Communications Degree Helps Alum Rise Above the Rest

Sam DeVecchis didn’t anticipate the heights that his Widener degree would take him to when he enrolled in the communications studies program. 

Sam DeVecchis in front of the CBS 3 helicopter
Sam DeVecchis
Class of 2019
Undergraduate
|
Communication Studies
  • College of Arts & Sciences
Career: Aerial Photojournalist

Sam DeVecchis didn’t anticipate the heights that his Widener degree would take him to when he enrolled in the communications studies program. Currently working as an aerial photojournalist serving broadcast news stations FOX29 and CBS3, Sam is one of only six full-time aerial photojournalists in the Philadelphia region. 

Sam’s mother is a longtime nursing faculty member at Widener, and he was always destined to be part of the pride. But his path to the sky was not always so clear. Originally enrolling at Widener as a biology major, he switched to psychology before finally landing on communication studies

“Since I was a kid, I was always filming videos with my friends on my handheld camcorder,” Sam shared. “You may already be doing something that’s a sustainable career without realizing it."

"Take a close look at what you do for fun and find a way to keep doing it.” -Sam DeVecchis
 

Connection is Key

Sam took part in study abroad opportunities to Costa Rica and Germany, worked on campus as a resident assistant, and was active in the broadcasting club. Ultimately, he notes Widener’s size as one of the university’s most valuable strengths.

 

“Small class sizes lead to a more intimate setting for education,” Sam said. “You’re going to become friends and form relationships with the teachers and other students. Those relationships become the backbone of your network that you don’t even know you need at the time.”

 

A close faculty relationship helped Sam land some of his original broadcast footage on primetime news even before he graduated. 

Ahead of the Rest

Tim Furlong, adjunct professor of communications studies and full-time reporter at NBC10 Philadelphia, helped to launch Sam’s career. 

 

NBC10 wanted to send a videographer to report on Widener’s “Walk A Mile” event – an annual event held on campus that’s part of an international movement to stop sexual assault and gender violence. But due to scheduling issues there was no one available to attend. Sam jumped at the chance and went to film the event himself. He shared his footage with Furlong, who sent it to the station and had it used on the 5 o’clock show that evening. 

 

“That was huge for me at the time,” said Sam. “I never planned on working in news, but later down the road when I did apply, having my footage air in the fourth largest news market didn’t hurt.”

Flexible Future

Sam is a firm believer that life is not linear, and his degree from Widener has allowed him to explore different areas of communications careers, including smaller market news and in-house video production. His advice is to always keep an open mind and be ready for new opportunities. 

 

“For everyone graduating - remember that you yourself are an asset. If you recognize that, and have the work ethic to back it up, you’ll always hold the cards.”

Career: Aerial Photojournalist

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