Executive

John Veilleux, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

April Roberson, Executive Secretary


Design

Amy White, Director


Since 2001, Amy has been a designer, communicator, organizer and steward of the CMU identity. Serving both as a team leader and cheerleader (Fire Up!), she loves telling all of CMU’s amazing stories through the visual language of colors, typography and photography. Her favorite? The kind that gives people goosebumps.

Adventure’s her middle name (well, not really, but go with it). Whether she’s jumping off of Marquette’s Black Rocks or climbing the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, she makes the most of all Michigan has to offer. Her greatest adventure, though, is parenting five kids (including one CMU student) with her husband, a 2x CMU alum.


Nate Jones, Assistant Director


Moving pixels around professionally for over 10 years, Nate is an experienced designer with a fondness for bold typography and attention to detail. Aside from higher education, he has assisted with design needs for nonprofits, small businesses, startups and organizations across the country.

He looks forward to sharing his love for the outdoors and sports with his daughter in his new role of fatherhood. When he’s not exploring the state with his wife, you’ll catch him golfing, snowboarding, kayaking, hiking, or scheming up the next project on the house.


Lindsay Darling, Graphic Designer


Lindsay has been working in higher education since 2015. She started her design career at Oakland University and has been designing for Central Michigan since 2017. She is a very detail-oriented person and enjoys collaborating with her fellow designers. She loves being able to showcase all that CMU has to offer.

You can usually find Lindsay coaching lacrosse or teaching various fitness classes. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out at the lake with her husband and their Labrador retriever, Remi. She soon will become a CMU alum, as she is currently enrolled in the MBA program.


Trisha Fall, Graphic Designer


Throughout her more than 27-year career as a graphic designer, Trisha has worked in Hawaii, California and her home (and favorite) state of Michigan. An innovative and deadline-driven graphic designer with experience in branding and designing user-centered print and digital marketing material from initial concept to final, polished deliverable, Trisha has designed for Central Michigan University since 1999.

A graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, fostering cats and kittens for the local Humane Society and working in her flower garden.


Mel Purdy, Design Manager


A versatile go-getter, Mel has transformed experience in electronic media, public relations and journalism into a graphic arts career at CMU. In addition to creating high-impact pieces for the university, she oversees Media Graphix, CMU’s only student-led design agency.

Keeping busy comes second nature to Mel. When she’s not running an Etsy shop, fighting to save old houses and restoring furniture, she’s trying managing a zoo of pets — eight cats and two dogs. Oh, and she’s going back for her MBA.


Digital Strategy

Lisa Wendland, Director of Digital Strategy


For more than 12 years, Lisa has been on the cutting edge of digital marketing. With experience across the higher education and health care industries, and with agency work that partnered her with fast-growth startups, major nonprofits and international brands, she brings strategy in spades.

When she’s not finding innovative marketing and communications solutions, she’s paddling around on Michigan waterways with her husband and two sons.


Blaine Bendele, Digital Communications Analyst


A CMU alum and University Communications employee since 2009, Blaine is quick to offer help with innovative solutions. He leverages evolving technology to analyze and provide future direction to university marketing and recruiting initiatives.

Having played collegiate baseball, his love for sports is eclipsed only by his love for his family, with whom he spends as much time as possible.


Jason Hiles, Full Stack Software Engineer II


Jason has been with CMU since 2015. He earned his Master of Science in Administration degree with a focus on information resource management and puts that to use every day in his work. Jason is known for finding innovative solutions for web design and executing them quickly. Before coming to CMU, Jason spent two years working onsite at The Dow Chemical Company as a web technician.

Jason is somewhat of a renaissance man, creating interesting, intricate and intriguing 2D and 3D art. Whether he’s shaping ceramic pieces, 3D printing, designing in CAD/CAM, working with metal, screen printing, mechatronics or remodeling his home, Jason’s just as busy at home as he is here.


Stephane Maillard, Back End Developer


Since 2016, Stephane has been developing, maintaining and supporting CMU websites. From the Course Search & Registration and Financial Aid Portal to CMU News and the College of Medicine and CMU Health sites, he’s left his fingerprint on many important pieces of our site.

Museums come alive for Stephane, a U.S. history and presidents buff. His interest in the human sciences and aviation led him to volunteer and fly with Microsoft Flight Simulator on his PC. And when he’s not doing any of that, he enjoys the simple pleasures of a walk, listening to music and watching movies.


Melissa Slaght, Digital Strategist


Melissa provides broad expertise in digital marketing, conversion rate optimization, search engine optimization and content development. For her, it’s not about the website, it’s about an experience that works for the user and inspires action. Her goal? A university website that gets students Fired Up!

When Melissa isn’t scouring the web for new DIY projects (polymer clay jewelry is her most recent obsession), or road-tripping with her husband in their yellow Mustang, she enjoys being a fur-mom to her two dogs and three cats and is a #coolaunt to her niece and nephew.


Bryan Van Meter, Web Developer/ Programmer II


Bryan’s education in information systems and web design and his experience developing interactive maps, user interface and user experience development, and web development at IBM make him a perfect fit for our team. We could tell you all the highly technical things he does, but it boils down to this: Bryan creates dynamic websites.

When Bryan’s not camping and kayaking with his wife and stepchildren, he tinkers. From automotive/machine repair and radio-controlled cars/aircraft to woodworking projects, home improvement and of course building and repairing computers, he likes to dig in — just like our students!


Pamela Wegener, Digital Strategist


Pam brings deep leadership experience in higher education, developing programs and digital communications to engage students and support their academic success. She is passionate about supporting student recruitment and retention with digital content that is meaningful and inspires action. She also adds a global perspective to the team, with online training development at The Dow Chemical Company and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Pam earned her Master of Educational Leadership degree, and as a lifelong learner she is pursuing a doctorate in Educational Technology from CMU. She loves to stroll the shorelines of the Great Lakes and create memories with family at Higgins Lake.


Rebecca West, UI/UX Designer II


Blending design, technology and a singular focus on our audience, Rebecca brings a depth and breadth of expertise in user interface and user experience design and research, visual design, web design and development, digital accessibility, conversion rate optimization and branding. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. She puts all that experience to work making sure we provide a top-notch experience for everyone who visits our site.

When she’s not off-roading in her Jeep Wrangler or creating works in stained glass, Rebecca’s hanging out with family on their farm in Michigan’s Thumb.


Kelsey Whing, Digital Strategist


Kelsey turned her passion for storytelling into a profession when she earned a journalism degree from CMU. She’s built a considerable knowledge base of search engine optimization best practices, marketing tactics and content creation strategies, and she puts them to work for her alma mater.

Stories aren’t the only thing Kelsey creates. She’s known around the office for her crafty nature, crocheting and sewing everything from garden gnomes to small dog capes (you read that correctly) and everything in between.


Integrated Marketing

Abby Dean, Director


Since 2003, Abby has combined her eye for strategy, passion for language and reverence for education into a communications and marketing career in higher education. As a team leader, she’s focused on building high-impact brands and strategic marketing communications to help students of all kinds find their academic home.

Nature is where Abby feels most at home. You name it — gardening, camping, hiking, meditating, the proverbial walk along the beach — if happens under the open sky, she’s here for it. Especially when she’s joined by her husband of more than 17 years, also a CMU alum, and their son.


Tony Sapienza, Senior Associate Director


Tony’s all about making connections. With more than 20 years of experience in education, sales, marketing and recruitment initiatives, he leverages a collaborative approach and his multidimensional understanding of marketing channels to connect students with educational opportunities our amazing faculty provide.

When he’s not making connections here, he’s connecting with his family and discovering the beauty of central and northern Michigan by kayaking, mountain biking and skiing.


Curtis Wildfong, Associate Director


Curtis has spent his more than 11-year career weaving the written word in both the journalism and marketing fields. As a leader within the marketing team for more than four years, his focus has been on supporting and elevating brand with engaging, action-driven content for a variety of audiences.

His most important roles, however, are father to his amazing girls and husband to his wife of more than nine years, also a CMU alum. When he’s not being a #GirlDad, he’s golfing, watching the Tigers or finding the next nature trail to explore.


Jessica Goss, Recruitment Marketing Strategist


With experience in developing strategic marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, Jess brings some serious credibility to the table. She blends art and science in her work, bringing creative solutions to our digital marketing and brand management practices.

Leaning more on the art side, in her spare time Jess makes polymer clay earrings, practices yoga, travels with her husband and tries not to overwater her houseplants.


Ernan Paredes, Recruitment Marketing Strategist


Since 2013, Ernan has been developing and executing intricate marketing strategies for small and large organizations across the United States. His hallmark attention to detail and tactical knowledge come from his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He puts those to use ensuring each strategy is executed with precision.

Ernan enjoys his free time cooking, camping, spending time with his fellow Marines, helping military veterans and playing video games with his nephews.


Katherine Ranzenberger, Marketing Writer


Katherine has been a professional writer since 2010. She reported for newspapers across Michigan and the country before joining our team to encourage the next generation of CMU Chippewas to join us. An alum twice over, she’s earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in public administration.

Her love of nerd culture propelled Katherine to become CMU’s esports head coach and advisor. She rounds that out with dice making for Dungeons & Dragons, streaming on Twitch and spending time with her partner — another CMU alum — and their three cats.


Jan Rendleman, Assistant Director of Publications


Jan has been a creative marketer for more than 25 years, first at an advertising agency and now at CMU. Writing for the wide variety of students and programs here on campus and online keeps her brain cells humming and fingers flying over the keyboard.

Three-dimensional projects — woodworking, sculpting, creating whimsical stuffed animals — give Jan a break from her 2D work, keeping her contented. And that makes her husband happy.


Holly Roenicke, Marketing Writer


For more than 20 years, Holly has racked up experience in brand management, digital communications, marketing communications, media relations and public affairs communications in both the corporate and higher ed worlds. She’s Fired Up bringing the CMU brand to life.

An elected member to the Freeland Board of Education, and a volunteer with Freeland Boy Scout Troop 323, the Freeland Athletic Association and her church, Holly is active in the Freeland community, where she lives with her husband and son. In whatever spare time is left, she likes to scrapbook, garden and spend time on the water — like any good Michigander.


Theresa Walters, Marketing Analyst


Theresa has over 15 years of experience in research design and data analysis. She traded studying sharks and snakes for marketing and recruitment in higher ed. Theresa is the finger on the pulse, helping us understand trends and highlights in our work.

A CMU alum, she enjoys spending time outdoors, climbing, kayaking, backpacking and camping with her husband, also an alum, and their two boys. A true lifelong learner, she's always looking for innovative ways to incorporate the newest technologies into her everyday life.


Communications

Heather Smith, Executive Director


Whether she’s donning milk mustaches with news anchors or sharing stories about her amazing alma mater, communications and PR are Heather’s passions. While most of her professional career has been spent at CMU, she pairs her wealth of experience from previous positions with a laser-like focus to lead our communications team, overseeing all strategic communications and public relations activities for the university.

She brings the same focus to her personal life. You can find her doing kickboxing and bootcamp classes, pinning hundreds of recipes and DIY projects to Pinterest that she will never look at again, or (nicely) informing the ump at her son’s baseball tournament that the pitch was in fact a strike. She also loves spending time with her family, including her husband, two kids, and the cat and dog she swore she’d never let her kids talk her into.


Ari Harris, Associate Director, Executive Communications


As poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” From volunteer management for nonprofit organizations to speechwriting and fundraising for higher ed, Ari infuses every role with a hefty dose of sparkling enthusiasm and unfailing optimism. Whether breaking down silos, connecting people across divisions or fostering collaboration among diverse teams, playing nicely together in the sandbox is more than a metaphor for Ari.

When she’s not furiously typing or scribbling notes in brightly colored ink, she’s throwing the Frisbee for her dog, Roo, or getting lost in the pages of a book — the bigger, the better.


Adam Sparkes, Associate Director, Photography & Multimedia


As a more than 16-year veteran of commercial, editorial, news and travel photography, Adam delivered on all of that experience when he excelled in his interview’s trial photoshoot — without his shoes. Adam learned that day that new shoes aren’t meant for all-day interviews, and we learned that Adam doesn’t let anything get in the way of creative amazing images.

Adam takes himself very seriously. He is a father of two, a lover of dogs and board games, and is often found around campus at all hours of the day and night with a camera (and appropriate footwear).


Emily Stulz, Assistant Director, Social Media & Communications


Think social media strategy isn’t a science? Emily would tell you otherwise. As a higher ed social media specialist her entire professional career, she's well-versed in social media strategy, analytics and content creation. On the cutting edge of her craft, she’s always looking for new ways to elevate the CMU brand and support social media efforts across campus.

Outside of the office, Emily can be found relaxing with a book, practicing her crafting and cultivating her dog's Instagram presence.


Paul Henderson, Assistant Director, Video Production


Since 2017, Paul’s been the man behind the video camera. You’ve seen him around campus, but you might not have known it. He’s the guy tilting up and down or panning left and right getting just the right angle for the shot. Representing people’s life passions through visual storytelling has been his passion and profession since 2011.

Of course, that passion spills over to his personal life. When Paul’s not playing hockey, softball or golf, he’s spending time with his fiancée and their dog, or finding a new movie, show or documentary to watch.


Erick Fredendall, Social Media & Content Manager


A 2018 CMU journalism grad turned social media and community management pro, Erick coordinates award-winning storytelling projects and runs our social media communities. Like all good communicators, his focus is on strengthening the brand through community engagement.

His passion for roasting coffee is to his overcaffeinated wife and friends' benefits. He spends the rest of his free time reading, bingeing sci-fi and fantasy shows, gaming with friends and playing with his dog.


Jeff Johnston, Managing Editor


From a student occupying Warriner Hall during a sit-in to a proud alum, from a faculty member teaching graphics and media studies to a staff member with the communications team since 2017, Jeff has worn many CMU hats over the last 30-plus years. He’s a thinker, planner, writer, editor and proofreader who’s always on the lookout for great CMU stories our team can share.

When he’s not on the job, he’s most likely enjoying family time with his wife and four daughters, making music on guitar or piano, or building scale model kits in an attempt to relive his long-ago childhood. Unless the cat is on his lap, in which case he’s doing nothing.