University of Texas at Austin

Contributor Profiles

Leslie Blair, Editor

Leslie Blair is the associate director of communications for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Except for an early stint as a newspaper reporter, her career has been dedicated to communications for nonprofit organizations or interesting units at two universities. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in English.

Marla Akin

Marla is senior program coordinator for the James A. Michener Center for Writers. She conducts their annual literary series, which brings distinguished authors to campus for public readings. She also oversees the visiting faculty and residency programs of the MFA Program in Writing, directs publicity for the center and edits the annual print newsletter. She holds a bachelors’ degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kerri Battles

Kerri is a public affairs specialist for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree in mass communication from Texas State University. While at Texas State, she taught introduction to mass communication writing.

Michelle Bryant

Michelle is a contributor for ShelfLife@Texas. She is assistant director of public affairs for the College of Liberal Arts where she serves as editor for its alumni magazine Life & Letters. Previously, she was communications manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and an account supervisor at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide. She earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications from Texas Wesleyan University.

Laura Castro

Laura previously served as director of media relations for the School of Law. She also was a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, New York Newsday, Wall Street Journal, and CNN before earning a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1997. A board member of the Writers’ League of Texas, she is a frequent moderator at the Texas Book Festival.

Amy Crossette

Amy is the director of public affairs for the School of Architecture and the School of Information. She received a bachelor's degree in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has been employed with the university for over 20 years.

Alicia Dietrich

Dietrich edits the biannual print newsletter Ransom Edition and monthly email newsletter eNews; promotes exhibitions and public programs; produces press releases; and works with media.

Erin Geisler

Erin is the public affairs manager for the College of Communication and KUT Radio. Previously, she was an account manager for public relations agency Citigate Cunningham. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University and is an accredited public relations practitioner.

Vive Griffith

Vivé Griffith directs the Free Minds Project for the Humanities Institute. She previously worked for five years as a feature writer for the Office of Public Affairs. A 2002 graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, her essays and poetry have appeared in The Sun, Oxford American, Gettysburg Review, Poet’s Market, and elsewhere. She earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Cincinnati, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University.

Kathleen Mabley

Kathleen is director of communications for the Graduate School. She oversees all marketing and communications efforts designed to promote the impact of graduate education at UT Austin. Previously, she was Brand Manager at Sara Lee Bakery and Cars.com in Chicago, IL. She earned her MBA at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and her BS in Mass Communications at Miami University.

Tracy Mueller

Tracy is a public affairs writer/editor for the McCombs School of Business. She is managing editor of the alumni magazines, Texas and Exchange. She also manages the McCombs TODAY news blog and writes for the school’s alumni e-newsletters. Previously, Tracy was a public affairs specialist for the College of Liberal Arts. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from The University of Texas at Austin.

Maysie Ocera

Maysie is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts. She is a sophomore majoring in Plan II honors, rhetoric and cultural anthropology.

Jessica Sinn

Jessica is the assistant editor for ShelfLife@Texas and Life & Letters, the College of Liberal Arts' alumni magazine. Prior to joining the College of Liberal Arts Office of Public Affairs, she was a communications intern for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Texas State University.

Gary Susswein

Director of Public Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, The University of Texas at Austin.

Katherine Thayer

Katherine is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts.

Molly Wahlberg

Molly is a graduate student worker in the Office of Public Affairs. She earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin in both English literature and Spanish (Hispanic Studies). She is now studying for her MA at the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies (LLILAS).

Travis Willmann

Travis is the communications officer for the 14 branches of The University of Texas Libraries. He’s a writer and editor of the libraries’ biannual newsletter, and edits the monthly staff UPDATE. Previous to joining the libraries, he was a public affairs specialist for the Harry Ransom Center, where he edited the newsletter and liaised with media and visitors. Travis earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M-Commerce.