D'Elia was a study abroad ambassador who volunteered with the Office for International Education after studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, in fall 2016. He was also the Class of 2018 Commencement speaker.
During his time at Rider, D'Elia took advantage of all that the University had to offer. He was an active member and participant in various campus clubs and organizations, including The Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, Multicultural Student Leadership Institute, Rider Vibes (a campus acappella group that was later renamed the Rolling Tones) and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He also worked as a tutor in Rider’s Academic Success Center and a community advisor in Ziegler Hall.
D'Elia gained valuable experience in on and off-campus experiential learning opportunities, including working as the news editor and social media manager for The Rider News and worked as a co-host and producer for “Sustainable You” on 107.7 the Bronc FM, the University's student-run radio station.
Off-campus, he worked as a correspondent for The Hudson Reporter, a freelance writer for Planet Princeton, a community outreach intern/program coordinator for the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking, an internship with Legislative District 38 and an internship at NJ.com and The Star-Ledger.
Why D'Elia chose Rider
Listen to his story
Gianluca D'Elia became familiar with Rider University early on in high school when his brother graduated from Rider’s Westminster Choir College in 2012. Knowing he had an interest in pursuing an education in journalism and digital media, Rider stood out as a college that offered hands-on experience beginning freshman year, which was a major selling point compared to other schools that required students to wait until sophomore/junior year. “Rider has a small but mighty communication and journalism department, with the best facilities I’d seen among the colleges I visited, a great track record of students landing high-profile internships and jobs, and professors who truly care,” he says.
Growing up as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, D'Elia knew that diversity would play a big part in his college choice. He wanted to feel welcomed wherever he landed. Rider gave him the comfort and freedom to be himself.
How his Rider experiences helped shape his career
To say that D'Elia's Rider resume is vast would be an understatement. D'Elia took advantage of five internships including one as a correspondent for The Hudson Reporter and NJ.com while simultaneously hosting and producing a radio talk show, “Sustainable You,” on Rider’s student-run radio station, 107.7 The Bronc FM. He also worked as a tutor for fellow communication students, a community advisor and an editor for The Rider News, the University’s award-winning student newspaper.
As a journalism major with a passion for storytelling, D'Elia discovered that being a good listener and learning from other people's perspectives would help him become a more well-rounded journalist and, ultimately, a more thoughtful and emotionally intelligent person. Through classroom and campus leadership opportunities, D'Elia says he developed a “stronger sense of confidence” that prepared him for every new challenge that came his way.
Studying at Rider taught me the importance of being an engaged citizen of the world and valuing diversity.”
Rider showed D'Elia the importance of an interdisciplinary education. He says that the opportunity to take “unique and fascinating classes” thanks to the Baccalaureate Honors Program gave him the experiences that inspired him to stay curious and driven to learn. Some memorable classes included a seminar on environmental issues at the Jersey Shore, a course on music and political culture at Westminster, and “Political Campaign Persuasion,” a class where D'Elia created his own campaign advertisements for potential gubernatorial candidates.
“Lessons I learned from Rider, often from courses totally outside of my major, always come up in unexpected, pleasantly surprising ways,” he says. Shortly after D'Elia graduated from Rider, while interning at NJ.com and The Star-Ledger, he wrote a story about an increase in turtles crossing roads during their nesting season. “Almost immediately, my knowledge from a presentation I did for my Jersey Shore course started coming back to me,” he recalls.
As a student journalist, I felt that my department and the University's student media outlets excelled in shaping me into a competitive candidate to break into our region's media landscape.”
D'Elia took comfort in knowing that students at Rider took part in and valued the student newspaper, The Rider News. Students would often send in potential stories and corrections, so he took his work for the paper seriously. Often finding himself racing with other news outlets to publish breaking stories. He says this helped him develop skills as a “sharp writer” and a responsible reporter.
D'Elia's experience at Rider encouraged him to pursue his passion for journalism and communication. Professors provided him with mentorship and advice and were invested in his journey.
About two weeks after graduation, D'Elia started a year-long internship at NJ.com and The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest digital news site/daily newspaper. He began covering rotations on NJ.com's social media, entertainment, crime and local news teams. His final rotation covered government and community news in Middlesex and Union counties.
Following his internship, D'Elia began working as a reporter for the Burlington County Times where he won first place in feature, lifestyle and entertainment reporting in the New Jersey Press Association's “Better Newspaper Contest.”
He continued his education in a master’s program in mass communication at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. At the beginning of 2020, he was offered a position in ASU’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Reporting Fellowship program and a graduate research assistantship with the program's director. Knowing the importance of medical communication, especially given the pandemic, he reported on health care disparities in the Southwest for Cronkite News and Arizona PBS.
After completing his master’s degree, D'Elia moved to Rochester, N.Y., with his partner (a fellow Rider graduate) and started working at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Since starting his role at the university, he has been promoted to public relations associate within the universities medical center and transferred to the university's School of Nursing.
Outside of his day job, he’s partnered with a friend and former co-worker to launch Flower Power Magazine. The name of the publication is derived from Rochester’s city nickname, “Flower City,” due to it being the former home of some of the world’s largest seed companies, and according to D'Elia, the magazine is a love letter to the city. “[Flower Power] is focused on ordinary people in our community doing extraordinary things and seeking out stories that haven't been told. I'm the magazine’s social media and audience editor, and I write and photograph stories. The website is flowerpowermag.com if you'd like to learn more,” he says.