Alumni Spotlights2019-01-16T15:58:56+00:00

Alumni Spotlights

Arlyne Obregon, ‘93Robert Bozeman ’15Olivia Alvarez ’13Jefferson Noel, '17Fredricka Jourdain, '17 Darlain Presmy, '17 Tiffany Rinehart ’18


Arlyne Obregon, ‘93

Written by: Camila Fernandez

Vice President of Ad Sales at NBC Universal, Arlyne Obregon, ‘93 leads advertising sales in Latin America with teams in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Panama. After more than two decades of experience in the industry, Obregon supervises under Universal’s portfolio of regional channels: Universal Channel, Studio Universal, Syfy, E! Entertainment and Telemundo International.

She graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in communication (advertising) and describes her alma mater in three words: friendly, flexible and successful.

Her responsibilities include developing markets from their humble beginnings, which requires strategic thinking and team collaboration skills. She visits agencies and clients to work with their marketing teams to ensure they meet budget requirements.

“I enjoy challenges and having to build the region from scratch and being able to see the progress is totally rewarding to me,” says Obregon.

Before serving as Vice President, Obregon was Sales Director for Sony Pictures Television International where she garnered expertise in market advertising in Miami. For 16 years, she brilliantly guided a team of sales executives responsible for a $16 million budget in Mexico, while establishing relationships with key clients and agencies within the industry. Previously, she was Vice President for Advertising Sales in Sony Pictures Miami, overseeing regional sales for Sony Pictures Entertainment networks in Latin America.

“I have been in this career for more than 22 years and have been able to develop markets in Panama, Mexico and Central America. I have been able to do so by setting my own strategy and goals, which have always been focus driven.” In fact, Obregon’s mission statement for her Ad Sales group is Believe. Focus. Conquer.

Some of her greatest mentors include past FIU professors Mel Stein and Emerita Pat Rose.

“Mel Stein was an extremely difficult professor, but very smart and well versed in the advertising world. He ended up teaching me most of the pillars of my career, such as Creative Concepts 1 & 2, Principles of Advertising and Writing for Mass Communication. He always came in prepared to show life examples of his own experience, clips, prizes and good readings. I understand he passed away years ago, but it would have been great to be able to share with him what I have accomplished.”

Obregon said she owes much of her merit to Stein’s philosophy: In advertising, you need to zigg when everyone else is zagging. In other words, while everyone else goes one direction, the successful will go the other.

“I have always followed that philosophy in my corporate career and have been able to conquer markets that no other channel had identified.”

Obregon said Rose taught her the basic principles of public relations and that she followed her first footsteps into her career and the Advertising Association.

“In the advertising industry, it is important to follow your instincts and your strengths and to never give up! Do not settle for average because it is not good enough these days. To make a difference in this world, always strive for excellence.”


Robert Bozeman ’15

Taking his past tragedy and using it as an impetus for change, Robert Bozeman. Jr has spent the past years advocating against gun violence throughout South Florida. In February 2005, he was shot in the head at a club after an altercation broke out with two men. He was left to fight for his life for five days.

Understanding how fragile life is and having been humbled by his experience, he decided to make a positive change in his life. With great determination, he fought his way back into the classroom, resolute to graduate with a B.A. in Communication Arts. The program has helped him become an effective speaker, build confidence to speak in front of crowds, and given him the tools to develop powerful messages.

His campaign against gun violence uses his personal experiences to teach at-risk youth about the power of forgiveness. Labeled “The Anti-Violence Ambassador” by the Black Affairs Advisory Board, Robert Bozeman Jr. is a voice for today to speak a word of peace and inspiration to our future.

To read more about his story, visit: Carta News

Olivia Alvarez withOlivia Alvarez Newsletter

Olivia Alvarez ’13

Alvarez graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Communication Arts and a minor in Global Media Communications. She was also appointed Student Ambassador for her program by Department Chair, Joann Brown this past spring semester. Prior to graduating, she began her role as Editorial/Marketing Coordinator for Selecta Magazine and became Managing Editor for CasaLife Magazine, Selecta’s sister publication. “Working for Selecta has truly been a remarkable experience, because not only do I get the chance to write about some of my favorite things—fashion and beauty, but I also get to work alongside an incredible team of professionals who are just as enthusiastic about their job as I am!” Aside from proofreading and editing the magazine each month, Olivia is responsible for putting together several columns, including Beauty, Women/Men’s Fashion, Jewelry and Decor. She is also responsible for Selecta’s Social Media sites and webpage, and also puts together Marketing agreements and sponsorships with other organizations. On her spare time, she enjoys reading books, blogging, filming YouTube videos for her channel, catching up with friends and family, cooking and playing with her two dogs, Harley and Valentino.”

To read more about her story, visit: Carta News

Jefferson Noel ’17

Written by: by Jessica Drouet

Jefferson Noël was looking for a way to better immerse himself in his community. A Miami native, born to Haitian immigrant parents, Jefferson had just moved back to his home city from Orlando when he overheard a heated discussion about basketball while getting a haircut. That is when an idea came to him. What if the barbershop could be used as a venue to host intelligent discussions that impact the community? That is how Barbershop Speaks was born.

Now Jefferson moves his series of barbershop conversations throughout the city, creating an opportunity for community members of all ages and backgrounds to share their experiences, opinions, and ideas. As Jefferson noted, “Barbershops don’t discriminate on who is let in the room.”

As he begins working on his master’s degree in global strategic communications next year, Jefferson will continue the Barbershop Speaks series. Beyond topics that have already been tackled, such as last year’s election, women “(in)powerment,” and education, Jefferson will begin a financial literacy series sponsored by Financial Services Professionals from New York Life to the communities that need it most.

An entrepreneur at heart, Jefferson looks to grow the series and continue transforming lives while building relationships. He also just self-published his first book about public speaking: “Powerful Presenting: How to Overcome One of the Nation’s Greatest Fears.”

Fredricka Jourdain ’17 

Written by: Angela Nicoletti

A first generation student, Fredricka Jourdain always dreamed of going to college. In high school, she participated in Upward Bound, which allowed her to take classes at FIU and also live on campus.

As a part of FIU’s Golden Scholars bridge program, an alternative admissions program for under-represented students, Fredricka got into FIU and excelled her first semester. However, her second semester wasn’t as easy. After her car was totaled in a bad accident, Fredricka experienced a period of intense loneliness and uncertainty. Her grades suffered. She lost her financial aid and then her housing. Determined to stay at FIU, Fredricka got a job at Starbucks on campus and she found temporary shelter at a coworker’s house.

One day, Courtenay McClain, program director for Golden Scholars, noticed Fredricka behind the counter at Starbucks. McClain introduced Fredricka to Ana Ramos, director of Fostering Panther Pride, which supports former foster youth and homeless students at FIU.

Fredricka received housing and a tuition waiver. She made the dean’s list five times. Outside the classroom, she served as vice president of FIU’s Resident Hall Association, joined the honor society Lambda Pi Eta, and worked for Upward Bound.

In January, Fredricka will begin pursuing her master’s degree in higher education administration at FIU and she hopes to also work for the university that helped change the course of her life.

Darlain Presmy ’17

Written By: Jennifer Lacayo

Diagnosed with sickle cell anemia as a child, Darlain Presmy began experiencing extreme episodes of pain at the age of 16. As an FIU student, the incapacitating pain made ordinary tasks impossible on most days.

Still, Darlain made it to class. Often, he used a walking cane to assist him.

During his time at FIU, he was hospitalized over a dozen times, but he did not let the downtime impede him. If he missed a semester, he would return and take up to five courses at a time to make up for it.

Outside of the classroom, Darlain joined the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, became vice president and president of the Students Write Club, served as treasurer for Student Poets Eloquently Articulating Knowledge (SPEAK) and participated in the Miami-Dade Police and Youth Community Dialogue program, which brings officers into local high schools to establish a dialogue with high school students.

In his free time, Darlain likes to write poetry, song lyrics and compose music. After graduation, he plans to pursue creative writing and return to FIU for a graduate degree in communication or marketing. He credits his mother, Marie, for being such an influential and strong person in his life and for encouraging him to fulfill his dream of graduating.

Tiffany Rinehart ’18

By Angela Nicoletti

When Tiffany Rinehart was only 5 years old, her mother was in a car accident that left her permanently disabled. Tiffany became her mother’s primary caregiver. As soon as she turned 16, she started working fulltime to financially support herself and help her mother.

Since then, Tiffany hasn’t stopped working. She has balanced school and caretaking and held countless jobs over the years – at Burger King, other restaurants and even a shoe store – just to make ends meet. Tiffany simply calls this “survival.”

Tiffany’s definition of survival is also about being there when others have needed her. When Tiffany’s aunt was diagnosed with lung cancer, Tiffany was by her side the entire time. When Tiffany’s boss got a phone call that his mother – who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease – fell and broke her hip, Tiffany rushed to the hospital with him and later assisted with the mother’s daily care.

During tough times, Tiffany said she remembers what a nurse told her when, as a teenager, she survived a car accident unscathed, but her mother was injured: “Time is going to pass. It’s what you have to show for it that counts.”

Today, Tiffany has a lot to show. She’s graduating with a 3.8 GPA – and through her hard work and determination, she also made one of her longtime dreams come true: in the fall, she will be attending NYU to earn her Master of Arts in Media, Culture and Communication.

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