This year’s class valedictorian honors go to not one, but two students from the Communication Studies Department. Alejandro “Alex” Castillo, a Political Communication major, and Emma Krause, a Communication Studies major, will both be graduating at the top of their class with 3.98 GPAs on Monday, May 14.
“Those of us in the Department of Communication Studies are very proud of Emma and Alex, and we’re particularly delighted to see both of our majors, Political Communication and Communication Studies, represented with this incredible honor,” said Department of Communication Studies Chair Richard West. “By any standard, both Alex and Emma were class leaders, always willing to express thoughtful insights, offering others guidance when they were floundering, and dedicated to the mission of Emerson.”
Castillo, originally from Ventura, California, came to Emerson as a transfer student in his sophomore year. He was looking to find a socially committed community and immediately got involved on campus. He was a member of the Communication Politics and Law Association (CPLA) for three years, and spent the past year as the organization’s president, participating in a documentary project in Iceland, making annual trips to Washington, D.C., and New York, and helping plan campus programming on education and civic engagement. CPLA was named Organization of the Year at the Emerson Recognition and Achievement Awards this year.
Castillo was also the assistant director of Project Medellin-Boston. Through that group, he helped organize two art exhibitions that brought young artists from Colombia to Boston to present their artwork, and he traveled to Colombia to help organize a documentary project. Additionally, he was an orientation leader for two years, and worked in various roles in the Admission Office for the past three years. He also studied abroad in Florence, Italy last spring.
Besides his many campus roles, Castillo similarly kept busy off campus, interning for U.S. Senator Kirk as well as NBC Boston. He is currently interning for radio program The World, a collaboration of the BBC and WGBH, where he will be staying on as a producer this summer.
“Emerson is not a place where you can idly get by,” said Castillo. “You get as much as you put in, and I feel like I have put in everything that I possibly could have. I channeled all my resources into international affairs and social advocacy.”
It’s Castillo’s plan to continue to work in those arenas in his post-Emerson life.
Co-valedictorian Emma Krause was also very involved on campus. Besides her major in Communication Studies, the Toronto, Canada, native picked up two minors, in Literature and in Political Science, which she said “shaped [her] Emerson experience quite a bit.” She worked on the student literary magazine Emerson Review for two years, had a radio show on ETIN, and was a member of the Shakespeare Society.
But what Krause calls her “main claim to fame” was her three-year involvement with the Emerson College Quidditch team. She spent one of those years as the organization’s marketing director, and another as its commissioner. “It was a fabulous experience and learning opportunity,” she said. “I managed a 250-person organization, with a $35,000 budget. I pretty much got to run a small nonprofit while I was in college.”
Krause also took part in Emerson’s Washington, D.C., program last fall, where she had the opportunity to intern at the Mexican Embassy. Other internships she has had during the course of her college career include working for the Esplanade Association; for M+R Strategic Services; and for Governor Deval Patrick’s PAC, called Together PAC, where she has lined up a job as grassroots and communications coordinator upon graduation.
She is excited about her new job and about living in Boston while her brother is also in the city; he will follow in his sister’s footsteps and begin the Communication Studies program at Emerson in the fall. Eventually, Krause plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in international relations.