Emily Lucas ’19 Builds on Her SMC Experience in Communication and Theology

Retired Communication Professor Ed Tywoniak poses with Emily Lucas.Emily Lucas ’19 may still be a recent graduate, but she’s already made a place for herself—and the passions she developed at Saint Mary’s—in the working world. A former Communications major with a double minor in Theology and Digital Media studies, Lucas credits the College, and a few SMC community members in particular, for helping her develop the communication and media skills to make her dream job a reality.

“Saint Mary’s gave me the education I needed to feel confident in the field I was getting into,” said Lucas, who after graduation went to work for a local news station in Fresno, her hometown. “I did a lot of the camera work and editing for the five and six o’clock news shows there.”

After a year at the job, Lucas thought about making a move, and SMC again came to the rescue. “Saint Mary’s is so great with networking,” she said. “I had a professor [Brother Chris Patiño] who thought of me when he saw a job description.  And so I applied, and now I’m working as a videographer and a media coordinator for Sisters of the Presentation, a Roman Catholic religious order of women. I wanted to combine my theology background and digital media and communication background when I was at Saint Mary’s. Having the theology background gives me knowledge and understanding of different cultures and beliefs,” Lucas said. “And then on top of it, I have the digital media communication skills to do videos and interviews. I feel like this current job really does blend all of everything I studied.

“Emily is an exceptional young woman: motivated and self-possessed, with the self-confidence to think for herself and to ask good questions,” said Professor of Theology Father David Gentry-Akin. “She is deeply committed to her Catholic faith, but not in an unthinking way. Further, she is able to cogently and graciously defend what she believes, without becoming defensive.”

While at Saint Mary’s, Lucas traveled on the Jan Term trip to Rome with Father Dave and Brother Chris, which clarified for her what she wanted to do with her life. “That was the best experience of my life. That was really the moment when I decided that I really did want to blend my career with communications and theology, seeing everything in Italy, like the Vatican and Assisi. I wanted to be able to showcase that part of our Catholic faith through video and media, and remind people that there is still good out there in the world.”

As a student, Lucas held a number of positions that readied her for her career path. Retired Communications Professor Ed Tywoniak was instrumental in supporting Lucas’ dream. “Sophomore or junior year, he asked me if I would be willing to work for the Communication Department and teach people how to do video and editing in Premiere. She also worked with Father Mike Russo on his Sunday to Sunday cable program.

“I was talking to Professor Tywoniak one day and told him that the job I wanted doesn’t exist, that I didn’t know how to blend all of my interests together. He said, ‘Just keep getting the experience, and it’ll come.’ Sure enough, two years later, this position exists.”

“I definitely would not be where I am without my education,” Lucas said. “The people I met at SMC, both faculty and students—it was one of the most fulfilling times in my life, and I still stay in close contact with professors and friends.”

Lucas looks forward to one of the perks of her new job—traveling. Though she’s sequestered for the shelter in place in Fresno, “I’ve gone down to SoCal and gone to North Dakota for a round of filming. The Sisters of the Presentation are in 24 countries, so as long as I’m with them I’ll be going lots of places.

“I am so proud of all that she has accomplished,” added Father Dave, “and so grateful for the small role that I have had in supporting and mentoring her.”

Read more about the Communication Department here, and the Theology & Religious Studies here.


Emily Lucas films for the news. Emily Lucas at work.