Skip to main content

Meet the USC Dornsife Communication Team

Emily Cavalcanti

Associate Dean for Communication
(213) 821-4023

Emily Cavalcanti serves as associate dean for communication for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She oversees and manages USC Dornsife’s communications staff and their diverse efforts, which include the top levels of USC Dornsife's Web site, signature publications such as USC Dornsife Magazine, writing, graphic design, video production and social media.  Emily also ensures that USC Dornsife's messaging, brand and graphic identity are upheld across all of these areas as well as provides oversight of communications for advancement and other strategic initiatives. 

Before coming to USC Dornsife in 2008, Emily was director of publications at Pitzer College, a member of The Claremont Colleges. She has also worked for Princeton University Press and Princeton University's Writing Center. A native Chicagoan, Emily earned a B.A. in English literature from Elmhurst College and an M.A. in the humanities from the University of Chicago. She studied typography and graphic design at Parsons School of Design.



 

Letty Avila

Senior Graphic Designer
(213) 821-9393

Letty Avila serves as graphic designer, letterer and illustrator for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She assists in developing and producing many of USC Dornsife’s publications including USC Dornsife Magazine.

Prior to joining the communications team in July 2012, Letty served as designer for Hershey Cause, Josephson Institute, L.A. Film Festival and Mensch Magazine. She earned a B.F.A from California State University, Fullerton.

Susan Bell

Senior Writer
(213) 740-7894

Susan Bell is a senior writer at the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She is responsible for writing news and feature articles for the web and for USC Dornsife's print publications, including USC Dornsife Magazine.

Originally from Edinburgh, Susan is an internationally published journalist and lived for many years in Paris where she was a correspondent for The Times of London. She has written regularly for The Sunday Times, The Scotsman and The Sunday Telegraph. Her work has also appeared in Wallpaper, Marie-Claire, Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly. She has covered several French presidential and parliamentary elections and interviewed newsmakers ranging from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to French film stars, political and union leaders, chefs, diplomats, musicians, philosophers, judges, designers and artists. Susan has a B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of York.

Michelle Salzman Boston

Senior Communications Specialist
(213) 821-9311

Michelle Salzman Boston writes news stories for the USC Dornsife Web site and alumni magazine, and manages USC Dornsife's social media presence. She also connects the media with USC Dornsife’s faculty experts.

Previously, Michelle served as editor of Boston University School of Public Health’s news Web site, the BUSPH Insider. She has contributed to the Malibu Times, Under the Radar magazine and Beyond the Book, a K–12 educational leadership Web site. Michelle earned a B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.A. in writing and publishing from Emerson College.

Letitia Franklin

Office Manager
(213) 821-6797

Letitia Franklin serves as administrative support to the USC Dornsife Office of Communication which includes managing vendor accounts, tracking the department's budget, overseeing student workers and other day to day office operations. She also works as coordinator of the USC Dornsife Magazine which is distributed twice yearly to more than 60,000 Trojan Family and friends.

Before coming to USC, Letitia had the privilege of working as the assistant to the vice president of development for a Los Angeles based non profit organization. Their mission is to help children and adults who are blind, visually impaired or multi-disabled achieve independence.

Mike Glier

Videographer, Photographer
(213) 821-9388

Mike Glier serves as a videographer and photographer for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is responsible for filming and editing video pieces designed to capture the unique stories of USC Dornsife. 

Before joining the university, Mike worked for CBS Sports as a video producer and editor. He also worked for Vista Worldlink where he was a Tricaster operator/integrator for Major League Soccer. Before CBS Sports, Mike was a freelance videographer and editor working on high-end weddings and local sports. Mike won numerous awards as producer/director for his feature film, The Last Hit. He has a B.S. in Digital Film and Video Production from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Lizzie Hedrick

Communications Specialist
(213) 821-2992

As a communications specialist for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Lizzie Hedrick is responsible for producing written material for the Office of Communication and the Office of the Dean.

Prior to joining USC Dornsife, she served as the communications officer for the Harvard Library. Before that, Lizzie worked for AOL Patch as local editor of an online news website in Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry and Irvington, NY. Lizzie has contributed articles to Pasadena Weekly and Pitzer College's alumni magazine and website. She holds a B.A. in English and world literature from Pitzer College and a certificate of participation from Circomedia - a school for contemporary circus and physical theater in Bristol, UK - with a concentration in aerial arts and acrobatics.

Darrin Joy

Director of Strategic and Scientific Communication
(213) 821-2478

Darrin Joy serves as director of strategic and scientific communication at the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Leading the office’s team of public communications specialists, Darrin provides editorial oversight for all news and publication content while helping to identify opportunities that promote the USC Dornsife brand to internal and external audiences. He works with the associate dean to ensure powerful, consistent messaging across USC Dornsife Magazine as well as USC Dornsife’s website, social media channels, e-newsletters and various other publications, including those for advancement. He also writes news and feature articles, with a primary focus on science-related topics.

Before joining USC Dornsife in 2015, Darrin developed his skills as a communications professional at City of Hope, Amgen Inc., Vivometrics Inc., and his own photography business. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade performing biomedical lab studies as a research associate at City of Hope and USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a B.S. in bacteriology from the University of California, Davis.

Dan Knapp

Director of Production and Art Director
(213) 821-2481

Dan Knapp oversees the design, art direction and printing of many of USC Dornsife’s publications, including USC Dornsife Magazine. Prior to joining the communications team in April 2012, Dan served as assistant director of communications for the USC Libraries and as a Web editor for USC Public Relations. Prior to moving to California, Dan was a reporter for the CBS affiliate in Lexington and, before that, planned the largest and most notorious annual Derby-themed charity party in Kentucky. Dan is the recipient of numerous awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and a member of the University & College Designers Association as well as the Los Angeless Press Club.

Dan has two undergraduate degrees (broadcast journalism and a double major in political science and English) from the University of Kentucky and four graduate degrees (communications, critical studies, professional writing, and aging services management) from USC. He is currently working toward a doctorate. When he’s not busy pursuing degrees, Dan provides pro bono communications- and design-related assistance to various animal rescue organizations across the Southland.

Laura Paisley

Senior Web Content Specialist and Writer
(213) 821-2483

Laura Paisley manages content on the USC Dornsife website in addition to managing electronic communications and writing news and feature stories for USC Dornsife print publications and the web.

Before joining USC Dornsife in July 2012, she directed communications for the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Ensemble-in-Residence at Columbia College Chicago. Prior to that, she worked at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, doing marketing for the school’s concert activities and music festivals. Laura began her career in publishing at Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston. Originally from northwestern Montana, she earned a B.A. in European history at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

Matthew Pla Savino

Graphic Designer
(213) 821-9382

Matthew Pla Savino serves as a graphic designer and illustrator for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He helps to create the various publications released by faculty and academic departments.

Born and raised in Australia, Matthew was offered an arts scholarship throughout high school and graduated from Edith Cowan University with a Bachelor of Design, majoring in graphic design. He interned with a youth culture magazine before working at a mining company, marketing and printing/design companies, and for various freelance clients.

Since moving to Los Angeles he has worked for Blaze Modelz and Times10, a branding agency based in Hollywood.

Mira Zimet

Director of Video Production
(213) 821-2480

Mira Zimet runs the video production department at USC Dornsife. She oversees a videographer and creates video content, including producing, shooting and editing videos to promote and publicize USC Dornsife to all constituents. This includes donors, alumni, faculty, the surrounding community, and current and prospective students. Since 2008, the department has produced well over 700 videos for fundraising, promotional and marketing purposes.

Before coming to USC, Mira served for over twelve years as an independent writer/producer on documentaries and educational videos. Some clients included: Discovery/Times, PBS, E! Entertainment, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Times. In 2002, Mira received an Emmy nomination in the education category. Since 2009, Mira has received four gold, three silver and five bronze CASE VII Awards of Excellence in the video category. In 2015, she also received a gold award from the National CASE awards in video. She has a B.A. in film from Cal State Northridge and a Masters in Professional Writing from USC.

SPRING 2016 INTERN

Alex Culley
Student, M.S. in Applied Psychology Program

STUDENT ASSISTANT

Peter Zhaoyu Zhou, USC Roski ’14, USC Cinematic Arts
(Photographer)

 

USC DORNSIFE STUDENT COMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

RECOGNITION

Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) National Circle of Excellence Awards

Gold, General Information Videos, “The Art and Science of Peppermint,” 2015

Gold, Institutional Relations Publications: Print Promotional Publications, “USC Wrigley Institute Brochure,” 2014

Gold, Institutional Relations Publications: Print Promotional Publications, “USC Dornsife 100,” 2013

Bronze, Excellence in Design: Periodicals, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2012

 

Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII, Awards of Excellence

Grand Gold, Publications, The Bridge@USC Brochure, 2016

Gold, News Writing: “Star Soldier, “8 Reasons Psycho Taps into the Psyche,” “Teaching to Learn,” “Moment of Truth” and “Smell of Suspicion,” 2016

Gold, Periodical Staff Writing: “Wild for Movies,” The Universe as We Know It,” “As Seen on TV?,” “Within Reach” and “Addressing Perception,” 2016

Gold, Fundraising Publications: Individual Fundraising Publications (Print), The Bridge@USC Brochure, 2016

Gold, General Information Videos: “The Art and Science of Peppermint,” 2016

Silver, Design (Editorial Design): “Wild for Movies,” USC Dornsife Magazine, Spring/Summer 2015, The Frontiers Issue, 2016

Silver, Case Statements/General Cultivation Publications (Print): Frontline Scholars: The USC Dornsife Initiative Brochure, 2016

Grand Gold, General Interest Magazines: USC Dornsife Magazine, 2015

Gold, General Interest Magazine (30-75K circ.): USC Dornsife Magazine, 2015

Gold, Recruitment Videos: The Religion Major, 2015

Silver, Periodical Staff Writing: “Appetite for Change,” “The Man,” “Let’s Dig In,” “ConvURGENT Bioscience” and “Fearless Foodies,” 2015

Silver, Innovative Use of Technology: Dean’s Holiday Card and Video, 2015

Bronze, Design (Covers): The Food Issue, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2015

Bronze, Design (Periodicals): The Food Issue, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2015

Silver, General Interest Magazines: USC Dornsife Magazine, 2014

Silver, News Writing: “A Nobel Victory,” “Edge Effect,” “Lord of the Flies,” “L.A. Has a Heart” and “Guardian Angel,” 2014

Silver, Fundraising Publications: Individual Fundraising Publications (Print), USC Wrigley Institute Brochure, 2014

Bronze, Fundraising Videos: USC Dornsife Initiative Video, 2014

Bronze, Design: Multi-Page Publications/Folders, USC Wrigley Institute Brochure, 2014

Gold, Video Recruitment Features: “Master of Professional Writing Program,” 2013

Silver, Best Articles of the Year: “Emotional Economics,” 2013

Silver, Institutional Relations Publications: Print Promotional Publications, “We Are USC Dornsife,” 2013

Silver, Integrated Advancement Programs: Visual Identity Systems, 2013

Silver, Excellence in Design: Periodicals, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2013

Silver, Excellence in Design: Multi-Page Publications, “We Are USC Dornsife,” 2013

Bronze, Institutional Relations Publications: Print Promotional Publications, “USC Dornsife 100,” 2013

Bronze, Excellence in Design: Multi-Page Publications, “USC Dornsife 100,” 2013

Bronze, Video General Information Features: “First Year Investigations,” 2013

Bronze, College and University General Interest Magazines: USC Dornsife Magazine, 2013

Silver, Video Recruitment Features: “Not Following the Herd,” 2012

Bronze, Video Fundraising Features: “Torchbearer 2011,” 2012

Bronze, Excellence in News Writing: General News Writing, 2012

Gold, Print Periodical Publishing Improvement: Magazine, USC College Magazine, 2011

Gold, Excellence in News Writing: Science/Research, 2011

Silver, Video Recruitment Features: “Welcome to USC College,” 2011

Bronze, Video Fundraising Features: “Torchbearer 2010,” 2011

Gold, Institutional Magazine: USC College Magazine, 2009

Gold, Video General Information: “USC Trojans Love L.A.,” 2009

Silver, Excellence in Design: Magazines, USC College Magazine, 2009

Bronze, Video Recruitment Features: “The USC Wrigley Institute,” 2009

 

University and College Designers Association, Design Competition

Excellence, Magazine—Complete Unit, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2015

Excellence, Magazine—Cover (The Food Issue), USC Dornsife Magazine, 2015

Excellence, Special Publications (Academic and Administrative Units), The Bridge@USC brochure, 2015

Excellence, Magazine—Complete Unit, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2014

Excellence, Magazine—Complete Unit, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2013

Excellence, Special Publications (Academic and Administrative Units), USC Dornsife 100, 2013   

Excellence, Development Information/Fundraising, USC Dornsife 100, 2013

Excellence, Special Publications (Academic and Administrative Units), We are USC Dornsife, 2013

Excellence, Development Information/Fundraising, We are USC Dornsife, 2013

Excellence, Development Information/Fundraising, USC Wrigley Institute Brochure, 2013

Silver, Identity Program, USC Dornsife Graphic Identity, 2012

Excellence, Magazine—Complete Unit, USC Dornsife Magazine, 2012

 

Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, MarCom Award Competition

Platinum, Magazine-Educational Institution, USC Dornsife Magazine, Fall 2013/Winter 2014

Platinum, Magazine-Educational Institution, USC Dornsife Magazine, Spring/Summer 2014

Gold, Educational Web Video, “Selfie Esteem,” 2014

 

Telly Awards

Bronze, Online Video Education, 2012