FUTURE NOW Volunteer Committees
Meet our wonderful volunteers, many of whom are FUTURE NOW alumni. We love our volunteers and we couldn't do what we do without them. At FUTURE NOW, we are all about paying it forward, leading by example and in service of others. If you'd like to join us as a volunteer, fill out this form. We look forward to connecting with you!
Alumni & Volunteers
ELISE DEAN. FN alum '20. Elise is a multimedia journalist interested in telling stories about women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Microphones are her chosen reporting tool. She is a recent graduate of the Master’s in Journalism and Public Affairs program at American University, where she specialized in broadcast journalism. Recently, she was an intern for the POTUS Channel at SiriusXM and Pandora, where she researched and produced the historical ‘Fast Facts’ series. She also covered the Shaw, Logan Circle and U Street neighborhoods for The Wash. In her free time, she interviews women about their lives on her podcast She+, tending to her beloved plants or reading historical fiction.
Marketing / PR
SIERRA PORTER. FN alum '18. Sierra volunteers with FUTURE NOW as a Writer and Editor of "THE NOW" newsletter. In her day job, she an Entertainment Reporter at The Des Moines Register. She graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism and has written for Rolling Out, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Atlanta Voice. She has interviewed big names in media and entertainment such as Bobby Brown, Jermaine Dupri, the cast of "Real Housewives of Atlanta," Zaytoven, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chilli from TLC, rapper Common, Jemele Hill, Tichina Arnold, reality star Mehgan James, Erika Alexander, and more. She is also the founder of CeeSoDope.com, dedicated to music and entertainment.
NATALIA VAZALLO. FN ALUM '20. Natalia co-leads "THE NOW" newsletter, and was one of the FUTURE NOW Campus Ambassador Coordinators, who created the training materials for incoming ambassadors, drafted proposals for the CEO, and designed presentations for colleges and universities around the country. Natalia interned at HBO in the Data Analytics Department as well as the Documentary and CSR departments. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Public Administration, Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, at NYU.
KAYLA JOHNSON. Kayla is a contributor to "THE NOW" newsletter for FUTURE NOW. She is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and digital marketing professional. A graduate of Georgia State University with a BA in Film & Media with a concentration in Entertainment Media Management, Kayla has contributed her talents to several organizations and companies including (but not limited to) Spotlight Programs Board, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., ONE Musicfest, NC Magazine, and WarnerMedia (formerly Turner Broadcasting). Kayla is currently a freelance Social Media Copywriter & Contributing Writer for Bold Culture by Streamlined Media. Her recent work focuses on entertainment, popular culture, and social issues.
ISABEL GASPARD. Isabel is a Research Assistant and Social Media Manager for FUTURE NOW. She received her Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 2020, with a minor in Business. Isabel loves comedy and animation, and envisions herself working in human resources or business development within media and entertainment.
KARINA DELGADO FERNANDEZ. Karina Delgado Fernandez. Artist & Writer. Karina serves as a graphic designer on the FUTURE NOW marketing team. She graduated with a BA in Film & TV Studies and Studio Art from Lehman College, where she co-produced and co-wrote an informative news segment for Inside Lehman. She co-organized and managed social media for the first virtual 2020 CUNY Film Festival, and has written several original film and pilot scripts. She is currently interning at Made in NY: The Animation Project (TAP) as an animator. Karina is a passionate storyteller, exploring various formats like scriptwriting, video, and animation.
DAN GASTIN. Dan is a member of the Social Media Marketing Committee and a contributor to “THE NOW” newsletter for FUTURE NOW. He graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with a BS in Communication and concentration in Media Studies, and played varsity football. Dan worked at AMC Networks in the Ad Sales & Integrated Marketing and Research Departments, focusing on The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, and Top Gear. Dan considers himself a “pop culturalist” and enjoys delving into the world of movie prop appreciation and conservation, and writes about some of his favorite artifacts on his online blog. He is an avid mountain biker and enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Hudson Valley.
FUTURE NOW College & University Outreach
EDA LE. FN alum '20. Eda graduated from the University of Richmond and has experience working with startups in the AdTech, Market Research, and Healthcare industry. An alumna of FUTURE NOW, she is now its college outreach volunteer. She hopes to bring FUTURE NOW to more students and help them gain exposure to the media industry. Awareness of different career paths in this industry, she believes, is the first step to becoming future media leaders.
FUTURE NOW Campus Ambasador Program
EMILY PAGANO. FN alum '20. Emily co-leads the FUTURE NOW Campus Ambassador Program, and also serves on the social media marketing team. She is a senior at Pace University, where she is majoring in Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications and specializing in Arts and Entertainment Management. She has worked as an intern for various production companies, including SPR Media, Pudding Boy Productions, Brodersville Films, the Good Company, and Passionflix. Currently, she is working as the Social Media Coordinator for Pace University’s entertainment collective, The Industry Network for Arts and Entertainment Management.
SOPHIE BARCUS. FN alum '20. Sophie co-leads the FUTURE NOW Campus Ambassador Program, and also serves on the social media marketing team. She is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is pursuing a degree in Communication Arts with a focus in rhetorical studies, in addition to a certificate in Digital Studies. Sophie is very involved in the Communication Arts Students Association (CASA) as the Digital Arts Chair. She plans to pursue a career in the media industry, working in marketing, brand partnerships, or public relations. When she's at home in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, Sophie enjoys cooking and spending time with friends and family.
MELISSA PARSONS. FN alum '20. Melissa co-leads the FUTURE NOW Campus Ambassador Program. She is an Honors film graduate from Pace University with experience in social media marketing, event planning, and film/television production. Melissa has interned at Syfy Wire, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and Rock Shrimp Productions. Based on the West Coast, she is currently looking for full or part-time employment opportunities that allow her to use her passion and skills to drive positive change in the world. She is especially interested in a career where her strengths in creative thinking, adaptability, effective leadership, and communication will be utilized greatly towards a common goal of helping others.
PATALIA TATE. Executive Team Lead / Mentor. Patalia is an award-winning creative strategy and storytelling expert in driving brand growth and guiding marketing and promotion initiatives for top media brands. She has developed brand strategies behind some of the industry’s most recognizable networks, including History Channel, Travel Channel, Food Network and Cooking Channel. She is a recognized expert in driving the strategic execution of compelling campaigns and brand storytelling that inspire and motivate audiences to act and engage. Patalia earned her BS in Communications from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.
SHERITA PAUL. FN alum '19. A New York native, Sherita, aka Rita, is a multi-faceted, performance-driven Media Producer, Army veteran, wife, and mother. She was a highly valued co-leader of the production team for the 2020 FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference, and her commitment to FUTURE NOW continues as a volunteer producer and editor. A recent graduate of Lehman College with a BA in Film & TV Studies, she continues to build her career in TV, film, and music video productions and is excited to make more great content. Rita also earned a Master's Degree in Forensic Science.
ROB SIMMONS. FN alum '19. Rob is the Broadcast Video Director and Engineer at Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois, where he works with an 11 camera set up to broadcast live weekly services to thousands of people across four church campuses and online. Rob also trains and leads a team of 50 volunteers who work with him in the weekly broadcasts. Rob was the broadcast director and engineer for the virtual 2020 FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference, and continues to volunteer with FUTURE NOW. He is pursuing his degree in cinematography at Full Sail University.
JILLIAN KAY. FN alum '20. Jillian is a Sophomore Broadcast Journalism major at Emerson College. An aspiring on-air broadcast journalist, she has worked as a YouTube and Sports Correspondent, Play-by-Play and Color Commentator, Anchor, Script-writer, and she is also a Video Producer and Editor. Jillian enjoys volunteering for various organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), Special Olympics and FUTURE NOW. She also enjoys playing indoor volleyball for the Emerson Lions and spending time with family and friends. Finally, she is forever creating content for her YouTube channel, JK It’s Jill where she films, produces and edits her own vlogs highlighting important moments in her life.
SHAWN McDUFFEE. FN alum '18. Shawn is the co-creator and producer of the FUTURE NOW Media Podcast. When not volunteering his time with FUTURE NOW, he is producing and pitching animation projects in partnership with iSTANDtv. Shawn formerly worked as a line producer at Phil Vischer Enterprises, a faith based children’s animation studio near Chicago, and was the executive assistant to Phil Vischer. Shawn graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Communications.
JASON RUGG. FN alum '18. Jason is the co-creator and editor of the FUTURE NOW Media Podcast. Jason is the Production Manager, Lead Editor, and Lead Animator at Phil Vischer Enterprises, one of the leading faith-based children’s animation studios in the world. He edits and produces The Holy Post Podcast, and you can hear him on The Movie Proposal Podcast, The Documentary First Podcast, , and the Future Now Media Podcast. He is also a voice actor, writer, and a Future Now 2018 Alum.
JENNIFER HODGE. Jennifer is a Digital Account Coordinator at WarnerMedia for CNN. She is a native New Yorker and graduated from Temple University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies and Communications. From a young age, Jennifer has always had a fascination with the unique stories and experiences of others, which is shown through her on air reporting as an intern at WBAI Radio Station and her digital media marketing experience at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. She has experience in social media marketing, target audience research, analytics, content strategy, and branding.
JOEY MULLEN. FN alum '19. For the 2020 FN conference, Joey led a team of four to manage and coordinate communications and build social media engagement through FUTURE NOW’s event app (Whova). He served as FUTURE NOW Media Foundation’s lead liaison to attendees through the event app, and organized a high-engagement pre-Conference networking event. Joey currently works as the Social Media Coordinator at MuddHouse Media.