Graduates in the Spotlight

Darien Talley

Image of Darien TalleyHOMETOWN: Charlotte, North Carolina

MAJOR: Communication Studies

WCSU DEGREE: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

ACTIVITIES: Creator of Touch of Daz (, a site that highlights underground hip-hop and EDM artists, interviews with celebrities and upcoming tastemakers/influencers, fashion, events and more. Worked part-time for the fall semester at Annie Sez as a sales associate and decided to leave for the spring semester so I could take on an internship. Also a babysitter and dog-sitter for a lovely family in Danbury and have been doing that for the past two years in the mornings.

INTERNSHIPS: Intern for the Public Relations Office on campus

HONORS AND AWARDS: Inducted member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Finalist in WCSU’s Media Film Festival 2017-18 — Director of “Love Wins” PSA (Basic Video Production).



Darien Talley attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from May 2012 to May 2015. “I was a Public Relations major there because that is their specialty, but I didn’t like the program,” she says. “I started doing the radio on campus, where I launched a successful show that helped many artists in Charlotte, which helped me to realize I love entertainment even more than I thought I did. I enrolled at WestConn in January 2016, because it was close to my house and affordable since I was a transfer student. Then I looked into what was offered and immediately became intrigued in the theatre program, but decided to stay in communications and dive into media production electives. In the end of all this, I am glad I did choose WestConn and stay with the communication department, because I loved the media production courses that were offered and that is what I wanted to do when I first went to college.”

Talley’s internship in the spring semester of her senior year changed the negative perception about public relations that she had developed in North Carolina. “Sherri Hill of the PR Department basically became a mentor to me,” she says. “She helped to guide me through what it takes to write press releases and navigate through a PR crisis if there is one. She made me feel welcome when I first came to the office and always made sure I was okay — the office became a safe space for me on campus. I appreciated that, because I didn’t know what to expect from being a part of the office and she made my experience go so much smoother. She also helped me to see that public relations isn’t as boring as I thought it was from my previous university — it’s actually fun and exciting when you are in the process of researching and writing the releases. I would also like to give an honorable mention to Professor Donato Saraceno, because he sent me the opportunity of reaching out to Sherri about the PR internship. He also helped me to realize that besides general writing I should get into screenplay writing, which I have to agree with.”

Asked what she will remember most about her WestConn experience, Talley says, “My most memorable experiences would be creating videos during my video production classes. I am so used to being in front of the camera and I loved being able to learn about what it takes to go behind the scenes and put everything together. It is a lot harder than what people would imagine and I gained valuable experience, which led up to winning an award at the annual Media Film Festival on campus for a PSA I directed entitled “Love Wins.” It focused on suicide youth awareness in the LGBTQ+ community. Jay Brower of the Communication Department did a write-up on my group’s Sound For Video project with a daycare on Federal Road called Little People Learning Center. The daycare actually reached out to Dr. Brower asking if any students would like to do a promotional commercial and my group decided to take on the challenge. The client was very pleased with the product and it was a great experience to do real professional work. All of this has helped me to realize that I have a passion for directing and visually telling a story instead of mentally, which is gained from reading.”

After graduation, Talley says, “My plans are to keep gaining experience in my career — whether that be writing for an established publication or joining a PR firm. A professional dream would be to work for a fashion house in the communications department such as Gucci or Louis Vuitton. I would also like to venture more into creating productions such as short films or music videos. I plan to keep writing creatively as I have a few ideas that I would like to execute, such as an animation geared toward young girls and women who need better representation of how strong we can really be.”

Her advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Keep going forward even when a situation or moment feels too hard or impossible to overcome. Stand tall in the face of adversity and stay strong in what you believe in and want to accomplish. The only person that will make you successful is you and you can’t do that feeling sorry for yourself.”