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Navigating Post-Grad Life with AU Alum Zach Gradishar

Host Grace Ibrahim sat down with Zachary Gradishar, a recent SOC alum working to break into LA’s entertainment industry.

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Media In the Mix with Special Guest Zachary Gradishar

The second episode of Media in the Mix has dropped! This biweekly podcast is produced by American University School of Communication (AU SOC) and drops every other Wednesday on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. This week host Grace Ibrahim sat down with Zachary Gradishar, a recent SOC alum working to break into LA’s entertainment industry. Ibrahim, who is also an alum, and Gradishar discuss the challenges of post-graduation life and the power of small plans. 

Gradishar graduated from AU this past May and immediately jumped into life in Los Angeles. A few days after walking across the stage, he headed to L.A. to participate in SOC’s competitive L.A. Intensive program. Gradishar was quick to speak of the hard work Sarah Menke-Fish and others dedicated to experiential learning at SOC put into the program. Menke-Fish is committed to making sure students are exposed to the breadth of opportunities for AU students in the entertainment industry. The summer 2022 cohort met with professionals working in film development, studio administration, graphic design, entertainment PR, and many more roles. According to Gradishar, one of the most valuable assets of the program was recognizing how many AU alumni are based in L.A. and working across the entertainment industry. 


After the Intensive ended, Gradishar stayed in L.A., interning for Walt Disney Studies and Searchlight Pictures. This was the ninth internship of his college career, and despite hopes that it would help launch his west coast career, he found himself job hunting as the summer ended. He was open about how difficult post-grad life has been. While still searching for a job, he acknowledged that it's been harder than he expected. However, he recognizes that he is not alone in this new stage of life, when so many of his peers are trying to launch their careers in the L.A. entertainment industry post-pandemic. He and Ibrahim spoke of the importance of small plans, simple steps that may not always look like they lead to big things, but that help grow professional networks and build experience. 

Even though I tell myself, I have a leg up being out here...the job is not done.

In the midst of his internship with Searchlight, Gradishar launched his own podcast, “Let’s Chat with Zach.” It explores adulting, relationships, and the realities of life as a new graduate trying to forge a path in L.A.’s entertainment industry. Although it started as a way to stay connected with his network of friends, he quickly realized that the conversations were relevant to many young graduates starting out on their own. Listen to “Let’s Chat with Zach” on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.