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 went to work at 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 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 a bilingual, award-winning team that helps tell the FIU story to local, regional, national and international media and manages crisis communication for our 54,000 student institution.
Recently I went back to the classroom to earn a graduate degree in marketing.
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.
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.
Jessica S. Drouet
Senior Account Manager
I am a public relations specialist with nearly a decade of experience working with local, national and international media. Joining the FIU External Relations team with an agency background, my former clients have been in a range of industries including: tourism, consumer goods, food & beverage, transportation, healthcare and, of course, education. A Miami native, I hold a bachelor’s degree in international communications from Franklin University Switzerland as well as a master’s degree in communications and economics of tourism from La Università della Svizzera italiana. In my role as Media / Public Relations Senior Account Manager, my work compliments and enhances the media relations efforts for the university and its various entities.
I have a passion for storytelling and writing. In my role as a staff writer at FIU, I get to live out that passion every day, helping to share how FIU is making an impact on our community and the world. I draft speeches and talking points, as well as memos, university-wide communications and press releases. Previously, I worked in the media relations department at Broward College. While there, I launched an experts database to connect faculty and staff experts to the local media and community speaking opportunities. I also worked the 2014 Florida Gubernatorial Debate, where more than 200 national, state and local media members were on hand from 65 media outlets. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida Atlantic University.
Jennifer Lacayo ’15
Junior Public Relations Associate
I am a proud Panther with a passion for public relations. Less than a year after graduating from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, I joined the media relations team. In my role as junior PR associate, I help get the word out about all of the amazing things happening at FIU. I manage the daily activities in the office by compiling news clips and coverage reports, writing press releases, pitching stories, assisting media, managing the FIU News Twitter account, and organizing meetings of communicators throughout the university. Recently, I have helped staff major events, including MSNBC’s town hall with Marco Rubio and President Obama’s campaign visit before the 2016 presidential elections.
Previously, I was an intern at Cece Feinberg Public Relations in Miami, where I managed multiple clients and worked high profile events like Miami Swim Week and the Miami Open. I am enrolled in the FIU public administration master’s program and plan to soon be a double FIU alumna!