Alumni Projects


This page features the innovative and exciting work Columbia College Chicago alumni are doing in their industries.  Check here periodically to find out what our alumni have been working on and how you can show your support.

To be featured on this page, please email

Please note that the Office of Development and Alumni Relations will need to approve your project before it is posted on the website. 


Dennis Anderson '85

Dennis Anderson had his essay, "Picking Up Dad", published by Purple Clover.

Picking Up Dad

Andre Avanessian ’08

Andre Avanessian owns a bright and comfortable studio space in Chicago that is available to hire for groups of up to 50. A creative workplace, cultural venue and social hub, his unique Chicago meeting space and photo studio, aims to provide a space that offers the comforts of home, without any of the hassle.

Hummingbird Studios

Megan Baim ’12, Andrew Nowak ’11 and Marc Wilkinson ’12

Marc Wilkinson’s new feature film, Sunset Rock, was recently released online. The film was not only written and directed by Wilkinson, but also stars fellow alumni Megan Baim and Andrew Nowak.

Watch Sunset Rock

John Berger ’01

John Berger’s 10 year old son unfortunately passed away suddenly the day after Thanksgiving and the family has put together a GO Fund Me page to assist with the funeral costs. If you feel so inclined to make a donation of any denomination, John’s family would be perpetually appreciative.

Berger Go Fund Me page

Ronit Bezalel MFA '99

Ronit Bezalel's documentary 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green tells the volatile story of the demolition of Cabrini Green. 

70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green

Jeff Bloom ’13 and Noah Kloor ’12

Jeff Bloom and Noah Kloor finished an interactive short film called Narrow Streets which is an interactive short film that tells the story of a kidnapping gone wrong in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Narrow Streets

Jay Boersma's '74

Jay Boersma's photographs will be featured in a gallery exhibition at the Image City Photography Gallery in Rochester, NY through May 15.

Image City Photography Gallery

Ryan Bourque ’09

Ryan Bourque is opening his first solo gallery exhibit at The ARC Gallery in Chicago.  It runs January 4 - 28 with an opening night reception on January 6, from 6-9pm.

Ryan Bourque Photography 


Robert Briskey '87

Robert Briskey's work will be featured in a photography art exhibit, Inspired Beauty Two, opening at La Grange Business Association on March 3. Briskey's work will be included in a collection of thirty-three inspired beauty photographs and meaningful reflections from the artist and subjects.

Inspired Beauty Two Facebook Page

Jillian Bruschera MFA ’14

The Mobile Mill, created by Jillian, is an automobile outfitted with portable machinery to enable "pop-up" hand papermaking production. With a focus on experiential learning and community outreach, The Mobile Mill is a space for physical, social, and artistic interaction -- an alternative art-making space where new learners, practicing artists and potential collaborators can learn about paper and how to make paper.

The Mobile Mill 

Joseph Burke '06

Joseph Burke's latest short film House Sitting just premiered at Aspen Shortfest and is now available to view online. Burke wrote, directed and acted in the film. Alumnus Daniel Kenji Levin '06 was the cinematographer. 

House Sitting

John Campbell ’91

John Campbell recently published his first book Lessons in Window Cleaning (Lessons in Life). Through the different trial and errors of various aspects of residential window cleaning, Campbell learned numerous life lessons in a humorous and adventurous way.

Lessons in Window Cleaning (Lessons in Life)


Martina Common '12

Martina Common's first book, A Better Me, has been published by Tate Publishing and is available for purchase on Amazon. Common gives you a glimpse into her life while growing up in a popular housing project in Chicago called Cabrini Green.

A Better Me

Rob Christopher ’97

Rob Christopher’s new film Pause of the Clock is about Rob and Dylan who are shooting a film in Colorado when Dylan comes upon Rob’s diaries and secretly begins reading them, leading to discoveries that shed new light on their relationship and intermingle with the film that is being made.

Pause of the Clock


Phil Circle ’97

Phil Circle is an independent singer, songwriter and guitarist who teaches privately, conducts music workshops, and occasionally works in music production and writes music related articles.

Phil Circle Music

Nic Collins ’06

Nic Collins’ series Year of the Snake follows a lovable, childish alien named Snake who is sent to earth to kill a lonely stoner named V. V's kindness makes Snake reconsider his mission, and they become the best of friends and band together to defeat the forces of evil.

Year of the Snake 


Jessica Curtis '03

Jessica Curtis’ web series pilot, Superfreaks, is a workplace comedy about people who have been endowed with unimpressive superpowers and are relegated to menial work in the corporate office.


Vinny DeGaetano, Aaron Fronk, Cooper Johnson, former students

Vinny DeGaetano, Aaron Fronk and Cooper Johnson’s latest feature film It’s All Good is now available for rental or purchase! The film is about three filmmakers who are broke and ready to give up on success in the movie business. However, they turn to crowdfunding for their first feature film and raise $75,000 but spend the money on frivolous luxuries.  Now they must face the consequences.

It’s All Good


Holly De Ruyter ’06

Holly De Ruyter's new documentary Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club is now available to purchase.  The documentary just had its Chicago premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

More information


Jonathan Diaz '08

Jonathan Diaz's  independent production company, Solo Picture Studios, is in the middle of post-production for their new short called Super Powers. In the meantime, check out Solo Picture Studio's other projects and Diaz's latest director reel.

Solo Picture Studios


Jess Dugan MFA '14

Jess Dugan's photograph Self-portrait (muscle shirt) is included in the upcoming D.C.'s National Portrait Gallery's exhibition, The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today.

Jess Dugan's website


Amber Echevarria '10

Amber Echevarria launched Munjo Munjo, an online shop of independent artist designed products. Munjo Munjo carries enamel pins, screen-printed T-shirts, typographic designed prints, digital art prints and more.

Munjo Munjo


Krista Franklin MFA ’13

Krista Franklin is a Chicago-based writer and visual artist, pop culture addict, educator, & lover of the African Diaspora.

Krista Franklin

Irving Gamboa ’10

Irving Gamboa’s latest short film Tulum City of Dawn is a poetic documentary about the ancient Mayan City of Tulum. A spiritual journey through the ruined City of Dawn.

View Tulum City of Dawn


Jess Godwin ’05

Singer-songwriter and nationally-touring recording artist Jess Godwin pours her vulnerable heart and dynamic voice into Elton John’s greatest hits in “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Jess Godwin Sings Elton John”. Jess will be performing on November 19, 2016 at Governors State University in University Park, IL.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Jess Godwin Sings Elton John


Michael Gorgoglione, former student 

Michael Gorglione wrote and directed his first feature film titled Go Mad and Mark. The film is about a souther blue collar construction worker who has an encounter with a mysterious "being" that he and his family will never forget.

Go Mad and Mark


Brandon Graham MFA ’08

Brandon Graham’s second book, Missing People, will be released on January 18, 2017. Preorder it via Amazon below. Missing People is about the traumatic disappearance of Etta Messenger, and six years after the disappearance, it’s clear that none of the members of her middle-class family have finished mourning. Gaping emotional wounds have been poorly addressed. Will this ensemble of damaged characters pull themselves together in time, or will new stresses rip their tattered lives to shreds...

Missing People


David Heinz '02

David Heinz recently wrapped principle photography on his first feature film September 12th. The film is about the kindness of strangers and the power of music. Heinz wrote and directed the film and is now in the process of editing it.  

September 12th


Benjamin Hicks '03 and Gerard Tran, former student 

Benjamin Hicks just launched "Fandependent Films", a brand new website for filmmakers and fans of indie film. You can check out all of these feature films absolutely free.  

Fandependent Films


Yuting Hsueh MFA '07

Yuting Hsueh's latest animated short film Crash Testing is about a crash test dummy recording his own aspirations via paintings of his expressions during a crash.  

Crash Testing


Joyce Hutchens '85

Joyce Hutchens new book How a Pro Se Won Justice is available for purchase on Amazon. Hutchens memoirs is the remarkable story of one woman's disturbing but valiant eight-year legal fight against a clout-heavy school district.

How a Pro Se Won Justice


Ervin Johnson '12

Ervin Johnson's latest work, #InHonor, is a series of photo-based mixed media portraits that have been featured on NBC News, The New York Times Lens Blog and Buzzfeed. The series was created "to honor Blackness as it exists in its various forms" said Johnson.

View portraits here

Nadine Kenney Johnstone MFA ’08

Nadine Kenney Johnstone's memoir, Of This Much I'm Sure, is forthcoming from She Writes Press in April. The memoir is about Nadine’s journey of meeting her husband, leaving her family and moving to the suburbs, her struggles with trying to have a baby and much more.

Of This Much I'm Sure: A Memoir


Brian Kalata ’87

Brian Kalata’s documentary, Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike which documents the activities and the aftermath on Hollywood and the media during the 2007 - 2008 Writers Guild of America Strike, will be released on November 8, 2016.

Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike trailer


Brian Kallies '03

Brian Kallies produced and edited the American Public Television documentary Heroes on Deck: World War IL on Lake Michigan, which explains why more than 100 WWII aircraft rested on the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Heroes on Deck: World War IL on Lake Michigan

Andrea Kampic MA ’92

Andrea Kampic’s new book The Skinny on Eating Plants: A Why and How Manual (The Skinny Health Series) (Volume 1) is available for purchase on Amazon.

Learn more about the book


Lale Soyugenc-Ketcham '10

Lale Soyugenc-Ketcham has an urban children's boutique, Windy City Bebe, in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Soyugenc-Ketcham also has a children's clothing line under the same name.

Windy City Bebe

Kelsey Minor ’05

Kelsey Minor is in the middle of a campaign to get his book published. The book is a memoir called Redemption Song and is about his life growing up in the south and being subjected to bullying and discrimination.

Redemption Song

Yusaku Mizoguchi '98

Yusaku Mizoguchi directed the feature film, Mafiosa, which won the Best Action Film Award at the 2016 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.

Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival


David Orr '04

David Orr founded Blue Aster Studio in Bloomington, IN. Blue Aster is a graphic design and illustration studio that crafts delightful solutions to help small businesses and non-profits connect with the people they need to reach.

Blue Aster Studio

Annmarie Ortega  '12

Annmarie Ortega's book Saucy Girl, the first of a contemporary romance suspense series has been published with Highland Press.

Saucy Girl

Vlady Valentin Oszkiel ’08

Vlady Valentin Oszkiel is seeking support to start post production on his film Lieblingsmenschen so they can begin to submit it to festivals. Lieblingsmenschen is a chamber comedy/drama about five friends leaving the city behind to find some peace of mind in a country house. But the silence is bringing their dreams and fears that much faster to the surface.


Jesseal Pacubas ’13

Jesseal Pacubas is the executive producer of a new comedy web series called Sequins. The web series explores the female Filipino American experience through the main character, Lucy. Lucy’s journey is sometimes humorous, often uncomfortable, and unapologetically authentic. Check out the hilarious music video that is featured in the pilot which is currently going through the festival circuit.

Sequins Music Video 

Johnathan Perkins '09

Johnathan Perkins is the executive producer for Hits: No Morals, a workplace comedy about hitmen who are terrible at their jobs. Perkins, along with his writing partner Joshua Aldis '09, are seeking financial assistance for season 2 of the series for props, craft services, and marketing. Read more about the campaign below.

Hits: No Morals


Michelle Pretorius MFA ’14

Michelle Pretorius just released her first novel, The Monster’s Daughter. The novel takes place at the height of the Boer War in 1901 South Africa. A doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. His work ends in chaos, but two children survive.

The Monster’s Daughter

Fred Rapoport ’87

Fred Rapoport owns an LA based composing company called Static Music which creates music intended for use in TV, Film and Advertising. For the past 15 years, Static Music composes music that helps tell a story, enhances the picture and is entirely produced in-house.

Static Music 

Brad Sanders ’76

Brad Sanders will be on a panel on Healthy Communication at The Black Women’s Expo in Chicago on April 9 from 4pm to 5:30pm.

The Black Women’s Expo

Jay Seawell MFA ’13

National Trust, the first book by Washington, D.C.-based artist Jay Seawell, takes a critical look at the structures of power in American political and media culture. Employing a somber humor, Seawell’s photographs explore the careful fabrication of the façades that exist throughout the deeply intertwined worlds of power, politics, and media in the United States.

 National Trust


Shawn Shiflett ‘76

Shawn Shiflett’s new book “Hey Libera!” will be released on September 2. The story, inspired by true events, is about a white boy attending a predominately African American high school in Chicago just after the Martin Luther King riots. 

Hey Libera!

Maggie Sichter '12

Maggie Sichter, a full-time Art Director in the Chicago startup industry, was featured globally as an illustrator in Apple's 2016 Keynote and iPad Pro launch. Click the link below to view Sichter's work with the Apple website. Visit more of her work via Instagram @littlepatterns.

Apple Pencil Website

Taggart Siegel ’85

Taggart Siegel runs a non-profit film company, Collective Eye, in Portland, Oregon which is an educational film distribution and production company that represents over 120 compelling documentaries that explore the untold stories of our time.

Collective Eye

Martina Smith '06

Martina Smith owns “Social PixPod”, a modern social photo booth that captures endless customizable pictures and Gif’s that can be easily shared on social media pages. The PixPod features a sleek white LED light enabled AirPod photo booth that fits within any space so it’s perfect for any size event.

Social PixPod


Derrick Trumbly '05

Derrick Trumbly started the non-profit organization Ed.Arts, whose mission is to free artists from student debt by educating them about how to manage college loan obligations while pursuing a career in the arts.

Ed. Arts


Joshua Tsui ’91

Joshua Tsui is currently in production on a documentary about Midway Games during the 90’s. From Mortal Kombat to NBA Jam to Cruis'n USA, this is the untold history of the greatest videogame studio of the 90's.

Insert Coin: Inside Midway's 90s Revolution trailer


Janetmarie Valiga '81

Janetmarie Valiga's collage will be included in the Real Change Portrait Project, an art show displayed at the Seattle City Hall. The project features portraits of former homeless individuals in Seattle also referred to as "Real Change vendors."

Real Change Portrait Project


Matt Voell, former student 

Matt Voell is a member of the band Tallymoore which is a contemporary Irish Folk band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, performing a range of Irish and Scottish folk tunes, ballads, reels and classic pub songs. Click below to hear their music and find out where they are performing next.



David Wall '13

David Wall, along with his fiancé, created and directed the stop-motion animated music video for the band The Kickback’s song “Fanger”

“Fanger” Music Video


Margaret Wappler ’98

Margaret Wappler’s new Sci-Fi novel, “Neon Green”, is now available for purchase. Wappler’s novel combines 90’s nostalgia with aliens!

Neon Green

Marques Williams ‘04

Marques Williams is seeking financial assistance for his daughter, Layla, who has a mild form of Autism, so that she can receive speech pathology, voice and acting lessons among other entertainment classes. Layla has a speech delay that makes it difficult for her to enunciate words when she sings and speaks. Marques would like to fulfill Layla’s dreams of becoming an entertainer a reality.

Layla’s GoFundMe Page 

Angela “Jay” Wilson ’94

Jay Wilson has released a new children's book titled “Frannie Fireball & Sally Snowball”. The book follows two sisters – one made of fire, the other made of snow, who symbolize the hot and cold weather. 

Frannie Fireball & Sally Snowball


Bennie Woodell '06

Bennie Woodell's sixth feature film, Love Meet Hope starring television legend Ed Asner, won best dramatic feature at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival

Love Meet Hope trailer


Elizabeth Wuerffel MFA ’06

Elizabeth Wuerffel co-directed a short documentary about Syrian refugees in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, Kawergosk: Home Made of Cloth.

Visit the documentary’s Facebook page


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