media and Fremantle US this fall semester. He aspires to be a Film Producer and wants to make movies that are capable of bringing the world together.
YIKAI (MICHAEL) WANG
Born and raised in Hangzhou, China, Yikai seeks to combine his passion for film with his skillset in business and management. During his undergraduate years at Boston University, studying business administration and hospitality management, he interned at various financial institutions and gained ample knowledge on the business and management side of things. He ultimately decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry because of his experience as an actor in the school's theatre club. His ultimate career goal is to become a film producer with the mission of revamping and integrating IP from traditional Chinese culture.
FIONA CHRISTINA WEBER
Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, Fiona lived in various parts of the world for the past 10 years. She received her BA in Business Management from the University of Exeter, England, before working as a project manager for large-scale events for four years. With a solid business foundation, Fiona ultimately decided to pursue her passion for entertainment and joined the MEIM program. Having worked for the Berlin International Film Festival and, most recently, for Paramount’s International Digital Distribution department, she hopes to stay within the film and studio business. With her knowledge of both domestic and international markets, Fiona hopes to work internationally in the future.