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
Chair: Stacy L. Schindler (OHIO '14 MA Organizational Communication, '02 BS Organizational Communication, '01 Bachelor of Specialized Studies, Communication Management) is an active alumna and local Pataskala, Ohio, community member, along with being a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.
Stacy offers more than 25 years of experience in sales, business development and training, where she has elevated performance for both executives and front-line sales teams throughout her career. She has led sales management and training teams in the direct sales industry, as well as in retail Fortune 500 and financial worlds. Her focus throughout her career has always been on relationships and helping others reach their dreams. Today, she helps families achieve and protect their goals, their life, and their legacy.
As an active OHIO Alumna, Stacy supports various leadership programs, service organizations and communication studies including L.E.A.D., Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Theta Kappa and Lambda Pi Eta. She enjoys serving her community as a member of the Pataskala Rotary Club, Pataskala Friends of the Library, a board member for Neighborhood Bridges, campaign cabinet member for the United Way of Licking County and as a parent ambassador at Liberty Christian Academy.
Chair Elect: Jennifer Dougherty(OHIO ’99 – B.S.C. in Organizational Communication; State University of New York at Albany, 2001, M.A. in Communication) is Vice President of Talent & Inclusion at Cengage Group, an education technology company focused on delivering affordable, impactful digital learning products to millions of learners. Jennifer’s teams lead Cengage Group’s strategy to attract, develop, and retain market-leading talent, and enhancing business results through people strategy. By developing cultures and programs that enhance career growth and development, and cultures where all employees feel welcomed, valued, heard, and respected, Jennifer is inspired by learners who engage in meaningful development to grow themselves and impact their organizations.
Jennifer has 20+ years of experience leading learning, talent, and inclusion functions, along with having led operations teams earlier in her career. Jennifer is a results-driven leader passionate about creating workplaces that people love and businesses value.
Jennifer’s most significant accomplishments include building a talent framework that mobilized an organization toward talent excellence, building an inaugural Inclusion & Diversity strategy, a supplier diversity strategy, and building a best-in-class leadership development journey. During Jennifer’s leadership, her teams have achieved placement on Training Magazine’s Top 125 list and been recognized with multiple Best Places to Work awards. Jennifer’s passion in education has led her to mentor multiple MBA students at Xavier University, serve on the Board of
Directors at Beech Acres Parenting Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and to serve on Ohio University’s Scripp’s College of Communication Alumni Advisory Board.
Jennifer is certified in several organizational development solutions, including Predictive Index and Organizational Health, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University and a Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Albany. Jennifer lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her wife and their two children.
Past Chair: Karen Atwell, PCC (OHIO ’18 MA – Organizational Communication) is a dynamic leader with over 35 years of leadership, 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 others. Experienced in helping organizations and leaders in transition, Karen helps identify the shifts necessary to embrace new ways of being. She focuses on Culture Articulation, Organizational Culture Mapping, Initiative Strategy, and Accountability. Karen continues to be a key player in the development and delivery of formal training, mentoring, and coaching programs, providing a systematic and comprehensive development experience for leaders, managers, and sales professionals.
Karen is CEO and Chief Strategist at Dynamic Perspectives. Her previous experience includes VP Leadership Development with First Command Financial Services, Executive Director and Master Coach with UBS Global Wealth Management, and various sales management and senior leadership positions with Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. She is an adjunct professor at the Suliman S. Olavan School of Business, American University of Beirut, and Southern Methodist University.
Karen is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and is Master Certified in The Leadership Challenge©. Her consulting client list includes Becton Dickinson, YAI, Matterport, Boys and Girls Clubs, Ohio University, Precipart, First Command Financial Services, Beigene, and Vermont Council on World Affairs.
She lives in St. Augustine, Florida, and Deer Isle, Maine. Karen is past president of Rotary Club of St. Augustine Sunset and Chair of the Ohio University School of Communications Alumni Advisory Council. She has a long history of community involvement around the education, development, and health of young people.
Erin (Gallagher) Barnhart (OHIO ’02 BSC – Interpersonal Communication; Master’s – Rhetoric and Public Address. University of Notre Dame ’05 – Juris Doctorate).
Erin is currently an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio’s Capital Habeas Unit where she represents death-row inmates in federal habeas, civil-rights litigation, and state clemency matters. Erin also serves as the co-coordinator of externship program.
While a student at the University of Notre Dame, she received the Farabaugh Prize for High Scholarship in Law upon graduation and was recognized as one of the top three students in her class. Erin also served on the Law Review, a legal academic journal, and published a student scholarship note about fair-use in copyright law.
While attending OHIO, Erin honed her persuasive communication skills as a member of the OHIO Forensics and Debate Team.
Dr. Katrina E. Bell-Jordan (OHIO '93 BSJ - News Editorial Journalism, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism; '94 MA - Interpersonal Communication with focus in Rhetorical Studies; '97 Ph.D. - Interpersonal Communication with focus in Rhetorical Studies and Media Studies)
Dr. Katrina E. Bell-Jordan currently serves as Interim President of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois, and Professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Bell-Jordan served for 3 years as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern and 2 years in the College as Associate Dean. She also served for 7 years as Chair of the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre at Northeastern. Katrina joined the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre in 1997 as an Assistant Professor, teaching in the areas of media literacy/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, where she is currently Board Vice President.
Craig Alan Brown (OHIO ‘1982 – BSC in Organizational Communication; Ohio State University, 2007, MA in Workforce Development and Education). While attending college at Ohio University, Craig started to work with Congressman John R. Kasich’s office in Columbus, Ohio. Craig went on to join his father in business, and then sold the fifty-seven year old business in 2000.
Today, Craig works with the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Certified Business Advisor for the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Rhodes State College. He provides individual counseling/consulting services to small business clients, implements programs developed at state, federal, and global levels, develops and maintains local and regional partnerships, and participates in statewide program planning, and administration. Craig also participates in local workforce development initiatives and committees in West Central and Northwest Ohio region.
Craig pioneered collaborations with many of the colleges in his region, always advocating an entrepreneurial spirit with the students and professors, and shared his insights with 22,000 counseling hours, and 1,500 counseling cases of working with entrepreneurs and business clients resulting in the startup of hundreds of small businesses in the region over the past twenty-three years.
He received recognition for his contribution to the advancement and support of students and the community from the University of Findlay, College of Business. Craig also received recognition by the State of Ohio for National Entrepreneurship Week in developing partnerships with Ohio Northern University, Bluffton University, University of Findlay, and Rhode State College.
Craig also served on the Governor’s Excellence in Exporting Awards State Selection Committee.
He served on the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2012-2018. He continues to serve on the Thomas Ewing Society (1959) named after the first graduate of Ohio University (1804). He also serves on the board of directors for the Ace Academy in Auglaize County, a high school dropout and recovery program, Apollo Career Center Advisory Board, Greater Findlay Inc., Center for Entrepreneurship Advisor Council, HHWP Community Action Commission Loan Review Committee, and Rhodes State College Business Advisory Board.
Craig lives in Wapakoneta, Ohio, with his wife, Linda, and daughters, Saira and Emilie, who both recently graduated from Ohio University.
Dr. Michael Burns (OHIO ’05 BSC- Organizational Communication) is active in both industry and academia. He is known as a dynamic educator, leader, speaker, consultant, trainer, and production manager.
Dr. Burns' industry experience includes working for NBC’s TODAY Show at the 2006 Torino, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, 2016 Rio de Janeiro, 2018 PyeongChang, 2020 Tokyo, and 2022 Beijing
Olympic Games. While at the TODAY Show he works on the production management and logistics team while overseeing their runner program. Dr. Burns’ TODAY Show career started with an internship he had with the TODAY Show in New York City his senior year at OHIO. Additionally, Dr. Burns founded and runs Burns Learning, a communication consulting and training company. His past work experience also includes working as a communication specialist for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Burns is also an active academic. He is a teaching professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Communication and directs TEDxCU. He is an award-winning instructor who teaches a variety of courses including persuasion, advanced teamwork and problem solving, leadership, and sport communication. Prior to joining the faculty at CU, he was a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Career Readiness in the Department of Communication Studies at Texas State University for ten years. At Texas State, Dr. Burns also served as the Co-Founder of the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s research startup program, CoSearch, and was a co-curator for TEDxTexasStateUniversity. He has published and presented research in the areas of persuasion, message development, higher education and the college transition, training and development, narrative influence, interpersonal communication, health communication, and family communication.
Dr. Burns is a proud Midwesterner and Bobcat and he loves having the opportunity to give back to OHIO. He earned his M.A. in Communication Studies from Texas State University in 2007 and his Ph.D. in Communication from North Dakota State University in 2012.
Joe Hamlin (OHIO ’05 – B.S. in Communication Studies) serves as Director of Partnership Strategy at the Cleveland Browns. Joe first saw opportunity in a career in sports and entertainment with an internship with Basketball Australia while attending Ohio University in 2004, and has grown throughout multiple positions.
Since graduating in 2005, Joe has served as a professional storyteller working within new business sales, partnership activation, non-profit corporate development, marketing and strategy. At the Cleveland Browns, Joe is focused on working within multiple business units to ensure partner goals are matched with internal strengths to reach the right fans, with the right message at the right time; all using custom-built campaigns that also lift the overall fan experience. While working in a marketing capacity, Joe built the first-of-its-kind fan segmentation study, covering Browns fans Worldwide, closer to home, and within FirstEnergy Stadium itself. His career began in 2005 with the Cleveland Cavaliers in a ticket sales capacity, and from there evolved towards sponsorships in 2008 with the Cleveland Monsters as their Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships. Joe left the sports industry in 2012 to serve as the Director of Corporate Development at Cleveland Clinic, focusing on corporate gifts, in-kind donations, and cause marketing. He then came back to the professional sports world in 2015 with the Browns. Joe is a firm believer in the immense importance communication in the sponsorship process plays to help authenticate a brand’s message to a target audience, and do so in a way that makes sense to fans and increases partner recall.
In his spare time, Joe also serves as the President of the Cleveland Astronomical Society, and enjoys a number of hobbies related to being outdoors such as hiking, running, gardening, kayaking and spending time with his dog, Amos.
Erin Scholes is CEO/Founder of SD Meetings & Events, a third-party meeting management business specializing in hotel sourcing, full-service meeting planning, and event operations staffing. She has over 20 years in meeting and event management experience planning hundreds of meetings and events. Erin and the team at SD Meetings have over 20 years’ experience managing in-person events and are now sought after digital event experts. They help clients find the right location to bring together attendees to achieve their organizational goal.
Erin is part of the staffing and teaching team at San Diego State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management meetings and events program. She has been a dedicated member of the Meeting Professionals Int'l since 2000 including serving as Chapter President. During her tenure in the business, Erin has been recognized with numerous industry awards including the coveted MPI Chair Award, Smart Women in Meetings winner, and MPI San Diego’s Community Leader Award. She has also earned the respected professional designations Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP), Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM), and most recently Digital Event Strategist (DES).
Dr. Jeff Tyus (OHIO ’93 BSC - Telecommunications; ’95 MA - Telecommunications; ’99 Ph.D. - Interpersonal Communication) is a 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 contributed a book chapter in the Sage Handbook of Family Communication in 2015. Jeff 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. Jeff 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 leading service-learning projects with his Media Relations Campaigns students to raise money for the American Cancer Society that has netted approximately $25,000 over the last 11 years. Jeff 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. He received the YSU Student Services Award in April 2021. In March 2020 he led the university’s first Study Abroad venture to Ghana and co-authored a chapter in the Handbook of Election News Coverage and Communication in Ghana in 2022.
Moira Fudge is a sophomore Communication Studies student with minors in Business Administration and Marketing and pursuing a Sales certificate. On campus, Moira is in the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre and is an active Outreach, Recruitment, and Account Manager Team member. She is also a member of the Scripps Innovation Scholars, a group of innovative and collaborative students who work closely with the Dean of Scripps College of Communication and other faculty to complete community projects in and outside the school.
Off-campus, she has completed an internship with Corporate Counsel for an industry-leading company, where she gained experience in a detail-oriented, and high-stakes position. Moira has continued her professional development this past summer, gaining even more experience in the role of Communication Intern with the City of Beavercreek. Within these active roles, Moira has developed highly efficient communication and networking skills she uses daily, personally and professionally.
Victoria White is a junior majoring in Communication Studies (with an emphasis on Organizational Communication). She is perusing a minor in Marketing and a certificate in Social Media. On campus, she serves as the Vice President of Student Professionals of Communication Studies (SPCS). As an executive chairman of the board, she supervises meetings, assists with event planning, recruits new members, and sources opportunities to create a valuable learning experience for OU students. She is also a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSSA). These experiences have influenced her to deliver professionalism, quality, and leadership in all aspects of her life.
Since 2020, Victoria has worked for Whitehouse Ohio Work’s which is a provider agency committed to providing specialized homemaker personal care, day program, and transportation assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). She has a passion for enhancing inclusivity by helping provide a high standard of independence to people with DD. Working for this company has allowed her to monitor the brand on social media and seek direct care professionals. During her Summers, she leads educational discussions and fun activities at the company’s adult day program to help others build interpersonal skills, adapt professional knowledge, strengthen mobility, and reach personal goals.
Victoria is dedicated to being an aspiring female with the will to use her strategic intelligence and compassion to enhance the atmosphere of the professional community and the people surrounding her. After graduation, Victoria hopes to fulfill a position in project management or marketing communications. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her French bulldog---she also loves to cook, travel, and go on walks!
David (Dave) Abram (OHIO '89 BSC - Organizational Communication)
Mary L. Bradley, Esq. (OHIO ’80 BSC - Communication in Organizational Communication; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, 1998, Juris Doctor)
Timothy J. Brown (OHIO ’97 Ph.D. - Rhetoric & Public Address)
John A. Cassese (OHIO ‘76 BSC - Radio and Television; ’79 MA - Organizational Communication)
Julia Louise Krahe (Kindl) (OHIO HTC ‘03 BSC - Political Communication with minors in political science and math)
Laurie Sheridan Lach (OHIO ’92 BSC - Organizational Communication)
Jeff W. Reed (OHIO '06 BSC - Political Communication)
(OHIO ’04 BSC – Communication Studies)
Former Student Representatives
Rebecca (Beck) Harhai
Sarah E. Williams