We advance the mission of the university, as well as its reputation and identity as a leading academic and research institution.
Through strategic communications planning, media relations, branding, marketing, executive communications, and a wide range of digital media, we tell the stories of the university and its people.
Vice Chancellor for University Communications
Marie Williams, a marketing communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in the field, is Vice Chancellor for University Communications. Marie leads the team responsible for external and internal communications, media relations, marketing, brand strategy, social media, and web development.
Marie joined CU Denver from Saint Joseph’s University, where she served as Vice President for Marketing and Communications and led the university’s brand image, marketing and advertising initiatives, public relations, and internal communications. Earlier in her career, Marie served as a Senior Vice President at Edelman, a communications and marketing firm headquartered in New York City, and as a Senior Managing Director at RF|Binder.
She holds a BA in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and has participated in several leading professional communications organizations.
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Marketing & Digital Strategy
Vivek Arora previously worked as a Director, Web Services at UT Dallas, where he worked for almost a decade and helped set up, grow, and manage the web and digital strategy for the business school. He also teaches courses in web design, responsive app development, and database management. Vivek is passionate about planning, designing, and developing web and digital experiences inclined towards a high-quality user experience.
Vivek is originally from India, and moved to Dallas, Texas, in 2008 to pursue his master's degree. He enjoys cooking, staying active, and playing cricket.
Graphic Designer & Studio Specialist
Director of Integrated Marketing and Communication
Taylor supports the implementation of university marketing initiatives and communication strategies, projects, and events. In addition to wrangling timelines, projects, and deliverables, Taylor provides marketing support to CU Denver CityCenter. Originally from Seattle, Taylor traded in her rain boots for sunshine in 2006 and has been calling Denver home ever since. She received her bachelor's degree in journalism from Colorado State University and worked in both agency and in-house settings.
In her spare time, Taylor loves reading a good book, traveling to new places, and exploring Denver's culinary scene.
Internal Communications Manager
Alex is responsible for finding and telling the stories of CU Denver’s people, programs, and research. She primarily oversees CU Denver News, the university’s e-newsletter and website. When she’s not pitching stories or writing on deadline, she’s tracking audience engagement and collaborating with her team members in University Communications.
Alex brings nearly four years of experience as a reporter at a community newspaper in south metro Denver, where she covered suburbia, mental health, and public education. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from CU Boulder and spent a stint of time in New York City before settling in Denver.
Alex was born in Boynton Beach, Florida and raised in Basalt. In her spare time, she enjoys catching up with friends over a good meal, jogging around Washington Park, and planning her next outdoor adventure.
Editorial and Content Director
Natasha Gardner is an award-winning writer, editor, and content producer. She has more than 15 years of experience with telling stories that matter in Colorado. A longtime editor at 5280, Denver’s magazine, she was also the managing editor at History Colorado before joining CU Denver’s University Communications team. Here, she helps develop stories and content that resonates with our students, faculty, staff, alums, and community.
Natasha has a master’s degree in news gathering from the University of Colorado Boulder and a B.A. in sociology from Smith College. When she’s not typing away on a laptop, she might be hiking in the Rocky Mountains, skate skiing, reading, or trying new recipes.
Marketing and Events Senior Specialist
Kelly supports marketing projects and events on behalf of the university. Her work ranges from leading events to communications and marketing strategy and loves always having something new and exciting on her plate.
Kelly was born and raised in Orlando, Florida before attending Indiana University to receive a BA in Media. She was a member of the Student Affairs marketing team during her time at IU, which inspired her to continue to pursue a career in higher education. Outside of the office, you can find Kelly exploring Colorado with her 3-legged rescue dog Joey, skiing, or checking out the Denver food scene.
Marketing Copywriter and Content Producer
Director of Chancellor Events and Engagements
Prior to joining CU Denver, Laurel served as the assistant director of advancement event experiences at the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder. She has also owned an event planning company, Page Turning Events. She holds a bachelor’s of science in business administration with an emphasis in Operations Management and a minor in Religious Studies from the Leeds School of Business at The University of Colorado Boulder. In her free time, Laurel loves to be outdoors, travel, and foster dogs.
Social Media Manager
Melinda is responsible for managing our institutional social media channels. She works closely with groups across campus to ensure we are supporting and celebrating our students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Melinda is passionate about social media and its significance in building a strong community while acting as a tool to share important university information with our followers.
She comes to us from the University of Pittsburgh, with five years of experience in higher education. She is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned her undergraduate degree from Pitt. Currently, she is earning her Master’s in Business Administration from CU Denver. In her free time, Melinda enjoys hiking, working out, live music, spending time with friends, traveling, and cheering on her Pittsburgh sports teams from Colorado.
Director of Brand and Digital Marketing
Joining in 2022, Leigh Pinner serves as Director of Brand and Digital Marketing within the University Communications team. In this role, Leigh is responsible for CU Denver brand leadership as well as digital marketing campaign development and oversight. With over a decade of marketing experience, Leigh formerly served CU within the Office of Digital Education as Senior Brand Marketing Manager, and prior to that, worked as the Digital Marketing and CRM Manager at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Earlier in her career, she served in marketing roles at notable Virginia-based organizations. As a marketer in higher ed, Leigh is motivated by the opportunity to serve students and make a positive impact through education.
Leigh holds a B.S. in Communication from Old Dominion University and is currently working towards a Master’s in Marketing and Brand Communication at CU Denver. She currently resides in Richmond, Virginia and is an avid volunteer with the Richmond Symphony and Sofar Sounds.
50th Anniversary Campaign Specialist
Jackson supports the implementation of university marketing initiatives and communication strategies related to the CU Denver 50th Anniversary Campaign. He handles the planning and execution of celebrations and donor events, while also developing content and storytelling. He tracks project timelines and deliverables as a utility player and always keeps a positive, upbeat attitude.
Jackson originally is from Pueblo, Colorado, and is a graduate of CU Boulder. There, he earned his B.A. and M.A. in Journalism before moving to Denver, and most of his journalistic coverage has centered around social and racial inequity.
He loves live music, the Rockies, and his three aquariums.
Assistant Director of Creative
Laura supports CU Denver's brand including brand standards, their application throughout the university, and designing for the university. From print to digital, she works closely with colleges and offices throughout the campus.
Laura brings nearly 8 years of agency experience as a graphic designer/art director working with clients such as General Mills, Target, Clorox, United Healthcare, and Burt’s Bees. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from Iowa State University and spent a semester studying in Rome before graduating.
An Iowa native, Laura grew up in the country just outside of Lake Mills in north-central Iowa. Her family farmed corn and soybeans, and as of more recently, raising snapping turtles (yep, you read it right). In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, reading, baking, playing cribbage, and planning travel. Laura and her husband, Matt, love to camp and hike with their rescue mutt, Murphy.
Senior Director of University Events
John leads the University Events team whose focus is Chancellor-level events, University ceremonies, and campus-wide initiatives and celebrations. With 15+ years of professional experience performing event management, marketing, and public relations functions, John loves any work environment that is fast-paced, ever-changing, emotionally rewarding, and driven by strategy.
Prior to joining CU Denver, John served as the senior director of advancement and presidential events at Ohio University. He has also held event management roles at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. and Johnson & Wales University. He holds a bachelor of science in Marketing from Johnson & Wales, and a master of science in Project Management and Organization Leadership from Regis University.
Director of Multicultural Marketing & DEI Communications
Karina Rosado is a content marketing and public relations strategist with over 15 years of experience. As a bilingual and bicultural communications leader, Karina has been a driving force behind the success of nonprofits, agencies, and corporations generating first-time Hispanic media coverage locally and globally while providing executive media training.
A native Spanish speaker raised in Puerto Rico with a bilingual education and having worked in London and the U.S., she has established business relationships with diverse audiences, designed PR and marketing campaigns for multicultural markets, organized events, and provided Spanish translation services. She has been featured in Univision Chicago, Telemundo, La Prensa de San Antonio, Caribbean Business, San Juan Star, and Caras Magazine.
Karina is a strong supporter of her local community. She was a key contributor to Ronald McDonald’s charitable program “Meals from the Heart”, a Jr. Board member for Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, and taught communications at the National Association of Hispanic MBAs’ summer enrichment youth program. Her goal at CU Denver is to uncover, create, and amplify stories that reflect all levels of diversity and inclusion across the university.
Karina holds an M.A. in public relations and advertising from Michigan State University. She loves yoga, the beach, can’t start her day without a “cafecito”, and always makes time for her little one.
Web Content Writer/SEO Strategist
Dan Ruzich, a web optimization professional and skilled content marketer, is the SEO Specialist and Content Writer on the University Communications Web Team. He utilizes SEO strategies to improve CU Denver's organic search results/rankings and improve website performance, manages existing university content, and writes for the CU Denver News publication.
He comes to CU Denver with years of experience optimizing for web and creating content for tech consulting, advertising, and IT/cybersecurity organizations. Most recently, Dan worked as an SEO Strategist at a growth marketing agency.
Dan holds a BS in Marketing with a concentration in data analytics from the University of Illinois Chicago. He is originally from Chicago but has been in Denver for five years. Outside of work, he enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, travelling, playing soccer and is an avid sci-fi nerd.
Director of Executive Communications
Gordy leads executive communications for CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks, in addition to supporting her senior leadership team. He works to ensure that all executive efforts advance the university’s strategic plan and speak to CU Denver's priorities as an urban, public, research institution. He is also focused on growing Chancellor Marks' national platform as an innovative and inclusive higher education leader.
Gordy joined CU Denver from the University of Missouri (MU), where he was the lead speechwriter and executive communications specialist for the president. Prior to his work in communications, he was a faculty member in MU's English department and taught courses in creative writing, American literature, and composition. Originally from Texas, Gordy holds a BA from Texas A&M University and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University in the City of New York. He published his debut novel in August 2021.
Senior Creative Director
Ian leads the creative team for University Communications and collaborates with teams across campus to develop a strategic creative vision for the institution and to help CU Denver’s brand story grow and evolve. A visual storyteller and a hands-on Creative Director, he produces compelling multimedia experiences, creative campaigns, videos, built environments, print and digital content across multiple channels.
Outside of CU Denver, Ian owns Root House Studio, a mission-driven company focused on designing experiences and telling stories about science, conservation, climate change, and environmental equity. He has worked with clients including National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, The Smithsonian Channel, and The Trust for Public Land, and has worked on a diverse range of projects from feature films, to marketing and fundraising campaigns, to museum exhibitions.
With an MLA from the University of Georgia College of Environment & Design and bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and studio art from Sewanee: The University of the South, along with 18 years of experience as a multidisciplinary designer, Ian brings a unique perspective to the UComm team.
Director of Communications
As director of communications, Jeremy contributes centrally to CU Denver’s executive messaging, storytelling, and strategic communications mix.
Jeremy’s work builds on 25+ years of experience as a professional communicator, starting as a reporter at the Colorado Springs Gazette in the late 1990s, and continuing in diverse education and nonprofit roles in each of Colorado’s four corners.
His higher education work has included eight years in advancement communications (including as executive director) for the University of Colorado System, and communications director roles with Western Colorado University and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
He earned a BS in journalism from Northwestern University and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University. Outside the office, he will be found competing in pinball tournaments and searching for the world’s finest buffalo wing, unless he is doting on his children, Hank and Nora.
Director, Social Media
Lawerence Synett leads the social media team at CU Denver, which includes managing the institutional social media strategy and tactics, and collaborating actively across all divisions within the Lynx community to provide expertise and coordination that brings our audiences closer together. He also coordinates with Chancellor Michelle Marks on her Twitter and LinkedIn strategies.
Lawerence comes to Denver from Pittsburgh, where he spent the previous three years as the director of social media at Carnegie Mellon University. He started his career as a print journalist, spending 10-plus years in the Chicagoland area before quick stops in the healthcare public relations realm.
He was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where his love for the outdoors began. In their spare time, Lawerence and his wife can be found on the trails with their 11-year-old husky or hitting the links.