UAlbany MagazineUniversity at Albany

Jim Sciancalepore, M.A.’93

Connecting With Teens

By Amy Halloran, B.A.’90

As a senior creative director at one of the nation's top higher education marketing firms, Jim Sciancalepore spent years helping his clients understand and engage a new generation of teens – analyzing their likes and dislikes, their goals and dreams. Whether he worked with Ivy League universities or state and community colleges, two common themes emerged: teens’ desire for authentic communication (versus slick marketing speak) and the immense weight of pressure placed upon them.

Sciancalepore describes “this whip-smart, world-savvy generation of teens” as “innately cautious and even somewhat cynical about sales pitches and authority figures. They’ve been bombarded with marketing their entire lives. At the same time, they have grown up in a very micro-managed, uber-scheduled world, and they feel immense pressure and scrutiny.”

These insights – along with “a lifelong love of teen-oriented fantasy fare, from Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Harry Potter – led Sciancalepore to write The War On Destiny. The work is the first in a young-adult series concerning a 16-year-old girl thrust into a perilous adventure in a parallel universe.

Blending humor with elements of fantasy, the recently released book aims to connect with teens in an authentic way – “affectionately mocking” the sometimes off-target help offered by guidance counselors and teen advisors, and even taking aim at hackneyed college recruitment campaigns.

Sciancalepore’s book can be purchased through or at

The World Within Reach

Joseph Amato, B.A,’86, D.A.’89, released his memoir Once an Engineer: A Song of the Salt City, which chronicles his life during the ‘70s in Syracuse, N.Y., when a career in engineering provided a path out of poverty. Amato spent seven years as a practicing engineer in Fortune 500 factories before leaving industry in 1984 to pursue his passion for poetry at UAlbany.