Meet the staff



Karen Cochrane
Editor, FIU Magazine
Director, Office of News & Communications



Managing Editor Alexandra Pecharich – Coming back to FIU after seven years as the director of marketing and communications for a medical conference company, I have enjoyed reconnecting with this constantly evolving, always dynamic institution. During my past life, I worked in the Division of University Advancement and had the opportunity to write about the impact of major gifts to FIU and the generous individuals behind them. I also had the pleasure of meeting students, alumni and faculty who were doing amazing things. I look forward to catching up with all of these remarkable people and spreading the word about their many accomplishments. A native of Chicago (and a one-time resident of Knoxville, Tenn.), I hold a bachelor of science in journalism from Northwestern University and, with a little luck and a lot more time than I can currently find – I’m busy testing recipes for cookbooks, teaching C.C.D. and wrestling with two young sons – hope to eventually earn a master’s degree from FIU.

Art Director Aileen Sola – Growing up in Puerto Rico in a very artistic family gave me an advantage when it was time to decide on a career. So I went to Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, for my BFA. Prior to coming to FIU, I worked at Victoria’s Secret headquarters in the design department. I then moved on to an array of advertising agencies in Ohio, New York City and Pennsylvania. In 2002, I joined the FIU family. Working with the magazine gives me the chance to art direct stories like the one on “Miami Generation” artist María Brito. During the photo shoot in her home, I saw her world up close and personal – it was fascinating and inspiring. I’m now married and a mother of triplets (!), balancing work with the craziness of my household and looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

Senior Multimedia Producer Doug Garland ’10 – As the Senior Multimedia Producer for the FIU Magazine, I am the man behind the camera for the majority of its photos and videos. For two years, I have made hundreds of FIU videos covering all aspects of campus life. From Bowl Game coverage to a documentary about Everglades research, I have always tried to find new and innovative ways to tell the FIU story. I have been featured on popular video blogs such as and my “trick shot” video featuring FIU athletes made it into‘s top 5 viral videos of 2011. Although the majority of my work is shot on digital cameras, I have a strong passion for film photography that has grown into a borderline obsession. FIU has no shortage of great stories for me to cover so I better get back to work. I can be reached at

Writer Sissi Garland ’99, MA ’08 – I am the news goddess. That’s what folks around here call me. OK, one person called me that once but I’m trying to make it happen. I’m the senior editor of FIU News, the university news site, and a frequent contributor to FIU Magazine. I came to FIU in the mid-90s. Grunge was big, the Green Library, formerly known as “the library,” only had three floors, and FIU Stadium was a parking lot. We couldn’t find parking then either. I graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism from FIU in 1999. After a few years away, I returned to campus and earned a master’s in history. Now I have the privilege of telling the extraordinary stories of our students and alumni. From the inspiring story of 2012 Miami-Dade County’s Teacher of the Year Agustin Grana to the story behind Roary, our beloved mascot, I’ve seen first-hand the mettle of our Panthers. I can be reached at or 305-348-3805.

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