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Meet the USC Dornsife Communication Team

Emily Cavalcanti

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

Letty Avila

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

Susan Bell

Staff Writer
(213) 740-7894

Susan Bell is a staff writer in 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.

Letitia Franklin

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.

Pamela J. Johnson

Pamela J. Johnson

Editorial Director
(213) 821-2478

Pamela J. Johnson is an award-winning, 20-year journalist with stops at the Los Angeles Times, The Orange County Register, Orlando Sentinel, Santa Barbara News-Press and Los Angeles Herald Examiner. She has chronicled deadly hurricanes in Florida to wounded soldiers in Germany, interviewed newsmakers from Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem to Larry King, and covered beats including politics, crime, education, social issues and minority affairs. The California Bar Association and Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida have awarded her for investigative pieces. In 2011, she won the Excellence in News Writing gold award from CASE VII, for five stories she wrote for USC Dornsife Magazine's science edition. And in 2013, she earned the Best Article of the Year silver award from CASE VII for “Emotional Economics” published in USC Dornsife Magazine.

She earned a bachelor's from San Diego State University and has taken courses toward a master's degree at USC. Joining USC Dornsife in 2005, Johnson oversees the written storytelling of USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the university's largest school and academic heart.

Dan Knapp

Director of Production
(213) 821-2481

As director of production, 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 several CASE awards and a member of the University & College Designers Association. This fall he celebrated his 14th anniversary with the university.

Dan has two undergraduate degrees (broadcast journalism and a double major in political science and English) from the University of Kentucky and three graduate degrees (communications, critical studies, and aging services management) from USC. Next spring, he hopes to complete his fourth master's degree, this time from USC Dornsife's Master of Professional Writing Program. When he’s not busy pursuing degrees, Dan provides pro bono communications- and design-related assistance to various animal rescue organizations across the Southland. Dan was recently re-elected to the USC University Club board of councilors and, for 2013-14, is again acting as club secretary.

Matt Meindl

Matt Meindl

Videographer and Photographer
(213) 821-9388

Matt Meindl serves as a videographer, photographer and video editor for the USC David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He assists in creating a wide range of video projects that both preserve and advance USC Dornsife’s many academic and cultural initiatives.

Before joining the Communication team in Fall 2013, Matt served as videographer at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. His independent film work has screened at festivals throughout North America and Europe including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Winnipeg’s Festival of Film + Video Art. He has received fellowship grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and was a 2011-12 Media Artist-in-Residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts. He has a B.A. in Film/Video Production from the University of Toledo.

Laura Paisley

Laura Paisley

Web Editor 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.

Prior to joining USC Dornsife, 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, marketing concerts and a variety of 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.

Michelle Salzman Boston

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.

Lizzie Hedrick

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.

Mira Zimet

Mira Zimet

Director of Video Production
(213) 821-2480

In January 2008, Mira Zimet joined the USC Dornsife Communication department to produce and edit videos that bring to life the great work that goes on in USC Dornsife. These web stories range from the type of research students and faculty are conducting to the programs that make USC Dornsife such a unique place to study.

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 two gold, two silver and four bronze CASE VII Awards of Excellence in the video category. Additionally, in 2012 she received a bronze Telly Award (their second highest honor) in the on-line video education category. She has a B.A. in film from Cal State Northridge and a Masters in Professional Writing from USC.

Student Assistants

Peter Zhaoyu Zhou, USC Roski '14, USC Cinematic Arts (photographer)  

Recognition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silver, Excellence in Design: Periodicals, USC Dornsife Magazine, Fall 2012/Winter 2013

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

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

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

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

Silver, Integrated Advancement Programs: Visual Identity Systems, 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, 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

 

Telly Awards

Bronze, Online Video Education, 2012