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We are Liberal Arts

Winter 2016
December 22, 2015

The CLA LinkedIn group is up to 7,000 members. We'd like to introduce you to four of them and to encourage you to join the College of Liberal Arts' official LinkedIn group at You can connect with fellow alumni and give a hand to current and graduating students.

Rose Hruska

BS '13, scientific & technical communication

Portrait: Rose Hruska

I am a technical writer at Medtronic, a large medical device company that is headquartered in the Twin Cities area. My primary responsibility is creating and editing patient- and clinician-facing labeling about medical devices. Examples of this labeling include instructions for use and quick reference guides.
My academic experience within CLA helped me become a more well-rounded technical writer. I was able to enroll in a diverse range of courses, and I felt a sense of belonging and support within my major.

My favorite class was WRIT 4501: Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication, taught by Lee-Ann Breuch. This class provided me with an incredible opportunity to utilize the University's Usability Lab in a professional manner. The experience I gained from WRIT 4501 has allowed me to participate in multiple usability tasks in my professional career. 
See Rose's LinkedIn profile.

Meredith Kessler

BA '05, English

Portrait: Meredith Kessler

In my role as assistant director of public relations at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, I represent a number of programmatic areas for the institution including visual arts/exhibitions, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and institutional initiatives like the current campus renovation, and place media coverage with local, national, and international media outlets.

Studying liberal arts undoubtedly made me a well-rounded person and citizen, and I always felt that studying literature and cultural studies in particular was also an education in history, politics, philosophy, art, sociology, theory—the list goes on. I always read voraciously, but learning how to read in a broader context and connecting these texts to our world played a huge role in who I am today.

My favorite English classes were the ones that challenged my beliefs and comfort zones. Of course they always turned out to be the most inspiring and rewarding, and helped build skills and confidence for inevitable challenges after graduation. 
See Meredith's LinkedIn profile.

Joshua Matrella

BA '13, communication studies

Portrait: Joshua Matrella

I represent Campfire Inbound Marketing and I manage client relationships and business development. We partner with companies to grow their web presence and increase their company sales. We take a holistic approach to marketing and focus on our client's target demographic. My team builds unique content that drives our client's buyers back to their website and our lead generation strategies turn those prospects into customers.

As a liberal arts major I built relationships with all types of people. Understanding individuals outside my inner circle is critical to my career and success. My studies in communication have furthered my ability to build strong relationships and communicate my professional message to everyone I work with.

Stephanie Galarneault was my instructor for my senior thesis. Her class, Organizational Communication, taught me think about all levels of communication in business. I've become a stronger listener with everyone I encounter, and her teachings have helped my growth as a person and professional. 
See Josh's LinkedIn profile. 

Ian Truitner

BA '95, theatre arts 

Portrait: Ian Truitner

Currently head of production at Thousand Mile Media and CEO of RANDIAN, I have produced and directed numerous award-winning projects that have screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Milan International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, South by Southwest, Seattle International Film Festival, and Telly Awards. "W.M.D.", a film I wrote and produced, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was released in April 2015, and sci-fi feature "Teleios," a film I wrote and directed, is currently in post-production and slated for a 2016 release.

Studying theatre at the CLA was instrumental in shaping my career. The first production I ever put on was called "Dimensions of a Box" at the Rarig Center my senior year, where I fumbled through assembling a bunch of disparate elements into some kind coherent outcome. Though the budgets and stakes have increased exponentially, every project I've done since mirrors my first when it comes to inspiring a group of various people with divergent personalities to rally behind a common vision.

Of the many great instructors I had at the U, the one who stands out is Professor Michal Kobialka, who taught theatre history. He turned what could have been a pedantic exercise into a dynamic, compelling experience. More importantly, Professor Kobialka's lasting gift was opening my mind and teaching me that the greatest gems often lie between the lines.
See Ian's LinkedIn profile.