Beth Mitchell, Interim Associate Vice President for Communications and External Relations
and Executive Director of Media and Public Relations
Beth is responsible for the development and management of an integrated media, public relations, and social media strategy for the college and The Museum at FIT, and she oversees CER's Creative Services staff. She brings to her role over two decades of communications and marketing experience in media, fashion, and entertainment. Previously, she was Vice President of Communications at Time Inc. where she led a diverse portfolio of fashion, lifestyle, millennial and multicultural media brands. Prior to expanding her responsibilities at Time Inc., she was Executive Director of Communications at InStyle. Earlier, with oversight of North America and Latin America, she was Director of Public Relations at Getty Images. Her career began at Sony, where she held various marketing and communications roles within its entertainment subsidiaries, covering the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Her consulting experience includes work with nonprofits and the private sector. Beth has a bachelor’s degree from Manhattanville College.
Roberto Villanueva, Director of Operations
Roberto Villanueva, director of operations, serves as the chief administrative officer for the division and advisor to the vice president regarding the management, oversight, and direction of the division’s operations. He assists the vice president in the administration, coordination, and facilitation of day-to-day operations, coordinating and streamlining activities between the division and other units of the college, and managing, directing, and implementing strategic initiatives related to FIT’s strategic plan and fulfillment of the division’s mission. Roberto’s professional background includes 27 years of management experience working in not-for-profit, higher education, performing arts, retail, and investment banking institutions in various roles, including academic program director and adjunct professor for the College of Mount Saint Vincent, director of operations for the American Bible Society, and arts education and community engagement administrator for Dance Theatre of Harlem. He earned a BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Heather McCarron, Project Manager
Heather McCarron, project manager, uses a mix of traditional and agile project management methodologies to coordinate, facilitate, and monitor the work of CER staff on high-profile projects and to build and refine the office's business processes. She is also responsible for new project intake and is overseeing CER's transition to a centralized project management software system. Heather has an MS from Pace University, a BA from Loyola College in Maryland, and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.
Dino Rodriguez, Department Coordinator, CER Budgets
Dino Rodriguez manages the department budget, processes invoice transactions for internal and external clients, assists with resource requests, and serves as liaison between Events Management and internal departments. In keeping with FIT's Strategic Plan, Dino's role is also to spearhead new and innovative workflows using Google's G Suite ecosystem and other Cloud technologies. Previously, he worked for 15 years in FIT’s Office of International Programs, supporting international education and building international relationships. A recipient of the Chancellor's Award, Excellence in Classified Service, Dino is also an Arabic language tutor and translator, technology integration expert, G Suite and mobile technology enthusiast, and entrepreneur.
Emile Franco, Administrative Assistant
Emile Franco, administrative assistant, has worked at FIT intermittently since 1988 starting in the offices of Financial Aid Services. In 2002, she went to work at Monroe College in New Rochelle as a financial aid counselor. From there, she was employed as a financial aid consultant at the Institute for Culinary Education and as a financial aid administrator at The Swedish Institute. Emile returned to FIT in 2018 as a temporary worker in the Educational Opportunity Programs office and became a permanent employee in the Events Management and Facilities Rental office in 2019.
Ellen Davidson, Publications and Advertising Manager
Ellen Davidson, publications and advertising manager, oversees production of print materials for the college. She coordinates writing, editing, proofreading, design, photography, and printing of major publications like catalogs, view books, and annual reports, as well as smaller items like brochures, banners, flyers, and promotional giveaways. She also works with FIT’s advertising agency to create media plans, develop print and digital advertising materials, and run campaigns on social media platforms.
Cheryl Monteclaro, Communications Designer
Chery Monteclaro, communications designer, is responsible for the development and execution of FIT’s visual brand identity and content across all platforms and touchpoints, as well as producing a wide range of deliverables including print collateral, web and digital design, specialized email marketing campaigns, social media avatars, and environmental graphics. She collaborates with departmental writers, storytellers, photographers, and the web, social media, and production staff to bring together images, video, and stories to design strong on-brand content and to maintain consistent visual design across all internal and external communications platforms. Cheryl has nearly 25 years of experience as a multidisciplinary designer and creative director in many industries, including extensive work in both early childhood and higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in media design.
Smiljana Peros, Coordinator of Photography and Production
Smiljana Peros is the photography coordinator in CER. She photographs and/or edits, and researches content related to publication both in print and on online. She maintains CER’s photo archive. She oversees the production of six Continuing and Professional Studies catalogs per year along with various printed materials for The Museum at FIT. She has a BFA in photography from Hunter College.
Digital and Web
Taryn Rejholec, Manager of Digital Strategies
Taryn Rejholec, manager of Digital Strategies, oversees FIT’s digital properties and develops online strategies to enhance the brand and align with the institution’s core strategic goals. She works with academic and administrative departments to achieve maximum visibility across FIT’s website, social media, web ads, online marketing campaigns, mobile, and video, and to leverage new digital properties and platforms. As CER’s primary expert on web communications, Taryn advises departments on the development of their webpages, sites, and digital marketing efforts to reach their goals. She develops concepts and design for major website and special digital projects such as FIT's website redesign, FIT Newsroom, virtual events, and customized microsites for departments and programs. She has a BA in English from Eastern Illinois University and attended Columbia College Chicago for a MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction.
Richard Ota, Web Developer
Richard Ota, web developer, works to support FIT's content management system (CMS), troubleshoot, and diagnose/repair issues with the CMS and other website properties. He continues to leverage and innovate current software solutions as well as seek solutions for the web team and CER. An early developer of the pre-internet, Richard has worked at advancing technological companies, including Prodigy, Citibank, and Harris Connect. He welcomes the evolution of the internet and enjoys the new challenges and advancements of today's modern communication.
Norma Stary, Web Content Coordinator; Electronic Information Technology Accessibility
Norma Stary, web content coordinator and EITA officer, is charged with governance and oversight of FIT’s website. She conducts training for FIT's web editors and monitors the site for quality assurance and accessibility. She has a BA in mass communication from West Texas A&M University and an MS in information design from SUNY Polytechnic. She is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies.
Simona Jankauskaite, Web Content Specialist
Simona Jankauskaite assists the web content coordinator and the rest of the web team in maintaining FIT’s website. She focuses on consistent content presentation in keeping with best web publishing and accessibility practices. Before joining CER in 2022, Simona worked for the past 12 years in FIT’s Gladys Marcus Library providing support in several service areas. She is a graduate of FIT with a BFA in Computer Animation and Interactive Media, and holds a Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from Queens College.
Linda Angrilli, Editorial Director
Linda Angrilli is CER editorial director. She oversees written and other creative content for a wide range of FIT communications materials, and works with the Hue team to develop and produce the college’s award-winning magazine. She has worked at FIT for more than 30 years, starting as a writer and speechwriter in the President’s Office and then moving to CER as a writer and editor. She has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Cornell University.
Alex Joseph, Chief Storyteller
Alex Joseph, FIT's chief storyteller, works across all of the college's platforms and channels, developing content and strategizing for every department of FIT. He creates print and web stories for the college’s magazine, Hue, which he co founded in 2007, and for which he still serves as an editor. He produces videos that appear on the college’s website and social media, organizes and moderates events, and conducts interviews for FIT Talks, the college’s oral history project. He is a 2015 graduate of the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice MA program, and published a piece for the peer-reviewed journal Fashion Theory. He writes for Vestoj, Fashion Studies Journal, Surface, and other publications. He also has an MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. He has worked as a writer for FIT since 2000.
Jonathan Vatner, Managing Editor, Hue
Jonathan Vatner is the managing editor of Hue magazine. He oversees the process of creating FIT's award-winning publication, both in print and online: idea generation, making assignments, budgeting, and workflow. He also contributes to FIT Newsroom, helps edit other areas of the FIT website, and serves on the President's Sustainability Council. A journalist since 2002, he has been an editor of O at Home, an Oprah Magazine, and Meetings & Conventions, and has written for The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; and many other publications. He is the author of the novels The Bridesmaids Union (St. Martin's Press, 2022) and Carnegie Hill (Thomas Dunne Books, 2019), and he teaches fiction writing at New York University and the Hudson Valley Writers Center. He received an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University.
Laura Hatmaker, Internal Communications Specialist
Laura Hatmaker oversees FIT’s internal communications and is responsible for creating and disseminating Newsroom Direct, the college’s weekly e-newsletter. Before joining CER, she was the managing editor at XXL magazine, and worked with a marketing firm to create a new publication for Avon’s teen brand, Mark. Laura is also the advisor to FIT’s student-run fashion and beauty magazine, Blush. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
Government and Community Relations
Lisa Wager, Director, Government and Community Relations
Lisa Wager, director, Government and Community Relations, oversees FIT’s city, state, and federal government engagement on issues ranging from funding to land use to inter- and intra-agency agreements, and works with FIT’s administration and student representatives to coordinate the college’s lobbying efforts. She is responsible for identifying opportunities for collaboration and partnership with external organizations and for building and implementing community relations and outreach programs to enhance the college’s involvement with its diverse community groups, both in the geographic neighborhood and in areas of shared interest. She represents the college on several boards and local committees, and appears monthly before Community Boards 4 and 5.
Lisa’s prior employment includes roles as deputy director of Non-traditional Employment for Women (a job-training program that provides free instruction and helps women gain access to skilled trade union apprenticeships), and director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Northeast and Caribbean Region, U.S. General Services Administration, as an appointee of the Clinton Administration. She holds a BA from Vassar College.
Media Relations and Public Relations
Alexandra Mann, Media Relations Manager
Alex Mann is part of CER’s Media Relations team. She develops strategies and pitches for media placements to raise the profile of the college and its specific programs, initiatives, curriculum, faculty, and students. She is also part of the core group tasked with moving forward the division’s Newsroom initiative, and covers events and writes content for the site on a regular basis. A former news reporter and magazine writer, Alex has more than 25 years in public relations, marketing and communications in the non-profit and education sectors. Alex has an MA in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ivana Cepeda, Media Relations Specialist
Ivana Cepeda, media relations specialist, creates media relations strategies for FIT and The Museum at FIT initiatives. She works with the digital teams to promote media placements on FIT’s social media channels. Additionally, she handles research projects for media relations and coordinates media interviews for members of the FIT community. Ivana holds a BS in Advertising and Marketing Communications from FIT.
Steven Bibb, External Communications Specialist
Steven Bibb is part of the Media Relations team, where he writes FIT in the News, the college’s weekly news roundup of media coverage. Additionally, Steven handles press and media requests, and serves as an administrative assistant to the team. Steven holds a BA in Mass Media Studies from Hofstra University.
Devi Penny, Social Media Coordinator
Devi Penny is FIT's social media coordinator. With nearly a decade of experience in fine arts, fashion, and beauty communication, Devi brings a distinctive perspective to crafting compelling online narratives. Possessing a discerning eye for detail, Devi leads FIT's diverse social media platforms, meticulously ensuring a harmonious and unified messaging approach across campus divisions. Beyond her daily content creation, her expertise supports expanding and enriching the institution's digital narrative and fostering cross-campus collaboration. Devi holds a BFA in fine art photography from Syracuse University.