ECE Communicators Program

ECEDHA is pleased to present a special program specifically designed for ECE Department Communicators and PR Professionals at the ECEDHA Annual Conference. 

This two-day program will provide the opportunity for ECE Communicators to come together to gain a greater understanding of how difficult it has become to educate the public and prospective students about ECE amid the noise of more popular programs. 

Through ECEDHA's ECE Communicators Network, this program allows the opportunity to share best practices in educating the public and prospective students about the exciting field of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


The beginning of the ECE Communicators Program

In 2017, Catharine June from the University of Michigan and Ashlee Gardner from Georgia Tech took the lead in forming an ECE Communicators Group for their peers. The group first hosted special programming for communicators at the 2017 ECEDHA Annual Conference in Miramar Beach, Florida. We were pleased to have quite a few communicators from all over the country attend the inaugural program. In 2018, we found that our attendee number doubled - and our impact grew. Now in its third year, we hope to host an even larger group of Communicators at ECEDHA 2019 in Tucson, as it is an important time to get your institution involved.

Where we are today

In addition to all of the valuable programming on education, diversity, and research at the Annual Conference, there will be a dedicated ECE Communicators Meeting, allowing your institution's communications and public relations professional to get an in-depth introduction to the branding toolkit and implementation strategies, as well as key networking time with peers.

ECE Communicators Program Schedule of Events

While communicators are invited and encouraged to take advantage of the full conference programming, the below schedule highlights the dedicated communicator sessions at the Annual Conference.

Saturday, March 23

 - Evening Reception, sponsored by Keysight Technologies (6:00pm - 8:00pm)

Sunday, March 24

 - Registration Open (7:30am - 5pm)

 - Breakfast & Introductions (9:00am - 9:45am)

 - ECE Communicators Meeting (9:45am - 12pm)

 - ECExpo Welcome Reception (6:00pm - 6:45pm)

 - ECE Communicators Networking Dinner (7:00pm - 8:30pm) - Offsite Location

Sunday Session Information

Lightning Stories on Professional Development (9:45 am - 10:30 am) 
In this lightning round, several ECEDHA communicators will describe how they overcame a specific communications challenge – in no more than five minutes, using no more than five slides. These could be outstanding social, digital, or print projects; successful media opportunities; stellar events; or new or improved processes or systems. All ECEDHA communicators who register for the conference will be invited to submit their ideas for this lightning round. Those selected will BRIEFLY share their challenges, solutions, and tips during the ECEDHA Communicators Session on Sunday, March 24 (don’t worry, we will notify you well in advance). More details to come.

  Jessica MacInnis
Senior Communications Officer
University of Toronto

Jessica MacInnis is the senior communications officer in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Toronto. She’s responsible for external and internal communications as well as alumni relations, advancement, student recruitment and external relations for ECE. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, she was director of communications at a national pediatric oncology charity.

  Anne Stuart
Communications Officer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anne Stuart became the communications officer for MIT’s EECS Department in February 2017. Previously, she was the custom-content director at MIT Technology Review and a senior editorial staffer specializing in technology coverage for Inc., CIO, and other publications. Earlier, she was a news reporter for several daily newspapers and the Associated Press. She teaches graduate communication classes at two Boston-area colleges. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from Michigan State and a masters in journalism from Columbia.

Panel: Straight from the Students' Mouths (10:45 am - 12:00 am) 
In 2017 ECEDHA and Tailfin embarked on a rebranding effort for the electrical and computer engineering discipline. As part of that effort, Tailfin conducted surveys and focus groups with a number of critical constituencies, including prospective students. The feedback we received was valuable in setting the direction of our messaging to future engineers. Take a look back at the key results of this research and then bring the research findings to life through our live student panel. Current electrical and computer engineering students from four universities will be on hand to react to the research findings, remember how and why they selected their programs, and reply to your questions. Build your career with key insights from current students that will help you market electrical and computer engineering into the future.


   Craig Smith
 Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
 Arizona State University

Craig Smith brings more than 20 years of marketing and communications experience to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He is responsible for the messaging and promotion of the largest academic research engineering program in the United States. This position is Craig’s third stint at Arizona State University as he holds a Master of Business Administration degree in marketing from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, where he went on to serve as their director of marketing and communications years later. Prior to joining Arizona State University most recently, Craig was the managing director of corporate communications for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel chain, for nearly a decade.
   Todd Sweet
 Director of Communications
 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Todd Sweet currently serves as the director of communications for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois. In this role, he leads a team responsible for alumni and donor relations, communications, and corporate relations. Previously, Todd worked for 10 years at the university’s Gies College of Business. He graduated with a BA in economics from Colorado College and also spent 10 years in the finance industry in Seattle.

Lunch: New ECEDHA Brand Discussion (12:00 pm - 1:00 pm) 
Information to come.


   Tracy Clark
 Tailfin Marketing
   Greg Abel
 Tailfin Marketing

Monday, March 25

 - Registration Open (7:30 am - 5:00 pm)

 - Breakfast (7:30 am - 8:00 am)

 - ECE Communicators Meeting (8:45 am - 12:15 pm)

 - ECExpo Lunch (12:15 pm - 1:30 pm)


Branding ECE: Strategies & Practices (8:45 am - 9:45 am)
Following the rollout of the ECEDHA branding campaign by Tailfin Marketing at the 2018 ECEDHA Annual Conference in Monterey, California last March, this year’s session will explore different ways departments can and have integrated the ECEDHA branding strategy with their institution’s branding practices. The session will review the branding strategy and available marketing toolkit, as well as provide an overview of best practices and examples of implementation through various marketing and advertising mediums including printed collateral, online/web, social media, video, events, facilities/signage and direct marketing (alumni, prospective students, employers).

  Trudi Brown
Director of External Relations, Electrical and Computer Engineering
North Carolina State University

Trudi Brown serves as the director of external relations for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. In her role, she oversees the department’s corporate partnership program, focusing on strategic engagement and recruiting opportunities; supports outreach and student recruitment activities; and provides direction with the department’s overall marketing, communications, and public relations initiatives.

Trudi has over 20 years of development, marketing, alumni and public relations experience working in higher education, health care and banking. She previously served as the director of development at Campbell Law School in Raleigh, North Carolina and the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University.
Krista Burns
Assistant Director of Communications
Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Krista manages marketing and communications for CMU’s electrical and computer engineering department. She oversees the creation and maintenance of web content, news stories, social media, and collateral materials. She serves as the primary contact for news reporters and journalists interested in interviewing professors and students. Krista has been a member of the Carnegie Mellon family for over ten years.

  Charles Hall
Communications Coordinator, Electrical and Computer Engineering
North Carolina State University

Charles Hall is the communications coordinator for Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University and a mission to translate engineering into words, images, and engaging content that accelerates the next generation of innovators. Charles has previously operated in communication roles at Vanier College, Montreal, and served as deputy director of Leaders International in Washington, DC, working to provide leadership training and opportunities with high school students around the world.


K-12 Outreach: Reengaging with Alumni (10:30 am - 11:30 am) 
Information to come.


   Oscar Loera
 Texas Instruments
   Kimberly Lewis
 University of Central Florida


Planning the 2019 Summer Communicators Workshop (11:30 am - 12:15 pm) 

"I have attended the past two ECEDHA meetings because of their sessions addressing the current image of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which is important to me as a communicator for ECE. Being part of ECEDHA is helping me to collaborate with other communicators and professionals in the field to help strengthen the brand. Attracting the best students to ECE is important to society. I am grateful for the opportunity to assist in this important goal."

Catharine June, ECE Communications & Marketing Manager, University of Michigan

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors