March 18, 2020
MCLA alums Sarah Murphy '15 and Emily Dessingue '14 are building their respective new businesses by helping each other.
MCLA alums Sarah Murphy '15 and Emily Dessingue '14 are building their respective new businesses by helping each other. The Albany, N.Y.-based entrepreneurs were both English Communications majors at the College and met in class.
Murphy, an experiential learning coordinator at UAlbany, started S&T Media in late 2017 with her boyfriend, Tom Legnard. The pair shoot weddings, engagement photos, and family portraits, and are expanding into videography and small-business marketing.
Dessingue works in Schenectady at the SEAT center, a social enterprise and training center for underrepresented youth ages 18-24, and has recently gone from working in commercial real estate to residential real estate with Berkshire Hathaway.
“I reconnected with Sarah to grow my clientele,” she said about hiring her friend to shoot photos of her clients in front of their new homes. “My clients are happy with the professional photos and now Sarah has met new people. I post a photo on social media and tag her, and vice versa. My hope is that someone will love the photos so much that they’ll reach out to her again in the future. It’s a win for everyone.”
Both Murphy and Dessingue said that their time at the College was impactful and they look for ways to give back to MCLA and to help current students and new grads. Murphy is on the College’s alumni board, was the convocation speaker for the Fall 2019 incoming class, and presented the capstone at the February 2020 Student Leadership Conference. Dessingue recently spoke to the College’s business students about the importance of networking, no matter what industry they pursue.
As a first-generation college student, Murphy said she is thankful for the MCLA faculty, staff, and coaches who make it a point to ensure students are successful. After graduation, she has been able to call on her fellow grads to volunteer with her initiatives, such as helping her former RPI students with professional development. “It’s nice to have this support system,” she said. “You grow from this community.”
Dessingue agrees, “MCLA is such a tight-knit community; I’ve never reached out to an alum and been ignored. Everyone has been open to talking and meeting with me for my own professional growth. Those are the things that are unique about this school and I’m very grateful.”
Are you an MCLA student, alum, or faculty member? Do you want MCLA to share your story? Please email Creative and Brand Strategy Manager Francesca Olsen at Francesca.Olsen@mcla.edu.