Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Communication expert addresses Lycoming students virtually

Communication expert addresses Lycoming students virtually

Download Image: Web

Aspiring communication professionals at Lycoming College recently connected virtually with International Brand Manager at Disney Theatrical Group Valerie Cirillo, to discuss brand management and how it relates to advertising. The students, all enrolled in an advertising course, listened with interest as Cirillo discussed how she launched her career and was able to leverage her skills through the years.

Lead by John Capo, assistant professor of communication, CCOM 332 – Advertising, traces the development of advertising into the broader field of integrated marketing communication, examining the concepts of branding, targeting, segmentation, positioning, and creative strategy. Students view and critique prominent advertising campaigns, create their own print and video advertisements, explore the psychology behind advertising, and assess the impact of advertising on society.

Cirillo, who previously served as senior brand manager for American Eagle Outfitters, examined with students the differences in managing brands in an international setting. As examples, the group considered why Disney merchandise looks different in Asia than it does in the United States, as well as the challenges in how Disney’s ESPN promotes the WNBA. The students, who are primarily interested in careers in sports and entertainment advertising, public relations, social media management, and broadcasting, were interested in hearing about how Cirillo landed her first job, and her take on the qualities she looks for in promising communication professionals.

“Valerie and her story are relatable. Like many undergraduates, she was not entirely sure what career she would end up in after graduating from college. She explained how becoming an information sponge and learning about as many things as possible allowed her to discover her niche,” said Capo. “Because Disney and American Eagle are such recognizable brands, the students could relate to her stories. She also provided an international perspective, which is key to succeeding in any industry.”

“I found it beneficial to hear about real-world solutions for real-world issues. The most interesting thing I learned from Valerie is that even powerful and influential companies like Disney have and still are struggling through this pandemic,” said Jordan Matta, a senior business major who recently completed a Disney advertising campaign project. “Having to create new ways to market to consumers when you have nothing to show or provide to them is a whole new situation to which Disney and many other companies have had to adapt. Valerie's talk related to my own interests because she provided so much useful insight into the entertainment and corporate worlds.”

Lycoming College’s communication program prepares students for a full-array of media-related professions with a curriculum that supports a balance of practice and theory. Communication students at Lycoming College study the way media interacts with society, and are introduced to a variety of media in their courses, as well as outside of the classroom through independent projects, internships, and more. Additional information is available at

Useful Resources