Alisha Grauso Class of ’98

Alisha Grauso Class of 98

Geoli Yeager, News Editor

1.) What is your official title?
My official title is editor-at-large for Movie Pilot ( I also freelance for a few other outlets, like Marvel, Forbes, Film School Rejects, and Birth.Movies.Death.


2.) Where did you go to college?

I did my undergrad degree in English literature at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I decided to go there because I really loved the structure of the honors program through the Robert E. Cook Honors College there at IUP. Later, I got my Masters degree at the University of Dallas.


3.) What are some highlights of your job?

As an entertainment journalist, I really love that my full-time job is to write about movies and television shows and how they’re made. I’m a natural storyteller, so I get paid to tell stories about other storytellers. It’s pretty amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to have done some incredibly cool things in my lifetime because of it. I’ve gone to San Diego Comic-Con every year. I’ve gotten to interview dozens of really interesting actors and directors. I’ve even gotten the chance to live in another country for a year when I moved to Berlin to work from our office there. Being in media is really uncertain right now, but it’s always creative and never boring. That’s the trade-off.

I’m a natural storyteller, so I get paid to tell stories about other storytellers. It’s pretty amazing.”

— Alisha Grauso


4.) What do you like about LA? 

LA is a city full of hustlers and dreamers. I’ve lived all over and there’s a certain kind of magic that this city has that I’ve not found in any other place. It’s a city full of creative people, and you can always find something interesting to explore. If you want to attend a movie premiere at the old El Capitan theater in Hollywood, you can. If you want to go out to a club or a themed bar, you can. If you want to go hiking in a quiet canyon or sit on the beach and watch the waves, you can. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived where you get surf condition reports along with the weather report on the radio. There’s literally something for everyone.


5.) What do you miss about PA?

I wish I could see my family more than twice a year, of course. My sisters are both teachers at Mohawk and I miss hanging out with them, and seeing my niece and nephews grow up. Sometimes I miss the clear seasons in PA – we don’t really get those in Southern California. We have seasons, but there’s no snow for the holidays and no leaves turning colors in the fall.


6.) What do you like to do in your free time?

I don’t have much free time, to be honest! At the moment I’m working on a novel, two different podcasts, and a few video series as side projects outside of my normal work. But when I have free time, my friends and I are big into movies and low-key game nights. When I have down time by myself, I usually have my nose in a book, or I’m baking something in the kitchen, because I love to bake. I also try to get to the beach when I can, because what’s the point of living right near the ocean if I don’t allow myself to take advantage of it?


7.) What are your favorite memories from Mohawk?

Oh gosh, too many to name. I had a great time in high school, with a tightly-knit group of friends and a sweetheart of a boyfriend.  When I look back on high school now, I appreciate even more how lucky I was to have a group of friends that all got along so well and supported one another. As for specific memories, my favorites are the things that were my “firsts” – you know, first kiss, first date. First (and only) time I got elected to Homecoming Court. First time I was in a musical (thanks, Mr. McKim!), first time I stood up a bully picking on someone. Everything feels a little more intense and vibrant in high school because you’re experiencing all of it for the first time, and it’s that feeling of everything being “new” – both the good and the bad – that I really cherish now that I’m older.


8.) How did attending Mohawk help you in your career?

Shout-out to Ms. Kelly, who is now retired, for encouraging me to pursue English lit as my major. She was also the teacher who encouraged me to apply to the honors college program at IUP as she thought it would be a good fit for me. Up to that point, I had been thinking about a number of paths to pursue – going into law or being a marine biologist were two areas I strongly considered. Even though I loved reading and writing, I never thought about going into English. Because both of those things came naturally to me, the lit route just seemed too obvious, you know? But I took her advice, applied to IUP, and never looked back. I also have Mohawk to thank for being as far along in college as I was. For a smaller, rural school, Mohawk has a great curriculum in science and AP classes, and taking all of them really helped give me an advantage when I got to college. My professor would be covering something I already learned and it was a nice feeling when I realized I was already familiar with it.


9.) Do you have any tips for students at Mohawk?

If you love high school: Embrace those little moments hanging out with friends, and don’t underestimate how important the memories of those “firsts” will be later in your life.

If you hate high school: Don’t worry. I guarantee that girl or guy who makes your life miserable now will not age well, and it’ll be hilariousTen years from now, when you’re off doing cool things with your life, they’ll add you on Facebook (or whatever social media we’re using by then) and you’ll look at them and realize you’ve leveled up your game so far beyond them.


10.) If you could go back and give yourself advice about college, career, or just life what would you say?

Great question. I think I – and I believe this is something most of us do – had to learn the hard lesson of when to let someone go. I was, and still am, the mentor and advice giver for many people. I was patient to a fault, whether it was with guys I was dating or friends. But I had to learn the hard way that it was okay to walk away from someone if they were hurting me emotionally, putting negativity into my life, or not giving me as much as I gave them in return. It’s not your job to save everyone; sometimes the best thing you can do is save yourself and let them figure out their own mess. Sometimes you just need to do you, and it’s not selfish; it’s smart.


As far as more practical advice, I would have made sure I understood how interest and loan debt worked before taking out any student loans. Seriously. They are the worst.


11.) What are some pros and some cons of attending Mohawk?

The pros of Mohawk, like I said, are that for a smaller school, it has a surprisingly good curriculum with dedicated teachers who are very good at what they do. It’s also a close community of people who are happy to help each other out. It makes for a good place to grow up, generally speaking.

The cons of attending Mohawk aren’t the school itself, but the area. It’s very small, and rural, and there’s very little diversity, whether in people or in thought. So while it’s a great place to grow up, I feel anyone who graduates from Mohawk could do with living somewhere else for a while, experiencing more of the world.