Meet Ashley Crossan ’11

All in.

For East Carolina University alumna Ashley Crossan, that was the mindset when she wanted to become a part of the entertainment news industry. This mindset, paired with some risk taking and her time at ECU, has helped this outgoing Pirate achieve the career she had always envisioned.

“My journey began on an impulsive decision to jump in a car with a friend and drive cross-country to Los Angeles,” said Crossan, who graduated in 2011. “I had the dream of making my way into the entertainment news industry, so I went for it. After two months of applying, I got a call from Entertainment Tonight to work as a night-shift PA.”

Since then Crossan has only gone up. She is now a producer for Entertainment Tonight as well as a host for ETonline. She has covered events such as the San Diego Comic Con and even interviewed movie stars like John Boyega, who played Finn in the box office hit “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”


“I’ve been a Star Wars fan my entire life, so getting the opportunity to cover that movie in any capacity was such a dream come true,” said Crossan. “My favorite moment [of Comic Con] was during the Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel, director J.J. Abrams surprised all the fans with a John Williams-themed concert outside. They handed out light sabers to everyone and played Star Wars scores into the night!”

As producer and host, Crossan’s responsibilities are constantly changing. From writing multiple video scripts to conducting on-camera interviews, no one day is the same. Crossan credits ECU and the School of Communication’s multi-faceted approach to education for helping her prepare for the hectic demands of her job.

“The great thing about the School of Communication at ECU is the push to wearing many different hats and trying out an array of classes,” said Crossan. “You may not want to be an editor, writer, or a public relations specialist, but it’s good to know every facet of the industry so you can understand how these areas work.”

For fellow Pirates interested in her line of work, Crossan shared some advice on how to create a good interview.

“Everyone gets nervous [interviewing people]. When you’re nervous, you tend to focus on what you’re going to say next, rather than listening to your subject and being in the moment,” said Crossan. “When you’re comfortable, focused and just having a conversation with someone there’s a good chance you’ll pick up on something that will lead to an unexpectedly great story.”

She also stressed the importance of reaching out and networking with other professionals.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with people,” said Crossan. “It’s something people are afraid to do, but they shouldn’t be! I will never turn down an opportunity to give some advice or at least look at their resume and give feedback. Most people feel the same way.”

By Michael Avila

Member Spotlight: Captain David R. Herndon ’05

Bio Portrait

Air Force Captain David R. Herndon ’05 knows a lot about service. He is dedicated to serving both his country and his alma mater.

Herndon is finishing up a deployment to Headquarters Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan as the military assistant and aide-de-camp to the deputy chief of staff for strategic communication.

From his post in Afghanistan, Herndon recently joined the East Carolina Alumni Association as a Centennial Pirate, after being prompted by his father. Herndon says this is especially fitting since his father has been his example for his whole life.

“My father is my inspiration, role model, and best friend,” Herndon says. “I recall him taking me to plenty of air shows and visiting his reserve unit when I was growing up. He retired as a lieutenant colonel after more than 34 years of honorable service and every day, I salute him for sacrificing and showing me what it means to serve. When I go off on tangents about the greatness of ECU, he always asks what I’ve done recently to give back and ensure its greatness continues. I’m one of the proudest Pirates you’ll ever meet, so it was an easy decision to join the alumni association.”

Herndon enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program at ECU during his freshman year. Originally from the Triangle area, Herndon was considering out-of-state schools, but a visit to ECU and the Air Force ROTC detachment changed his mind. “I talked it over with my parents after that initial visit and we agreed ECU was the best decision. It remains one of the best journeys I’ve taken in my life,” he said.

Herndon earned his bachelor of science in communication. While at ECU, Herndon also served as student body vice president. Some of his favorite memories are those from the campaign trail with the Student Government Association. He also enjoyed his aerospace courses and leadership labs with the Air Force ROTC program.

“The School of Communication at ECU definitely put me on a solid track to support the rigors of handling international communication portfolios,” he said. “ECU not only gave me that foundation, but provided me with an opportunity to network and think globally when exploring communication concepts. My biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience was the importance of continued life-long learning. There was a banner above the entrance of the Air Force ROTC detachment that read ‘Following Today, Leading Tomorrow, Learning Forever.’ I take that message with me everywhere I go.”

1560744_10102193065211753_1936797137953890315_nAfter his deployment, Herndon will return to the Pentagon where he works as a public affairs officer at Headquarters Air Force, with additional duty as a social aide to the president of the US with the White House Military Office.

By Jackie Drake