About Us

University Communications focuses on building the brand, enhancing the reputation and growing public understanding of the University of Chicago, where rigorous inquiry shapes fields, creates a transformative education and experience, and confronts the most important problems of our time. The communications team in collaboration with UChicago Creative, the University’s in-house creative agency, specializes in content creation, media relations, public affairs, brand strategy, and video and audio production for the University, while serving as a communication partner and center of excellence across UChicago.


Engaging Content

Whether sharing field-defining research or highlighting UChicago’s impact on the world, University Communications tells the story of UChicago and strengthens the University’s brand by creating engaging, informative and timely content that ranges from podcasts to the latest university news in close collaboration with campus communication leaders.

Public Engagement

From media requests to speak with leading experts on UChicago’s faculty to inquiries about University programs, the media relations and public affairs team works with University leadership, faculty and communications partners across UChicago to help broaden public understanding of the University and drive media engagement around key projects, initiatives and appointments.

Social Outreach

Social media provides a growing opportunity to connect with an array of important audiences. University Communications leads planning, strategy and outreach for a range of University social channels, while working in close collaboration with schools, divisions and other partners across UChicago on their social media strategies.

Distinct Identity

There is no place like UChicago, and University Communication works to ensure that’s reflected through the unique visual identity of UChicago, building and growing the University’s brand. These efforts are led by UChicago Creative, which maintains the University’s identity guidelines, facilities licensing requests and serves as a key partner across the University.


Paul M. Rand

Paul M. Rand

Vice President of Communications

Paul M. Rand joined the University of Chicago as Vice President for Communications in August 2017. Rand leads the development of strategic and digital communications in support of academic programs, University initiatives and institutional priorities.

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Jeremy Manier

Jeremy Manier

Assistant Vice President of Communications

Jeremy oversees the University’s external communications and all interactions with news media, including strategies for outreach to increase public understanding of the University’s activities in research and education, and communications on institutional issues.

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Ben Rissman

Ben Rissman

Assistant Vice President, Digital Communications

Ben Rissman joined the University of Chicago as Assistant Vice President for Digital Communications in October 2017. Ben oversees the development, adoption, and implementation of strategies to ensure that the University, its schools, divisions and units effectively leveraging the power of digital and social media as communications platforms.

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Candace Mueller

Candace Mueller

Executive Director of Communications Strategy and Chief of Staff

Candace D. Mueller joined the University of Chicago as Executive Director of Communications Strategy and Chief of Staff in August 2017. Mueller ensures the Office of Communications is strategically and organizationally equipped to produce outstanding communications in support of the University’s mission, vision and distinctive strengths.

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Marielle Sainvilus

Marielle Sainvilus

Director of Public Affairs

Marielle manages emerging institutional news and issues, high-profile crisis situations, broad issues affecting higher education, media and public relations, and sensitive topics. She works with members of the news media and serves as a University spokesperson.

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Andrea Lewis

Andrea Lewis

Associate Dean of the College, Senior Director of College Communications

Andrea A. Lewis is Associate Dean of the College and the Senior Director of College Communications at the University of Chicago, responsible for leading communications and reputation management for the College.

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Mark Peters

Mark Peters

Senior Director of News and Content

Mark Peters is Senior Director of News and Content, working with colleagues across campus to tell the story of UChicago. He oversees the creation of an array of content from news announcements and feature stories to podcasts and videos, while developing and executing key projects and initiatives for University Communication.

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Karen Grotto

Karen Grotto

Executive Director of UChicago Creative

Karen Grotto joined the University of Chicago as the Executive Director of UChicago Creative in January 2018. Grotto is responsible for leading the team to deliver strategic, high-quality, carefully targeted and efficiently produced communications.

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Our Team

Office of Communications

Brian Battle, Assistant Director, Social Media Engagement

As the Assistant Director of Social Media Engagement in the Office of Communications, Brian Battle oversees the strategy of the university social media channels, as well as providing support for teams across other University of Chicago departments, entities, and partners. Prior to joining the communications team, Brian worked in the marketing industry as a social media strategist, and previously as an advertising executive with a background in digital, broadcast, print and direct marketing disciplines.

Kevin Castro, Social Media Specialist

Kevin Castro is a social media specialist, helping to manage UChicago’s main social media channels and support social media initiatives across the University. Kevin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Business in December 2016. While an undergraduate, he worked in the University’s Communications office assisting in managing the UW-Madison social media channels. Kevin joined UChicago in 2018 after spending a year managing digital communications for a financial services firm in Madison, WI.

Ryan Goodwin, Digital Editor

Ryan manages daily content on the University main page and news site, including citations, calendars and multimedia material. He also writes and edits stories, coordinates events and interviews, and curates daily news briefings.

Louise Lerner, News Officer for Physical Sciences

Louise Lerner is the University’s news officer for sciences, focused on research in physics, chemistry, astronomy, molecular engineering, geology, math, statistics and more at the University and its affiliated laboratories. Previously she worked at Argonne National Laboratory as the editor of the lab’s science magazine. She is a 2009 graduate of the College.

Rob Mitchum, Associate Director of Communications for Data Science and Computing

Rob manages communications for computational programs and research across campus, including the Department of Computer Science, the Center for Data and Applied Computing, and the Research Computing Center. He has worked at the University of Chicago since 2009, previously with the Computation Institute and University of Chicago Medicine. Rob received a Ph.D. in neurobiology from UChicago in 2007, and has written for several news, science and music publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Pitchfork.

Jack Wang, News Officer for Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities
Teresa Cosey, Office Assistant

Teresa joined the News Office in 1995, serving as office assistant. She is responsible for support needs for the news director, the News Office. and the Office of the Vice President for Communications.

Michael Drapa, Associate Director of News and Content

Michael Drapa is associate director of news and content, leading the day-to-day operations of the News Office and managing a team of content producers who tell the University’s unique story across its digital channels. Working with partners across campus, he collaborates on the development of stories and multimedia for the UChicago News site and the University homepage. Mike joined UChicago in 2008 following a career in sports journalism and newspapers. At UChicago, he has developed a number of multimedia packages that examine the University’s rich history—notably a story about a World War II-era UChicago project to build the world’s first nuclear reactor and a CASE award-winning profile of renowned civil rights icon and UChicago alumnus Timuel Black.

Danika Kmetz, Manager of College Communications
Colleen Mastony, Director of Media Relations

Colleen Mastony is the director of media relations at the University of Chicago. She works with reporters and editors, coordinating media coverage and contributing to key UChicago priorities by increasing public understanding of the University’s educational mission and impact. Colleen runs a daily news engine that drives proactive media engagement and collaborates closely with the digital, social and news content teams. Before joining the University, Colleen was a journalist and worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Palm Beach Post and Forbes. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Nicole Schneider, Communications Associate

Nicole Schneider joined the University of Chicago as communications associate for University Communications in April 2018. In this role, Schneider develops and executes plans for University announcements, internal communications initiatives and special projects.

Prior to joining the University, Schneider served as the national public relations manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), where she provided communications counsel to senior leadership and led distribution of major news including the passing of the organization’s long-time spokesperson, Jerry Lewis, as well as the announcement of the new leadership.

Schneider spent nearly five years at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with the Executive Education and Alumni Relations and Development teams. In her role as assistant director and advisor of Kellogg’s Executive Scholar Certificate, Schneider managed the program including a complete revamp of the requirements, communications and on-site programming for participants. As part of the Alumni Relations and Development team, she managed a large-scale capital campaign by researching and identifying strategic targets, coordinating alumni research, developing external communications and tracking performance metrics.

Schneider’s previous experience includes roles at Edelman and The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from DePaul University. In her free time, she serves on a nonprofit board, is a member of a restaurant club and spends time with her family.

Rita Westenberger, Executive Assistant

Rita Westenberger joined the University of Chicago as the executive assistant in January 2018.  In this role, Rita provides executive administrative and special projects support for the Vice President for Communications, the Assistant Vice President for Communications, and the Assistant Vice President for Digital Communications.  With over 20 years of experience as an executive assistant and project manager, Rita has worked for C-suite executives in a number of industries including telecommunications, higher education and government defense contractors.

Rita holds a master’s degree in both project management and business administration with concentrations in international finance and human resources.

UChicago Creative

Laurie Buman, Director of Design and Identity

Laurie Buman is responsible for leading all aspects of design, including providing strategic and creative guidance and producing University-wide communications that span print, digital, social, and branding. She helps maintain the University’s brand identity standards and advises on the brand standards for other University departments. She oversees the University’s licensing review process, ensuring identity compliance for new merchandise in collaboration with the University Bookstore and University Communications leadership.

For more than 20 years Laurie led Pigment Design, a full-service boutique design rm. Her client list ranged from start-ups, non-profits, B2B, and B2C to retailers, technology, and global advertising agencies, including Cowboy Andy’s Relish, Friends of the Chicago River, The Field Museum, Office Depot, AT&T, and Critical Mass. She’s a “design geek” at heart and a fine artist.

Kristin Gecan, Assistant Director of Editorial

Kristin joined UChicago Creative in March 2014, after spending four years at the Poetry Foundation handling everything communications, marketing, and public relations. Fluent in French and a lover of language, particularly the written word, when Kristin is not at work writing, she’s at home writing, or doing one of her other favorite things—reading, traveling, enjoying good food with friends and family, or catching up on television shows with her husband.

Rick Glatz, Director of Creative Operations

Rick Glatz joined UChicago Creative as Director of Creative Operations in October 2017.

In this role, Rick manages the success of projects, client work portfolios, and the overall organization—developing and managing scopes, schedules, and budgets. Rick oversees, develops, and maintains tools and processes that allow our creative teams to do their best work while delivering the highest level of service to our clients.

Prior to joining the University, Rick spent over 25 years working in advertising agencies throughout Chicago. He managed all aspects of department print production and studio services while developing best practice policies to maximize efficiencies and improve workflow for large-scale brand campaigns.


Outside of work, Rick enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, and drawing.

Robyn Hocker, Senior Project Manager

Robyn Hocker joined the University of Chicago as a for the UChicago Creative department in March 2018. In this role, Robyn helps guide process and communications between departments and vendors for all print, digital and editorial creative projects. She helps to ensure that deliverables are provided on time, within budget and meet creative expectations.

Prior to joining the University, Robyn spent the last 9 years working in downtown Chicago for leading advertising agencies as an Integrated Project Manager. She has worked on national brands such as McDonald’s, PlayStation, Citibank and State Farm.

Robyn originates from Indiana from where she graduated Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications.

Jean Lachat, Photographer
Zach Love, Senior Producer

Zach joined the University of Chicago in 2009 as a videographer and became a producer in 2010. He began living behind a camera in eighth grade, when he discovered that doing a video for homework was a lot more fun than writing a paper, even if it was five times the amount of work. Zach brings his experience to UChicago Creative as a broadcast photojournalist, editor, live truck operator, and field producer. When Zach steps away from the camera, he enjoys hand developing black and white photos.

Keith Purvis, Producer

Keith Purvis has worked as a film producer and videographer for documentaries, commercials and branded content for over ten years. Starting as an art director and working with high profile clients including Whirlpool, Nike and the AIGA, Keith began looking for ways to merge his love of filmmaking with new media. Purvis founded a new media production company that produced projects for the National Urban League, Martin Luther King Fair Housing Exhibit Center, and many more. A Columbia College graduate and alumnus of Kartemquin Film’s Diverse Voice in Docs program, Keith loves to use film to tell great stories.

Shawn Renee-Cadichon, Director, Multimedia

Shawn joined the University in 2012, overjoyed with the opportunity to return to her passion of film/video production. The three-time Chicago Midwest Emmy nominated and Telly award-winning producer has worked as a creative executive at Platinum Studios, a film and TV production company that produced Men in Black and Cowboys & Aliens. She has produced and managed production on a variety of independent film and video projects with budgets ranging from $10K–$1M and worked on several studio features for MGM, Warner Bros., ABC Television and New Line Cinema. Shawn also had a previous career in advertising as an account supervisor at Burrell Communications, an agency specializing in multicultural advertising and event marketing, where she consistently developed creative strategies and market-moving ideas for P&G, Sprite and L’Oreal SoftSheen-Carson. Shawn holds a project management certification from Caltech and a BS in communications from Florida State University.

Dan Svoboda, Post Production Supervisor
Eric Fey, Senior Technology Producer

Since joining University Communications in 2010 Eric has managed all aspects of the University Communications infrastructure and technical operations. Eric manages the Communication department’s TV studio, radio studio, webcasting services, video server,  media asset management system, and technical infrastructure. Prior to joining the University, Eric worked with many of Chicago’s top advertising agencies and postproduction studios.

Nicole Gibby Munguia, Digital Asset Specialist

Nicole Gibby Munguia grew up in southwest Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan. Seeking adventure and the chance to relocate to an exotic locale, she moved directly across the lake to Chicago. Nicole serves as your first point of contact when you submit a photo or videography project, works with you to determine how our team can best meet your creative project requirements, and ushers projects through every phase of development. Prior to joining UChicago Creative, Nicole worked at the University of Michigan and in the nonprofit sector. In her role as production coordinator, she finally has a justification for creating copious lists, double-checking event details, and adding yet another item to her never-ending list of “topics she’d like to research just for fun.” She holds an MLIS from Dominican University with specializations in Data and Knowledge Management and Digital Curation, and a BA from the University of Michigan. Outside the office you’ll find her with her nose buried in a book (or several) and randomly throwing pop culture references into conversation.

John Hillman, Producer

John joined UChicago Creative in 2017 as a producer. For more than 30 years, John has shared his passion for visual storytelling with such organizations as Loyola University Chicago, The Field Museum, and as a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee. While running a small video production company called The Video Department, John has worked on numerous grant-funded video projects and has worked internationally in India, Nepal, Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico, Africa, and China. His programs have received accolades including two Silver Apple Awards from the National Educational Film and Video Festival, a Blue Ribbon from the American Film and Video Festival, a Gold Philo from the International Television Association, and thirteen Telly awards, which honor the best in non-broadcast film and video productions. John’s other interests include acting and singing, having appeared in numerous community theater musical productions and also serving as a music minister at St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Renee Kuklenski, Designer

Renee joined UChicago Creative as a designer in October 2018 and is excited to contribute to the brand of the University through all things visual. She brings experience honed at a boutique creative agency specializing in luxury real estate branding and is excited to work in higher education. When not working, Renee loves lounging by the lake in the summer (and dreaming of her California hometown in the winter). She holds a BFA with a focus in Visual Communications and a BA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Brian Lease, Office Manager

Brian has more decades of experience in corporate communications than he is willing to admit to. His experience in the creative field runs the gamut from building sets and operating spotlights to coordinating conventions at McCormick Place and managing operations of one of the largest Corporate Communications firms in Chicago. He came to UChicago Creative in 2012, providing finance and operations support and entertaining colleagues with his many stories. As department and financial administrator he is your contact for campus maps, University calendars, and vendor relations.

Ellen McGrew, Senior Editor

Ellen has worked in University communications since 1982. Over that time she has had varied responsibilities in editorial, management, and print production areas, and has enjoyed working with many, many people across campus and in the community. Known for her “eagle eye,” she is currently concentrating on editorial contributions to UChicago Creative’s projects. She has an undergraduate degree in English and did graduate work at the University of Chicago in classics. Her main interest outside of the office is music.

Keith Reid-Cleveland, Writer

Keith joined UChicago Creative in September 2017 as a writer. Before becoming a part of the team, he gained experience covering topics in politics, pop culture and higher education for a variety of media outlets, such as The Undefeated, The Black Youth Project, The Daily Dot, and Uproxx. In 2014, he graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in journalism and a focus in magazine writing. When he’s not working, he’s most likely reading – novels, news articles or comic books – or catching his breath after playing with his highly energetic husky, Ryder.

Sam Rong, Producer

Sam joined the University in 2018. He previously worked in TV news, documentary, and online video production, a journey that took him from China to Cambodia to Colombia to living the expat life for two years in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is perpetually interested in candid, emotionally rich human stories that offer a wide spectrum of suffering and joy, defeat and victory, tears and laughter. Outside of work, Sam’s interests include piano and Muay Thai.


University Communications provides resources, tools, and services to the University community to promote a strong identity and consistent messaging. Among our roles is to set standards and guidelines for representing the University of Chicago and communicating about it. We account for both the importance of traditional media and the influence of mobile devices, social media, and other burgeoning ways to disseminate information.


For  University of Chicago positions, visit the campus job website.

Contact Us

Office of the Vice President for Communications

Edward H. Levi Hall
5801 South Ellis Avenue, Suite 120
Chicago, IL 60637

773.702.0689 main
773.702.5687 fax

News Office

Edward H. Levi Hall
5801 South Ellis Avenue, Suite 120
Chicago, IL 60637

773.702.8360 main
773.702.5687 fax

UChicago Creative

Edelstone Center
6030 South Ellis Avenue, Suite 204
Chicago, IL 60637

773.702.2852 main
773.702.8174 fax