Conferences & Training
Faculty - Social Media and Community

  CASE Crystal Apple winner for excellence in teaching

Conference Chair

Tyler A. Thomas

Tyler A. Thomas
Senior Director of Integrated Content
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tyler Thomas builds award-winning brand engagement for the "BIG RED" brand. He directs the university's strategic functions integrating social media, videography, photography, project management and graphic design to deliver an effective communication strategy and editorial plan. He is a national presenter on social media and a self-proclaimed foodie. He authored Nebraska Beer and writes regularly for local publications.

Thomas holds a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Nebraska and teaches Digital Content Strategy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism.

Social:
Twitter: @TylerAThomas
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tylerathomas



Faculty

Stephen App

Stephen App
Account Executive
Campus Sonar

Stephen App is an account executive at Campus Sonar, a specialized social listening agency that matches high-value social media intelligence and engagement opportunities to organizational strategic initiatives. He is also the host of seasons 1 and 2 of the Hashtag Higher Ed Podcast, a bi-weekly podcast that explores new ways higher education marketers connect with audiences through content.

App earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Stonehill College and a master's degree in communication management from Temple University. An amateur runner and professional donut connoisseur, you can frequently find him on Twitter staunchly defending the Oxford Comma. 

Social:
Twitter: @stephenapp
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenapp
Podcast:http://resources.ecityinteractive.com/hashtag-higher-ed-podcast


Emma Gilmartin
Head of Social Media and Student Communications
University of Glasgow

Since joining the University of Glasgow in 2013, Emma Gilmartin has revolutionised the way the university approaches social media, putting its students and staff at the forefront of its activity. As head of the award-winning team, she oversees its strategic vision and digital content planning.

She has unified the university's online presence, established and strengthened the UofG social brand and led an overhaul of Glasgow's social output-- using emerging channels and live platforms to tell the UofG story, break news, promote world-changing research and grow community engagement and all things #TeamUofG. She has spoken at multiple conferences and writes blogs on the importance and value of social media in the higher education sector.

Before life at UofG, Gilmartin successfully established social media at the University of Aberdeen and Netball Australia with the Australian national netball team, the Aussie Diamonds, in Melbourne.

Social:
Twitter: @embrooksy@UofGlasgow
Blog: www.uofgsocialmedia.com


Liz Gross

Liz Gross
CEO
Campus Sonar

Liz Gross is a data-driven researcher and scholar who specializes in creating entrepreneurial social media strategies in higher education. Her professional super power is to embolden colleges and universities and help them launch modern market research strategies using social listening. Teaching is her passion and she brings that to colleges and universities as the founder and CEO of Campus Sonar, a specialized social listening agency that matches high-value social media intelligence and engagement opportunities to organizational strategic initiatives.

Gross has more than 15 years' experience spanning the private and public sector including Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. She received a doctorate in leadership for the advancement of learning and service in higher education at Cardinal Stritch University, a master's degree in educational policy and leadership from Marquette University, and a bachelor's degree in interpersonal communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Social:
Twitter: @lizgross144 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizgross 


Sonja Likness

Sonja Likness
Director of Social Media & Content Strategy
Duke University

Sonja Likness joined Duke University in 2014 with extensive experience in social media and brand-building as well as analytics and cross-platform planning. Her responsibilities include university-wide social media consultations and strategy, content development and distribution, analytics reporting and strategy.

She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2003 and will always be faithful to that slightly lighter shade of blue.

Social:
Twitter: @SonjaLikness
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonjalikness



Social Media Correspondent

Anice Barbosa

Anice Barbosa
Integrated Marketing Specialist
Wheaton College

Anice Barbosa is the integrated marketing specialist at Wheaton College. Since joining Wheaton in 2014 she has worked to integrate marketing campaigns across all digital channels. She serves as a social media strategy consultant to the campus community, creates and distributes content for all official college accounts and creates data-driven reports to help advance marketing goals.

Prior to joining Wheaton College, she worked for a full-service marketing firm as a social media manager and helped companies big and small to develop engaging social media strategies that build community and clients. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island's Harrington School of Communication and Media in 2011 with dual degrees in public relations and communication studies.

Social
Twitter: @AniceBarbosa/@Wheaton
Instagram: @AniceBarbosa/@WheatonCollege
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anicebarbosa/



Preconference Speaker

Ashley Budd

Ashley Budd
Director of Digital Marketing for Alumni Affairs and Development
Cornell University

Ashley Budd is director of digital marketing for alumni affairs and development at Cornell University. She is based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., working remotely for the university as a digital strategist and project manager for the division. She runs a small team based in Ithaca, N.Y., executing social media, digital content and digital marketing analytics.

Prior to joining the digital team at Cornell, Budd spent more than five years at her alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology, where she led social media strategy for undergraduate admissions. She serves as producer for the Higher Ed Live network, a podcast exploring innovations and trends in higher education. She speaks before national nonprofit groups and appears regularly at higher education conferences including Confab Events, NACAC, CASE, and HighEdWeb.

Social:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashley_budd
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleybudd/



Speakers

Adam Conner-Simons

Adam Conner-Simons
Communications and Media Relations Officer
MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab

Adam Conner-Simons oversees communications and media relations at MIT's largest research lab, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He develops content about CSAIL research and events, and leads its general press outreach, media training and social media efforts. He previously worked in the communications offices of Brandeis University and Pomona College.


Miles K. Davis

Miles K. Davis
President
Linfield College

Miles K. Davis became the 20th president in Linfield College's 161-year history on July 1, 2018. He has a doctorate in human and organizational sciences from The George Washington University, a master's degree in human resource development from Bowie State University and a bachelor's degree in communications from Duquesne University. He was the inaugural chair of the management science department at the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business at Shenandoah University, became the founding director of its Institute for Entrepreneurship and was named dean in 2012.

Davis is known for his #sockchallenge posts on Instagram (@milesdavisphd) and daily quotes on Twitter (@DrDtweeters).

Social:
Twitter: @DrDtweeters
Instigram:@milesdavisphd


Tony Dobies

Tony Dobies
Social Media Director
West Virginia University

As the social media director at West Virginia University, Tony Dobies has positioned the university as a leader in higher education when it comes to new and social media platforms. He is a vocal advocate across the higher education community and has spoken at numerous national conferences on the importance of social and digital media in marketing and communications.

At WVU, he leads the social media conversation on campus. He leads a team that sets the university's social media-specific goals and strategies and helps to use social media effectively through various campus-wide campaigns and initiatives. In 2015, he was named a "30 under 30 Rising PR Star" by PR News. In 2016, he was part of a team that won PRSA's "Best in West Virginia" award for the best overall PR campaign in the state in addition to significant recognition for WVU's innovative use of Snapchat and short, social video campaigns.

Dobies is an adjunct professor at the Reed College of Media at WVU. Prior to his social media work at WVU, he spent time as a senior writer and social media strategist at WVU and was an award-winning sports writer for newspapers including The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and The Daily Athenaeum. He graduated from WVU in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.


Erika Fields
Social Media Manager
Carnegie Dartlet

As social media manager at Carnegie Dartlet, Erika Fields leads the training and development for the digital team across all social media platforms. She works across all teams to provide quality assurance, ensuring the successful creation, implementation and ongoing optimization of social media advertising, while also supporting the inbound marketing team with organic social media SEO projects. She has a strong background in social media, digital marketing and higher education.

Fields has worked at a number of colleges and universities in the greater Boston area, responsible for executing their social media strategies; advising on the points of intersection for paid, owned and earned social media; and acting as a consultative lead for integrated marketing projects. She earned her master's degree in communications management and her bacheloir's degree in communications from Simmons College.


Kelly Jasper

Kelly Jasper
Digital Content Manager
Augusta University

Kelly Jasper is a data-loving, audience-focused writer and communicator with a passion for finding new ways to tell stories online. As the digital content manager at Augusta University, she directs digital media and content strategy for news and internal communications. A former journalist, she has more than 12 years of experience writing for newspapers, blogs and magazines. Five years ago, she started working in higher education communications as a media relations coordinator and now trains other writers, faculty and staff in digital and social media storytelling. She still loves a good deadline.


Cortney J. Johnson

Cortney J. Johnson
International Student & Scholar Advisor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Cortney J. Johnson is an international student and scholar advisor, DSO/ARO (Designated School Official/ Alternate Responsible Officer) at the Office of International Education at Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition to immigration advising of F-1 and J-1 visa students, she provides leadership, development and implements a plan for effective communication for the International Student and Scholar Services division within OIE; including social media, web communication and electronic newsletters. She also provides support with social and cultural programming that enhances students' integration to the Georgia Tech community. She has been with Georgia Tech for more than three years.

Johnson graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education from SUNY New Paltz in 2002 and later earned a master's degree in post-secondary education from Troy University in 2007.


Travis McGuire

Travis McGuire
Director of Social Media
Linfield College

Travis McGuire has 15 years of experience promoting the advancement of education in two specific areas: alumni relations and digital communications. In 2017, he joined the Linfield College communications and marketing team as the director of social media. He leads the strategy for and produces content on Linfield's primary channels and provides social media guidance for 140+ known academic department, office, program and athletic team accounts. McGuire also coordinates all of Linfield's social media advertising as well as some display and search engine marketing.

He is a first-generation college graduate. He earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Grand Canyon University in 2004. He developed a love for various forms of communication at GCU, including at his work study job as the voice of the Antelopes.


Jordana Torres

Jordana Torres
Manager of Digital and Social Engagement
Northeastern University

Jordana Torres is the manager of digital and social engagement in Northeastern University's Office of Alumni Relations. She is also a proud Double Husky, having earned both her bachelor's degree and master's degree in business administration from Northeastern. In her role, she is responsible for managing alumni relations' paid social, organic social, and email strategies and identifying strategic opportunities for cohesive and innovative messaging across these channels.


Melissa M. Vélez-Luce

Melissa M. Vélez-Luce
Director of Alumni Relations & Presidential Liaison
North Park University

Melissa Vélez-Luce currently serves as director of alumni relations and as presidential liaison at North Park University. One of her primary responsibilities is to provide leadership and creative direction for the North Park University Alumni Association social media platforms, particularly in partnership with the university's annual Day of Giving. Additionally, she supports the Office of the President in the areas of strategic communications and operations. She is passionate about using social media to build bridges and create a sense of community.



Lightning Talk Presenters

Rachel Breitweser

Rachel Breitweser
Communications Officer
Punahou School

Rachel Breitweser is a writer, photographer, videographer, social media manager and digital media strategist with Punahou School. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, Punahou is the largest coeducational, independent K - 12 school on a single campus in the United States. Prior to working at Punahou, she was a writer, photographer and editor at Oahu Publications, Hawaii's largest news and media company. She was born and raised in Hawaii and is currently pursuing a master's degree in composition and rhetoric with a focus on social media.


Lauren Collette

Lauren Collette
Fundraising Consultant
Campbell & Company

Lauren Collette is a fundraising consultant at Campbell & Company, bringing more than five years of fundraising experience and a Gen Y knack for digital communications. She has learned the value of building relationships with supporters and connecting them to an organization's mission—the bedrock of fundraising—both in person and in the digital world.

Previously, she was a member of the development teams at two celebrated American institutions: The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As the American History Museum's manager of annual giving, she was responsible for giving up to $25,000, launched its annual giving program, and managed online giving initiatives, including playing a key role in planning the Museum's Kickstarter effort that raised more than $300 million in 2016.


Matthew Dymoke

Matthew Dymoke
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Concordia College

Matt Dymoke currently serves as the assistant director of alumni relations at Concordia College. His work consists of young alumni engagement and giving, student programming, regional events, as well as coordinating with the marketing and communications team on strategy and implementation. He graduated from Concordia College in 2014 and is in his fourth year at the college.


Heather Lavin

Heather Lavin
Senior Associate Director, Advancement Communication
Muhlenberg College

Heather Lavin has worked in higher education and development for eight years. In her current position, she writes, designs and coordinates strategy implementation for communications to Muhlenberg College alumni, parents and friends. Her expertise is in engagement and philanthropy through digital and social media. She has also served as a fundraiser, event planner and volunteer manager.

Lavin is a graduate of Muhlenberg College and received a master's degree in arts administration from Drexel University.


Jessica Leontarakis

Jessica Leontarakis
Social Media Strategist
Princeton University

Jessica Leontarakis is a social media professional with 10 years of experience in content development and storytelling, community management and crisis communications. As the social media strategist for Princeton University, she sets the overall direction of social media for the university as well as works with campus partners to align messaging and branding.

Before joining Princeton, she worked for New York-Presbyterian Hospital where she co-founded the social media program and prior to that she served the City of New York under the Bloomberg Administration, overseeing online communications and social strategy for the Department of Education.

Leontarakis is a graduate of Albion College with a bachelor's degree in economics and management.


AJ Lopez III

AJ Lopez III
Manager of Digital Marketing and Social Media
Midwestern State University – Texas

A J Lopez III is the manager of digital marketing and social media at MSU Texas. His day-to-day responsibilities involve creating content for social media through photography and video, and educating the faculty and staff of MSU Texas about the best approach to their social media strategy. He strongly believes that social media has to do something and not just add to the noise. For more than 13 years, Lopez has used a camera to tell the story of the companies he's worked for including published work in national magazines, books and newspapers. Having a keen eye and bold style, his importance to detail and bright colors can be found throughout his photos. Originally from South Texas, Lopez is also an award-winning marketer and photographer.


Dianne Frances Powell

Dianne Frances Powell
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Dianne Frances Powell is a storyteller and strategic thinker who is currently associate director of marketing and communications at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. She directs SMWC's social media presence as well as creates original content for both digital and print. She is head of the institution's social media administrators group and creator of the social media student ambassadors program. She is also lead writer and editor.

Before coming to SMWC, she was a reporter for the Tribune-Star, a daily newspaper in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 2016, she won second best news coverage under deadline pressure at the Better Newspaper Contest by the Hoosier State Press Association. She holds a master's degree from Ohio University and a bachelor's degree from Indiana University South Bend. In 2018, she served as host coordinator for CASE's Circle of Excellence Awards Feature Writing (topical) category.


Jamie Saxon

Jamie Saxon
Arts and Humanities Writer
Princeton University

Jamie Saxon joined Princeton University's Office of Communications as arts and humanities writer in 2012. She writes news and feature stories for the homepage, including partnering on video features. She is the founder and producer of the weekly #TellUsTigers Instagram series—which profiles students, staff, faculty and alumni—for the university's main Instagram account, and curates a Twitter account, @jamiesaxonarts, focused on the arts and humanities.

Previously, she held senior-level editorial positions at publications and book producers in Princeton and New York, and in public relations firms in Washington, D.C.; New York; and Princeton. A graduate of Tufts University, she considers herself a "story hunter" and loves ballet, the cello and memoirs.


Rebekah Tilley

Rebekah Tilley
Communications and Social Media Specialist, Tippie College of Business
University of Iowa

Rebekah Tilley manages social media for the top-ranked Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. When she's not telling the stories of Tippie, she enjoys throwing down at Moth StorySLAM competitions where twice she's placed in the top three.