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Communications

Transylvania University shares its story with a number of audiences through the work of the Office of Communications. The team of professionals promotes Transylvania, its people, programs, and achievements through media relations, print publications, digital media, video, photography, and advertising.

  • Michele Sparks

    Michele Sparks
    Vice President for Marketing and Communications
    (859) 233-8236

    Michele joined the communications department at Transylvania University in August 2014. She came to Transylvania after nine years at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business & Economics where she was the director of communications for the College. In addition to her work at UK, she has also worked as the communications director at Asbury Theological Seminary where she revamped the Seminary's branding efforts for their three main campuses. In her spare time, Michele teaches Jazzercise classes at a fitness studio in Nicholasville, Ky. And when she's not teaching class you can find her cheering her son onto victory at his high school basketball games.

  • John Friedlein

    John Friedlein
    Communications Specialist
    (859) 281-3615

    John is the social media manager and a writer for Transylvania—and you’ll often see him snapping pictures around campus. He joined the communications staff after working as a newspaper reporter for 13 years. While at the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise, he wrote a front-page feature column with an eye for the unusual. A big fan of Japanese culture, he sells origami flowers at a Louisville gallery. John earned a B.A. from the University of Louisville.

  • Barbara Grinnell

    Barbara Grinnell
    Graphic Designer
    (859) 281-3618

    Barbara has been Transylvania's graphic designer since she joined the staff in 1998. She designs all the print pieces produced by the publications department and helps other departments with signs, banners, ads, logos, e-cards, electronic displays, etc. She is a member of the small but proud Transylvania Mac community, and a reader and gardener in her non-work hours. Born in Miami, she also lived for many years in Philadelphia, where she earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and Berkeley, Calif., before moving to Lexington.

  • Robin Hicks

    Robin Hicks
    Part-time Marketing/PR Writer and Consultant
    (502) 645-3500

    Following an early life in classical music, Robin branched out to earn a Master of Letters from Oxford University and a B.A. with honors in English from the University of Louisville. She has enjoyed a liberal artsy professional life, that is to say rich and varied: working as a professional violinist, in publishing, documentary production, marketing, and development. She has worked in Mexico City, London, New York, and Louisville. The part-time position in the communications office is her happy entrée into her new community of Lexington, Ky.

  • Tom Martin

    Tom Martin
    Part-time Writer/Media Advisor
    (859) 494-3469

    During a 45-year career in media, Tom was a member of the founding staff of the Associated Press Radio Network in Washington, D.C., and a news anchor with RKO Radio Network News, ABC News, WABC News, and Paul Harvey News in New York. Tom has worked in local radio in Lexington and has served as director of communications for the House Majority Leadership in Frankfort. A resident of Lexington, he is president of the Lexington Area Music Alliance and is a longstanding member of the Lexington Forum board of directors. Tom is a native of Morehead, where he attended Morehead State University.

  • Mariana Shochat

    Mariana Shochat
    Web Development Manager
    (859) 281-3688

    As a small college's web developer, Mariana wears many hats: designer, coder, navigation architect, database administrator, and project manager. When she comes across a rare chunk of spare time, Mariana likes to read and get her hands dirty with gardening. Japanese graphics, classic guitar music, clever humor, and Rainier cherries inspire her. Mariana was born in Ukraine, former USSR, where she earned her bachelor's degree. She has lived in the United States since 1995 and joined Transylvania's staff in 2003.

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