Carnegie Mellon University

Communications

The Communications team captures the stories that showcase Carnegie Mellon as a world-class university and shares those stories with external and internal audiences.

Through video, photography, news, features and social media, the team communicates what distinguishes Carnegie Mellon from other universities — from its academic excellence and interdisciplinary approach to solving some of the greatest challenges that face society and our planet to our unique partnerships, outstanding thought leaders and one-of-a-kind student experience.

Our team tells the Carnegie Mellon story to news outlets and social platforms across the globe, while also building community among our faculty, staff and students by keeping them informed of university news and events.

photo of Matt Nagel

Matt Nagel

Associate Vice President, Communications

Matt promotes the university through dynamic storytelling that highlights Carnegie Mellon’s exceptional faculty, students and staff as well as their incredible research. Matt began his career as a broadcast journalist but later found his passion for higher ed communications during previous stops at the Georgia Institute of Technology and New York University. When he is not in the office, Matt enjoys time with his wife, Teri; their son, Patrick; and their two labs, Charlie and Carmen.

A photo of Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy

Associate Dean for Communications, Mellon College of Science    

Jocelyn is responsible for setting communications priorities and strategies for the Mellon College of Science (MCS). With the team at MCS, she works on the college’s website, magazine, social media and events. She is co-leader of marketing for the BrainHub initiative.  She was once caught in a water buffalo stampede. Obviously, she survived.

Bruce Gerson

Bruce Gerson

Director, Internal Communication

Bruce keeps faculty and staff informed of "news they can use" through various communications channels, including a very popular weekly e-newsletter. In more than 30 years at CMU, he has served as sports information director, helped to  develop internal communications for senior administrators, written and edited news and features, and helped to maintain digital assets. His voiceover work includes the house announcements during commencement and the Andy Awards. He also is a member of the university's Emergency Response Team. In his free time, Bruce enjoys exercising, playing golf, watching sports and spending time on the beach.

A photo of Jean Hayes

Jean Hayes

Director, Content Strategy

 

Jean directs the content strategy for Carnegie Mellon’s homepage and drives the editorial calendar for the Marketing & Communications division. She started her career in higher education, and aside from a few years at a global PR and advertising agency and a short time leading her own communications consultancy, Jean has remained committed to helping universities tell their unique stories. A Seattle transplant and Chicago native, she can often be seen running around Pittsburgh in a Seahawks t-shirt and a DePaul cap.

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Michael Henninger

Communications Manager

Michael is an adept storyteller who crafts both written and visual narratives. He comes to CMU after spending nine years as a photojournalist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he photographed stories in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, India and Guatemala. Michael has degrees in Spanish and journalism from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He spends his free time shooting freelance assignments for publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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Gera Jochum

Senior Director, Research Communications

Gera leads the university’s research communications. She builds strategic communication messages, engagements and products to support CMU’s world-class researchers and leaders.  With more than a decade of experience working with the computing community, and as a trained researcher herself, Gera is energized by the research that’s happening at the university. Prior to joining CMU, Gera worked at federal granting agencies, including the National Science Foundation and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, enjoying the outdoors and geeking out about robots and AI.

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Felicia Lucot

Social Media Producer

Felicia is the queen of social media. She develops strategies and creates engaging content for Carnegie Mellon’s central social media accounts. Prior to joining the #CMUsocial team, Felicia managed the primary social channels at Point Park University, where she produced triple-digit percentage growth in both followers and engagement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Slippery Rock University. She was honored as SRU’s Recent Alumni Award winner in 2018, and also holds two Education Digital Marketing Awards. Her hobbies include Instagram, brunch, and Instagramming her brunch. When she’s not tweeting, Felicia enjoys the E! network and spending time with her husband, Kyle, and their cairn terrier, Theodore.

photo of Bill Lyon

Bill Lyon

Multimedia Social Media Producer

Bill creates a wide variety of media content for CMU’s social media channels. He comes to CMU with experience producing multimedia for small businesses, non-profits and local television. Bill earned his master’s degree in media arts and technologies from Duquesne University and has received multiple Telly Awards for the educational documentary work he produced there. You can also find him creating award-winning content with his indie film crew, “Gaff Tape and a Prayer.” If he’s not holding a camera, he’s performing as an actor in the Pittsburgh theater scene, always looking to chew on some scenery.

photo of Jason Maderer

Jason Maderer

Senior Director, News & Media Relations

Jason oversees the media relations and social media teams at Carnegie Mellon, pitching reporters about the research and people on campus. He previously worked at the Georgia Institute of Technology, telling stories about colliding black holes and AI teaching assistants. This is the first time his family has lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line. That makes it more likely you’ll hear him talking about Saturday football compared to games on Sunday.

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Julie Mattera

National Media Relations Representative 

Julie helps tell Carnegie Mellon University's stories through news and feature articles, and serves as a general point of contact for the media. Prior to joining the university's central Marketing and Communications office in July 2016, she worked as an award-winning journalist at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg and newspapers in Michigan. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, where she also began developing a taste for craft beer thanks to Ann Arbor's array of breweries and brewpubs.

Heidi Opdyke

Heidi Opdyke

Senior Writer/Editor

Heidi coordinates the editorial calendar for the university’s homepage. As a member of the communications team, she also writes, edits and assigns stories to other writers. Heidi works closely with the social media and internal communications teams to extend the reach of CMU content. When she’s not tooting CMU’s horn, Heidi toots another: She has played French horn for more than 25 years and performed once with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Kelly Saavedra

Kelly Saavedra

Communications Manager

Kelly's ability and creativity as a writer, her organizational and technical skills, her keen eye for detail and her flexibility have made her an integral part of the Communications team. After earning a bachelor's degree in engineering from Penn State, Kelly managed the development of project proposals in the iron and steel industry for consultants at Hatch. At Carnegie Mellon, she has written and edited presidential correspondence, marketing materials, event and emergency communications, and hundreds of feature stories for internal and external audiences. Outside of work, Kelly enjoys drawing portraits, watching NHL games with her hubby, learning new songs on the piano and organizing things. But first, coffee.

A photo of Caroline Sheedy

Caroline Sheedy

Associate Director of Communications for Research News and Strategic Academic Initiatives

Caroline is part of the university’s research communications team. She works with the Neuroscience Institute and the Simon Initiative to tell stories about the spectacular work that’s happening at Carnegie Mellon. Caroline recently moved back to Pittsburgh after spending more than a decade in Washington, D.C. where she did communications work for Janelia Research Campus, American University, and a boutique strategic communications firm. She has a master’s degree in public communication from American University and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh. When she’s not at work, Caroline loves to explore the world with her husband, Jared, and son, Julian.

A photo of Abby Simmons

Abby Simmons

Assistant Dean of Communications, Dietrich College

Abby covers the Dietrich College’s latest research and creative projects, including the areas of behavioral economics, decision sciences, history, English, modern languages, philosophy, politics and strategy, psychology, and statistics and data science. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When she’s not at work, you'll likely find her with a garden shovel, hockey stick or travel planner.

A photo of Lawerence Synnett

Lawerence Synett

Director, Social Media

Lawerence oversees the social media team at Carnegie Mellon, promoting what makes the university unique and awesome through various digital channels. He started his career as a print journalist, spending 10-plus years in the Chicago area before moving to Pittsburgh for a digital strategy and public relations position at UPMC. When he’s not working, you can find Lawerence on the golf course or traveling to new places. 

A photo of Pam Wigley

Pam Wigley

Assistant Dean for Communications, College of Fine Arts

Pam promotes the work of faculty, students, staff and alumni of the university’s College of Fine Arts. She has worked in the communications and public relations industry for more than 30 years. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and earned her master’s in human resource management from La Roche College. She travels so often to New York City as part of CMU’s Tony Awards partnership that she looks confident enough for tourists there to keep asking her for directions!