Carnegie Mellon University
October 14, 2022

MCS Communications Welcomes New Staff

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

The Mellon College of Science's communications team has welcomed five new staff members in the last six months. Some are familiar faces while others are new to Carnegie Mellon University. All are excited to help share MCS stories.

Iulia Dumitriu

Iulia DumitriuIulia Dumitriu (left) is originally from Iaşi, Romania, a college town reminiscent of Pittsburgh. She attended college in Iaşi at Gheorghe Asachi Technical University, graduating with a bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering. Dumitriu began her CMU career in 2008 as a system administrator, and she worked in the Department of Mathematical Sciences as a web content administrator. Now a web content administrator in MCS communications, she said she is excited to have a broader impact with her work.

"This position in MCS Communications allows me to use my knowledge for larger projects with higher impact, where I can combine my artistic talents with my technical skills," Dumitriu said. "When I am at work, I know that I can make someone's day easier by doing my job. I love being busy, especially when I am doing something I like to do. I like to help and create something that people enjoy."

Dumitriu said she is looking forward to taking on new challenges.

Kirsten Heuring

Kirsten HeuringKirsten Heuring (right) grew up in Toledo, Ohio. She attended Oberlin College and pursued an undergraduate degree in neuroscience with minors in English and rhetoric and composition. After graduating at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she enrolled in CMU's Master of Arts in Professional Writing program.

During an internship with the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science's communications team, she said she realized she wanted to remain a Tartan after graduating last December.

"I really like telling stories about science, especially the ways that science can help people," Heuring said. "The researchers here want to make a tangible impact on the world, so I know as long as I'm at CMU, I'll never have to worry about finding those stories."

Now a communications specialist, Heuring writes articles and manages MCS's social media accounts. She said she hopes to bring students' and professors' work to a wider audience.

Amy Laird

Amy LairdAmy Pavlak Laird (left) has returned to MCS as a part-time science writer. She joined MCS in 2003 as a public relations specialist and spent the next 14 years writing everything from MCS magazine articles and press materials to profiles of faculty, students and alumni. She stepped away from her full-time role in 2017 after her son was born, but she continued her freelance work as a scientific editor and proofreader.

Laird, originally from Daisytown, Pennsylvania, attended Geneva College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology. After teaching biology at the high school and university level, she pursued a master's degree in professional writing from CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. For her, promoting the work of MCS faculty, students, and alumni is an ideal way to combine her scientific knowledge and writing talents.

"It's a privilege and a pleasure to learn about the incredible work that MCS faculty, students and alumni are doing, and I'm thrilled to be working with everyone again."

Heidi Opdyke

Heidi OpdykeHeidi Opdyke (right) grew up in Overbrook, Kansas. A newspaper editor by training, she joined CMU's central communications office in 2008.

"I've always been interested in science writing, and prior to joining MCS, I looked for ways to incorporate science into my portfolio," Opdyke said. "But being part of MCS's communications team offered the opportunity to dig more deeply into research."

Now a science writer, Opdyke focuses primarily on amplifying student and faculty research. She said she looks forward to helping elevate the status of science at CMU, giving students, faculty and staff broader recognition for their work.

After earning a bachelor's of arts in journalism and mass communication with areas of concentration in history and international relations from Drake University, Opdyke started her career on the Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal copydesk. She later earned a master's in journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and served as the founding editor of the Savoy Star in Illinois along with writing and editing for other Midwest publications.

Samantha Zemanek

Samantha ZemanekSamantha Zemanek (left) grew up in El Cerrito, California, a small city in the Bay Area. She attended college at Willamette University, earning a bachelor's degree of arts in Russian studies. As an undergraduate, Zemanek taught herself graphic design skills, first creating with posters for Russian Club and soon moving to informational graphics for research projects and academic texts.

After graduating, Zemanek moved to Pittsburgh and joined, where she created infographics for different online courses.

"I've always loved when I've gotten to do work graphically for science, because it's such a rich collection of fields," Zemanek said. "There's always more to learn, and it's something I didn't necessarily study a whole lot in school, so getting to examine it through a graphical lens is really fascinating for me."

Zemanek said that in her position as a graphic designer, she looks forward to creating a design aesthetic that represents the college's research and personality.

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