MORE ABOUT MATTHEW
Something funny happened on the way to Matthew Shieh’s Broadway career. The California native always dreamed of becoming an actor, but at Hofstra University his double majors in public relations and drama put him on the unexpected path to working in entertainment publicity.
“I found that PR shares a lot of the qualities I love about theater – both taught me about effective storytelling, being creative and analytical,” Shieh said. “I was surprised to find how exciting it is to work behind the scenes in entertainment.”
During his junior year, he was part of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication’s annual Hofstra in LA program. “That trip broadened my definition of what it means to work in entertainment,” he said. “We met with successful Hofstra alumni who are producers, agents, and executives. I was inspired by their stories.”
An internship at HBO | HBO Max led to a part-time job his senior year, which eventually turned into an offer of a full-time job as a publicity coordinator. He’ll start after graduation in May.
“I’ve been a part of some really high-profile projects and been given responsibilities I never could have imagined,” he said.
Among those are photo shoots he coordinated for the stars of House of the Dragon, and the season premiere he staffed for Westworld. Later this year, he will be working on the new season of Succession, planning publicity junkets and press conferences.
Though he’s not working on stage as he originally intended, Matthew credits his drama major for helping him stand out at his HBO internship.
”Studying drama is a big reason I’m comfortable and outgoing in professional settings,” Shieh said. “It taught me how to read other people and how to work as a productive member of a team. I also learned how to read and analyze scripts in my drama classes, and that’s an important skill for the projects I’m working on at HBO.”
On campus, Shieh is the PR liaison for the Department of Drama and Dance’s 2022-2023 production season. At the Herbert School, he was in charge of the publicity and social media team for Hofstra Votes Live 2022, a student-run, four-hour live Election Night multi-platform broadcast.
His professors helped him navigate what could sometimes be an overwhelming schedule.
“I’m the type of person who runs on adrenaline. My professors are always checking in on me to make sure I’m not getting burned out,” he said. “It’s reassuring to be surrounded by people who are watching out for you, who understand your goals and are looking out for your best interests.”
» Matthew’s story isn’t unique. In fact, among Hofstra University’s 2020-2021 undergraduate degree recipients, 97% of alumni from The Herbert School of Communication and 98% of alumni from the School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts who responded to a graduation survey or other reliable sources (67% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation. Visit our outcomes page at hofstra.edu/outcomes for detailed information.