Maydel Santana ’91
Director of Media Relations
I have worked in and with South Florida media for the better part of the last three decades. I began my career at The Miami Herald in the afternoon of the first day of my freshman year at FIU. I majored in journalism and worked on the student newspaper, while working at The Herald part time, first as an assistant for the social column, then as a weekend assistant on the news desk and later as a junior features writer.
After graduation from FIU, I landed a full time job with el Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald’s Spanish language sister paper. I worked as a general assignment reporter, covered education and immigration. Among the most memorable stories I covered were the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Cuban rafter crisis of 1994. In 1995 I returned to FIU to join the media relations team as the assistant director, where I have experienced and been part of FIU’s spectacular transformation into a research institution and one of the largest universities in the country. In my media relations capacity, I lead an award-winning team that has worked with visiting heads of state, the Dalai Lama, presidential candidates and earlier this year, with the White House team on President Obama’s visit. My team also played a key role in the only presidential transition at FIU since the 1980s. My fully bilingual team is responsible for writing speeches for President Mark B. Rosenberg, managing crisis communication for the 54,000 student institution, and maintaining relationships with local, regional, national and international media.
Madeline Baró MPA ‘11
PR and Communications Manager
I am a communications professional with two decades of experience in journalism and media relations. I currently serve as a Public Relations and Communications Manager at FIU. In that role, my duties include overseeing university-wide communications, speech writing, as well as writing and disseminating news about the university. Prior to joining FIU, I worked for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, covering the Cuban-American community and other immigrant communities in Miami. Before that I worked for the Associated Press in Texas, including two years as the correspondent in Harlingen, on the U.S.-Mexico border. My other journalism experience includes working for the Miami Herald’s online edition, writing breaking news for the website and technology articles for the Living section. I am a native of Hialeah, Florida and hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Latin American Studies from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in public administration from FIU.
Lilyvania Mikulski ’02
Strategic PR Manager
With more than 10 years of experience in public relations, I focus on creating strategic PR and marketing plans, securing targeted placements, crafting compelling messages, developing crisis communications campaigns, leading professional development workshops for communications professional across university units and directing media training initiatives for faculty and staff. My client roster has included top companies in the real estate, technology, higher education, entertainment, fitness, and non-profit sectors. My industry honors include earning several industry awards, including PRSA’s Silver Anvil for Zumba Fitness’ Party in Pink campaign; sitting on PRSA Miami’s board; and presenting on FIU’s media success at CASE conferences. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication from FIU and a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California. Originally from Nicaragua, I’m fluent in Spanish and understand conversational Polish and Italian.
Dianne de la Cabada ’94
Broadcast Relations Manager
I am an Emmy-nominated, veteran broadcast journalist who spent 17 years covering some of the nation’s biggest stories. Most recently, I was the political reporter for WSVN-Channel 7 covering a historic recall election that garnered national attention and the turmoil within the City of Miami Police Department. It was the culmination of a 10-year career at 7News spent cultivating sources and earning the trust of a community. Using the skills honed on the scenes of some of this country’s biggest news stories, I became FIU’s Broadcast Specialist in 2011. It is my job to get FIU on the nation’s airwaves.
Isabel Gamarra ’12
Senior PR Associate
I am a public relations consultant with over 5 years of experience in public relations, crisis communications and social media. Known as the MacGyver of the FIU public relations team, I help develop full circle PR strategies, assist in issues management, draft and edit speeches, press releases, media advisories, campus wide communications and lead our offices’ social media efforts. Prior to joining FIU, I worked managing crisis and developing public affairs campaigns for banks, ports, mining companies and oil giants including Chevron. I have led and contributed to public relations campaigns that have won a PRSA Silver Anvil, a CASE national award and PRSA Sunshine District’s Radiance Award and form a part of the Hispanic Public Relations Association. I have a bachelor’s in political science from FIU and speak and write in Spanish fluently.
Junior PR Associate
After nearly 20 years in newspapers and online media, I recently made the move from journalism to public relations. Prior to arriving at FIU, I worked for the Miami Herald, beginning as an online producer in news and features (a job I did for 13 years) and most recently writing deal descriptions for their direct email advertising operations. As the newest member of FIU’s Media Relations team, I offer administrative support to the rest of the team, and write speeches, media releases, and university-wide communications. Born and raised in Miami to Cuban parents, I am also passionate about politics and the arts.