Vanderbilt University News and Communications Staff Biographies
Executive Director, Integrated Communications
Associate Director, News and Communications
Melanie Moran is executive director of the integrated communications unit in University News and Communications and associate director of the overall News and Communications office. She oversees University Web Communications, internal communications, Vanderbilt Magazine, and the editors supporting Vanderbilt’s schools and colleges. Moran came to Vanderbilt from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, where she was responsible for managing media relations, events, speech writing, graphic arts and the website. While with the state, Moran also served as assistant to Gov. Don Sundquist for communications. Moran holds a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Penn State.
Senior Director, Editorial and Planning, Integrated Communications
Jan Read leads a team of editors in promoting the Vanderbilt message by supporting its schools and colleges and developing internal communications for the institution’s 22,000 employees. She is also managing editor of Vanderbilt Lawyer. Read came to Vanderbilt in 2008, leading school-based alumni communications in Development and Alumni Relations, and then joined News & Communications in 2012. An award-winning writer, Read has been a reporter and editor at the Detroit Free Press, the Akron Beacon Journal, Advantage Magazine and the Nashville Banner. She then moved into public relations, working with Nissan, United Way and Tennessee Democratic Victory before forming her own consulting company in 1996. Read graduated from Michigan State University’s Honors College with a degree in journalism.
Public Affairs Officer
Joan Brasher is editor of the Peabody Reflector, the alumni magazine for the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and the public affairs officer for Peabody College. She manages media relations for Peabody and writes and edits for other Vanderbilt publications and websites, including the faculty/staff online news hub, MyVU. Brasher began her career at Vanderbilt as editor of the Vanderbilt Register. She oversaw the creation of its replacement, Vanderbilt View, which won 15 industry awards, including CASE’s highest honor, the National Circle of Excellence. Before Vanderbilt, she worked as a film critic, specializing in independent and foreign-language films. Brasher earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Olivet Nazarene University.
Manager, Video News
Barb Cramer developed and continues to manage video news for Vanderbilt. She started her career as a radio news director in Tennessee and then in Kentucky, before moving to Nashville to become a TV news reporter for WKRN-Channel 2 and then WSMV-Channel 4. After 17 years in commercial broadcasting, Barb joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center and ultimately started the Vanderbilt TV Health Report Network, developing, producing, reporting and distributing health reports to commercial television stations nationally and internationally. Cramer moved to the university’s video team in 2010 while continuing to produce video news for the Medical Center. Cramer has received numerous awards, including several Emmys and other national and state awards for her reporting while in commercial broadcasting, several Council for Advancement and Support of Education national Gold Medal Awards for excellence with electronic media, and Association of American Medical Colleges national awards for video production. She holds a master’s in education from Austin Peay State University.
Videographer, Editor, Multi-media specialist
Zack Eagles joined Vanderbilt in 2013. He shoots and edits campus b-roll, interviews, campus speakers and major university events for external media and Vanderbilt’s Web presence. Before joining Vanderbilt, Eagles worked as a freelance videographer on various music videos, commercials, and television shows. He has a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media Production from Middle Tennessee State University.
Public Affairs Officer
Liz Entman is the editor of Research News @ Vanderbilt, winner of a 2012 TCPRA Silver Award for best website. She covers research and news in the social sciences of including economics, anthropology and sociology, covers sustainability issues and coordinates communications for Dyer Observatory. She is also responsible for maintaining the News and Communications website and the Commencement website and tracks all university media placements. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2007, Entman spent six years in the publishing industry in New York. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia University School of the Arts.
Bonnie Arant Ertelt
Bonnie Arant Ertelt serves as the arts and culture editor for Vanderbilt Magazine and the class notes editor for Vanderbilt Magazine, Peabody Reflector and Vanderbilt Business. She also serves as account executive for the Blair School of Music and the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Since coming to Vanderbilt in 1995, Ertelt has edited the Spire, Acorn Chronicle, Blair Quarter Note and Peabody Reflector. She is a 1981 Peabody alumna and a visual artist who has exhibited at the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky., and Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis, among other venues. Her artwork is in numerous corporate and private collections.
Kara Furlong is editor of Web and print content for MyVU, the news hub for faculty and staff. She also writes and edits for other Vanderbilt publications and websites. Her writing has been recognized by the Tennessee College Public Relations Association. A member of Vanderbilt’s Division of Public Affairs since 2001, Furlong holds a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University, where she majored in English and communications.
Public Affairs Officer
Heidi Hall covers the School of Engineering, the School of Law, the natural sciences and the Wond’ry. She formerly served as an editor and reporter at The Tennessean, coming to Vanderbilt to do internal communications for the engineering school in 2014. Her career also included positions at the Tampa Tribune, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and other newspapers in Missouri and Florida and teaching multimedia journalism as an adjunct at the University of South Florida. She earned accolades as part of the Pulitzer Prize finalist team that covered Nashville’s devastating 2010 flood and for her coverage of education and health issues.
Princine Lewis provides comprehensive communications and marketing strategies for schools, departments, programs and other university units. She represents Public Affairs in university-wide emergency preparedness efforts. Lewis is also the liaison for the Office of the Dean of Students, Residential Life, College Halls, the Vanderbilt University Police Department, Office of Religious Life, Women’s Center and Black Cultural Center. Working closely with Latt, Lewis also provides counseling across the university on sensitive matters. In addition, she plans and implements a number of aspects of special events for high-profile university events. She also provides support for video projects, and has won two Regional Emmys at Vanderbilt. Prior to joining the university, Lewis was an account executive at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations. Lewis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Ann Marie Deer Owens
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Ann Marie Owens covers arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Science and is the primary liaison for the Divinity School, the Library and Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations. She also writes and produces radio spots, including the long-running spot That’s Vanderbilt, which is broadcast during Vanderbilt basketball and football games. Before joining the university staff in 1992, Owens, a Vanderbilt graduate, worked in radio news as a reporter and news director for four Nashville stations. She also reported for WKRN-TV, the ABC affiliate in Nashville. In addition, she worked in financial development and special events management for two non-profit agencies. Owens was honored as Tennessee Broadcaster of the Year by The Associated Press and was a two-time recipient of the Golden Mike Award for public service programming by the Nashville chapter of the American Women in Radio and Television.
Seth Robertson is assistant editor and online content manager of Vanderbilt Magazine, the university’s flagship alumni publication, and editor of Dot Commodore, the monthly email newsletter for Vanderbilt alumni and parents of current students. He is also the editor of Vanderbilt Law, the alumni magazine of Vanderbilt Law School, and of VUToday, the daily electronic newsletter summarizing coverage of Vanderbilt in the media. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2007, Robertson worked in corporate communications for a leading entertainment distributor and as a literary agent in the book publishing industry. He also taught English for a year in Santiago, Chile. Robertson graduated from the University of Virginia, where he majored in English and Spanish.
Senior Research Writer
David Salisbury is responsible for promoting the work of scientists within the College of Arts and Science and the School of Engineering. He is also one of the primary authors of the Research News @ Vanderbilt blog. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Washington and learned how to write about science for the general public while working for The Christian Science Monitor. As a reporter and editor he covered a number of major science and technology stories, including Apollo-Soyuz, Skylab, the Pioneer and Voyager missions to Jupiter and the outer planets, the Viking mission to Mars and the accident at Three Mile Island. He has received a number of awards for his reporting, including the National Association of Science Writer’s Science in Society award. After leaving the Monitor, he wrote about scientific research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford University before moving to Vanderbilt. He is the author of a book on using calculators for personal finance and has written freelance articles for a wide range of publications, including MIT Technology Review, Popular Science, New York Times, and National Wildlife.
Chief Photographer and Broadcast Technical and Production Manager
Pat Slattery, a national award-winning videographer, joined University News and Communications in August 2006 as broadcast technical and production manager. He serves the university and medical center as videographer for live shots at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility, and shoots and edits VUCast, Vanderbilt’s weekly online news program. He also facilitates audio production and shooting and editing for external media. Slattery was on staff at WSMV-TV, Nashville’s NBC affiliate, for more than 24 years, serving as chief photographer for the last 11 years. He has won more than 20 regional Emmy awards, including the prestigious Silver Circle award.
Editorial Assistant II
Sonya Thompson serves as office manager for News and Communications as well as an editorial assistant supporting VUToday and the News website.
Mike Todd joined Vanderbilt in 2011. He shoots and edits research stories, medical stories, campus b-roll, interviews, campus speakers and major university events for external media and Vanderbilt’s Web presence. Todd also serves as a videographer and engineer for VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility. Before joining Vanderbilt, Todd spent 25 years at WSMV-TV in positions that included photojournalist, assignments manager, assistant news director and chief photographer/operations manager. He has won five Regional Emmy awards, the National Association of Broadcasters “Service to Children” award and the Gabriel Award.
Associate Editor, Vanderbilt Magazine; Production Manager, Integrated Communications
Phillip Tucker is associate editor of Vanderbilt Magazine, the university’s flagship publication, and production manager for Integrated Communications. He also provides support to MyVU. With Vanderbilt Magazine he is responsible for copyediting, production management, photography assignments and writing, as well as magazine distribution, purchasing, and budget and finance issues. As production manager for integrated communications, he is primarily responsible for mailing data for Vanderbilt publications. Since joining Vanderbilt in 1997, he also has edited alumni magazines for Peabody College, the Owen Graduate School of Management, and the School of Engineering. He previously worked for Harding University. Tucker is a 1990 Harding graduate, with a B.A. in print journalism and public relations. He and his projects have won numerous awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Editor, Vanderbilt Magazine
Ryan Underwood is editor of Vanderbilt Magazine, the university’s flagship alumni publication. Ryan also serves as the media relations officer for the Owen Graduate School of Management. Prior to his work on the magazine, he served as director of content strategy for Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Previously, Underwood worked as government and politics editor at The Tennessean, following earlier stints as assistant business editor and as a reporter covering Nashville’s music industry. A 1996 graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he was editor of the student newspaper, The Vanderbilt Hustler, Underwood worked as a staff writer at Fast Company magazine in New York and Boston before returning to Nashville in 2005.
National Communications Coordinator, Video Producer
Amy Wolf is University News and Communications’ chief national media liaison. In this role she works to identify and pitch story ideas to the national media. She is a video producer and is writer and anchor of the weekly VUCast video news webcast. Wolf has won a Regional Emmy for her Vanderbilt work. She is also the primary liaison for Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid. Wolf has 13 years of experience in television and radio news. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she served as senior producer for news and health at NBC affiliate WBAL-TV in Baltimore. She managed coverage of special events and produced the early evening newscasts, which were top-rated in the region for the six consecutive years she led them. In 2003, she was nominated for an Emmy as best newscast producer. Her other previous experience includes more than a decade of creating, writing and promoting newscasts in New Haven, Conn., and Cincinnati. She also spent two years as a producer and reporter for Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate. Wolf is a graduate of Miami University in Ohio, with concentrations in journalism, communications and political science.
University Web Communications
University Web Communications, which develops and manages all of the university’s top-level websites as well as its primary content management systems and social media presences, is a unit of University News and Communications.