Edward F. Blaguszewski, Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor
Ed Blaguszewski has more than three decades of professional communications experience and since 2004 has directed the News and Media Relations Office at UMass Amherst, one of the nation’s leading research institutions and the Commonwealth’s flagship public university. His portfolio includes promotion of groundbreaking discoveries and major events, emergency management and crisis communications, and video storytelling. A native of Cambridge, Mass., and a graduate of Boston University, he worked for 13 years as a journalist, including stints as weekend news editor of the Sunday Republican in Springfield, Mass., and editor-in-chief of a New Hampshire weekly, The Monadnock Ledger. He has done award-winning work in feature writing and page design, and staff under his direction have earned honors for spot news and investigative coverage. His career in higher education began as a national media relations consultant, representing leading public and private colleges including The College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, Bucknell University, and the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Subsequently, he worked in Pennsylvania at Allegheny College as director of public information and at Penn State Erie as director of university relations. He is a past president of the College and University Public Relations Association of Pennsylvania.
Mary Dettloff, Deputy Director
Mary Dettloff joined the News and Media Relations Office in August 2017. Prior to UMass, she worked as director of media relations at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Before relocating to Massachusetts in 2015, she had a 22-year career in public service working for the State of Michigan in public and media relations positions in the Michigan House of Representatives, for Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, and finally as the public information officer for the state department of natural resources. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
Heather N. Duggan, Associate News Editor, Internal Communication
Heather Duggan joined the News and Media Relations Office in February 2019 as the associate news editor for internal communication. Before joining the news office, she was a communication and marketing specialist for the College of Nursing at UMass Amherst. Her previous experience includes work in television news in Springfield, Mass. and as a Washington D.C. correspondent for several network affiliates in Texas. She has also worked for marketing groups based in Boston and New York. She graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in German studies and with an M.S. in broadcast and digital journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
Shiera D. Goff, Associate Director
Shiera D. Goff joined the News and Media Relations Office in May, 2019. Prior to UMass she worked as a public information officer with the DeKalb County Police Department and the Office of Communications for the Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County. Georgia. Prior to her position in Georgia she lived in Rochester, N.Y., and served under three mayors in the City Hall Bureau of Communications as the communications producer. She managed a team of videographers, editors and still photographers, and produced, hosted and voiced television programs, commercials and public service announcements for City12 TV. Shiera began her career as news director and morning show co-host at 103.9 WDKX-FM, helping to make it the top-rated morning radio show in the market. She also worked as a news reporter with the ABC News affiliate in Rochester. She has a B.S. in communications from the State University of New York at Brockport.
Olga Kyle, Video Producer/Director
Kyle joined the News and Media Relations Office in May 2020. Previously, she worked at UMass Amherst IT. A multimedia content producer, strategic communicator and media consultant, Olga has a background in video production and post-production, motion graphics design, content marketing, interactive media production, audience engagement and monetization strategies. She is also an Apple and Adobe Certified Trainer and a media educator with years of teaching and consulting experience. Prior to UMass, Olga worked at the Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute, produced a video program for PBS, worked as a producer for CNN International and several TV stations in the U.S. and Europe. Olga continues to put her graduate and post-graduate degrees in Journalism (Missouri School of Journalism) and Marketing (Cornell University) to use by teaching part-time at the UMass Journalism program and consulting for several European Union programs and foundations.
Janet Lathrop, Associate News Editor/Science Writer
Before joining the News and Media Relations Office, Janet Lathrop was a science writer and managing editor for two environmental communication firms reporting on international health effects research, and a staff writer for the University of New Hampshire News Bureau. Her newsroom experience includes general assignment reporting for newspapers in Arizona and Michigan. She has a B.A. in journalism and an M.S. in agricultural journalism (now life sciences communication) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Crystal Maldonado, Associate News Editor for Digital Content
Crystal Maldonado joined the News and Media Relations Office in July 2017, first serving as its diversity communications manager and transitioning to associate news editor for digital content in June 2018. In this role, she manages and creates content for the UMass Amherst social media accounts. Prior to her time at UMass Amherst, she worked as a journalist, digital communications editor and social media manager. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in journalism and English.
Nancy Miller, News Content/Office Manager
A member of the New and Media Relations Office since October 2017, Nancy Miller began her university service in 1986 with the UMass President’s Office, where she worked for 20 years in the Information Technology Services department as a desktop support specialist. Since then she has worked as a graphic arts technician in Telecommunications, and a technical writer and trainer in IT Student Systems.
Jared Sharpe, Associate News Editor
Jared Sharpe joined the News and Media Relations Office in November 2012. Previously, he spent nearly a decade as a literary publicist for Media Connect (formerly Planned Television Arts), a division of The Ruder Finn Group, securing national media interviews for best-selling authors, Hall of Fame athletes and coaches, and corporate executives. He graduated from Boston University in 2000 with a B.S. In communication.
Patty Shillington, Associate News Editor
Patty Shillington joined the News and Media Relations Office in January 2019. A seasoned journalist and corporate communicator, she worked as a staff writer and editor for The Miami Herald for more than 20 years. She received the Educational Press Association of America’s Distinguished Achievement Award for her reporting on book-banning and censorship, and the Florida School Board Association’s Media Award for Excellence in Education Reporting, among other honors. After leaving The Herald, she served as the senior writer and editor for the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in South Florida, specializing in medical content. In the decade before joining UMass Amherst, she ran her own writing/editing and communications business, serving a broad range of clients with a diverse set of needs. She earned a B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida.
Samm Smith, Associate News Editor, Digial Content
Samm Smith joined the News and Media Relations Office in December 2018. For three years, she served UMass Amherst as the assistant director for Alumni Communications before joining University Relations. In her current role, she manages and creates content for the UMass Amherst social media accounts, as well as provides photography and videography assets for news releases. Prior to her time at UMass Amherst, Samm worked as a communications manager for other higher education institutions, including Hampshire College and Mount Wachusett Community College. She is an alumna of UMass Amherst, graduating in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism.
Nina Sossen, Analytics and Digital Content Specialist
Nina Sossen joined the News and Media Relations Office in 2014 after 11 years managing the UMass Amherst homepage and other campus websites. She previously worked as an interactive media producer at the Hiebing Group , a marketing, advertising and public relations agency in Madison, Wisconsin. Previously, she held dual appointment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at Wisconsin Public Television where she developed the network’s online presence and won the PBS award for best national website, and led the broadcast graphics team. She earned a B.A. in history from Reed College and an M.B.A. from UMass Amherst.
Elizabeth Wilda, Video Producer/Director
Elizabeth Wilda has produced educational videos and television documentaries for the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 1998. She was honored in 1999 by being named one of the “Top 100 Media Producers” and featured in Video Multimedia Producer magazine. She was also Emmy nominated three times for her work as a documentary producer, writer, editor and videographer. Her work airs nationally on American Public Television and often features UMass Amherst faculty. She joined the News and Media Relations Office in 2009 and currently produces promotional and news videos for the university. She is a 1993 graduate of UMass Amherst with a B.A. in educational media.