VACA Alumni

kenzie gardner photographer

Kenzie Gardner

Photographer - Harrisonburg, Virginia

Photography Major, 2023

Kenzie runs her own business as a Virginia-based photographer specializing in weddings, senior photos and lifestyle portraits. 

Kenzie also works for Strawbridge Studios where she photographs pre-k through 12th grade students from Harrisonburg and the surrounding areas. These sessions include Fall and Spring Pictures, Senior Cap and Gown, and Formal, as well as opportunities to do Proms and Graduations. Kenzie loves working with children and says Strawbridge feels like a second home. She loves being part of the large community that has been developed by a 100+ year business.

Of her time at EMU Kenzie says:
The VACA program was immensely helpful in fine-tuning my photography skills. I took almost every VACA class available during my four years at EMU. In my classes I was curious, challenged, and encouraged to push my photography out of my comfort zone. During my senior year I created and showcased my portfolio for the public, where I conveyed my learning disability in a series of artistic visual pieces. During college I second/associate-photographed for lead photographers, and immediately following graduation I picked up a newborn photography job. My dream is to photograph weddings full-time!


Londen Wheeler

Photographer - Dallas, Texas

Photography and Digital Media double major, 2016

Londen runs his photography business from Dallas Texas where he works with a wide variety of clients and genres. He has a love for all things sports, color, and natural light, and is committed to capturing people in their most organic and comfortable states. When not creating photographs Londen enjoys playing the piano, organ and drums, and traveling whenever possible.

He says to prospective EMU students:
EMU provided me with an exceptional education in photography! I have photographed a sitting President of the United States as well as professional sports teams. Years after graduating I have transitioned into the world of live-streaming video games and content creation. The VACA department will help to make you a well-rounded artist, content creator and photographer/videographer!

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michaelMichael Spory

Architect - Washington DC

Photography and Art double major, Communications minor, 2011

Michael got his masters in architecture in 2015 from Iowa State University, followed by stints in teaching and marketing before entering the design profession. He is currently an associate at VMDO Architects, doing project management and design in their DC office. VMDO prioritizes community, educational, and institutional buildings, with a focus on high-performance and net-zero projects. Michael has enjoyed the profession of architecture because it balances the abstract and creative world of design with the very practical and technical, while still remaining focused on the human experience to make beautiful and engaging spaces. Michael says, “Buildings are for people, and I love educational and public design that brings great design for all kinds of people and includes all kinds of voices in the process.” In his spare time Michael loves playing soccer, reading, and playing card games with his nieces and nephews.


katieKatie Schmid

Photographer - Harrisonburg, Virginia

Photography and Digital Media double major, 2010

Katie made up a word for her photography company – The Commoneer – which refers to a person who takes notice of the normal, everyday, mundane moments that make up real life. Katie’s wedding photography captures tons of personality through snapshots that make each couple and their event uniquely them. A second made-up word has found local fame thanks to Katie: Carportraits. 15 minute sessions carried out in front of her garage with a fabric backdrop, Carportraits have become the tried-and-true way that many in the area document their various life stages be it with a newborn, grandparents, a beloved pet, or their inner circle of friends. These time slots go live each month and sell out immediately!


justinJustin Roth

Marketing - Harrisonburg, VA

Digital Media and Photography double major, 2012

Justin’s current role at James Madison University is the Senior Associate Director of Marketing Design and Strategy. Inside University Marketing and Branding, Justin works in a group called Advancement Marketing that provides comprehensive marketing support to the fundraising and alumni outreach branches of the Advancement division at JMU. This includes print and digital design, written and video storytelling and event planning and production.

Justin has been with JMU since spring 2013. Prior to his current role he worked as a video producer and then manager of the university photo/video team in Content Marketing.

JMU Office of Advancement Marketing


laciLaci Lanae Tieszen

Art Teacher - Kidron, OH

Art and Education double major, 2013

Laci has been teaching visual art in the classroom for eight years. She started at Central Christian School in Kidron Ohio in 2022; her first time teaching in Ohio and first time at a private institution. Laci says she has “found so much inspiration getting to encourage students to connect with Our Creator through art-making and learning.” In her free time Laci enjoys mixed media, watercolors and hand lettering, biking, and spending time with her family.



sultanSultan Alsulaiman

Marketing - Virginia

Digital Media major, 2020

Sultan uses the skills he learned in EMU’s VACA program while working with Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries in the Corporate Affairs Department. He designs safety bulletins that are distributed company-wide, coordinates with the videography team to create projects such as timelapse clips of construction projects, and does photography of internal events, special visits and weekly company news.


daviDavi Soesilo

Visual Effects - Australia

Theater major, 2005

Davi works for Warner Bros. Entertainment in Brisbane Australia as a VFX (Visual Effects) Supervisor and Lead Data Wrangler & Photographer on various feature films and TV series. This position has given him the chance to travel the world and be part of a variety of projects. Davi played the computer graphics character Morris in Marvel’s Shang Chi, shot an Imax documentary in Cambodia, and is currently working on films based on true stories such as ‘Thirteen Lives’, ‘True Spirit’, and ‘Unbroken’. His next project is a film based on a popular game in New Zealand.

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