University Relations Office Staff
Vice President for University Relations and Chief Communications Officer
Responsible for all internal and external public relations, media relations, crisis communications, Advancement communications support, and development and supervision of university branding and marketing campaigns, Joe Carpenter serves as the vice president of University Relations and chief communications officer. He serves as the university’s chief spokesperson and represents the university on the New River Valley Regional Commission (serving as the commission's chair), the Montgomery Regional Economic Development Commission (serving as commission chair), and the New River Valley Passenger Rail Committee (serving as marketing and communications co-chair). Prior to joining RU in 2013, he served as a career commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, including an assignment as director of public affairs and chief spokesperson for the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and director of congressional information and public affairs at the Secretary of the Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs, Washington, D.C. He earned a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.A. from the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I. He is a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, and the Spring 2014 Class of the Virginia Executive Institute (Performance Management Group, Virginia Commonwealth University).
Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Relations and Chief Communications Officer
Peggy McCue serves as the executive assistant to Mr. Joe Carpenter, the vice president of University Relations and chief communications officer.
Peggy has been at Radford University for seven years, serving in Facilities Warehouse and Surplus and later as the Departmental Purchasing Specialist. She was the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director of Facilities Management before joining University Relations in January, 2018.
Bridgett Valentine, CAP-OM
Coordinator of Office Administration
Bridgett Valentine serves as the departmental administrative assistant for University Relations. She holds a bachelor of science degree, magna cum laude, in organizational management and leadership. Bridgett is also a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and is a certified administrative professional with a specialization in organizational management (CAP-OM).
Director of Media Services
Sherry Wallace leads the team of public relations writers in the production of various university publications, including RU Connected, The Magazine of Radford University and various newsletters. She is also charged with managing the university's reputation among external media outlets. Before joining University Relations in 2013, she worked as a public information officer and marketing manager in the aviation industry.
Public Relations Writer
Don Bowman is a public relations writer for the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and the College of Science and Technology. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he earned a B.S. in Journalism and served in a variety of public relations and marketing roles prior to joining University Relations in 1988.
Public Relations Writer
Mary Hardbarger is a public relations writer for the Division of Student Affairs, covering Student Government, Greek Life, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Disability Resources Office, McConnell Library and ROTC. A graduate of Virginia Tech, she holds a B.A. in Communication and has more than five years of professional writing and editing experience. She joined University Relations in 2014.
Assistant Web Director
Jon Harris administers electronic communications for the department, including e-newsletters, mass emails and the CMS. Before joining University Relations in 2000, he worked as a computer lab manager in Radford University's Walker Technology Center.
Public Relations Writer
Chad Osborne is a public relations writer for the College of Business and Economics and the College of Education and Human Development. He holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College. He joined University Relations in 2005.
Max Esterhuizen, M.S. '15
Public Relations Writer
Max Esterhuizen is a public relations writer for the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in English and holds a M.S. in Corporate and Professional Communication from Radford University. Prior to joining the University Relations staff, Max worked as a sports journalist covering Virginia Tech athletics.
Web Communications and Strategy
Meghan Williams Spraker
Manager of Web Communications and Strategy
Meghan Williams Spraker joined the Radford University web communications team as a web content editor in November 2010. In 2013, Meghan became web content strategist and in late 2015 assumed the role of manager of web communications.
Meghan manages the “core” site of the Radford University website; assists with web-related issues including site design and development, message strategy, content creation; development, strategy, and maintenance of university social media channels; analytics; usability, and information architecture; provides training in the campus content management system (CMS); and develops, maintains and disseminates university web standards.
Previously, Meghan served as the communications manager for the Division of Student Affairs and University Relations at Virginia Tech. She also served as the associate director of public affairs at a non-profit organization in Richmond, Va. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication from Radford University and her master’s degree in mass communications with a concentration in strategic public relations from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Social Media Editor and Web Content Assistant Producer
Jessica Fowler serves as the Social Media Editor and Web Content Assistant Producer for Radford University. She, in conjunction with other university faculty and staff, is responsible for the planning and execution of social content strategies relative to the university's main social media channels; drives social engagement from current and prospective students, as well as alumni, via Radford’s primary social platforms; manages and maintains core social media channels for the university. She also works with the Manager of Web Communications and Strategy and the Web Content Editor to edit and maintain Radford University’s core site and associated content.
Previously, Jessica served as the Marketing and Communications specialist for an engineering firm in Salem, Va. She received her B.A. from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., in 2015, and has since continued her professional development with certified training in social media management for business.
Creative and Marketing Services
Director of Creative and Marketing Services
Working closely with the vice president of University Relations and other senior university leadership officials, Lee Coburn directs and provides oversight of the university's print/digital communications and marketing strategies, ensuring that all projects meet the highest standards for impact, accuracy and aesthetic value in fulfillment of the university's mission. Also charged with overseeing design projects from conception to completion, he works closely with the Creative Services team and clients with regard to project timelines and priorities, and implements assessment processes to measure marketing effectiveness for future campaigns and products. Before joining the University Relations team in 2016, Coburn owned and ran an advertising agency for 14 years. His career has also included positions at a boutique-sized design house, an advertising agency and large corporations. He has served as mayor of Glade Spring, Virginia, and he holds a B.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta.
Paul Davis plans, produces and edits visual/multimedia (primarily video) marketing content for student recruitment, student promotion and other outreach purposes of the university in fulfillment of its marketing needs. As needed, he produces photography with digital imagery and processes images for use in marketing materials. Working in collaboration with managers, other UR staff, clients across the university and Radford University students, he is charged with ensuring that all University Relations-produced media is highly engaging, technically sound and aesthetically pleasing. Paul has been behind the camera and in the editing room for over 10 years, working on both independent and commercial projects. He attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studied media production. As an independent contractor, he has worked with large marketing firms, popular television producers and prominent web content producers.
Senior Graphic Design Manager
Working closely with the director of creative and marketing services, Nickola Dudley is responsible for the successful and on-time execution of all Creative Services projects from conception, to execution, to delivery. In collaboration with graphic designers, writers, university clients and vendors, she acts as both designer and manager to provide creative direction to all projects and ensure that they achieve technical accuracy, reflect university brand standards and effectively communicate the client's message. Originally from South Jersey, Nickola lived and worked in Asheville, North Carolina for over 15 years. After completing her M.F.A. from UNC Greensboro in 2013, she moved to Blacksburg, Virginia and worked as a graphic designer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
James Harman, B.S. '92
James Harman creates and oversees the production of graphic design materials ranging from web banners to book-length publications in the Creative Services subdivision of the department. An RU alumnus, he holds a B.S. in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design. He joined University Relations in 1992, having previously interned as a student-worker since 1990.
Jeff joined the University Relations team in March of 2018 serving the role of University Photographer. Prior to joining Radford University, Jeff worked as a producer for Visual Media at Savannah College of Art &Design. Prior to his work at SCAD, Jeff owned and operated his own corporation specializing in visual content for stock photography, editorial magazines, tourism offices and universities. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he holds an B.A. in Graphic Design and has over 20 years of professional experience in visual communications.
Pam McCallister joined University Relations’ Creative Services team in October 2016. As a marketing copywriter/editor, she works with designers, writers and clients while editing, fact-checking and writing copy for a wide range of projects. Prior to arriving at Radford University, she worked as a copy editor and designer for newspapers, including The Roanoke Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; as a communications specialist for Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway; and as a freelance magazine designer. Pam holds a B.A. in journalism from Marshall University.
Nakia Shelton creates and conceptualizes brochures, advertisements, brand images, illustrations, posters and other visual materials to provide advertising and marketing to the university and all its colleges. She holds a B.F.A. in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design. She joined University Relations in 2013.
Justin Ward joined the University Relations team in the Spring of 2018 as a multimedia producer. He works closely with other Creative and Marketing Services staff to develop and market visual content for Radford University. You will most likely see him throughout campus with a camera in hand capturing memorable Highlander moments. Justin is an alumnus of Radford with a BS in media studies and a concentration in journalism, spending summers interning with local news agencies and CBS News in Washington, D.C. He spent eight years as a reporter for both WDBJ7 in Roanoke, VA and WVVA in Bluefield, WV. During his career he’s been invited to interview the Vice President of the United States, was nominated for an Emmy Award and won state and regional awards for journalism and videography work. Justin lives in Christiansburg where he was raised.
Digital and Media Interactive Designer
Hannah joined the University Relations team in June 2018. She creates digital media, including ads and animations, and also designs for print. She holds a B.F.A. in art with a concentration in creative technologies/animation from Virginia Tech.
Robin Dowdy joined the Radford University Relations team as a graphic designer in June 2018. She conceptualizes and creates brochures, booklets, illustrations, posters and any other kind of visual material needed to provide advertising and marketing to the university and all its colleges. Previously, Robin served as the graphic designer for University Relations at Virginia Tech. She received her B.F.A. in art with a concentration in graphic design from West Virginia University.