Assistant Director of Public Affairs and Operations
Austin Independent School District
Samantha graduated in December 2015 from the Texas State University Master of Public Administration program in the College of Liberal Arts. Her undergrad degree is from the University of Missouri Journalism School, where she majored in strategic communications and minored in Spanish. Upon graduation from Texas State, she accepted a position with Austin Independent School District as the assistant director of public affairs and operations. While earning her master’s at Texas State, she worked fulltime for the City of Austin as public relations manager for the Austin Transportation Department. In that role she specialized in public messaging, media coordination and major events, with a focus on municipal communications for South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and the Formula One race. Earlier in her career, Sam worked as a bilingual public relations representative for Kraft Foods. The position required a variety of skills, including the ability to drive the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.
Professional Marketing Technical Representative
Brien is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota where he free-lanced for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Insight News before joining the Navy. Brien was an instructor at the Defense Information School where he helped to mold the future of military photographers. Brien started working as a combat photojournalist at Combat Camera, Atlantic where he completed tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay Cuba. He is a six-time first place winner at the Military Photographer of the Year competition and has won the prestigious Communicator Award for “The Road to Recovery” a photo documentary about burn patients’ recovery. Brien is a sixteen-year veteran of the “Black Team” at the Eddie Adams Workshop and was a student on the 2003 purple team. Former President of the D.C. chapter of the National Association of Naval Photography, Brien cofounded and helped produce their annual 3-day photography workshop “The D.C. Shoot Off”.
Elaine Aradillas is a crime reporter t PEOPLE magazine in New York City. When she’s not covering breaking news, she’s usually reporting on missing people or scouring newspapers for new mysteries. While working at PEOPLE, she became a bit of an expert on the 1969 murders committed by cult leader Charles Manson. She recently appeared on NBC’s Dateline to discuss the infamous case. Before she started working at PEOPLE in 2008, she worked at various newspapers including the San Antonio Express-News and Orlando Sentinel; She interned at The New York Times after earning her graduate degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2004. She earned her BA from the University of Texas.
Nicole Barrios is a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman’s Pflugerville Pflag and Round Rock Leader newspapers covering city governments, the Round Rock Independent School District, community issues and the interesting people of Pflugerville and Round Rock. Nicole is also a breaking news reporter on Saturdays for the Statesman. A Bobcat for life, Nicole earned a degree in journalism from Texas State University. Previously, she interned at the Hays Free Press in Kyle and was the editor-in-chief of The University Star. She joined the Statesman team in June 2015.
NBC, CNN & NBA
Gary Boyer is currently shooting for the Esquire Network reality show “Friday Night Tykes” featuring youth football teams. Gary has traveled around the world covering professional basketball. He recently returned from a weeklong trip to China covering the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings as part of the NBA’s global initiative. Gary began his career in TV news as a photographer for KIII-TV in Corpus Christi. After a year on the Texas Coast, he returned home to San Antonio to work at KSAT-TV, the ABC affiliate. In his 17 years at KSAT, Gary held several positions, including chief photographer, executive producer and assistant news director. In 1979, just after returning to San Antonio, Gary was covering the Battle of Flowers Fiesta Parade with reporter Angela Vierville when a sniper began firing into the crowd, killing two and wounding more than a dozen. The two KSAT journalists, caught in the line of fire, hunkered down behind vehicles doing live reports throughout the shooting spree.
Emily is an Associate editor for Berry.com in Austin, TX, a graduate of Texas State (go Bobcats!) and a lover of travel, photography, and all things media related.
Born and raised in Del Rio, Texas, Gary Cooper spent many weeknights watching the local news from San Antonio. After college, Gary left his secure, full-time job with Sprint to take a minimum wage job with KENS – TV as a production assistant. While operating cameras, running prompts, and changing lightbulbs in the main studio, he would shadow reporters and photographers in the newsroom and in the field. That gamble of quitting a nice job to chase a career in news has since paid off. Gary started reporting in Shreveport, Louisiana, then came back to San Antonio and reported for KENS and WOAI respectively. Gary is now at Univison in San Antonio and is assigned to produce more original, bilingual stories for on-line instead of on-air.
Divya worked at Y&R Austin for two years in a planner/strategy role. She is passionate about research and strategy as well as innovative and creative storytelling. She is constantly inspired by the world around her—it is her belief that somewhere at the intersections of art, literature, pop culture and world cultures exist valuable insights that inform a unique perspective for strategic planning. She is also a huge fan of Justin Timberlake.
House Research Organization
Janet Elliott has over 30 years of experience in newspaper journalism and legislative communications. She has covered the Texas Legislature for the Houston Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal and Texas Lawyer. More recently, Elliott has served as communications director for a Texas state senator. In her current position, she analyzes legislative proposals for the Texas House with a focus on public education, public pensions and government ethics.
Copy Desk Chief
Stars and Stripes
Melissa graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1996 with a degree in journalism. A few days after graduation, she began at her first newspaper, The Prince George’s Journal. At the time, it was one of seven in a group of local papers in the Washington, D.C., area. Melissa left the Journal in 1999 for Stars and Stripes, the independent newspaper of the U.S. military. She started as a copy editor, focusing on page design and editing, and over time was promoted to wire editor. She is currently the Mideast and Europe desk chief.
“As desk chief, I have multiple duties: I fill in for the news editor when he’s not in the office some days, so I select the Page 1 stories and placement of stories inside the paper, as well as proofing pages; and on other days, I’m the slot editor.”
Web Development Intern
Founder and CEO
GDC Marketing & Ideation
Frank Guerra combines his vast background and expertise in political-style marketing, corporate marketing and human-centered research to develop innovative business solutions for key clients in sectors ranging from telecommunications and retail to health care and technology.
Under Frank’s leadership, GDC has developed business solutions, marketing strategies, advertising, promotions and research for its business partners and corporate clients including Procter & Gamble, Sprint, the Texas Department of Transportation and more.
Politically, Frank handled all creative and medic placement for the RNC’s national efforts during the 2000 elections, served on the national Bush re-election team, the Jeb Bush for Governor re-election team, the Rick Perry for Governor team, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Associated Republicans of Texas, handling that organization’s Hispanic marketing and outreach efforts.
The environment that Frank has helped build at GDC has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as a Top Small Workplaces Winner, and has been honored as one of Advertising Age’s Top Places to work in Marketing and Media.
Career Advisor, College of Fine Arts and Communication
Texas State University
Sam Heimbach joined Career Services in March 2016 as the Career Advisor for Fine Arts and Communication. Prior to joining Career Services, Sam held a variety of PR and marketing roles in Austin and Los Angeles, including positions with public relations firms Lois Paul & Partners and Zeno Group, as well as the in-house PR team at National Instruments. Sam leverages her first-hand experience working in Mass Comm to provide helpful career advice and guidance to Mass Comm students.Sam has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a focus in Public Relations from Texas State University.
Erica Hernandez, a 2007 graduate of Texas State, was active at the School of Journalism and was part of the KTSW News Department.
As New Director, she won several TIPA Awards and was the first Texas State student to place in the Hearst Foundation Awards. After graduating Erica went on to work as a reporter/producer in Laredo at KGNS and then moved to KTBC in Austin as a producer. In 2011, Erica would go back to the place she interned at in college KSAT 12 in San Antonio. After a few years of producing Erica transitioned back on air and now reports and produces digital content for the station website and social media pages. In San Antonio, Erica has made a name for herself with her popular food segment called Flavor Favs and several other series including A Haunting in South Texas.
White Hat Agency
Cody Herring is a graduate of Texas State University with a B.A. in Mass Communication and a M.A. in Strategic Communication. With roots in project management and in digital/social media marketing, Cody is a whole believer in integrated communications. Cody has previously worked for Mosier Media and Edelman and is currently a digital strategist at White Hat in the heart of East Austin. Cody has worked accounts such as AMD, Texas Tourism, Rackspace, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Instruments, McCombs Properties, Beanitos, Pearson, Arizona State University and Shell.
Career Advisor, McCoy College of Business
Texas State University
Bruce Howard brings more than 40 years of business and leadership experience to his role as Career Advisor and Internship Coordinator for Texas State University.
As a Career Advisor, Bruce coaches and consults students on career paths and helps them develop personal strategies to implement their plans. As the University’s Internship Coordinator, Bruce provides support to faculty intern coordinators located within the academic departments at Texas State.
Prior to joining Texas State in October 2014, Bruce managed the operations and recruiting activities of a large, regional CPA firm in San Antonio, Texas. He also served as the Associate Director in the Career Center at The University of Texas San Antonio for five years. Prior to that, Bruce worked for a Fortune 500 energy company, where he managed domestic and foreign business units in the refining and marketing sector.
Bruce has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Senior Account Executive
Matt Kemp is an Army veteran and Texas State alumnus with over 7 years of marketing and advertising experience. He has worked on clients such as Whataburger, USAA, Texas Lottery, Bass Pro Shops and Starbucks.
Just Media Austin
At 18, Mark Kettenhofen, joined the Navy and became a military photojournalist after graduating from the Military photojournalism program at Syracuse University. At the start of his career he spent more than 20-years traveling the world documenting the lives of his military brothers & sisters during conflicts and in peace. He is an award-winning photographer including being selected National Press Photographer’s Military Photographer of the Year. Mark is co-author of the photo book, America from 500 Feet II. He has been a Nikon Professional Markets Technical Representative for Nikon since 2000. Mark has covered a multitude of events including: Olympics, presidential inaugurations, World Cup Soccer, and was the expedition photographer for the 40th anniversary of the first American to summit Everest. In addition, he has help run the world-renowned Eddie Adams Workshop for 19-years. Mark is launching Shadow Catcher Media, a multimedia creative that works to assist non-profit and NGO groups to create marketing and informational media throughout the world.
Digital Managing Editor
As Community Impact Newspaper’s first Digital Managing Editor, Emilie Lutostanski oversees the online content and social networks of 23 hyperlocal publications in Texas. She is responsible for implementing content strategies that engage audience, as well as leading a statewide newsroom culture driven by analytics. Her daily tasks include coaching journalists to optimize digital stories, finding and developing tools that improve user experience, and fostering an online community of informed readers. Previously Emilie worked as a local news and education reporter, radio producer, editor and community manager. She graduated from Texas State University in 2010. Tweet her at @EmLuto.
Marketing Director & Catering Coordinator
Mochas & Javas
“I grew up in Allen, Texas, just North of Dallas where I went to high school, was a swimmer & played the flute in Marching Band. There after, I attended Austin Community College from 2011 2013 where I discovered my passion for Mass Communications. I then transferred to Texas State University where I gradated in May 2016 from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Communication Studies. I now work full time as Marketing Director & Catering Coordinator for Mochas & Javas here in San Marcos.”
Chief, Plans, Readiness and Resources
HQ Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs, Randolph AFB
William Nichols is originally from Bossier City, Louisiana, and graduated from Mississippi State University as an Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate in 1987 when he received his Air Force commission and Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Mr. Nichols is the Chief of Plans, Readiness and Resources for Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs, Joint Base San Antonio – Randolph, Texas. He provides trusted counsel and advice to organizational senior leadership on communication strategies, crisis communication planning, media engagements, community outreach, fiscal planning, human resources and wartime readiness. He is also responsible for ensuring public affairs offices at 13 Air Force installations nationwide are resourced and trained to create and execute communication strategies supporting Department of Defense priorities.
Director of Ballpark Entertainment
Round Rock Express, Dell Diamond
A native Texan, Steve Richards was born in Austin and raised in Houston. He attended Texas State University in San Marcos, where he fell in love with the Texas Hill Country. Steve re-joined the Express in January of 2015 as the director of ballpark entertainment, working with the marketing department to provide a fun and exciting environment for all fans who enter Dell Diamond. Richards previously spent one season with the Express as a ballpark entertainment intern in 2008. Before returning to Round Rock, he spent two years with the Houston Astros managing the club’s grassroots marketing program and in-stadium promotions team. Prior to the that, he spent four seasons from 2009-12 as the director of ballpark entertainment for the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Astros’ Double-A affiliate.
Richard Rashad Romeo III
Real Estate Lead (account executive)
Richard Rashad Romeo III is an alumni of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts(2007) and Texas State University (2011) with a Bachelors in Journalism and B.F.A in Acting.
Digital Jr., Art Director
Nicholas Ross is a Texas State graduate that works at Dieste in Dallas, TX. He is a Jr. Art Director that works mostly on AT&T’s Mobility business. Recently, he won the 2016 Advertising Age Cannes Issue cover contest, and was nominated to be part of Omnicom’s Emerging Stars program.
Main Street Hub
Ben Slade is a 26-year-old drummer, music producer, DJ and digital media enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. He graduated from Texas State University in 2015 with a bachelor of science in Electronic Media and a concentration in Digital Media. Ben produces hip-hop and electronic music under the name Local Color, but most of his efforts go towards his band Resonant Frequency. He helps produce the music, records cuts and scratches from vinyl and plays drums live. He spent three years as the Resident DJ at The Railyard Bar & Grill in San Marcos from mid-2013 to 2016. A few weeks after graduation, Ben found himself serving local businesses around the country as a Profile Manager at Austin-based social media marketing startup Main Street Hub. He is currently a Platform Specialist where he takes care of all the technical backend support, platform creation and maintenance and content deployment for customers.
Social Media Coordinator
Texas State University
Jon-Stephen Stansel is the Social Media Coordinator for Texas State University, where he leads the social media efforts of the Office of University Marketing. Prior to that, he served as International Communication Manager at the University of Central Arkansas. He has presented at several state, national, and international conferences such as NAFSA, HighEdWeb, and the International Conference on Innovation in Information Technology in Buenos Aires. In addition, he has taught courses in social media marketing to small business owners and conducted social media training sessions for university faculty and staff. He can be found on Twitter at @jsstansel.
Taylor Wood is a graduate of Texas State University with a BA in public relations and a minor in communication studies. She is currently the marketing analyst for theCHIVE in Austin. Specialties: According to StrengthsQuest, Taylor’s top strengths include communication, developing growth in others, empathy, positivity and woo.
Paige Vaughn is an Account Executive with global public relations agency, Weber Shandwick. She provides strategic media relations and digital support across diverse industries – she has worked with the U.S. Army, General Motors, Banks of America, Bud Light, Verizon, BAE Systems and more. She has previously worked in a variety of industries, including hospitality, non-profit and B2B public relations. She graduated from Texas State University with a B.S. in public relations in May 2015. Outside of her agency position, Paige runs a small wedding photography business and dabbles in social media freelancing.
Media Outreach Manager
Before joining Google in 2010, Nicholas spent the previous decade producing, directing, editing and shooting videos and still images for news, commercial, entertainment and advocacy media. Nicholas was also a professor at Eugene Lang College – The New School for Liberal Arts, and Marymount Manhattan College, teaching courses in video production, new media and media theory. Nicholas earned his Bachelor of Arts in communication from The New School University with a focus in documentary filmmaking and media theory, and his Masters Degree from New York University where he specialized in political communication and new media.
Today he teaches journalists around the world how to use Google’s tools for journalism and rarely talks about himself in the third person.
Currently a Digital Designer & Creative Strategist at Unique Influence; a full service digital media agency that specializes on social media platforms. Co-Founder of Mi Casa Es Su Casa; a group with the mission to influence & celebrate Latino/Hispanic culture within the advertising and media industries. Strong advocate for diversity & side hustles.
Senior Marketing Manager
Innovation & Entrepreneurial Services, National Restaurant Association
Digital Media professional
Just Media Austin
Aaron Barr is a Texas State Graduate and Digital Media professional of five years with Search Engine Marketing and Public Relations specializations.
Digital Media professional
Just Media Austin
Alastair Winston is a Texas State Graduate and Digital Media professional of 5 years with narrow specializations in leading Search Engine Marketing and Digital Display campaigns.
New technology and marketing
National Restaurant Association
Anna serves to connect restaurant operator members of the National Restaurant Association with new technology and marketing concepts. This includes directing the Association’s new innovation outreach programs and building relationships with Silicon Valley and startup companies, venture capitalists, and curious restaurateurs. She is working to build new events and connection points between these somewhat disparate groups.
Her projects include the Restaurant Innovation Summit, Tech Tour, NRA Show’s Startup Alley, as well as pitch sessions, demo days, and information-sharing salons. Additionally, Anna is the fulfillment lead for business and financial partners, including American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Heartland Payment Systems. Previously, Anna was the web and social media editor for J-Lab, a nonprofit journalism research center and startup incubator. Anna serves on the advisory board for SXSW Interactive, SXSW V2V, and the DC State Fair.
She is active in the user experience and food+tech communities and is a volunteer sous chef for Miriam’s Kitchen, a nonprofit working to end homelessness in Washington, D.C. She has a master of arts in journalism from American University and a bachelor of arts in mass communication from Texas State University.
Public Relations practioner
Ana Toro has over 20 years of experience in journalism, communications and multicultural marketing. Throughout her career, she has developed consumer education and media relations programs for the federal government, nonprofit organizations, pharmaceutical companies and Fortune 500 companies. As a bilingual and bicultural professional, she has served the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health for the past 10 years, specializing in the U.S. Hispanic market and other underserved, hard to reach, and low income populations, including African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indian and Alaska Natives.
Toro is a senior manager at ICF International, the sixth largest independent agency in the United States. She is also a member of the Public Relations Society of America’s Diversity Committee and the Real World Student Relations Committee at PRSA|GA. A former PR professor, she has been recognized by her alma mater and the industry with numerous awards.
Anne Boysen works as a foresight consultant for the Nestle company forecasting future trends in the parenting and child market. She later started her blog and consulting service After the Millennials, which is the first consulting service focusing on the first post-terrorist, post-recession generation here in America and their parents. With Millennials starting families and establishing their adult lives, we can expect a seismic shift in many different markets. Boysen’s work has been referenced in BBC, Crain’s Chicago Business, El Pais and several other news outlets and magazines.
Annie Werner is a senior editor at Tumblr, based in New York City. She works with a small team that cultivates and showcases the best content from the Tumblr community and helps the product team develop new tools and features for discovery and creation. She also manages large-scale editorial programs at Tumblr such as, Answer Time and Year in Review. Annie has been with Tumblr for over 5 years, beginning as the company’s first hired intern. She subsequently worked as the arts evangelist, working with artists and arts organizations on Tumblr content strategy, partnerships, events and online activations. Annie graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, majoring in new media and public discourse. She grew up in San Marcos where she graduated from SMHS in 2008, despite spending much of her time in online chat rooms, under the screen-name “lil_orphanannie89.” Here are some of her social media accounts: email@example.com (professional) twitter: @anniewerner Instagram: anniewerner tumblr: anniewerner.tumblr.com
Front-End Web Developer
Ashley Hebler is a Front-End Web Developer at Volusion, an e-commerce website building platform based out of Austin. After working as a video editor as an undergrad, she decided to enter Texas State’s Mass Communication Graduate Studies Program with an emphasis on learning more about digital communication. She was introduced to web development through Cindy Royal’s Online Media Design and Advanced Online Media courses along with Jacie Yang’s Content Management course. The skills she learned in these classes and a part-time job working for a local insurance website helped launch her career into web development and she was hired as a Jr. Front-End Developer at Volusion after graduation.
She now works on the Creative Services team at Volusion, collaborating with designers to code fully responsive e-commerce templates. With the landscape of web technologies and tools constantly shifting and improving, she finds herself learning something new every day and considers this to be one of the best perks of the field.
Texas State University
Becky Larson is a second-year graduate student studying digital media at Texas State University. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, in 2007 and holds two bachelor’s degrees: one in Japanese language and literature and one in linguistics. She has used this earlier linguistic concentration to study computer and programming languages. Her work, whether in language and cultural studies or digital media, has focused on the representation of women and marginalized groups both in their own words and through the communication of others. She was a finalist in this year’s annual Online News Association’s awards for a data journalism project about noise complaints in Austin. As a graduate teaching assistant she leads a web design course for undergraduates in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication.
Editor In Chief
George Kiel III is the Editor-In-Chief of NiceKicks.com, one of the most comprehensive sneaker-themed outlets on the Internet. A graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, Kiel received a degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Print Journalism. Through his seven-year career at NiceKicks.com, Kiel has developed into a household name in the basketball and sneaker world alike. His interaction and work with various NBA teams, players and many celebrities has warranted him being quoted in the New York Times, appearances on ESPN, BET, the San Antonio Spurs official live webcast and local news stations.
Kiel is also the Co-Founder, President and Executive Director of the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation. Kiel founded the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation and the Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event, as a promise to honor his mother’s name forever and extend her legacy through his love for basketball and sneakers.
Bharati Naik, a field producer for CNN International who is stationed in London, covers issues in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. A master’s graduate from the Texas State University School of Journalism & Mass Communication (2005), Naik covered the civil war in Sri Lanka and terrorist attacks in India. Her current assignments include global and women’s issues. Prior to joining CNN International, Naik was an associate producer and production assistant for CNN Domestic in New York where she worked with Anderson Cooper and Soledad O’Brien. Her CNN career began with a CNN internship during the fall of 2005.
Brian graduated from Texas State with an Advertising degree in 2011. While in college, he interned at The Davis Group, a media buying firm in Austin. Upon graduation, he worked at Creative Civilization in San Antonio, MOSAK Advertising and Insights in Austin and currently, McCann Erickson in San Antonio. He has worked on campaigns for clients such as Sam’s Club, University Health System, Chuy’s, Choctaw Casinos, San Antonio Talons, VIA Metropolitan Transit and U.S. Army among others.
Entrepreneur of Technology
Burt Herman is an entrepreneur bridging the worlds of technology and media. He believes people are just at the start of the digital revolution and have barely begun building the foundations of a more connected world. He thinks the opportunities are limitless. Herman, the co-founder of Storify, which is the leading social media storytelling tool, built it into an award-winning product used by media companies, brands, non-profit organizations and political groups around the world. He also founded Hacks/Hackers, a global grassroots movement that has grown to tens of thousands of journalists and technologists collaborating to build the future of media. Before making the leap to technology entrepreneurship, Herman worked as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts, culture, disasters, business and international politics across Europe, the former Soviet Union, Middle East and Asia for The Associated Press. He was an embedded reporter with the U.S. military during the 2003 Iraq war and covered the war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, among other global assignments.
Hardware Engineer & Technological Interface Expert
IBM & Left Right Media
Chris Perez is a hardware engineer and technology interface expert for IBM, is CEO of Left Right Media, a digital publishing company and founder of Citygram Austin, a mobile magazine. He is recognized as a thought leader in interactive digital first design. Citygram Austin is known as a first-of-its-kind mobile magazine app that successfully blends interactive editorial and advertising through a focused digital-first strategy. He received his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from the Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He is the lead inventor for three U.S. patents. He was the lead speaker last year for the Mobile Mayhem event at Parsons The New School for Design in New York.
PHP Web Developer
Josue Plaza is a PHP web developer at Bravalets. He graduated from Texas State University in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication-Electronic Media. As a student, he worked for the Texas State radio station KTSW 89.9FM, serving as a production assistant and eventually becoming a production director. Plaza produces music and plays League of Legends in his free time.
Vice President of Program Scheduling
As an electronic media student at Texas State, Trisha Espinoza was involved with Kappa Tau Alpha and KTSW radio. She started her career as an associate producer and assignment editor for News 8 Austin before joining Viacom as an intern with MTV’s development team in 2002. She went on to spend seven years with MTV’s Program Scheduling team from 2003-2010, first starting as a temporary and ultimately becoming director of programming for MTV & MTV2.
In 2010, Trisha joined NBC Universal where she was promoted to Vice President of Program Strategy & Acquisitions for Oxygen Media. After 4 years at Oxygen, Trisha returned to Viacom in 2014 as Vice President of Program Scheduling for BET Networks. Trisha was named one of CableFax’s “Most Influential Minorities in Cable” in 2012 & 2013 and is an active member of the International Radio Television Society (IRTS) Foundation. Trisha recently participated in the Cable Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School, a development experience for high-potential media executives.
Sara Helmy is a high-spirited millennial with a knack for all things digital. At the age of 22 in 2011, Sara founded Tribu, a generation Y advertising tribe with some serious digital capabilities and a mad love for stellar design. Today, Sara manages a growing tribe of talented young professionals as they enter their advertising careers and develops digital strategies for some of the fastest growing brands in America.
In her spare time, you can find Sara sweetly urging her husband, Jason, to take her on adventures – specifically where beautiful bodies of water or gigantic ski slopes are concerned. Sara is also an avid traveler – some of her favorite places include the Island of Crete in Greece, the Tracy Fjord in Alaska, and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
Domingo Martinez is the New York Times best-selling author of My Heart Is a Drunken Compass and The Boy Kings of Texas, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012, a Gold Medal Winner of the Independent Publishers Book Award, a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee, and has been optioned by HBO for an original series.
Martinez’s work has appeared in Epiphany literary journal, Texas Monthly, The New Republic, Saveur Magazine, and Huisache literary magazine, and he is a regular contributor to This American Life. He has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and The Diane Rehm Show, and he was the recipient of the Bernard De Voto Fellowship in Nonfiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2013.
Martinez is also a widely sought speaker on topics ranging from the contemporary Latino experience in America to the consequences and processes of writing memoir. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Cheif Product Officer
Trei Brundrett is the Chief Product Officer for Vox Media. He leads the team responsible for developing Chorus, Vox Media’s modern media platform designed from the ground-up to launch premium digital media brands and deliver content and community for a global audience of over 150 million. He was named to The AdWeek 50 in 2012, which wrote, “Under Brundrett’s direction, Vox Media has evolved into one of the most agile Web-based publishers.” Trei has been instrumental in growing Vox Media from a collection of sports blogs to a ground-breaking media organization with leading brands and fast-growing properties in seven categories: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Eater, Racked, Curbed and Vox. Previously Trei led large scale internet strategy, advertising and development projects for Fortune 500 companies, political campaigns and media clients such as Microsoft XBOX, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Royal Dutch Shell, U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Texas Monthly.
Professor of Journalism/New Media
Beth Haller, Ph.D., is Professor of Journalism/New Media at Towson University in Maryland, USA. She is the author of Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media (Advocado Press, 2010) and Byline of Hope: Collected Newspaper and Magazine Writings of Helen Keller (Advocado Press, 2015), as well as numerous academic articles and book chapters. She is the former co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies’ scholarly journal, Disability Studies Quarterly, (2003-2006). She currently maintains a blog on disability issues in the news, Media dis&dat, http://media-dis-n-dat.blogspot.com/, as well as a website on media and disability research at http://www.media-disability.net.
Office of Disability Services
Texas State University
Lori B. Gonzalez has worked with students across several functional areas within Higher Education and currently works in the Office of Disability Services at Texas State University. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University, followed by a Masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University. She has a passion for holistically developing and supporting students throughout their educational journey. Additionally, she serves as an advocate for underrepresented populations in ensuring that all individuals have a voice that can be heard.
Public Relations Coordinator
Special Olympics Texas
As public relations coordinator for Special Olympics Texas (SOTX), Helm works extensively in Austin and serves as the main point-of-contact for media for the state. Helm develops marketing and PR strategies to help promote program development and competition across Texas.
Before joining the SOTX staff in 2014, Helm spent the previous six years working in athletic media relations, having stints at La Salle University, Temple University and The University of Texas at Austin, where he handled the publicizing efforts for the Longhorns’ men’s basketball and softball programs. He also spent four seasons (2010-2013) on the public relations game day staff for the Philadelphia Eagles and was a sports reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer as an intern in 2010.
Helm, a native of Willow Grove, Pa., graduated from La Salle University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and completed a master’s degree in Sport and Recreation Management at Temple University in 2013.
Andrea Ball is an investigative reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, where she has worked for 16 years. She graduated from the State university of New York at New Paltz in 1993 and has worked in New York, North Carolina and Texas.
While at the Statesman, she has investigated Texas’ public psychiatric hospitals, state centers for people with disabilities, nonprofits, contracting problems and child protection laws.
David Goins, alumnus: Class of 2001. He then started reporting at WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas in February 2015. General assignments reporter w/emphasis on federal courts, public education and transportation. In the eight months since he started, David has reported on the attack of an anti-Muslim cartoon event in Garland, the biker-gang shootout in Waco and the attack on Dallas Police headquarters.
David reported in Little Rock for a decade for the FOX & NBC affiliates before returning home to Texas. In Arkansas, he covered the Arkansas legislature and helped launch the first statewide Sunday morning political interview program. He started his career working for ABC stations in Joplin and Springfield, Missouri after graduating from Texas State. He’s an Edward R. Murrow winner and a multiple awards from the Missouri & Arkansas Associated Press and the Society for Professional Journalists.
2001 graduate of SWT – outstanding broadcast graduate in 2001 and grew up in Houston, so he is happy to be back in Texas. Goins is also married with one soon-to-be 16-month old son.
Chicago Portfolio School
Jeff was a Creative Director, Copywriter and UX Designer at a variety of big and small agencies in New York, Chicago and Detroit including Leo Burnett, Scali McCabe Sloves, Grey, TBWA, and Doner. Working on accounts like Anheuser Busch, Nikon, Volvo, McDonalds and Miller Beer, he won numerous creative awards including One Show, Communication Arts, Addy, and even a Webby! As Director and Founder of The Chicago Portfolio School, Jeff helps aspiring art directors, copywriters and designers build strong campaigns with conceptual work across all channels. “I started Chicago Portfolio to be the kind of portfolio school I’d want to go to, if I were a student. Because, a million years ago, I was.”
Dr. Lloyd Potter
Dr. Potter was appointed as the Texas State Demographer in June of 2010 by Governor Rick Perry. He is Professor of Demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) where he serves as Director of the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research and the Texas State Data Center. Dr. Potter holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science degree in education from the University of Houston at Clear Lake, a Ph.D. in demography and sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University. His current work focuses upon understanding and communicating demographic processes in Texas, training doctoral level applied demographers in the areas of public policy and health, and conducting demographic research on public policy and health related topics.
St. Arnold Brewing Co.
Nicole George discovered her love for beer – other than fizzy, clear, cheap stuff – at Wurstfest in 2009; social media helped announce that passion to others. This combination resulted in Nicole’s job as the South Texas Sales and Marketing Representative for Saint Arnold Brewing Company of Houston, Texas.
During her time at Texas State (class of 2011), Nicole honed in on her skills that would lead to a career. She decided if there was one thing she knew how to do, it was drink. She also knew she could talk. An idea was born – drink and talk about it. Using social media skills – some newly learned like Twitter – Nicole started following beer people, responding to beer people and eventually someone answered! She made a professional contact via messaging and met him at Taproom for a beer and lunch. Little did she know that it was a job interview. Nicole started doing off-premise demos in Austin for another Texas brewery and working for the Hays County Food Bank. With skills polished, she networked and at the right time secured her dream job at Saint Arnold Brewing where she has worked the past three years. Nicole resides in downtown San Antonio with her Standard Poodle and Doberman Pinscher who don’t like beer.
Mike Cox became a journalist as a teenager and began his news career by being one of the first Austin American-Statesman reporters on the scene of the Charles Whitman UT Tower shootings in 1961. During the next several decades he reported on law enforcement issues on the local and state levels. He was a long-time spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety and later communicatioins manager for the Texas Department of Transportation. He came out of retirement to serve as spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. During his career he’s also made time to research and write 29 books, including an epic, two-volume history of the Texas Rangers. His 2013 book, “Cowboy Stuntman: From Olympic Gold to the Silver Screen,” shared the story of Dean Smith, and earned him three prestigious national awards, including a Will Rogers medallion in 2014. He also is the recipient of the A.C. Greene Lifetime Achievement Award. He was elected membership to the Texas Institute of Letters in 1993.
Social Media Manager
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Whitney Bishop is the social media manager of Texas Parks and Wildlife. She serves as the mouthpiece for all 95 state park properties through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She’s won awards for bringing a government agency to life, enabling much freer interaction with public.
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Earl Nottingham has been the chief photographer for Texas Parks and Wildlife for the past 20 years. He’s top of his field in old-school, outdoor photography, but he’s also embraced new technology with gusto. Earl shoots and edits video for social media and is experimenting with drone technology in the field.
97 Degrees West
Vera Fischer is a Texas State University graduate who is the founder of the Austin-based marketing and advertising agency 97 Degrees West. She jump-started her career with GSD&M and later honed her skills with a company known as T3. She also founded a spinoff of 97 Degrees West known as 97incubator to support start-ups with experienced marketers who understand how to work effectively in a start-up cost and timing environment.
The agency is built around a group of professional business builders and creative marketers. To accelerate growth while keeping a fresh perspective, the firm stays open to all media possibilities and points of view. The agency is inspired by fragmentation, disruption and big challenges. Clients have come to expect the unexpected as well as strategic ideas for positive change and a partner to help build brand equity over the long term. 97 Degrees West is a six-time winner of the International Davey Awards since 2012.
National Geographic Magazine
David Brindley is an editor, writer, researcher, and strategic planner with more than 20 years’ experience in publishing. He is currently managing editor of National Geographic magazine and oversees production of the monthly publication with worldwide distribution of eight million print copies and the largest digital subscription base of any magazine in North America. He joined the staff in 2002 and has led the research and fact-checking division, created the first-ever copy desk for the magazine, and serves as chair of the National Geographic Society’s Style Committee. Previously he was a senior editor at Bon Appétit magazine, where he wrote and edited articles and oversaw the research department; a reporter at U.S. News & World Report; and a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution. David graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He lives in Washington, DC, and frequently performs as a cast member for the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.
Dara Quackenbush is a seasoned PR practitioner. She has spent her career helping companies – from Fortune 100 businesses to small start-ups – tell their stories. She has worked on both the agency and corporate side of public relations, developing strategy, pitching media and doing social media outreach. She also taught PR for six years at Texas State University. In 2014 Dara joined PR Newswire as account director, where she is in charge of the Austin and San Antonio markets.
Dara earned a master’s degree in mass communication from Texas State University, where her research emphasis was blogging and opinion leadership, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas. She serves on the advisory council at Texas State University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication
Carolyn has held the role of news director at WFAA in Dallas since February of 2012. She is the first female ever to hold the position at this legacy television station. She worked as assistant news director and managing editor in Houston before coming to Dallas. She entered management after an award winning career as a television journalist at stations in Phoenix, Houston, Minneapolis and Austin. As a reporter, Carolyn was honored with eighteen Emmy awards, three Edward R. Murrow awards, and several Reporter of the Year awards from the Associated Press. As a news director, she leads a team of over 100 people. Under her leadership, her newsroom has won four National Murrow awards, three Emmy awards for overall station excellence, and a duPont-Columbia award, which is considered the broadcast equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize. She comes from a large family, which includes a brother who is currently a professor at Texas State University.