Students arriving at Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA) will meet both new and familiar faces as the College’s West Coast presence continues to grow.
Recent graduate Charvelle Holder ’13, the business operations coordinator at ELA, said it’s “unbelievable that I can be so in touch with my alma mater.”
“When I give tours, I like to mention how I went through the old Los Angeles Program as a student, and now I’m working for the new LA Program,” said Holder, who received a degree in Journalism. “I always had such a great connection with Emerson, and it’s awesome to continue with that.”
Holder, who also works as a fashion model and is not much older than the students arriving at ELA, said she always tries to offer advice to new students.
“A fun fact is I’ve lived here the entire time without a car. It’s kind of unheard of,” said Holder, who is originally from Manchester, Connecticut, and has worked for ELA since its opening in January. “I take public transportation, or I’ll offer a friend with a car a few bucks for gas. It was only three weeks ago when I tried Uber for the first time.”
Jon Clayden recently started working at ELA as its director of post-graduate and professional studies. Clayden holds a Master of Arts from Middlesex University in London, England—his country of origin.
Before beginning his career in higher education, Clayden was the vocalist for the British musical group Pitchshifter, which had success in the 1990s and 2000s with tours in 27 countries (including Ozzfest and Warped Tour); appearances on MTV; and use of its music in feature films, such as The Crow, Paycheck, and Mortal Kombat, as well as several video games.
Clayden used his performing arts background to begin a career in higher education when he became a career development advisor for the Los Angeles Recording and Film Schools, where he was later promoted to associate director of career development. Clayden later worked at the Musicians Institute—whose alumni include members of Weezer and the Red Hot Chili Peppers—as chair of the vocal department, and later became its vice president of academic affairs before joining Emerson Los Angeles last April.
“I’m very happy to come on board,” he said, “and help develop new offerings to meet the needs of local constituents for an institution with such an incredible history.”
Clayden has developed two night courses that will begin this fall: Social Media Management and Networking Strategies for the Entertainment Industry.
“Both courses were developed based on feedback from a recent survey of Southern California alumni,” Clayden said. “We asked what they would like to see developed and then used that data to create offerings to match.”
Both classes are noncredit courses that are open to the public. Clayden said ELA is hoping to build more course offerings not just for Emerson students and alumni but for the public as well.
He has several other ideas in the works for course offerings, and is in talks with people in the public relations, nonprofit, technology start-up, digital arts, and entertainment fields.