Alumni Advisory Board

Alumni Advisory Board

Edelman CCCA Alumni Advisory Board

Tara Bennett is a New York Times bestselling author/co-author of 30 official movie and TV companion books,including the upcoming history of Marvel Studios, two Outlander: The Official TV Series Companions, Sons of Anarchy: The Official Collector's Edition and Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show, the official companion to director Des Doyle's acclaimed feature documentary. Bennett also hosts official podcasts on TV series including HISTORY's current drama, Project Blue Book and USA's former series, Colony. At SYFY WIRE, she is a Sr. Producer creating and hosting video content for the website and its linear network, SYFY. And for more than a decade, she's been a proud adjunct instructor for Rowan University's RTF department.


Laura Bishop is the founder and Managing Principal of Laura Bishop Communications serving clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Bishop is highly regarded for her strategic thinking, creative approach and responsiveness. Widely known for her niche work in education, including school bond referenda communications and get-out-the vote campaigns, Laura has also planned and executed successful national and regional public relations, media campaigns and special events for a vast array of industry segments including environmental, non-profit, banking, insurance, social services, food service, energy and legal. Current and past clients include The Barnegat Bay Partnership, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, CASA, Somerset Stores, Fred Beans, Investors Bank and Watermark Communities, as well as dozens of school districts throughout New Jersey and the NJ Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO). In addition to her position on the Rowan CCCA Advisory Board, Laura is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross Southwestern New Jersey Chapter, the former President and current board member of the Rancocas Conservancy, President-elect of NJASBO’s Associate Business Member Committee and a member of NJ School PR Association and National School PR Association.

Jake Buganski, CDME, is the Vice President of Strategy at Tempest, a travel marketing agency in Philadelphia, PA. With more than 15 years of experience in destination management and tourism marketing, Jake leads strategic initiatives and contributes to the creative process at Tempest. Formerly the New Jersey State Tourism Director Jake is a passionate tourism industry advocate and serves on the board of the New Jersey Travel Industry Association, Stockton University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management School, and Rowan University’s Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts. He was honored with the 20 Under 40 award from South Jersy Biz in 2015 and is a Philadelphia Regional Fellow of the National Review Institute. Jake is a Rowan University graduate with degrees in Communications and Public Relations. 

David S. Burgin is the Manager Emergency Preparedness (EP), Offsite and Response Programs at Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), Nuclear LLC which includes the Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations. David holds a Masters in Public Relations (2002) from Rowan and two undergraduate BAs in Communication and Education (1982) from Rowan. David did his Master’s thesis on public and political opinion surrounding the Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations and has been published several times addressing nuclear power plant emergency planning standards and joint information systems. David also graduated from the Southern New Jersey Leadership Institute at Rutgers University and currently serves on Rowan University’s Foundation Board. David also assisted in the several Rowan University Job and Facility searches. Read more.


Stephanie DeViteri is the Executive Vice Presicent and Managing Director at Evoke KYNE in Philadelphia, PA. Stephanie is a dynamic client and team leader who has brought considerable skill, insights, and creativity to Evoke KYNE clients for more than 15 years. In her role as EVP, managing director, Stephanie leads the Philadelphia office, instilling trust and confidence that build strong client partnerships and thriving account teams. Stephanie received a bachelor of arts degree in Communication from Rowan University, with a specialization in public relations and minor in psychology. Stephanie is sought after for expertise in brand and pipeline communications, market shaping and disease awareness campaigns, patient and advocacy engagement, data and regulatory milestone support, and issues management. She has worked across a variety of health areas, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, pain management, medical dermatology, reproductive health, cardiovascular disease, mental health and infectious disease. Her greatest passion is empowering people living with chronic and life-altering conditions to feel informed, valued and heard, and she is continually inspired by the patient engagement programs she has supported during her tenure.

Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines, the nation’s largest independent RIA, with $200 billion in client assets, is one of the nation’s leading financial advisors, and three times was ranked the nation’s #1 Independent Financial Advisor by Barron’s. Ric hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, PBS television specials and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 10 books on personal finance. Recipient of IARFC’s lifetime achievement award, Ric has been named by Investment News, RIABiz and others as one of the most influential people in the financial services industry. Ric is the 2017 recipient of the IARFC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and he’s in Research magazine’s Financial Advisor Hall of Fame.



Willow Forde is an ESports Observer at Blizzard Entertainment. Willow works with a team of game clients to establish and develop standards for observing Overwatch League / Overwatch Esports. As a student at Rowan University, Willow double-majored in Journalism and Radio/Television/Film Production with a minor in Sociology. Willow was involved in Rowan activities such as The Whit, Rowan Television Network (RTN), and Game On!


Melissa Fox, MHA, FACMPE currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Acenda (formerly Robins' Nest Inc.) where she oversees the operational and programmatic excellence for an agency which includes over 80 programs throughout 10 counties in New Jersey Ascenda is a family services agency which provides evidence-based programming in child welfare, prevention, juvenile justice, outpatient mental health, crisis services, substance use treatment, and supportive housing programs. A Rowan alumna, Fox has had a distinguished 20+ year career leading innovations in healthcare operations management within various organizations including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Healthcare for the Homeless, Behavioral Health, Home Care and Hospice.  She has been featured for her work within diverse healthcare environments and has served as an expert speaker on panels addressing the importance of data in driving innovations within the healthcare setting. Fox is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives as well as the Medical Group Management Association, and has conducted presentations for organizations including the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council, National Nursing Centers Consortium, Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal, and the Health Center and Public Housing Symposium.

Chris Lukach, APR, is president of AKCG – Public Relations Counselors, a national public relations consultancy with deep experience in crisis and issue preparedness. As president, Chris heads the AKCG issues and crisis communications practice. He has been instrumental in developing issues and crisis communications plans and consulting with the firm’s clients on sensitive and pivotal matters. A frequent lecturer and author on a range of topics, Chris also leads the firm’s spokesperson training and social media teams. In addition to serving as Chairman of Edelman CCCA, Chris serves on the boards of directors of WHYY, Inc., the Philadelphia region’s leading public media affiliate, and the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, the region’s independent association for public relations professionals. Chris is a magna cum laude graduate of Rowan University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a specialization in public relations. In 2018, he was named the university’s “Distinguished Alumnus.”  He earned his Master of Legal Studies from Drexel University.

Karen Maser is a television writer and producer. She has worked extensively on the NBC media drama ER and the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds. Karen is most known for her role as Exective Story Editor and Co-Producer of the final seasons of ER, and as Writer and Co-Exective Producer of the last two seasons of Criminal Minds. She is a graduate of Rowan University's former title Glassboro State College, and pursed a degree in Journalism. Karen also became the first female student station manager of WGLS-FM, Rowan's radio network. She got her start at WGLS-FM in the station’s news department on “The Morning News”, a weekday morning show that recapped news and sports events. Today, she is a member of the WGLS-FM Hall of Fame which pays tribute to Glassboro State/Rowan University graduates who have been long term supporters of the station.

Christina Paciolla is The Associated Press’ news editor for Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey. She is also a Top Stories fellow, working with a small team on the biggest stories in the world. This summer, she became the East Regional Desk's intern trainer. Prior to the AP, Christina was the city editor for Metro Philadelphia newspaper, covering the city she grew up in. Previously, she was an editor/reporter with AOL and a political reporter for She also freelances for South Jersey Magazine where she’s written about businesses, construction and bringing pets into work. She is a member of the College of Communication and Creative Arts Advisory Board at her alma mater, Rowan University. Christina and her husband live with their two tuxedo cats in the Philadelphia suburbs. She enjoys reading, yoga, horror movies, pop culture, the Phillies, board games and is a huge Twin Peaks fan.


Cara Rodgers is a Production Manager for NFL Films, the most celebrated production company in sports television history, where she oversees logistics, inter-office coordination and personnel management & development for a department of 60 producers and more than 50 freelance employees. For more than a decade, she has managed the NFL Films Internship Program. She also coordinates public & partnership relations and competition & festival entries, where her efforts have led to 37 additional Emmy Awards for NFL Films in the past 14 seasons. As head of the NFL Films Internship Program, Mrs. Rodgers has exceled in identifying and placing top candidates from across the world in what has become one of the most sought-after internship opportunities in sports media. Her recruiting efforts have produced a significant increase in NFL opportunities for diverse candidates and placement opportunities for members of the United States military, retired NFL players and world-class education for students from schools large and small. She also spearheads a support program for post-intern employment opportunities throughout the television industry. More than 90% of her former interns are currently working in the film & television industry. As of 2019, 26 interns hired by Mrs. Rodgers are now employed year-round at NFL Films, including Emmy Award-winning creative leaders from HBO’s Hard Knocks and the first female member of the NFL Films cinematography team. In 2018, Mrs. Rodgers was recognized with the inaugural "Coach of the Year" award by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, an honor acknowledging pride and passion in management and mentorship of employees. This award celebrates those at the NFL who are seen as leaders and are continually sought by those around them for their insight, advice and mentorship. She resides with her husband Ken and rescue dog Ralphie in Medford, NJ.

Flora Ruli is a Student Success Coach at Stockton University in Atlantic City, NJ. Flora formerly served as a Success Coach in the Education Opportunity Fund (EOF/MAP) program for students with below 2.0 GPA in study skills, organization, goal setting, and personal wellness at Rowan University. Flora earned her Bachelor's Degree as a Communications Studies major and pursued a Master's Degree in Counseling in Education Settings, with both degrees earned from Rowan University. While obtaining her Master's, she served as the Graduate Coordinator of LGBTQIA+ and Inclusion Programs at Rowan's Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution. Here, Flora supported the development and implementation of social justice and inclusion initiatives and shared knowledge of policies and procedures of successful LGBTQIA + support and inclusive programing.

Tom Stathakes is the Sports Programming Exective Media Consultant for NBCUniversival and the NBC Sports Group. Tom directed network operations for NBC's regional sports channel in the Bay Area & California along with managing news operations for eight regional NBC Sports Networks including New York and Philadelphia. He also served as the Senior Vice President of Programming, Production, and Operations for the NBC Golf Channel for five years, leading a strategic relaunch of programming and production. Tom is a graduate of Rowan University's Radio, Television, and Film department and was awarded the 2017 Keynote Speaker and Media of Excellence from Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts and the College of Performing Arts.

Steve Stirling is the Project Editor and Voter Access at Columbia University Investigations in New York, NY. With more than 15 years of experience as a data and investigative reporter, Steve continues to deliver work that changes lives and policy. He is also a recipient of the IRE Freedom of Information award and the Scripps Howard award for digital innovation. Steve is a graduate of Rowan University with a Bachelor's degree in Communications and a Journalism focus.


Paula Stoeke has been a curator for 25 years with a concentration in public sculpture.  For many years the Director of The Sculpture Foundation, she is now Curator for Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc. Working with partners and affiliates in the non-profit realm, the museum and sculpture garden world, as well as private and corporate collectors, Paula Stoeke has curated exhibitions and singular monumental works in China, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Brazil, and throughout the United States.