Instructors in the UF CJC Online master’s degree program are embedded in industry and leaders in their fields. They have unique access and insight into marketing, branding, and communications in a variety of industries.
Adjunct instructor at the University of Florida, Santa Rosa (CA) Junior College and Manchester (IN) University
Course: Statistics for the Communication Industry
Dr. Mark Allen lives and works in the beautiful wine country of Sonoma County in Northern California. He is an instructor in math and statistics at Santa Rosa Junior College, and also provides math-based, online education for the University of Florida’s Master’s program in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy and Manchester University’s Master’s program in Pharmacogenomics.
Prior to his educational endeavors, Dr. Allen worked as a mechanical engineer, specializing in the field of gear design. He designed the gears for the original Segway Human Transporter and has also been awarded three patents in the field of quiet gear technology.
Dr. Allen received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a proud Gator alum, having received both his Master’s (Sociology) and PhD (Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy) from the University of Florida.
Allen currently teaches Statistics for the Communication Industry.
Senior Director, Programmatic and YouTube Subject Matter Expert at Tinuiti
With over 15 years of experience, Brian Binder is an experience digital marketer who is focused on identifying digital strategies to help drive business performance. Throughout his career across digital agencies and at Google, Brian has helped clients, ranging from local businesses to the Fortune 100, drive results against various goals, leveraging holistic paid & organic search, display, email, and digital video programs.
And while YouTube holds a special place in Brian’s marketing heart, he is very passionate about the evolution of audience and data-privacy laws and the impact on online marketing programs.
Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Point Park University and a master’s in business management from Manhattanville College. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
Marketing Director, Aramark
Course: Introduction to Social Media
With over a decade of marketing, event, and social media experience, Kristin Blitch uses her passion for people to build connections and tell stories across collegiate, healthcare, and business landscapes.
Blitch graduated from the University of Florida in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a MAMC in social media in 2014. Blitch also earned a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University.
She currently teaches Introduction to Social Media. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer with Alamo Colleges District
Dr. Eric Castillo (he/him/él) is a second-generation Chicano and a first-generation college graduate from San Antonio, Texas. He brings a groundswell of expertise in critical race theory, social justice education, and higher education administration. With 15 years of experience as a scholar, practitioner, and administrator, Dr. Castillo shares his time building organizational capacity for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. As Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for Alamo Colleges College, he is currently building relationships and strategic initiatives across the organization to strengthen and accelerate its readiness for positive and sustainable change.
As a community organizer and educator, Dr. Castillo helped lead various local, state, and national efforts on undocumented student college access, public policy advocacy, strategic communications, education equity, and voter education. Key accomplishments include creating a resource guide for undocumented students, developing a faculty and staff of color network, creating a JEDI program planning guide for a 6-campus community college district, instituting diversity and leadership student programs and conferences, launching a national immigrant rights campaign from California to DC, and achieving pay equity for adjunct faculty. His forthcoming book chapter, “Justice in Action in the Ivory Towers: Decolonial and Anti-Racist Work Inside/Outside the Master’s House,” will appear in Dismantling Constructs of Whiteness in Higher Education in 2022.
Dr. Castillo received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, and a B.A. in Communication Arts from the University of the Incarnate Word.
Course: Strategic Communication: Ethics and Concepts
For two decades, Matt has provided a suite of strategic/crisis communications and public and community/government relations services for a number of institutions of higher education, government organizations, law firms, corporations, nonprofits and small businesses and startups.
He has served as deputy spokesperson for the University of Virginia, director of media relations for the UVA Darden School of Business and director of communications and public relations for Danville (Va.) Regional Foundation. He has a background as an on-camera spokesperson and host in Los Angeles and served as a special investigator in New York City, investigating sex and drug crimes against children.
Matt earned his doctorate in public administration with a focus on public policy/communications from Valdosta State University, Master of Public Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and Bachelor of Arts from UVA. He graduated from the UVA Sorensen Political Leaders and Duke University Nonprofit Certificate programs and has completed coursework toward a Certificate in Leadership from the UVA Darden School of Business. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Richmond Chapter and hold the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certification — a mark of distinction, results-oriented outcomes and ethics in the public relations industry.
In August 2018, Matt was appointed to the Fulbright Specialist Communications and Journalism roster — a unique opportunity for U.S. academics and established professionals to engage in two- to six-week, project-based exchanges at host institutions across the globe.
Associate Professor and Program Director at the University of Florida
Course: Introduction to Audiences
Dr. Amy Jo Coffey is an associate professor and director of the online master’s program in Audience Analytics at the University of Florida.
Coffey’s research interests include audience analysis, audience research methods, media programming, innovation and entrepreneurship, and media management. Her research interests include audience economics and language, with an emphasis on non-English speaking audiences within the United States and advertiser valuation of such audiences, as well as market segmentation and other strategic competition issues. As a secondary area, she has examined the utility of new media spaces, including virtual environments such as Second Life. Her work has been published in such journals as Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Advertising Research Communication Law & Policy, International Journal on Media Management, and the Journal of Media Business Studies. Coffey has been awarded grants by the National Association of Broadcasters and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Coffey holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and her professional background is in broadcast journalism, and included positions with CNN in Atlanta, as well as reporting, anchoring, assignment editing, and production positions in television and radio in Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia.
Coffey currently teaches Understanding Audiences and Audience Research Methods.
Freelance Writer and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Introduction to Multimedia, Capstone
Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to The Washington Post, The Atlantic and TIME. She is also a former television news producers with a graduate degree in mass communication.
Cunha currently teaches Introduction to Multimedia Communications and the capstone course for GSC, PR and social media. You can find her on Twitter @parentwin and visit her website at darlenacunha.com to stay up to date with her latest articles.
Certified Mediator and Former Public Affairs Manager at Hewlett-Packard
Courses: Research Methods, Corporate Reputation Management
Judith Higgins Donohue brings more than 25 years of professional communication experience to the classroom. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S. in Organizational Communication, both from Regis College in Massachusetts. Donohue started her career as a journalist, first as a reporter for daily newspapers in Connecticut and the Washington, DC area and then as a journalist for McGraw-Hill’s business and trade books, including Engineering News Record and Chemical Week. After 10 years in journalism, Donohue switched to the field of public relations and joined Della Femina McNamee agency.
She has also done public relations writing and media relations for Ketchum and Burson-Marsteller, two of the nation’s leading public relations agencies. Her clients have included Bayer, Stouffers, Nestle, US Steel, Pennsylvania Coal Association, Alcoa and Phillip Morris.
In the year 2000, Donohue switched from the agency side to the corporate side and spent the next nine years leading the New England public affairs team at Hewlett-Packard. Her specialties are Public Relations, PR Research, Crisis Communication and Reputation Management. She consistently earns top ratings from students and faculty alike. Over the years Donohue has won many prestigious awards for her writing and public relations work, including the highest honors from such organizations as the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD).
In the past few years Donohue has applied her communication skills and experience in the classroom. She currently teaches Applied Research and Reputation Management.
Meta Certified Community Manager
Course: Social Media Community Management
Matt Duffy (he/him) is a digital storyteller, passionate connector, and community builder. He currently lives in NYC and has lived around the globe, from Kentucky to Singapore.
As the creator of Born Zillennial, Duffy has proven his community management and leadership skills by growing and engaging an overwhelmingly positive online community of 210k+ young adults from the ground up.
Duffy holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication from the University of Florida College of Journalism Communications. In 2021, he completed his master’s through the UF CJC Master of Arts in Mass Communications online program, specializing in digital strategy. #DoubleGator
The UF Division of Media Properties recognized him with the Excellence in Media Leadership award for his roles as 95.3 GHQ.fm general manager, on-air host, WUFT news anchor, and Knight Talks producer.
Duffy began his career at Meta Platforms Inc., where he launched Digital Locals – a Facebook Power Admins Program focused on connecting the next generations of community builders. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
President at Engle & Co.
Course: Introduction to Digital Political Campaigning
Rob Engle is based in the Washington, DC area and owns a firm that specializes in creative public relations and political strategies. Engle also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. Prior to forming his firm, he served as a press secretary and legislative aide to Senator Paula Hawkins (FL), Congressman Dan Mica (FL), and Congressman Don Ritter (PA).
His firm has provided public relations and political counsel to a number of candidates, trade associations, public interest groups, and leading private firms and organizations.
Engle has a master’s degree from Harvard University and is an alumnus of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is also a proud Gator, having received his BS in Journalism/Public Relations (minor in political science) at UF.
Engle currently teaches Introduction to Digital Political Campaigning.
Consumer Insights and Predictive Analytics Leader
Dr. Felbab has more than 20 years of corporate experience in predictive analytics. Since 2016, she has worked for a major media and entertainment company, leading an advanced analytics and optimization team. She is passionate about using analytics to understand the needs of consumers to enhance their interactions and experiences. Prior to this, she has held multiple roles at companies in diverse industries, including hospitality, technology, retail, publishing, and insurance.
She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Educational Psychology, specializing in statistics and measurement. She has taught various graduate-level courses in analytics, statistics, research methods, and psychometric measurement. While she is a self-described “statistics nerd”, she also loves the creative side of analytics. She is endlessly fascinated with the challenge of combining art with science to create the most actionable insights and models.
Brianne Fleming thrives on her passion for all things creative – from advertising, to branding, copywriting, and graphic design. She loves to use social and digital media to tell a story and build an audience of loyal fans. Brianne has helped shape the voice and corporate identity behind several brands, including one of the world’s most well-known fitness franchises, Orangetheory Fitness. She now owns her own marketing consultancy, Twelve Stories Up, which focuses on elevating health and wellness brands.
Brianne holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. In 2017, she completed her master’s through the University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Mass Communication program, specializing in Web Design. Upon graduation, Brianne began teaching for UF.
With over two decades of experience in video production and digital marketing, Andy Ford has worked in the sports, news, financial, and healthcare industries. He is currently the Manager of Digital Experience for an international B2B company. His passion is implementing data-driven approaches that enhance the digital customer journey.
Ford is proud to be a triple Gator, graduating from UF with a B.S. in Telecommunication Production, M.S. in Business Management, and M.A. in Mass Communication – Global Strategic Communication.
In addition, Ford is an author for the Photofocus and Creative Cow websites, an Adobe Certified Professional, and an instructor for industry conferences such as the Visual Storytelling Conference.
Director of Marketing and Communications, UF College of Journalism and Communications
Course: Personal Branding and Professional Development
Jennifer Ford is an experienced designer and communicator and is the Director of Marketing & Communications at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.
Ford earned a master’s degree from the University of Florida in Mass Communication, specializing in Web Design and Online Communication. She also graduated from Idaho State University with a B.A. in Mass Communication specializing in Visual Communication and Graphic Design. Ford spent several years designing for various publications and clients in Pocatello, Idaho before moving to Gainesville. Working as a page designer for the New York Times Company at their Gainesville Editing Center, she primarily designed pages for The New York Times International Weekly. She also aided in the development of new products for the NYT Syndicate, including The New York Times Spending Well, a personal finance supplement for various U.S. newspapers. Spending Well received a New York Times Publisher’s Award in 2015.
Ford is the founding president of the Gainesville chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design. She currently serves on the national AIGA Chapter Advisory Council and the national Design for Democracy Committee. She currently teaches Personal Branding and Professional Development. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Senior Community Relations Manager, Vi at Bentley Village
Course: Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation
Pam Fultz has an extensive background in professional communications, beginning her career in news broadcasting and then transitioning to public relations. She spent 12 years serving as an anchor, reporter, and news director at various radio and televisions in Indiana, Ohio, and Florida. Fultz transitioned to the public relations industry 16 years ago, but still uses her passion for storytelling to share organizational narratives that drive market share. She is the Manager of Community Relations for Vi at Bentley Village in Naples, Florida. In this role, she oversees local outreach and community relations functions, and oversees a companywide media relations program that was launched in 2018 for her community’s parent-organization.
Fultz holds a bachelor of arts degree in communication from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and a master of science degree in corporate and organizational communication from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She also holds the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation.
Fultz is past-president and current chair of diversity & inclusion for the Gulfcoast Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She also serves as the secretary of the Press Club of Southwest Florida and sits on the government relations committee for the Naples-area Chamber of Commerce and the Wildlife Committee for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. In addition, she has contributed articles to PRSA’S national news publication, Strategies and Tactics and has presented storytelling webinars to the Northeast District PRSA Conference and to the New Professionals section of the New Mexico chapter of PRSA.
Strategic Communications Consultant
Course: Non-Profit and Government Communication
Sylvia is a strategic communications consultant in the Washington, DC area with her most recent assignments advising Assistant and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Health Affairs, Deputy Assistant SecDefs, and 18 Policy Directors.
From 2007-2015 Sylvia was the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Forbes 6th Best Business in America and #1 Veteran hiring organization in the U.S. (government contractor VSE Corporation and its subsidiaries with 100+ locations worldwide). In this position she coordinated all communications to include projects with the offices of the Governor of Michigan, City of New Orleans, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Treasury, Social Security Administration, Department of Energy, DoD, and various government officials in Taiwan, India, Chile, Iraq and Egypt.
Other career highlights include serving as the DoD Senior Communications liaison to the White House for the WHO Global Health Security Agenda; Senior Communications Manager for Federal Opioid Task Force, DoD world-wide disaster relief/pandemic medical assistance, and NCAA/DoD Grand Alliance (concussion protocol and research); Communications Chief for the American Freedom Festival in Washington, DC; Spokesperson/Media Relations Chief at largest Marine Corps Base (Camp Lejeune, NC); Northern Bureau News Chief (Okinawa, Japan); Marketing and Advertising Manager for Marine Corps recruiting (Long Island, NY); Senior NCO of a 24/7 Media Center during Gulf War; Community Relations Chief for a U.S. Presidential Inauguration; and Senior Account Manager for a PR and Marketing firm specializing in medical, education and veteran nonprofits.
She received her journalism and public affairs supervisory education through the Department of Defense Information School; Journalism and Mass Communications Bachelor of Arts degree from Ashford University in San Diego (magna cum laude, 2013); and Master of Mass Communications in Social Media Marketing from the University of Florida (Distinguished Graduate, 2017).
Her personal awards include: American Business Awards “U.S. Communications Professional of the Year” in 2010 and 2012, runner-up 2009, bronze awardee 2013 and silver awardee 2014); three International Gold Hermes magazine editor awards by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals; VSE Corporation Employee of the Year (Alexandria, VA); Marine of the Month (DC); Marine of the Quarter (NY); Joint Service Commendation Medal (DC); New York State Conspicuous Service; Navy Commendation Medals(Japan/NC); Navy Achievement Medals (CA/DC); and DoD Thomas Jefferson Awards for journalism excellence in Editorial and Sports writing.
Sylvia has two grown children in Tampa (daughter UF Doctor of Pharmacology) and one graduate student studying Strategic Communications at George Mason University. In her free time, she enjoys volunteer work including fostering homeless pets and the Veteran-to-Veteran Hospice program in the DC metropolitan area.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida and Social Media Producer at News 6 WKMG-TV
Course: Social Media Management
Stacy Greenhut has been working in digital and social media for more than 15 years. She has held the positions of director of digital media and fan engagement, director of digital and social media, marketing manager and social media producer for high-profile organizations including the Ladies Professional Golf Association, United Soccer League, Golfweek Magazine, and Bishops Gate Golf Academy.
Stacy currently works as the social media producer for News 6 WKMG-TV, the CBS affiliate in Orlando, Florida.
She obtained her B.S. in advertising from the University of Florida in 2004. Stacy was also a part of the first graduating class at UF to get a Master’s in Mass Communication/Social Media in December 2014.
President at Grupp Global Partners LLC
Course: Public Affairs Communication
Robert Grupp is currently president of Grupp Global Partners LLC, a management consultancy with a strategic focus on corporate communications and international public relations. Previously, Grupp was president and CEO of The Institute of Public Relations and served on its Board of Trustees for eight years.
Grupp is active in higher education and has served on the Public Relations Advisory Council for the Fulbright Scholar Program of the United States Department of State, administered by the Institute of International Education. Also, he is an adviser to the China International Public Relations Association (CIPRA) in Beijing.
For three decades, Grupp led communications teams and managed public affairs in corporations, multi-national organizations and non-profit institutions. From 2001-2008, Grupp served as Vice President of Corporate and Public Affairs at Cephalon, Inc. an international biopharmaceutical company. Grupp also held leadership positions in corporate communication at Eli Lilly and Company, Dow Corning Corporation and Consumers Energy.
Grupp travels extensively throughout the world lecturing on global strategic communications, business diplomacy, and public relations strategy and practice. He is past president of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and co-chaired the IPRA Public Relations World Congress in Beijing with Li Daoyu, former Chinese ambassador to the United States.
Earlier in his career, he served as editor for daily newspapers in Florida and Illinois, and he received the prestigious National Headliner Award for excellence in journalism.
Grupp received his B.A. in journalism from Southern Illinois University. He is an accredited member and past chapter president in the Public Relations Society of America, and he is a member of the Page Society.
Grupp currently teaches Public Affairs Communication. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Product Marketing Manager at TeamSnap and Program Director at the University of Florida
Lisa Hope graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism specializing in online and media, and a MAMC in social media in 2014.
With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, Hope serves as the director for the Digital Strategy Program, a program designed to foster the creative minds of the next generation of marketing.
Hope currently teaches Copywriting. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Course: Public Relations Foundations
Joe Klimavich likes to describe himself as a “pracademic,” a college instructor with considerable practical experience in the field. For more than three decades, he has been a public relations, marketing, development, and social media professional, in corporate positions and as an independent practitioner, with a special interest in issues management and crisis communication.
He has been an adjunct instructor of communication for a number of New England colleges and universities for more than twenty years, including classroom and online instruction in public relations, interpersonal communication, mass media, effective speaking, leadership, and management courses.
Much of Joe’s professional life has been spent in key leadership positions in healthcare/managed care, and banking, but his work as an independent public relations consultant has spanned a variety of industries, including insurance, service, retail, restaurant, non-profit, and numerous other fields.
Early in his career, Joe recognized that being a competent writer is at the core of everything else he does. He also discovered that the more communication skills he acquired, the more proficient he would be in his public relations role, so he added graphic design, photography, web development, e-commerce, branding, social media, and digital content creation to his PR toolbox.
Joe is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Boston Chapter, and the Independent Practitioners Alliance (IPA) Section. He holds a Master of Science in Professional Communication (MSPC) degree from Clark University. He earned his undergraduate degree at Worcester State University, where he was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award in education, the highest non-degree recognition the university bestows on alumni.
Executive Director, UF CJC Online
Courses: The Art and Science of Storytelling, Seminar in Mass Communication Teaching, Strategic Communication: Ethics and Concepts
Evan Kropp is a higher education administrator with over two decades of professional experience.
Previously, he was an Associate Dean at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) where he oversaw all aspects of the graduate and undergraduate Communication programs. At Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia, he was an assistant professor and at the University of Georgia, an instructor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and an assistant with the prestigious Peabody Awards.
Prior to entering higher education, Kropp held several professional positions in sales, marketing and web development. He is also a successful entrepreneur who has owned and operated several small businesses.
His professional interests include critical/cultural media studies and screenwriting. He is currently co-chair of the Broadcast Education Association’s Student Scriptwriting Competition, one of the largest and most competitive student writing competitions in the US. In 2016, he won first place in BEA’s Academic Paper Competition for “The Influence of Connected Viewing on a Television Writer’s Room
Courses: Intercultural Communication, Strategy and Messaging
Ophir Lehavy is an adjunct lecturer and success coach for the master’s in mass communications program at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. In addition to her work at UF, Lehavy works with select clients as a PR and communications consultant. Her most recent project includes working with an author on her online strategy – social media, website, influencer outreach, blog, and email – for a high-profile book launch.
Prior to working for UF, Ophir was the senior communications manager for the CPA Exam at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) from 2012 to 2015 where she headed up their communications for international testing and a large-scale project called the practice analysis. She was the Director of Marketing and Development for the Jewish Federation in Princeton, New Jersey from 2008 to 2011 where she initiated their online strategy and organized major events, including a mission to Israel. She was also a communications manager and grants administrator for Foundations, Inc. from 2005 to 2007.
Ophir’s international experience includes time abroad in Tel Aviv, Israel from 2002 to 2005 working in public relations for two non-profit organizations: The Peres Center for Peace and Essence of Life. Prior to Tel Aviv, she worked for the Consulate General of Israel in New York as Director of Community Relations from 1997 to 1999. Ophir is bilingual in English and Hebrew and studied Arabic in Fez, Morocco while a graduate student.
Ophir Lehavy completed her graduate work in 2001 at Columbia University’s Teachers College with a master’s in teaching, after also completing a master’s degree in Middle East Studies from New York University in 1997. She completed her bachelor’s degree in 1994 at Georgetown University majoring in History.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Inbound Strategy
Joanne Leoni, Ed.D, is an adjunct instructor with the online programs for the College of Journalism and Communications. Her background is in marketing, and she has been teaching for over twenty years. She has a doctorate degree in higher education and master’s degrees. She is actively involved with organizations, presenting at conferences and seminars, and she has done many teacher training workshops. She truly enjoys being able to work with individuals and to exchange and share information about how we learn, and most importantly, what we can do with the many things we learn.
When she is not teaching or involved with education or marketing programs and work, she takes care of her family that also includes three dogs. She belongs to several organizations in the Broward County area of South Florida that work to help and support women and children. It is very rewarding for her to work with others who may need help developing their skills and knowledge and to assist them with gaining a better chance for career and personal growth.
Her philosophy with education is that everyone can learn something. It may not be the same amount, topic, or skill, yet there is an opportunity for all to obtain some information that may help them change, improve, and gain. It is a natural curiosity that brings us to strive to know more and to try new things. If we capture that curiosity, we can uncover valuable and great knowledge.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Corporate and Brand Identity on the Web
Joseph LoCicero is a Connecticut based designer and educator. He earned a BFA in Film and Television from New York University and an MA in Communication Arts from the New York Institute of Technology. Joseph was a corporate designer and art director at Anthem, a Fortune 40 company for many years. His work included graphic design, web design, social media, and streaming video projects. After leaving the corporate world in 2019, he has been focused on teaching. Joseph teaches design classes at several colleges including NYIT, Kentucky Wesleyan College and SNHU. He is always interested in collaborating on design projects and providing consultation for design-related needs.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Strategic Writing for Public Relations
Thomas McCloskey, Ph.D., is an instructor in the Master of Arts in Mass Communication program in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. Prior to joining UF, Thomas was a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland. In that position, he directed the Graduate Communication Fellows program and supported the Graduate Writing Center. Thomas also coached a nationally competitive speech and debate team and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer English Teacher in Ukraine.
Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Maryland with an emphasis in Rhetoric & Political Culture. His dissertation research focused on the development of nationalism in the former Soviet Union and how the ongoing Ukrainian conflict reflects tensions between the myths and memories of the Soviet Union and a larger push towards European integration and internationalism. Thomas also holds an M.A. in Communication from California State University Long Beach, and a B.A. in Politics from Willamette University. Thomas resides in Silver Spring, MD with his wife Laura, daughter June, and son August.
Former CNN International Anchor and Correspondent
Course: Video Storytelling
A 30-year international media veteran, Colleen McEdwards holds a Ph.D. in Education McEdwards has taught at the Sam Nunn School of International affairs (Georgia Tech), Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University. She directed multiple study abroad programs in media entrepreneurship in Hong Kong and served as director of GSU’s journalism writing center. McEdwards also helped launch and develop an online graduate program in Social Impact Media at Saybrook University where she also serves on the Board of Trustees.
Prior to her transition to academia, McEdwards served as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International. She reported on major stories in news, documentary and digital formats all over the world, particularly in Russia, Europe and Asia. As a political correspondent, she covered multiple election campaigns in Canada and the U.S.
From the anchor desk, she played a role in coverage of most of the major international news events of the last two decades. She joined CNN International from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where she covered Canada’s constitutional crisis, the collapse of Communism, the final pullout of Soviet troops from the former Czechoslovakia, as well as unrest in Haiti.
She won several awards for her political reporting, including the New York Festival Award, a Worldfest Houston Award and multiple shared Peabody awards for team coverage of major global events.
Passionate about lifelong learning and andragogy, she earned a Ph.D. in Education while working at CNN International, partnering with international affiliates throughout the process.
McEdwards currently teaches Visual Storytelling. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Dr. Moroco holds a Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Duquesne University with an emphasis in interpersonal communication and ethics. She also received a master’s degree in Corporate Communication from Duquesne and a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Slippery Rock University of PA.
Laurie’s research is in the field of interpersonal communication and relationship development. Her dissertation focused on the idea of phenomenological distance in relationships. Currently, she is working on research in the area of social media and the effects on relationship. She recently worked on two documentaries including producing the student-led service learning documentary project on homelessness and she co-produced a documentary on social media entitled, “Social Networking: Maintaining Relationships in a Digital Age.”
Assistant Director and Adjunct Professor at UF College of Journalism and Communications Online Graduate Programs
Course: Seminar in Mass Communications Teaching
Cheryl Oberlin is an experienced instructional designer, adjunct professor, marketer, and communicator. She is the Assistant Director of Online Graduate Programs at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.
Oberlin earned three master’s degrees from Wright State University in Dayton, OH: an M.Ed. in Educational Technology, an M.B.A. in Project Management, and an M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric. She also earned a B.A. from Wright State University in Mass Communications, specializing in broadcasting. She earned three master’s certifications in Educational Technology and Instructional Design from Wright State University and Project Management from George Washington University. She previously served as the director of online education and marketing for an R2 university. From teaching to peer reviewing and coaching, she performed numerous roles for the non-profit, Quality Matters, Inc. Oberlin specializes in teaching higher education courses in English, Entrepreneurship, Speech, and Mass Communications. Before teaching, Oberlin spent 15 years in project management and marketing for the Anheuser-Busch family and its related companies, as well as over ten years in marketing for the Teradata Division of NCR. Oberlin also owned a small business, People for That, for more than 15 years, specializing in marketing, special events, non-profit leadership, and communications.
Oberlin won the Dayton Business Journal’s Innovation Index Award for work with Wright State University, plus she won the DBJ’s 40 under 40 award for participation in community development and her contributions to the Dayton, Ohio, regional growth. She was also nominated for the President’s Award of Excellence at Wright State University for her superior relationship management and external communications that encouraged community collaborations.
Director of Customer Service at Anedot and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Courses: Introduction to Digital Political Organizing, Capstone: Political Communication
Patrick O’Keefe is an Adjunct Lecturer for the Political Communications Master’s program at the University of Florida. In his day job, he serves as the Director of Customer Success for Anedot, one of the leading online fundraising platforms for political campaigns, churches, and non-profit organizations.
Patrick previously served as the Executive Director for the Maryland Republican Party, Head of Growth for an ed-tech start-up, and has served as a digital marketing consultant for more than three dozen companies.
Patrick was a graduate with distinction from the University of Florida with a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Web Design and Online Communications. He graduated Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Florida International University after serving as Student Body President and University Trustee.
Owner, Rewritten Page
Course: Capstone, Advertising and Social Media
Kara Page is the former Associate and Interim Director of UF CJC Online. Prior to her role with UF CJC Online, Page worked with Gator student-athletes at the University Athletic Association’s Otis Hawkins Center for Academic and Personal Excellence. In addition to her role as Associate Director, Page also teaches both undergraduate and master’s level courses in advertising, web design, graphic design, and social media. Page is passionate about providing students with transformative learning experiences through hands-on immersive projects and real-world client work.
Page is a proud graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communication’s Web Design and Online Communication master’s program. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree, Kara graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Advertising and a B.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism with a specialization in Event Management.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Fundamentals of Digital Political Advertising
Jonathan Pelto is an adjunct instructor focusing on American Government, politics, and strategic communication.
Following a decade as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, where he held the position of Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the House Screening (Rules) Committee, Pelto formed Connecticut’s first issue advocacy firm, providing a wide range of communication services, including polling and message development, earned media, television and radio ads, direct mail, and a variety of tactics aimed at educating, persuading, and mobilizing targeted audiences.
Over his professional career, he has served as a communication strategist, investigative journalist, political researcher, and public education advocate.
Pelto has managed or held senior campaign positions with candidates at the national, state, and local level, including running three gubernatorial campaigns in Connecticut. He also served as the Connecticut Democratic Party’s Political Director for six years.
Pelto holds a master’s degree in Strategic Communications from George Washington University.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Corporate and Brand Identity on the Web
Emily Ramsey is a North Carolina-based freelance graphic and web designer. Primarily working with small to medium-sized businesses throughout the Southeast, Emily’s background also includes stints in marketing at UF and as an Application User Interface Designer for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi.
Passionate about helping others achieve their goal of becoming a designer, she has also worked as an adjunct professor for the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications since 2014. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Florida with an undergraduate degree in advertising and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication specializing in Web Design and Online Communication.
Global Media Strategy & Operation Team Lead at Google
Courses: Search and Display Advertising, Cross-Platform Media Selling
Bryan Ruiz has over 15 years of professional digital sales and marketing experience across online, mobile, search, social, tablet, console/connected TV and out-of-home. In his professional career, he’s worked for The Walt Disney Company and Sony Pictures Entertainment to help drive partnerships and sales against their digital solutions. He has now worked at Google for over 9 years, working with brands for cross-media strategies and marketing solutions. He now works in a global strategy & operations team lead role, based in New York City, building programs for our clients across the globe.
Bryan holds a Master of Arts in Communication Management from the University of Southern California, a Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a minor in Business from the University of Florida and a Certificate in Finance from London School of Business and Finance.
He currently teaches Search and Display Advertising and Cross-Platform Media Selling.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at Rollins College; Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Introduction to Audiences
Dr. Brittani Sahm is a visiting professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Her broad teaching and research interests include strategic communication, digital audience analysis, and corporate social advocacy and responsibility. Much of her research focuses on the application of these ideas in the sports realm.
Dr. Sahm is a proud double graduate of the University of Florida, where she earned her M.S. in Sport Management and her Ph.D. in Mass Communication. While at UF, she taught for the CJC undergraduate program and worked as a content tutor for the University Athletic Association.
Outside of academia, Dr. Sahm worked for Williams College and Washington and Lee University as a sports information assistant prior to graduate school. More recently, she worked for Chromatic Games, an indie video game studio in Gainesville, as a Community Manager. One thing Dr. Sahm strives to bring to all her roles is the power of active listening – if organizations are not listening, they are not learning. If they are not learning, they are not growing.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.
With almost a decade of social media and digital marketing experience, Arielle Sanchez utilizes her strategic storytelling skills to help clients reach the audiences that they serve.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a double minor in Communications and Spanish from the University of Central Florida in 2015. After getting her start in marketing and social media, she graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications with a Master of Arts in Mass Communication concentrating in Social Media in 2019.
She currently teaches Social Media Metrics and Evaluation. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Creative Coach & Consultant, Building 07
Podcast Host, Live Creatively
Courses: Digital Imagery
Megan Sjuts is a graphic designer turned creative coach and consultant, host of the Live Creatively podcast, and the owner of Building 07. As a coach and design instructor, Megan is passionate about encouraging and equipping creatives to courageously pursue their paths with confidence. As a consultant, Megan partners with purpose-driven entrepreneurs and creators to bring their vision to life through strategic design and creative direction.
Megan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing and Advertising Management. Always wanting to learn more, she later earned a Master of Arts in Mass Communication degree at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, specializing in Web Design and Online Communications. Upon graduating with her master’s, Megan began teaching graphic design courses at Rogue Community College in Southern Oregon and now serves as a UF CJC Online Instructor.
From clients to creatives, her mission is to bring out the creative BEST in others. Of all her titles, though, Megan cherishes being a wife and mother most.
Data Journalist and Consultant
Course: Data Storytelling and Visualization
Chad Skelton, an award-winning data journalist, is a consultant and trainer based in Vancouver, Canada. Skelton worked as a data journalist at The Vancouver Sun until 2015. In 2014, he won an international data journalism award for his portfolio of work in the previous year. Skelton has given several talks on data and storytelling, including at the 2015 Tapestry Conference sponsored by Tableau Software.
Skelton currently teaches Data Storytelling and Visualization.
Alaska Senior Campaign Manager for the Wild Salmon Center
Course: Introduction to Public Interest Communication
Dr. Snyder is an organizer and a communicator with over a decade of experience leading environment/conservation political campaigns in Alaska. He has worked on state and federal policy campaigns, as well as electoral efforts of ballot measures and campaigns for state legislature.
Building on his academic background and campaign work, Dr. Snyder’s research examines the intersection of public interest communications and community organizing paying particular attention to social movement success and failure; the growth and maintenance of political power; and understanding barriers to basic forms of civic and political life. In addition to his teaching at the University of Florida, he teaches in the Center for Community Engagement and Learning at the University of Alaska – Anchorage.
Dr. Snyder has a PhD from the University of Florida’s Graduate Program on Religion and Nature, a Masters degree from Syracuse University, and a Bachelors from Bucknell University. He lives, works, and plays on the unceded lands of the Dena’ina people (Anchorage, Alaska).
Data Analyst at CHIRLA
Course: Audience Analytics Capstone
Lorraine Tamburrino has over ten years of experience working in communications, with a focus on consumer behavior research and marketing strategy.
She has worked for Fortune 500 companies, where she was responsible for developing recommendations that to guide media and marketing strategies. She has experience measuring the campaign effectiveness in different media channels, defining the ideal consumer prior to product development or revamping of the consumer profile for existing products in Latin American markets. Some of her previous employers include Autonation and Starcom MediaVest, where she was assigned to Proctor & Gamble and BlackBerry, among other client accounts.
Since 2013, she has worked as a Lecturer for the School of Communication at Florida International University teaching several organizational communication courses including Social Media. She has also been Lecturer for the Master of Applied Analytics at Columbia University teaching graduate students to find stories within the data.
She’s driven to help students bridge the gap between producing actionable insights and deliver technical presentations; that are equally compelling and easy to understand.
She received her Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Miami, and her Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Florida International University.
Web Designer at UF College of Art and Liberal Sciences
Courses: Web Design Principles, Advanced Web Topics
Efren graduated in 2014 from Boise State University where he earned a Master’s in Business Administration. After graduating he decided to go back to school and attended the University of Florida Master’s Web Design program. Efren graduated from this program in August 2017. After graduating he became a web designer in Ocala, Florida.
Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida
Course: Audience Research Methods
Yan Yang has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Florida. Dr. Yang teaches in Department of Media Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Prior to that she taught in the School of Communication at High Point University. She has taught a variety of courses in Journalism, Strategic Communication and Digital Media. Her research focuses on media management and strategy, new media adoption, and audience evaluation.
Dr. Yang’s professional experiences include working as a TV programming researcher in New York, associate producer for news at KOLO News Channel 8 in Reno, NV, and researcher for Emmy-winning documentary program Wide Angle at PBS.
Branding and Innovation Strategist
Course: Social Media and Emerging Technology
Dustin York, Ed.D. is a branding and innovation strategist who brings his never-ending enthusiasm to education. Prior to entering academia, York worked in public relations for the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign, as well as clients like Pepsi Co., and Nike. York’s specialties include social media, emerging technologies, digital transformation, and brand development. He now teaches full-time, while leading workshops for Fortune 500 companies and speaking nationally.
Beyond his primary passion for teaching, York is a subject matter expert for CNN, Entrepreneur.com, Fast Company and Forbes, as well as a contributor for Harvard Business Review.
York was awarded the St. Louis Business Journal 30 Under 30 Award, University President’s Award for Strategic Leadership and Transformation Innovation as well as an Apple Distinguished Educator Award.
Connect with him on LinkedIn.