Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM


Journalism alumni recognized on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list

Michigan State University graduates Haley Kluge and Nathaniel Gaynor are recognized on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Photo credit: Haley Kluge and Nathaniel Gaynor

Two Michigan State University School of Journalism alumni earned coveted spots on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list for their contributions in their respective fields. 


2017 graduate Haley Kluge was named in the media section of the list. She serves as Variety magazine’s youngest-ever creative director in the publication’s history. She has designed over 20 covers featuring celebrities like Lizzo and Olivia Rodrigo. She also spearheaded Variety’s redesign across digital platforms. 


2016 graduate Nathaniel Gaynor was recognized under marketing and advertising. Gaynor works as the content and culture lead of brand relevance for McDonald’s. Most recently, he headed the Kerwin Frost Box for the fast food chain. According to Forbes, Gaynor’s campaigns have accounted for 63% of McDonald’s total customer growth since 2019. 


Both recipients saw their education at MSU as a stepping stone for this achievement. 


“Without a doubt, being a journalism student at Michigan State is the number one thing that has helped me in my career today,” Gaynor said. “If Michigan State wants to put that on their website, they can.” 


As students, both were heavily involved in extracurriculars on campus. Gaynor served as news editor at Impact 89FM while Kluge worked as art director for VIM Magazine. 


“I was so obsessed with being a sponge and absorbing all different opportunities and experiences,” Kluge said. “I collected clubs and organizations and internships like horcruxes.” 


Both explained they were shocked to see their names on the list. They had only known of their nominations and found out they were chosen when the list was published. 


“McDonald’s celebrated me when I was nominated, and I thought that was where it ended,” Gaynor said. And then the list came out. “I had to slap myself in the face a few times because I was just so shocked by it.”


Now they’re offering advice to students and young professionals aiming to make a mark in their field. 


Kluge suggests student designers collect as much work for their portfolio as possible while challenging themselves to try new styles in their designs. 


Gaynor explained the importance of being authentic in the workplace and said it can go a long way to build trust and connections. He also recommended students hone in on the soft skills learned in classes.


As they continue to make strides in their respective fields, both Kluge and Gaynor make a point to return to campus often, back where it all began.

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About the Contributor
Claire Bacarella
Claire Bacarella, News Editor/News Producer of The Undercurrent
Claire Bacarella (she/her) is a Broadcast Journalism major and is super excited to be the News Editor and News Producer of The Undercurrent this year! A fun fact about her is that she competes locally within the Miss America Opportunity. “Karma is a cat, purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me” - Taylor Swift

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