Alumni Spotlight: Joe Ciccarelli

Alumnus of the Diederich College of Communication, Joe Ciccarelli, recently published a children’s book, “When You Meet a Hangry Howard,” officially coming out in May. It is, among other things, about being hangry.

photo credit: Joe Ciccarelli

Hello, I am Joe Ciccarelli. I graduated in 2012 from the Master’s program with a focus on integrated marketing communication and advertising. I was a Teaching Assistant during that time as well and went on to serve as an adjunct for another five years in the advertising department. My wife also got her M.A. from MU’s College of Communication and then her DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) at MU shortly after.

Today I work as as a creative director and writer at Doner, an ad agency in Detroit, Michigan. In addition to my work at Doner, I am also an author and new-ish dad. As a matter of fact, this book was actually inspired by my son and illustrated by my dad.

My favorite thing about my current role is working to come up with amazing ideas that people care about. To try to get people to feel something — cry, laugh or fall in love in under 60 seconds (sometimes in under 15). Can’t ask for more than that.

For any current students, I’d like to say:

“Find things you truly care about and that truly interest you, and go all-in on them. Maybe leave some of the other things behind. As you get into college, then your career, there are more opportunities to do a lot of things, and it’s easy to just be half-in on everything versus all-in on the right things. College, for me at least, is the time to start thinking about what the most important things are and finding ways to put your energy into them.”

I will be traveling to MKE to launch the book and if you would like to learn more, visit