New Jobs, Familiar Faces: Three Alums Stepping into New Roles in SJMC

With the 2020-21 academic year about to begin, students, faculty and staff in the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication are preparing for a return to the classroom, both virtually and in-person. Along with new cohorts of undergraduate and graduate students, three SJMC alums are also taking on new positions in the department. Get to know Director Hernando Rojas (Ph.D.’05), Associate Faculty Associate Pete Long (BA’06) and Marketing & Communication Specialist Ashley Toy (BA’13).

Hernando Rojas headshot
Hernando Rojas, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism

Hernando Rojas (Ph.D.’05)

Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism

After receiving his Ph.D. from SJMC in 2005, Professor Hernando Rojas joined the faculty in 2010. An internationally recognized expert on the role of journalism in public deliberation within societies experiencing civic rupture and social distrust, Rojas has made important contributions to understanding how citizens interpret and use news and other information to participate in political deliberation and form their political opinions. He previously served as director of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program and for three years was the editor of “The International Journal of Public Opinion Research,” one of the most important academic journals in the field of public opinion. Rojas regularly teaches one of the J-School’s gateway courses, Introduction to Mass Communication (J201), as well as courses on international communication, public opinion and research methods, and graduate-level seminars on technology and global communications.

“It is a privilege and challenge to serve as director of such a vibrant school in these uncertain but energizing times, and I invite all of our students, parents, supporters, colleagues and alumni to help us build upon our current and historic strengths in teaching, research and service for a second century of success,” Rojas said.

Pete Long Headshot
Pete Long, Associate Faculty Associate

Pete Long (BA’06)

Associate Faculty Associate 

A 2006 graduate of the J-School, Pete Long also brings an MBA and a successful career in brand management, marketing and strategy to his new teaching role in SJMC. Long will be teaching Principles and Practice of Strategic Communication (J345), an introduction to strategic communications and a group-based simulator of an advertising agency “pitch” to a hypothetical client.

“My years partnering with agency professionals will help me bring the experience to life for our students at a critical time in their career search,” Long said. “I am excited to be able to give back in this way to the school and university that gave me so much!”

Ashley Toy Headshot
Ashley Toy, Marketing Communications Specialist

Ashley Toy (BA’13)

Marketing & Communication Specialist

Our final alum making a return to the J-School, Ashley Toy, graduated in 2013 and has spent her career up to this point in technology marketing and communications. As Marketing Communications Specialist, Toy will be managing SJMC web content, social media accounts, newsletters and more.

“I’ve always told anyone that would listen about the value of a journalism education from UW-Madison,” Toy said. “Now, I’m thrilled to be able to put my J-School and professional skills to work to do just that: Tell everyone about the creative and innovative work our students and faculty are doing everyday.”