Liz Stephens, Executive Director Of University Marketing
With a diverse background including marketing for non-profits, ChevronTexaco, the Houston Chronicle and even a rock and roll band, Liz Stephens has the expertise to help direct promotions that are applicable for any entity and any situation. As executive director in the office of Marketing & Communication, the Houston native helps shepherd marketing projects through the process from initial concept to final product. Liz’s background is in corporate communications – she holds a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Apart from her eleven years of professional experience, Liz enjoys communication in many formats – particularly as an avid letter writer to pen pals in China and Seattle. She can help market any product, with the possible exception of Pepsi. As a Coca Cola fan, Liz thinks Pepsi should be banned from the Earth.
Enita Torres, Art Director
A native New Yorker, Enita came here 30 years ago under protest and unexpectedly fell in love with Houston. A big reason for her conversion was the amazing and affordable University of Houston. She graduated from UH with a BFA in Design/minor in Art History (’89). A proud design nerd, she is obsessed by fonts, composition and technique. After graduating, she ran the graphics/photography department at the UH College of Optometry for eight years, then did contract design work for various Houston corporations, followed by six years at the Houston Chronicle as an animation designer. Enita is delighted to be back at her alma mater, designing for a cause near and dear to her heart. When she’s not promoting Red, Enita enjoys working on her needy 1920 Heights’ bungalow with her sainted partner of 25 years, Barbara. She also loves cooking, carpentry, metalsmithing, traveling, knitting and irony.
Brandy Holmes, Assistant Director Of University Marketing
After earning her B.A. in Theatre & Dance from the University of Texas at Austin, Brandy moved to New York City. She worked for Wind-Up Records, an independent record label, and for The Overlook Press, a small publishing house. Upon returning to Houston, Brandy worked as the marketing manager at Stages Repertory Theatre before coming to the UH School of Theatre & Dance where she created provocative marketing campaigns, successful audience development strategies, and enhanced the school's online profile. With 10 years of professional experience in creative environments, Brandy now serves as a assistant marketing director in the office of Marketing & Communication. In her spare time, she continues to enjoy her passion for the arts by reading, performing in plays, volunteering for arts organizations and attending arts events.
Madeline Nichley, Marketing And Communications Manager
Having grown up in Houston, Madeline Nichley realized all she needed was here in her hometown. She decided to attend college here at the University of Houston, and graduated with a BBA in Marketing. This “homegrown talent” has had successful experience in sales, public relations, e-commerce, promotional marketing, direct mail, marketing strategy, entrepreneurship, and a variety of other marketing subsets for the past ten years. She now is a marketing and communications manager at UH with a focus on student success. She says her diverse experiences help her bring a fresh and unique outlook to her current role, and she loves coming to work every day to do something she really believes in. But Madeline isn’t all about marketing. Look a little closer and you’ll see someone with a great love of horses – she once was co-owner of a small family-style Equestrian Center. She did everything from manage day-to-day business activities to teaching riding lessons to beginners and youngsters.
Tammi Bui, Senior Graphic Designer
To Tammi Bui, graphic design is a career, not a job. And she brings that attitude to work every day as a senior graphic designer. Tammi has a graphic design degree from Bradford School and brings more than nine years of experience to UH. Before coming to UH, she worked for Mikel Marketing as creative director, and also got involved as an event coordinator for runway fashion shows and red-carpet events. Tammi likes to work hard and play hard, and is lucky enough to have her favorite hobby also be her job. She also runs her own freelance graphic design firm. Tammi says she values things that money can’t buy – and for everything else, there’s Mastercard.
Terri Hebert, Senior Graphic Designer
Terri Hebert won her first art contest in fourth grade and knew at that point she wanted to be an artist for life. In high school, she painted the run-through posters for the football team, advertising billboards for the baseball fences, was cartoonist for the school newspaper and served as the art club president. After graduating from the University of Texas with a BFA specializing in typography and graphic design, Terri began freelancing for design firms and advertising agencies. Her career as a graphic artist and web designer spans more than 20 years, including positions with Compaq Computer Corporation and Texas Children’s Hospital. In her spare time, she is an avid movie buff, pug owner and committed to-do list tackler who loves a good project. As a creative person who is “just plain curious” she thrives on new experiences and challenges.
Thomas Campbell, Photographer
Photography has been a passion of Thomas Campbell for most of his life. That passion has led the New Orleans native overseas to document the effects of genocide in the Sudan and the plight of orphans in India. These days, he’s bringing his more than four years of professional and 10 years of hobby experience to UH, where he focuses on creative marketing photography for the Office of Marketing & Communication. Thomas, who earned a B.S. in Agriculture, Communications and Journalism, with an emphasis on video and photojournalism from Texas A&M University, is as comfortable shooting pictures on the sports field – he’s attended college and professional sporting events at 60 stadiums across the country – as he is in the board room. His work has been hung in local galleries, reprinted in books and even displayed at the National Holocaust Museum. Thomas is married to Penelope, a professional singer, and they live in Kingwood.
Jessica Villarreal, Photographer/videographer
Jessica Villarreal loves capturing the moment with images that tell the story. The Houston native first picked up a camera during a high school photography class and clicked beautifully with the process and the art. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of Houston, while launching her own photography studio. She specializes in contemporary, natural-light photography of newborns, children, teens and families, as well as other genres. When not focusing on the perfect shot, Jessica enjoys trying “quirky” restaurants, shopping for antiques and working on her blog.
Aaron Rodriguez, Videographer
A Houston native and UH alum, Aaron Rodriguez is at home behind the video camera, capturing and editing the important moments of each event. Aaron began his professional training at San Jacinto College North, and receivde his B.A. in Media Productions here at UH. His portfolio of work here at UH has been shown on ESPN, Discovery Channel, and PBS. In addition to his work here at the university, Aaron has eight years of freelance experience, shooting everything from television commercials to weddings. In his off time, he is an avid PC gamer and loves listening all types of music, except country. Not surprisingly, the man behind the camera is also a huge movie fan, and tries to see at least one movie a week. But most of down time is spent experimenting with photography and with software such as Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and 3D Studiomax – work that helps him perfect his craft.
Jessica Brand, Social Media Manager
It was the chance to get people talking and excited about her alma mater that drew Jessica Brand back to the University of Houston. As the new social media coordinator for the office of Marketing & Communication, Jessica is in charge of coordinating the university’s message through a variety of social media streams. A 2004 graduate of UH with a B.A. in Communications and a specialization in media production, Jessica has more than six years of experience in the communications industry. She spent three and a half years with the global media provider, Cision, assisting the company with a rebranding effort, producing videos, analyzing trends and managing a team of media experts. Prior to that, she served as director of photography, editor and producer of several television commercials for cruise ship events. She has created original Web content for corporate and non-profit organizations and designed promotional materials for local arts events. On the side, Jessica enjoys making music, attending concerts and sailing.
Kimberly Davis, Social Media Coordinator
Kimberly Davis brings diverse multimedia experience to her position as social media coordinator. She has been an independent experimental filmmaker since age 15, and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Film Production from the University of North Texas, set to graduate in May, 2013. Kimberly also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of New Mexico. She is attracted to social media communication for its dynamic reach and digital storytelling – qualities intrinsic to filmmaking. She previously served as Public Relations and Marketing Director of an Austin, Texas community television station, and has worked in sports radio, film and education venues. After growing up Grand Junction, Colorado, Kimberly loves living in the south. She spends her spare time mentoring young filmmakers, playing massive multiplayer online games, creating and baking original pies, reading up on the latest Sasquatch sightings and being a total football fangirl.
Colleen Walsh, Program Coordinator and Convio Administrator
As a marketing student at the University of Houston, Colleen Walsh enjoyed the challenge of finding new ways to reach people through messaging. Now, as program coordinator and administrator for Convio, UH's e-mail communication system, Colleen helps each of UH's colleges reach multiple audiences on a regular basis. A Houston native and a Cum Laude graduate of the Bauer College of Business and the Honors College, Colleen's first job was at the Czech Center Museum Houston. There, she had a number of responsibilities, including event planning and setting up the museum's e-mail marketing campaign. The experience proved great preparation for her new role at UH, where she enjoys interacting with people from all over campus and learning even more about her alma mater. In her spare time, Colleen enjoys knitting, cooking, traveling -- she visited Egypt after graduation -- and playing with her dog Lobo, a terrier mix she adopted from the SPCA.
Marsha Carter, Communications Coordinator
Marsha Carter grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and majored in cultural anthropology at Arizona State University. As a student, she won the Sterling Hayden Library Award for Literary Excellence, inspiring her to pursue a career in journalism. Through the years, she received state-level awards for radio anchoring and reporting in Arizona and Texas. She also published feature and investigative articles in local and regional magazines in both states, and was awarded “Best News Story” and “Best Feature” by the Texas Community Newspapers Association. In 1997, she joined Houston Creative Services (which later became American Color Creative Services) as copywriter for the company’s biggest client: the Houston Chronicle. Marsha soon learned the job was not the “easy A” she thought it would be. Instead, she discovered copywriting demands fresh ideas every day, strong market awareness and commitment to the message. While she has been fortunate to work with great teams, Marsha considers the UH Marketing team the best, and she’s full of Cougar Pride. In her spare time, Marsha shares very bad puns with her near and dear. Yes, she loves “punishing” them.
Vanessa Colchado, Communications Coordinator
Born and raised in Houston, Vanessa comes from a long line of proud UH alumni. Being one herself, she takes pride in her role as a member of the marketing team contributing to the University’s growth. She began her marketing career with the Campus Recreation Center and developed as a marketing professional while working with the Houston Astros and in the insurance industry. As an avid sports fan, she enjoys filling her weekends by taking in a game or yelling at the TV while watching a game. She also enjoys traveling and reading a good book now and then.
Alaina Schuster, Interim Director
Prior to joining UH’s Marketing & Communications team as Director of Development Communications, Alaina served as Director of Development in the university’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, where she worked tirelessly to advance the school’s mission – and discovered a heartfelt appreciation for all things architecture and design, along with a great love for the University of Houston, along the way…Go Coogs!!!
Her decade-long career in development and communications has allowed her to raise significant funds for myriad causes, including those most dear to her heart – the arts, education and healthcare. Alaina’s passion for her work has taken her, on occasion, far beyond her hometown of Houston, to places such as the iconic American resort destination of Sun Valley, Idaho –where she contributed to planning and implementing the nation’s largest charity wine auction to benefit the Sun Valley Center for the Arts; and to Henderson, Kentucky, where she acted as Executive Director of a multi-disciplinary performance and visual arts organization, an outreach extension of the University of Kentucky. There she focused her efforts largely on enhancing local educational opportunities, and successfully connected thousands of public school children to the arts – a first for the region, and something she considers one of her greatest lifetime achievements.
Alaina enjoys spending time with her family, teaching Spanish and French to her baby niece, talking about her desire to learn to play the guitar (but never actually doing so) and painting. Some day she hopes to compete on Jeopardy!, ghost-write lyrics for Houston rap artists, tour manage the Allman Brothers Band (but only for a month or so) and design and build her dream home in Marfa, Texas. Alaina holds a B.A. in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs and a B.A. in Spanish from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Nicholas Almanza, Communications Coordinator
When the opportunity for Nicholas Almanza to relocate to Texas and write for the University of Houston came knocking, he had little choice but to get off his faux-leather Barcalounger and open the door. Nicholas received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. After graduation, he hung around Washington, D.C. and launched his writing career in the U.S. House of Representatives as a legislative correspondent and speechwriter for Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes. A native of El Paso, Texas, he returned to his home state where he wrote for several campaigns and public offices in Houston, Austin and El Paso. He then ventured back north and wrote grant proposals and managed foundation relations for Health Care For All, a Boston-based health care consumer advocacy organization. Yearning for warmer climates and more appetizing Mexican food, he found his way back to Houston and now happily supports the University’s advancement and development efforts by writing and editing proposals, correspondence, articles, stories and whatever else is needed. He spends his spare time reading, writing and sharing original work with his writers’ group, the Department of Accidents, caring for his aged Labradors, Chile and Kelsey, and patiently awaiting the start of college basketball season. Nicholas is looking forward to Georgetown and Houston squaring off on the Big East hardwood.
Sarah Hill, Writer/Editor II
Sarah Hill joins the Marketing and Communication team as a writer and editor, a career choice she decided on after writing and publishing her first poem in the fourth grade in her native Wisconsin. After graduating from Houston’s University of St. Thomas in 2000 with a B.A. in English and minors in Creative Writing and Theology, Sarah published “Distracted and Other Poems” with Diversity, Inc. Press out of Madison, Wisconsin. Her writing and teaching career includes decade-long relationships with both Writers in the Schools, where she engaged Houston children in the power and inspiration of reading and writing, and Houston Community College where she taught both Guided Studies and ESL Writing courses.
For those of you who are junkies of the Houston Press “Night and Day” column, you have likely read Sarah’s previews of upcoming Houston arts and entertainment events. It was her favorite contract job. You may have also lapped up her food, art and music reviews in the Houston Press, as well as in ArtsHouston Magazine, 002houston and Free Press Houston. When not publishing her original poetry in literary journals, Sarah enjoys listening to classic rock and playing movie trivia games with her husband Franz and three children, Magdalena, Jude, and Frances.
Bill Herndon, Director of Web Communications
Illinois native Bill Herndon brings a web of professional and personal creativity to the University of Houston. He has developed new technology communications strategies for nearly 20 years in state government and higher education venues. While Director of Web Services at Kansas State University, he also served on the university’s Theater Board; has acted in community theaters, and was a founding member of a comedy radio program that aired for two years. And yes, he started out decades ago as the singer in a garage band – rock on. The U.S. Navy veteran holds a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Illinois-Springfield. He is excited to be at UH and living in Houston because both offer so many opportunities to be involved in the arts.
Eduardo Balingasa, Web Project Manager
It was the allure of computers and other “shiny new gadgets” that drew Eduardo Balingasa to a career in Web development. As a Web developer for the UH office of Marketing & Communication, Eduardo – known as Edu – helps keep the university’s Web site up and running. Born in the Philippines, Edu grew up in Africa. He has an associate’s degree in computer graphic design from Kingwood Community College and is working on his bachelor’s here at UH. He began his career as a graphic designer in 1994, and began Web development in 1996, working both for Lone Star College-Montgomery and on a freelance base. Here at UH, Edu uses both skill-sets, working behind the scenes to make sure department and college Web site redesigns are launched with no disruption of service.
Celeste Hayes, Web Project Manager
Seeing how fast the Internet industry was growing, Celeste Hayes got involved. She received her BBA in Management Information Systems at UH’s Bauer College of Business. Now with the Marketing & Communication Web team, Celeste now develops and implements applications, database interfaces and services for the UH Web site, using programming languages such as ASP, PHP and markup languages such as HTML and XML. Beyond the Web, Celeste has many interests, including genealogy. She currently is writing a resource book for Texas genealogy. She also loves reading mysteries, taking nature walks, and singing and dancing.
Rainer Schuhsler, Web Developer II
Houston native Rainer Schuhsler attended the University of Houston for a year before transferring to Texas Tech University where he graduated with two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in advertising and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. While finishing his degrees in Lubbock, Texas, Rainer worked as a freelance web designer and developer and worked part-time as a graphic designer. After graduation, Rainer was hired full-time as Marketing Director by his employer and later promoted to Creative Director. Rainer is excited by new technology and the speed at which the web evolves and enjoys the challenges associated with a large university website. In his spare time he attends indie rock concerts and occasionally designs and screen prints concert posters for artists he likes.