Who We Are
Office of Communications and Public Affairs
Yulia is a senior financial analyst in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Her main responsibilities include analyzing financial statements, preparing budgets and variance analysis reports, processing financial transactions, and helping with human resources and payroll tasks.
Yulia earned a master’s degree in economics from Ternopil National Economic University and a bachelor’s degree in financial management from Utrecht University. She is currently pursuing a master of science in applied analytics at Columbia University. She is also a classical violinist and has a music degree from a Soviet music school.
Wilson directs the team that creates and manages content on the Columbia home page, the Columbia News website, and the University’s main social media feeds. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he has a multifaceted background in journalism and digital media production, including stints managing the national copyreading desk at The Wall Street Journal, overseeing science and technology coverage at Fox, crafting financial news at CNN, and working both on-set and behind the scenes at HBO and PBS. When not on campus at Columbia, he teaches undergraduate writing at CUNY, where he is also slowly working toward an MFA in creative writing. His play, The Actons, recently won the David Dortort Prize.
Walyce Almeida is a journalist and technologist with twelve years of experience in web content management. Currently, she is the web content editor for Columbia News. She manages the display and distribution of digital content. Walyce is expected to graduate in December 2019 from Columbia with an executive master's degree in technology management. She also holds a master's degree in multimedia journalism from the University of Miami. In her free time, she volunteers her time mentoring girls in the Harlem community interested in STEM fields.
A life-long New Yorker and resident of West Harlem, Victoria has been a Columbia public affairs officer since 2007. For more than two decades, she has worked in media relations and event promotions related to architecture, urban planning, local politics ad community affairs. Prior to joining Columbia, she worked with a number of the city's cultural institutions She is fluent in Spanish and continues to work closely with organizations and media that serve local constituencies.
Susan Ellingwood is the executive director of public affairs. Previously, she spent fifteen years at The New York Times on the Books desk and in Opinion, where she was a founding editor of Room for Debate, The Conversation, and On Campus. Susan has also worked at the Committee to Protect Journalists, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. She holds a BA in Russian and international studies from Dickinson College and did her graduate work at Oxford University. She is the editor of two books (What We Saw and America At War) and a producer of the Times-HBO documentary, Last Letters Home.
Scott Schell provides editorial support for the Office of the President and University communications. In a career devoted to government service and the not-for-profit sector, Scott has been special counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, public affairs director for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, and most recently senior advisor to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Scott is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia Law School.
Sabina Lee has nearly two decades of experience in international communications, media, news and web content development, and public affairs on a wide range of topics. In 2013-18, Sabina supported and oversaw communications for the Pulitzer Prizes—managing the annual press conference and award ceremony—and the Prizes' centenary and transition to the digital and social media platforms. She has lived and worked globally for nonprofit entities, including Columbia University, Cornell University, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (ROK). She attended Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Pratt Institute, and Southern Cross University.
Rudy Diaz is a video producer and videographer for the Columbia University Office of Communications and Public Affairs. With over fifteen years of professional experience, Rudy has worked in the film industry as a motion picture lighting technician and has shot and edited news entertainment packages for major television networks, such as Telemundo, Mega TV, Azteca America, as well as Univision. He also worked locally in a breaking news environment as a News12 Videographer. Rudy Diaz holds a BA in communications, film, and video productions from City College of New York and owns and operates a small business that specializes in photography and photo booth photography.
Robert joined Columbia in 2005 with twenty years of progressive business, management, and cultural experience with diverse organizations, such as universities, art galleries, museums, technology companies, and public relations agencies. His PR clients included IBM, General Electric, Tyco, Intel, and General Motors. Previously, he held senior positions at the Illinois Arts Council, the American Craft Museum, and the Aperture Foundation.
Robert Branch is the director of video production for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and manages the video production team. A videographer, video director, and consultant with more than twenty years of video production experience, Robert directed the award-winning short documentary Manhattanville: A New York Nexus Sheffield Farms, The Milk Industry, and The Public Good. He holds a BFA from The Cooper Union Advancement of Science and Art and has an EdM in instructional technology and media from Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a long time member of Tim Rollins and K.OS. art collective, whose work is exhibited internationally and is a part of the MOMA and Tate Modern collection. Before joining Columbia, he worked as a public school teacher in the Bronx.
Rae Paul is a videographer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Before coming to Columbia, Rae worked at PBS and NFL Films. He holds a BA from Temple University, where he became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. Rae was born in Trinidad and Tobago and is a resident of Harlem.
Noreen is a seasoned office manager and executive assistant with more than seventeen years in the field. She has extensive experience with administrative tasks and a track record of strong performance in high-volume, fast-paced environments.
In her role, Noreen ensures the smooth operation with her robust knowledge of office management and productivity-enhancing technologies.
She is also active in many organizations in her community. She is a member of the steering committee of her local League of Women Voters chapter and of the HARTransit Advisory Council. Additionally, she is a hospice volunteer.
Noreen loves to play bridge and she is an oenophile.
Nicoletta works with Columbia faculty and staff to create complex illustrations, digital paintings, animations, and info graphics that support and enhance ideas, vision and research. With over 20 years of experience in graphics and editorial art, she believes that there is no greater challenge and no more satisfying reward than taking basic concepts and ideas and transforming them into impactful, striking images.
Nicoletta has a master of education degree in art and art education from Columbia University, Teachers College and a bachelor's degree with a major in studio art, from Sarah Lawrence College, and studied graphic design at the School of Visual Art. View samples of her work at nicolettabarolini.com.
Monique is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in theater. She also holds a master's degree in media management from Metropolitan College of New York. Before coming to Columbia, Monique worked in healthcare, managing credentialing for hospitals and other medical practices. Her favorite spot on campus is the new Manhattanville campus, where she embraces her love of the arts by visiting the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. When she's not building websites, Monique loves watching professional basketball, reading, and sight-seeing.
Maxwell develops creative solutions for digital and print media at Columbia Creative and is an assistant instructor of branding at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). His past experience includes work on SVA's way-finding rebrand, communication design for Oberland, and consulting for the University Council for Art Education. Maxwell earned his bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from SVA and is the newest addition to the art department at Columbia Creative.
Marisol Estevez manages media strategy, publicity, and advertising at Columbia Creative. Prior to joining the team almost eighteen years ago, Marisol worked in media production for educational institutions including Columbia, New York University, The New School, Parsons, Fordham, and Yeshiva. Marisol is a native New Yorker, born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and she attended Lehman College at the City University of New York (CUNY).
Junie is responsible for the overall output of Columbia Creative, leading the team and its processes, and focusing on building and maintaining collaborative partnerships throughout the University. With over twnety years of experience in university and nonprofit settings, Junie has consulted with multiple nonprofits and publishers including Mount Sinai Health Systems, International House, and Penguin Books. Junie oversees University branding and is the creative lead for Columbia Creative. She has received numerous awards for her work, including several Circle of Excellence awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. A native New Yorker, Junie received a BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Julie Winegard specializes in viral communication tools and strategy and is the project lead for various print and digital projects at Columbia Creative. Julie has consulted for NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Fashion Week, and was featured in Time magazine with the number one GIF in 2016. She received a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from West Virginia University and is pursuing a master of science in strategic communication at Columbia University.
Jessica Reyes works closely with Victoria Benitez, assistant vice president of communications, on strengthening the University's relationship with the local community, with a primary focus on the Manhattanville campus. Prior to joining Columbia, she worked for the global advertising agency FCB and for the Corcoran Group. Jessica completed her undergraduate degree in communications at CUNY’s City College and has interned at a boutique public relations agency, entertainment blog Global Grind, and the New York City Housing Development Corporation.
Jessica will graduate from Columbia's School of Professional Studies in 2019 with a master's degree in strategic communications.
Jennifer grew up in Italy before earning a BA at Colorado College, where she majored in French and minored in German. After several years of fashion merchandising for Ralph Lauren in NYC (with travel to Asia and the Americas), she earned an MFA at Columbia's School of the Arts, wrote two feature-length screenplays, produced three award-winning films, and co-founded the New York City Short Film Festival, now in its fifteenth year. Jennifer joined Columbia's Office of Communications and Public Affairs in 2008 and is photo editor, managing and curating photos for our website, stories, and social media. Jennifer is the proud mother of a son and a daughter. In her spare time, she likes to explore New York City, zumba dance, and travel with her family.
Geoffrey is responsible for developing the strategic direction and managing the art department at Columbia Creative. His past experience includes positions as the art director of Columbia Creative and senior art director at the digital agency of record to Rémy Cointreau USA brands and New York University (Tandon School). Geoffrey’s work spans over 15 years and has been featured in Communication Arts and by the Art Directors Club of Houston and the Dallas Society of Visual Communications, among others. He holds a bachelor of fine arts in communication design from the University of North Texas (magna cum laude) and a master of science in strategic communication from Columbia.
As a senior public affairs officer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Eve’s beat is arts and culture across campus, including art history and archaeology, English and comparative literature, music, philosophy, oral history, and classics. She also serves as liaison to School of the Arts; the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia Libraries, Miller Theater, Wallach Art Gallery, and the Arts Initiative. Before arriving at Columbia in 2013, Eve spent more than twenty-five years in publishing, as a magazine and newspaper editor, reporter and writer, working at Travel & Leisure, Art & Auction and The New York Times, among other publications.
Eileen Barroso joined Columbia in 1985 as a photo lab assistant and darkroom technician, where she developed black and white film and printed black and white photos for The Record, the University's newspaper for faculty and staff.
In 1998 she was promoted to university photographer, a job she still holds, where she is responsible for photographing all aspects of campus life for Columbia’s worldwide audience. She supervises a group of professional freelance photographers who provide their services to the University community and news media, as well as Columbia faculty, staff and students.
It is Eileen’s job to memorialize every important event that occurs at the University. In addition to covering 23 commencements (so far), she has photographed the campus visits of world leaders such as Barack Obama, Vaclav Havel, Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Muhammed Ali, Joe DiMaggio, to name only a few.
Beyond Columbia, Eileen worked for the New York Yankees as a freelance sports photographer for Yankee Magazine from 1999 to 2009. Since 1996 she has been the official photographer for Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation, which helps young people turn from drugs and alcohol and follow healthy lifestyles. Eileen is a native of New Jersey.
Donna Snyder supervises and coordinates client services in the design, production, editorial, and advertising areas at Columbia Creative. In addition to overseeing office management and project budgets, Donna acts as an account representative for major University initiatives and projects. Donna joined Columbia Creative in 1988 as a production coordinator and holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Rutgers University.
Before joining Columbia in 2007, Deb was acting vice president of institutional advancement at Hunter College and executive director of the Hunter College Foundation. Prior to Hunter, she worked in the for-profit sector as vice president of marketing communications at MasterCard International and DealTime, which is now owned by eBay under the name Shopping.com. Deb began her career working in politics and government. She has a BA from Pomona College.
Claire Levenson is the director of executive communications in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. She received her B.A. from Columbia University, Columbia College and her PhD in history from the University of Cambridge.
Cecile Alexis is the production editor for digital and print projects at Columbia Creative. Cecile previously worked at the cultural nonprofit Paley Center for Media, where she developed strategic fundraising content and directed communications with corporate, foundation, government, and individual donors. She holds a bachelor of arts in French literature from Columbia College and graduate degrees in psychology and counseling from Columbia’s Teachers College
A native New Yorker, Caroline comes to Columbia with a multifaceted background in marketing, communications, and documentary film production. Prior to joining the Columbia communications team, she was director of communications and marketing at Global Kids, a nonprofit educational organization that works with students in underserved communities in New York City and Washington, DC. At Global Kids, she revamped its email marketing tools, expanded its core audience through targeted media outreach, and spearheaded a branding language overhaul. For nearly ten years, she worked in the film industry, both in the camera and production departments. She helped produce documentaries for PBS’s FRONTLINE and American Experience, AMC, and The History Channel. She received a BA in foreign affairs from University of Virginia and an MA in American studies from Columbia University.
Caroline has more than twenty years of experience in communications, events and issues management. She has worked at a high level in political communications, including as a spokesperson on five presidential campaigns. Her government work includes serving as a lead spokesperson for the United States Attorney General and on the communications staff on Capitol Hill. Prior to coming to Columbia in 2016, Caroline lived in Singapore, where she was the wife of the U.S. Ambassador. She was once a professional chocolate taster.
Carol Balistreri has been an account manager at Columbia Creative since 2014 and manages the production of marketing, digital, and print publications. With more than 15 years of project management and editorial experience, Carol has focused her time in the academic and nonprofit sector. Formerly an English teacher in Japan, Carol returned to become an editor of EFL textbooks at Oxford University Press. She honed her client and team management skills at the College Board, where she managed the Marketing Services project management team. Carol received a bachelor of arts in English literature from Barnard College.
Carla Cantor promotes the University's key science and technology initiatives, with a special focus on multidisciplinary research. Before joining Columbia, she worked in the Office of News and Media Relations at Rutgers University, supervising science communications and serving as the managing editor of the university’s news center. She began her career as a newspaper reporter at The Daily Record in New Jersey and later held positions at NYU Langone Health, America Online and Medscape. Carla is the author of Phantom Illness: Shattering the Myth of Hypochondria and has written articles for The New York Times, Psychology Today, Ladies’ Home Journal, and other national publications. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester.
April Brazil is the administrative coordinator to the executive vice president of communications and public affairs. She manages multiple communications databases, provides research support to senior management, and plans and executes University-related programs and other collaborative projects. Before joining Columbia in 2017, April’s employment experiences included companies such as Nordstrom, Integral Ad Science, and Full Beauty Brands, serving as a human resources assistant and analyst. April has also worked for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation as a program coordinator.
A native New Yorker, April holds a BS in business administration from Nyack College. In her spare time, April writes and sketches.
Acacia is a versatile writer and digital media producer. She is the point person for Columbia’s social media channels. As assistant director of digital media, she helps guide editorial strategy for social media, as well as convenes and supports other digital and social media producers across the University. She is the executive producer of The Low Down, a podcast done in collaboration with the Columbia Alumni Association.
Acacia joined the University in 2014 as a writer and researcher for University president and first amendment scholar Lee C. Bollinger. Previously she worked as a free speech advocate, sportswriter, and Italian literary translator. She has masters degrees from the Columbia School of Journalism and the University of Rochester. Her work can be found at acaciaoconnor.com.