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


Karen Atwell Headshot
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.


Man smiling wearing a black blazer

David (Dave) Abram (OHIO '89 BSC - Organizational Communication) is a District Manager for the New England region with Orgill Incorporated, one of the nation’s leading wholesale distributors of hardware and building materials. 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, hardware 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 University Foundation Board of Trustees and 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.


headshot of Erin Barnhart

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 Bell-Jordan

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 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/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 Brown Headshot

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.


Man with blue bowtie and glasses smiling

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 Beijing 2022 Olympic Games. While at the TODAY Show he works on the production management and logistics team while overseeing their intern 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. Dr. Burns also serves as a Communication Strategist and Consultant for Code 4 Emergency Services in Austin, TX. His past work experience included working as a communication specialist for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Burns is also an active academic. He is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Career Readiness in the Department of Communication Studies at Texas State University. Dr. Burns also serves as the Co-Founder of the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s research startup program, CoSearch, and is a co-curator for TEDxTexasStateUniversity. He has published and presented research in the areas of persuasion, message development, higher education and the college transition, narrative influence, interpersonal communication, health communication, and family communication. Dr. Burns is an award-winning instructor who teaches several courses including: Human Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Sport Communication, Leadership, Persuasion, Training and Development, and honors courses titled Re-Humanizing Communication and Talking Like TED. In 2020, Dr. Burns won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Service, which is the highest honor you can receive at Texas State University.

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.


John Cassese

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.


Woman with short hair and glasses

Jennifer Dougherty (OHIO ’99 – B.S.C. in Organizational Communication; State University of New York at Albany, 2001, M.A. in Communication) is the Vice President of Talent at Cengage Group, a global education technology company committed to enabling the power and joy of learning. Jennifer began her career teaching communication courses at two universities and has had a passion for learning ever since.

Jennifer has more than 20 years of experience leading teams in operations, revenue enablement, and human resources. At Cengage Group, Jennifer leads teams focused on the talent lifecycle, including talent acquisition, learning & talent development, and talent management with a focus on leadership development, performance management, and talent identification. Jennifer is certified in several organizational talent solutions and enjoys facilitating workshops to accelerate high-performing teams. Helping her company drive and accelerate change by delivering talent solutions with positive results, Jennifer finds meaning in helping Cengage Group grow and transform through, for, and with people. Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors for Beech Acres Parenting Center, an organization focused on strengthening children and families in Cincinnati. In all of her work, Jenn prioritizes authentic connections with others, and has a deep passion for development.

Jennifer lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her wife and their daughter.


Joe Hamlin Headshot

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.


Stacy Schindler Headshot

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.


Erin Scholes Headshot

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).


Man smiling wearing a blue shirt with a dark coat and tie

 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.

Student Representatives

headshot of Grace Breslin

Grace Breslin is a hardworking Communication Studies major with a focus in Advertising and Public Relations. She is also pursuing certificates in Social Media and Political Communication. Grace has a drive for networking and professionalism as she is also a member of Phi Chi Theta’s National Business Fraternity at Ohio University. In Phi Chi Theta, Grace holds a leadership position as the Communications/IT director of the Zeta Lambda chapter. In this position she runs all social media platforms and their website. This has allowed her to have the upmost freedom to excel in a role that will be beneficial to her future career, which will hopefully be in Digital Marketing.

Most importantly, she feels that she has grown immensely as a professional and social individual during her time spent studying abroad. This past summer she studied at Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy. Grace embarked upon this journey not knowing a soul in the entire Italian region, which has made her more driven and independent than ever before. She continues to have the desire to grow and learn while wanting to connect with people of all cultures and backgrounds.


Aimee Chambers

Aimee Chambers  is a senior Communication Studies major with interests in health communication and in service, and she holds a passion for creating an equal and comforting environment wherever she goes. Aimee hopes to focus on the relationship between certain identities and their environment by receiving the Women and Gender Studies & Wealth and Poverty certificates. She understands the value of having a strong network of peers and resources, providing a voice for those who cannot be heard, and the importance of human connection. Her previous local business workgroup described her as "the little boost of energy and sunshine we all need on a rough day," and she strives to promote positivity and kindness through all her endeavors and to remain dedicated to her projects and passions in life.

Her previous experiences and leadership positions in organizations like West Virginia 4-H and FFA, National Honor Society, and student government, as well as past work in sales, hospitality, and service provide her with the necessary skills to be a positive and impactful student representative. In short, she is empathetic, dedicated, inclusive.


headshot of Jaclyn Hartshorn

Jaclyn Hartshorn is a senior Communication Studies major with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations. Over the past five years, she has worked in retail, manufacturing, and food service. These experiences have led her to recognizing the important role communication plays across all aspects of life. During her time at Ohio University she has developed a passion for all things communication and is a member of Student Professionals of Communication Studies (SPCS).

When Jaclyn is not in class or studying, you can find her reading, writing, hiking or playing with her dog. After graduation, she hopes to work in public relations at a non-profit.


Mackenzie Joseph Headshot

Mackenzie Joseph is a rising 4th-year Communication Studies student with minors in History and English, and working towards certificates in Political Communication and Writing. In addition to her studies, Mackenzie is also beginning her 4th competition season on the Ohio University Speech and Debate team, is the vice president of the Political Communication student organization, and is a newly inducted member of OU's Beta Mu chapter of Lambda Pi Eta Communication Studies Honors Fraternity. Through these roles, she strives to build positive relationships and meaningful engagement for students both in and out of Communication Studies.

Outside of her on-campus activities, Mackenzie is heavily involved in public advocacy and speaking on issues she is passionate about. Through her work in speech and debate last year, she became interested in the protection and access to freshwater sources across the country. In the summer of 2022, Mackenzie worked as a communication intern with FLOW (For Love of Water) which is an environmental law and policy non-profit centered on protecting the waters of the Great Lakes and Great Lakes basin. She hopes to continue her public advocacy work through the lens of communication studies as she explores graduate school opportunities.


Anthony Mirisola

Anthony Mirisola is a senior majoring in Communication Studies and pursuing minors in Marketing and Business Administration. On campus, he is the President of the Student Professionals of Communication Studies (SPCS). In this position, he leads meetings and plans content to help professionally develop students for their future careers. He is also a member of Lambda Pi Eta, an honors fraternity program for Communication Studies students. In his free time, he enjoys running, spending time with friends, and watching movies.

Anthony has a strong passion for leadership, communication, and team collaboration. In the summer of 2022, Anthony held an internship as a District Manager for ALDI USA. During this internship, he collaborated with multiple District Managers in directing and aiding in store operations to support company objectives in maximizing sales and efficiency. He also conducted over 140 interviews and hired 24 candidates to fully staff two new ALDI locations. In the fall of 2020, Anthony began as a social media/marketing intern for the Chillicothe Farmers Market. In this position, he planned and developed commercial content, created social media posts, administered the Market’s online store, and physically helped the market in various ways every weekend. These positions strengthened his leadership, communication, and creativity while also exposing him to new communities that have broadened his social and networking skills.

After graduation, Anthony plans to have a fulfilling career in the fields of management, marketing, and data analysis. He is honored and excited to serve as a student representative on the COMS Alumni Advisory Council.

Former Advisory Members

Woman with dark hair smiling

Mary L. Bradley, Esq. (OHIO ’80 BSC - Communication in Organizational Communication; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, 1998, Juris Doctor) holds an Of Counsel position with Jackson Lewis PC in the firm’s Cleveland, Ohio, office. Jackson Lewis is one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms. She was previously a Senior Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, in Cleveland. 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.

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 Brown

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.

At West Chester University, Tim held several leadership positions such as Special Assistant to the Provost and Chair of the Council of Chairs.  Moreover, he was the co-founder of WCU’s Multicultural Faculty Commission and WCU’s Faculty Mentoring Program. At the national level, he was appointed by the President of the National Communication Association (NCA) to serve as one of six team leaders who led faculty workgroups to create student learning outcomes for the discipline of Communication Studies.


Julia Krahe


Julia Louise Krahe (Kindl) (OHIO HTC ‘03 BSC - Political Communication with minors in political science and math) lives in Washington, DC, and is Senior Vice President of Crosby Marketing. Julia has divided her career between leading communications operations for federal legislators and advising federal agencies through her work at various public relations companies.

While at Edelman, Julia led teams that provided counsel on messaging and media engagement to multiple agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Her most recent political work includes serving as communications director for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and for the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce under Representative George Miller.

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 Lach

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 Regional Campus Development and Alumni Engagement at Ohio University, 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.


Man smiling wearing a black blazer

Jeff W. Reed (OHIO '06 BSC - Political Communication) Upon graduation in 2006, Reed held communications and public-policy positions for national nonprofits in Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Reed next joined Cummins Inc., a Fortune 250 company headquartered in Indiana, as its global communication leader in corporate social responsibility. While in Indianapolis, he also led Ohio University’s Indiana alumni chapter and co-founded and served as board chair for an urban, blended-learning public charter school.

Since 2016, Reed has served in communications and external relations roles for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., just outside Columbus, Ohio. He also is a member of the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors.


Chris Witherspoon

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,

Chris has appeared on various NBC platforms including MSNBC, TODAYMegyn 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.



Former Student Representatives 

Young woman with brown hair and glasses

Kaitlyn Cummings is a senior majoring in Communication Studies, pursuing a minor in Political Science and earning certificates in Political Communication and Appalachian Studies. On campus, she is the president of the Ohio University Speech and Debate team working to support the team with performance excellence and to build a positive group environment for all teammates. Additionally, she is the newest president of OU's Beta Mu chapter of Lambda Pi Eta Communication Studies Honors Fraternity, a highly motivated group of students who work to create opportunities for COMS peers to engage in activities within the department.

Kaitlyn actively engages in governmental and non-profit interests in the Appalachian region, especially concerning environmental conservation and justice. In the summer of 2020, she interned with the Mayors' Partnership for Progress, a non-partisan group of mayors and city managers representing Southeast Ohio counties focused on solving commonly faced issues in the region. For the summer of 2021, she is working as a Summer Fellow with Sunday Creek Horizons and the Appalachian Children Coalition to engage in advocacy efforts in Southeast Ohio communities.


Young blonde woman smiling with a black blazer

Emily Dengler is a Senior majoring in Communication Studies, minoring in Marketing, and working towards 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 President of the Student Professionals of Communication Studies (SPCS). In this position, she leads meetings and plans the schedule for each semester. She was also selected for membership in Lambda Pi Eta, a honors program for Communication Studies students.

Currently, she is marketing intern for a trailer manufacturer company. She was also a Social Media/Marketing intern for a salon in Columbus. Her favorite internship thus far is working as an Events Assistant for a wedding venue and flower farm.

After graduation, Emily wants to go into any sector of the events industry. 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

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

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. 


Young woman with light brown hair smiling

Rebecca (Beck) Harhai is a fourth-year Communication Studies major with minors in Health Services Administration, Marketing, and Advertising & Public Relations. In addition to her role with the Alumni Advisory Council, Beck serves as president for the Ohio University’s Women’s Club Basketball Team and is membership chair for Ohio University’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity. On campus, Beck works as a communication intern for Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and as a telerecruiter for Ohio University Undergraduate Admissions. She has also served as an undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) for Introduction to Communication Theory and will serve as a UTA for Dr. Harter’s health communication for non-majors class during the fall 2021 semester. She also was elected as treasurer of SPCS for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Beck has a strong passion for health communication, marketing, and administration. In summer 2021, she will serve as a marketing intern for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, a managed care organization in North Carolina focused on proving healthcare to people and families with diagnoses in intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse disorders. In this role, she will create and distribute marketing materials, perform market analysis, and build relationships within the company.

After graduation, Beck hopes to work for a healthcare system or hospital that focuses on providing care to vulnerable populations and, eventually, obtain a graduate degree in healthcare administration. In her free time, Beck enjoys playing basketball, working out, professional development, watching sports, and cooking.


Sarah Williams

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.