Alumni Advisory Council
The general mission of the COMS Alumni Advisory Council is to enhance relationships between the School of Communication Studies and its alumni. Specifically, the council provides advice and counsel in support of the School’s alumni initiatives, as well as priorities identified in alumni surveys. Its members serve as ambassadors in their spheres of influence and encourage alumni engagement with School faculty and students, and with one another.
Alumni Advisory Council
School of Communication Studies, Ohio University
David (Dave) Abram (OHIO '89 BSC - Organizational Communication) is a resident of Essex, MA, and is a Regional Sales Manager-Southern New England with True Value Company, a global wholesale distributor of hardware products. Having made his first gift to OHIO in the form of a donation to the College of Communication in 1989, the year of his graduation, he has provided time, talent and treasure to his alma mater.
In his professional career, Dave has worked in sales, marketing and new business development roles in several industries, including consumer packaged goods, sporting goods and building materials. Additionally, he has served on boards for a variety of institutions/organizations.
In service to Ohio University, Dave served as President of the Massachusetts Chapter serving New England for eight years, was a member of the OHIO Alumni Association Board of Directors and was a Regional Chair of the Promise Lives Campaign. He currently serves on the OHIO Bobcat Club Board of Directors (Intercollegiate Athletics Development). During his tenure as Massachusetts Chapter President, he created and led the eventual endowment of the Bunch of Grapes Scholarship, which provides an annual scholarship for a student residing in New England, and also created its anchor event, Manasseh Cutler’s Lobsterfest, an annual fundraiser for the scholarship.
Karen Atwell, PCC (OHIO '18 MA - Organizational Communication) is a dynamic leader with over 35 years of management, consulting and coaching experience. Accomplished in talent strategy and development, HR consulting, executive assessment, coaching, training and facilitating, Karen focuses on both people and productivity through a passion to grow people.
Karen has extensive experience helping leaders in transition identify the shifts necessary to move forward. She focuses on the Development of Followership, Vision Articulation and Delivery, Goal Setting, Initiative Strategy, and Tactical Leadership and Accountability. Karen continues to be a key player in the development and delivery of formal training and coaching programs, providing a systematic and comprehensive development experience for leaders, managers, and sales professionals.
Karen is currently the VP Leadership & Talent Development with First Command Financial Services and President of Dynamic Perspectives, LLC. Her previous experience includes Executive Director and Master Coach with UBS Global Wealth Management as well as various sales management and senior sales leadership positions with Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Prudential Securities.
Karen is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and is Master Certified for The Leadership Challenge©. Her consulting client list includes MetLife, Penn Medicine, PNC Bank, Franchise Update Media, and Comcast.
Karen and her family live in Fort Worth, Texas and Deer Isle, Maine. She has a long history of community involvement around the education, development, and health of young people.
Katrina E. Bell-Jordan (OHIO '93 BSJ - News Editorial Journalism, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism; '94 MA - Interpersonal Communication in Rhetorical Studies; '97 Ph.D. - Interpersonal Communication in Rhetorical Studies and Media Studies)
Dr. Katrina E. Bell-Jordan currently serves as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois and Professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre. She served for 7 years as Chair of the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre at Northeastern and 2 years as Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Katrina joined the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre in 1997 as an Assistant Professor, teaching in the areas of media literacy and media theory, rhetorical theory and criticism, and news writing/journalism. Her research has focused on critical media studies, the politics of gender and race in the media, and the rhetoric of popular culture. She has published in journals such as Critical Studies in Media Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication, and Performance Studies; published book chapters on race and representation in the media; and written for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Daily News. Katrina has also served her local community since 2011 as an elected member of the Skokie, Illinois District 68 Board of Education.
Mary L. Bradley, Esq. (OHIO ‘80 BSC - Communication in Organizational Communication; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, 1998, Juris Doctor) is a Senior Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her professional career began at the Xerox Corporation where she sold copiers, memory typewriters, and supplies. She transferred to the Information Systems Division as a customer-training representative. Mary moved to Houston, Texas and worked as a trainer for Allied Bank of Texas writing training materials and presentations. She returned to Ohio to work for Banc One Corporation, in Columbus, as a Business Systems Analyst. Mary transferred into Human Resources where she worked as an organizational development trainer, an employee relations specialist and a recruiter. She became an Officer. Mary left banking to attend law school full time. She is licensed to practice law in Ohio. Her first legal job was as an associate for Millisor and Nobil, (now Fisher & Phillips). She went on to general practice in personal injury, probate, and family law. Since 2001 Mary has worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor. As a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service sorority, Mary devoted her life to public service. She volunteers for the Legal Aid Society and the Cleveland Bar Association. She mentors first year law students and served on the Board of Trustees for the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association.
Timothy J. Brown (OHIO ’97 Ph.D. - Rhetoric & Public Address) is Dean of the Knight School of Communication at Queen’s University of Charlotte. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University where he served ten years as department chair and four years on the university’s tenure and promotion committee. He is a rhetorical scholar whose scholarship and presentations focus upon African American culture and communication, black masculinity, and communication and sport. He is the co-author of two textbooks, Public Speaking for Success: Strategies for Diverse Audiences and Occasions, and Argument and Debate: A Public Speaking Approach. His most recent essay, “Public memory as contested site: The struggle for existence at the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” will appear in Roger Aden’s edited book, The Soul of the Nation: U.S. Public Memory and the National Mall.
John A. Cassese (OHIO ‘76 BSC - Radio and Television; ’79 MA - Organizational Communication) is a senior level business communications/production professional with over 40 years of experience. He was one of the founding partners and principals of Concentric Communications, a business communications agency and SVP of ACG Communications, serving as Managing Director of ACG Healthcare specializing in new product launches and national sales meetings in the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently he was Vice President of New Business Development at PineRock Productions in New York City.
Leaving behind the corporate world, John relocated to Charlotte, NC where he is on the adjunct faculty at UNCC, Queens University, Winthrop, and Wake Forest. For Ohio, John is teaching an on-line class for the Masters program in Organizational Communication. John has also been a guest lecturer at Hanover College working with the Business Scholars program. For 7 years he had been a guest lecturer for the Integrated Marketing Communications Course in the Masters in Public Relations Program at NYU’s School of Professional Studies.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, John has begun a communications consultancy, focusing on helping corporations develop and execute internal communications campaigns, field force and employee messaging and national meetings.
John is an active supporter of his Alma Mater, Ohio University, having endowed the John A. Cassese Chair of Forensics program (public speaking) and named outstanding alumnus for the Ohio University School of Communication Studies. He has also served as President of his college fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta’s Graduate Association. He has endowed a leadership scholarship for the fraternity, in his name. He has served on both the Ohio University Alumni Board of Directors, and the Scripps College of Communication Dean’s Advisory Council. A frustrated actor at heart, his television credits include The HBO Series “OZ” and Law and Order SVU.
Julia Louise Krahe (Kindl) (OHIO HTC ‘03 BSC - Political Communication with minors in political science and math) lives in Washington, DC, and is a vice president at Edelman, a global communications firm. Julia has divided her career between leading communications operations for federal legislators and advising federal agencies through her work at various public relations companies.
During her time at OHIO, Julia was an active member of the forensics team, participating in multiple national public speaking tournaments, and she presented original research at the National Communication Association annual conference. As an alumna, Julia has served on the HTC Board of Visitors Communications Committee and the board of the Nation’s Capital Chapter.
Laurie Sheridan Lach (OHIO ’92 BSC - Organizational Communication). A native of Athens, Laurie’s professional life began in sales at TRW. The information systems division was later divested, and Experian was then created where she enjoyed an extensive and highly successful sales career working in multi-national financial services companies. Following a stint at NCR-Teradata, selling enterprise data warehouse solutions, Laurie joined Alliance Data as Director of Client Sales in 2007. There, she led a team of marketing and business insights professionals and delivered custom solutions to major retailers. Laurie also served on the advisory board for OHIO’s Schey Sales Centre and quickly discovered the rewards of helping students learn and grow. In 2012, Laurie joined OHIO as Director of Alumni Affairs for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and focused on engagement, philanthropy, and innovative ways to support the college’s expansion to Dublin and Cleveland. As Director of Development and External Affairs for OHIO’s Lancaster campus, Laurie now oversees fundraising, external outreach, and traditions that sustain OHIO’s strong community connection. Laurie is a member of the OHIO Today advisory board, a co-creator of Ohio Women in Medicine, a member of the Lancaster Rotary, and serves on Lancaster Festival’s board of directors.
Jeff W. Reed (OHIO '06 BSC - Political Communication) Upon graduation in 2006, Reed held communications and public-policy positions with the American Legislative Exchange Council in Washington, D.C. In 2010, Reed moved to Indianapolis, where he served as communication director for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, the legacy nonprofit of the Nobel laureate.
While in Indianapolis, Reed also led Ohio University’s Indiana alumni chapter and co-founded and served as board chair for an urban, blended-learning public charter school. In 2015, Reed joined Cummins Inc., a Fortune 250 company headquartered in Indiana, as its global communication leader in corporate social responsibility.
Currently, Reed serves as a senior communication strategist at Honda R&D Americas, Inc., just outside Columbus, Ohio. He also is a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network and OHIO Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Jeff Tyus (OHIO ’93 BSC - Telecommunication; ’95 MA - Telecommunications; ’99 Ph.D. - Interpersonal Communication) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Youngstown State University. From 2004-2006, he served as President of the Ohio Communication Association and has stayed actively involved since 2002. Prior to joining the faculty at YSU in 2007, he taught at Ohio University (while completing his Ph.D.), Furman University, and Sinclair Community College. He has published in the Ohio Communication Journal and has written a book chapter in the Sage Handbook of Family Communication in 2015. He has been instrumental in leading his department’s online teaching efforts since 2009. He was recognized as a Distinguished Professor in Service in both 2013 and 2018. He has taken both graduate and undergraduate students to conferences where they have won Top Research Paper awards multiple times. He has engaged in multiple philanthropic events since arriving in Youngstown, including running a half-marathon to raise money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in 2009 and hosting a Halloween Costume Contest to raise money for the American Cancer Society for the last 9 years. He has participated in multiple university service activities such as being the Reader at graduation since May 2008 and traveling to Ghana to help recruit students to attend YSU in 2016 and 2017. In March 2020 he will lead the university’s first Study Abroad venture to Ghana.
Emily Dengler is a junior majoring in Communication Studies, minoring in Marketing, and getting certificates in both Social Media and Entrepreneurship. On campus she is involved with the Ohio Fellows, a non-traditional scholar’s program, which helps bring students together from different educational backgrounds to widen their horizons to what is possible. She is also the event chair for the Student Professionals of Communication Studies (SPCS). In this position, she plans different panels and social events for SPCS members to enjoy.
In the summer of 2019 Emily interned at Flora and Field, a wedding venue and flower farm, as its Events Assistant. In this position she worked with brides and their families to help create their special day. She was the personal assistant to the bridal party on the wedding day, making sure that all their needs were met. She plans to intern there again in summer 2020 to get an even more wide array of skills under her belt.
After graduation, Emily wants to work for a corporation or business to help plan their meetings and events. Being able to work in a variety of different environments is important to her. The end goal is that she hopes to one day be able to open her own wedding and event planning business.
Bayley Fields is a fourth-year Communication Studies major with a minor in Political Science and certificates in Political Communication, Social Media and Diversity Studies. She serves as a Scripps College Ambassador for the Scripps Dean’s Office and authors a biweekly internship newsletter that is sent to undergraduate Scripps students in all five schools. She also works for Ohio University Culinary Services’ Auxiliaries Department as a student procurement coordinator. Bayley has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for Introduction to Communication Theory and also served as a team leader coaching a team of five undergraduate teaching assistants for Fundamentals of Human Communication. In the 2020-2021 school year, Bayley will be assisting Dr. Roger Aden in his research of memory and public places.
Bayley has a strong passion for nonprofits and social work and has interned at Live Healthy Appalachia, a local nonprofit that promotes healthy eating and active living through community initiatives and education programs. She is the Public Relations Chair for Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity’s Epsilon Iota chapter and is a member of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society’s Beta Mu Chapter. In her free time Bayley enjoys exploring the beautiful Athens community and is an avid runner.
Shae Haas is currently a member of Student Professionals of Communication Studies (SPCS), Women in the Music Industry, and Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, which is the National Communication Association’s official honor society. During fall semester 2018-2019 she served as an undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) for Fundamentals of Human Communication. In spring 2019-2020, she served as a UTA for Introduction to Communication Theory.
In addition to her current extra-curricular activities, Shae volunteers at the Athens County Dog Shelter as a member of the Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs and she also volunteers at the Southeast Ohio Foodbank, Athens Beautification Day, and the Turn it Gold campaign, which raises money and awareness for childhood cancer. In addition, she is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, where she serves on the catering committee for the annual Charity Ball. She currently works at Krause Rental Properties as a leasing agent. After graduation, Shae hopes to work for a nonprofit organization that educates and advocates on behalf of climate change and environmental conservation.
Sarah E. Williams is a fourth-year student studying Communication Studies focused on Strategic Message Management and Social Media with a minor in Marketing. She is a member of the Ohio University Army ROTC Bobcat Battalion and the United States Army Reserves. Within the school of Communication Studies, Sarah serves as the Social Media Chair for the Lambda Pi Eta Beta Mu Chapter and is an active member of Student Professionals of Communication Studies. Along with campus organizations, Sarah currently serves as an Ambassador for the Scripps College of Communication Deans office, a community manager for the Scripps College social media team, and an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.
Sarah had the opportunity to serve as an undergraduate teaching assistant during the spring 2018 for Introduction to Communication Theory and will begin working as a research fellow with Dr. Roger Aden during the fall 2019 with a focus on public memory and places. She served as a camp counselor for the Ohio University Summer Coding Camp that provides middle-school-aged females the opportunity to explore careers in coding while creating their own coding projects such as websites and game applications. Sarah serves the Athens community by volunteering in various ways. Since her first year on campus, Sarah has been an annual volunteer at the Athens Area Stand Down, a community event that gives back to local veterans as well as being a dog-walker at the Athens County Dog Shelter. With an expected graduation date of May 2021, Sarah is excited to serve as a student representative on the COMS Alumni Advisory Council.
Former Advisory Members
Chris Witherspoon (OHIO ’04 BSC – Communication Studies) is currently a correspondent/host for the movie ticketing site Fandango. Prior to working with Fandango, Chris was an entertainment analyst for CNN, and from 2011-2016 he served as the entertainment editor for NBC’s African American news outlet, theGrio.com.
Chris has appeared on various NBC platforms including MSNBC, TODAY, Megyn Kelly TODAY, NBC’s Nightly News, and E! News. Throughout his career he’s sat down for exclusive interviews with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford and more.
Chris got his start at NBCUniversal in 2008 working as a publicity coordinator with the NBC News press department, covering shows including Meet the Press and Dateline. He later served as executive assistant to Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBCUniversal. He interned at ABC’s Good Morning America and worked as an NBC page from 2005-2006.