The Office of Public Affairs comprises several units, including the Office of Public Affairs, Business Policy, Protocol & Events and Strategic Communications. Get to know staff from these offices below, and learn more about Athletics and Public Safety staff on their respective websites.
The Office of Public Affairs
Erik Smulson (C’89), Vice President for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to the President
Erik leads Georgetown’s efforts and senior officers in institutional positioning and branding, intercollegiate athletics, strategic communications, civic engagement and public safety.
Erik Smulson (C’89) joined Georgetown University in September 2005 after more than 15 years working on Capitol Hill and on political campaigns. At Georgetown, Erik served as Assistant Vice President for Communications from September 2005 until January 2007. In that role he served as spokesperson and communications director for the university and guided all activities having to do with media relations. From 2007 to 2011, Erik served as Chief of Staff to Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. In that role, he was responsible for running the Office of the President and served as a liaison with important constituents both within and outside the academic community.
A 1989 graduate of Georgetown’s College of Arts and Sciences, Erik majored in American Government. He gained extensive experience in the areas of message development, crisis communications, speech writing and media placement in his years working on Capitol Hill. Erik has served in numerous communications positions, including spokesperson and communications director for U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. A native Washingtonian, Erik and his wife Jennifer (I’89) have three children.
Lydia Sullivan, Assistant Director of Public Affairs
Lydia Sullivan broadly supports the Office of Public Affairs by producing relevant research and analysis of emerging issues and providing managerial and organizational support for the office.
Prior to her role at Georgetown, Lydia worked in the Office of Student Involvement at Boston College on the Student Organization team. Lydia completed her undergraduate degree at Bates College in Maine, and received her Masters in Higher Education Administration from the Boston College Lynch School of Education.
The Office of Strategic Communications
Meghan Dubyak (G’19), Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications
Led by Meghan Dubyak, the Office of Strategic Communications and Creative Services includes media relations, editorial, social media and digital engagement, content strategy, internal communications, video production and graphic design. The office is responsible for the message and narrative development for major university initiatives, media relations, social media and digital engagement, internal communications, editorial, video production and graphic design.
Meghan has nearly 20 years of experience in both chambers of Congress, the White House, and in Higher Education. In addition to leading the Office of Strategic Communications and Creative Services, Meghan serves as Georgetown’s chief spokesperson. Prior to joining Georgetown, Meghan was Press Secretary to Vice President Joe Biden and Special Assistant to President Obama. Prior to her service at the White House, Dubyak worked in the U.S. Senate as Communications Director to Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and in the House of Representatives as Communications Director and advisor on health and education issues to former Rep. Steve Israel of New York. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University.
Ruth McBain, Senior Director for Strategic Communications
Ruth is a university spokesperson and leads the media relations and digital engagement and social media teams, as well as strategic communications work across the university. She also leads communications strategy on major university events, campaigns, and communications policies and permissions.
Prior to her role at Georgetown, Ruth worked in Public Affairs for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Proof Strategies, a Canadian PR and Marketing Firm, and served as the Communications and Digital Director for a Vermont gubernatorial race. Ruth has an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters in Public Affairs from Brown University.
Michael DeRario, Senior Director for Creative Services
Michael leads the Creative Services team in telling Georgetown’s story and showcasing the brand in the university’s creative work. He also leads the creative teams for editorial, content strategy, art/design, video production and multimedia content.
Prior to his role at Georgetown, Michael worked in the film and television industry working on productions for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney, Amblin Entertainment, HBO, Strarz, NBC, CBS and Sony Pictures. His over 15 years in the production industry has spanned a wide portfolio of filmmaking, television/streaming series, broadcast news, live events, reality, social media and commercial work. Prior to his career in film/television, Michael worked in higher education as a marketing video producer, multimedia center manager and adjunct professor in filmmaking at Pace University.
Jason Shevrin, Media Relations Manager
Jason manages media relations for the university. He provides official statements and background information to assist media reporting on Georgetown. He also facilitates interviews between journalists and faculty experts and university leadership, assists news crews with filming on campus and manages press for on-campus events.
Prior to his role at Georgetown, Jason worked at another university promoting the research and expertise of faculty in the policy, international affairs, business and liberal arts programs. Before entering higher education, Jason worked in communications for advocacy nonprofits.
Kevin Sullivan (SFS’14), Director of Internal Communications and Operations Communications
Kevin leads the internal communications team, coordinating messaging to Georgetown’s student, faculty and staff communities and providing strategic communications guidance across the university. He serves as a member of both the Office of Strategic Communications and the Office of Chief Operating Officer, supporting university-wide communications and COO-unit communications (Human Resource, Finance, UIS, Planning & Facilities Management, Auxiliary Services & Real Estate, Sustainability and Internal Audit).
In addition to his role at Georgetown, Kevin serves as Program Coordinator for the Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities (AJCU) Leadership Institute, an Ignatian formational program for senior administrators and faculty. His previous work experience includes leading development for Nativity Jesuit School of Boston, program management for the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought & Public Life at Georgetown University and public relations consulting with the firm Weber Shandwick. Kevin received his undergraduate degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and his MA in Higher Education Administration from the Boston College Lynch School of Education.
Audrey Lee, Internal Communications Manager
Audrey designs communication plans, coordinating with senior leadership, to ensure accurate and timely communications of university positions to internal and external audiences.
Before joining the Office of Strategic Communications, Audrey served as Manager of Communications in the Dean’s Office at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies. Prior to arriving at Georgetown, she spent five years working in communications & public affairs at the National Confectioners Association. Audrey has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Santa Clara University and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.
Multimedia Production and Graphic Design
John LaRue, Art Director
John provides design, art direction and university-approved branding collateral to university partners from concept to completion, ensuring their work will be visually impactful and adhere to Georgetown’s visual identity.
His design work has been published in The Best American Infographics 2013 and I Love Charts: The Book. An avid baseball fan, LaRue has also contributed to The Hardball Times and was nominated for a 2018 SABR Analytics Conference Research Award in Historical Analysis.
Maria Canales, Director of Digital Engagement and Social Media
Maria leads Georgetown’s social media and digital platforms through strategy development, content creation, engagement and analytics. She works collaboratively across the organization to create a unique voice for the university on social media, as well as aligns strategic priorities, to ensure a more cohesive brand identity.
Before joining Georgetown, Maria was the social media manager for General Dynamics Mission Systems, and worked as a social media specialist at her alma mater, The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Maria holds a master’s in strategic communications and a bachelor’s in journalism, both from Penn State.
Graysen Viar, Digital Media Associate
Graysen helps manage the university’s top-tier social media accounts and other digital initiatives on campus. She creates content and analyzes data to optimize engagement across digital channels while working closely with the Creative Services team to strategically promote and protect university identity. Graysen graduated in 2021 from the University of Virginia, where she studied Cognitive Science and Studio Art.
Rosemary Lane, Director of Editorial Services
Rosemary creates and edits original content for Georgetown’s channels that reflect the university’s brand pillars and strategic priorities and advances its story. She also works with communications partners across the university to aggregate and curate content for our top tier website, ensuring that Georgetown’s narrative, voice and tone are consistent.
Previously, Rosemary worked as a trade book and acquisitions editor at Loyola Press, a Jesuit publishing company, and as a communications specialist focused on diversity, equity and inclusion storytelling at Boeing. Rosemary graduated from Marquette University, where she studied journalism and writing intensive English.
J. Callahan Watson (C’07, L’14), Associate Vice President for Public Affairs and Business Policy
Cal leads Georgetown’s social responsibility efforts, fostering alignment between the university’s mission to promote the common good and its business policies. He oversees implementation and compliance with key policies, including Georgetown’s Just Employment Policy and the Code of Conduct for Georgetown University Licensees. Cal is the chair of the university’s Advisory Committee on Business Practices and Licensing Oversight Committee. He is also a member and coordinates the work of Georgetown’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility. In addition, he has helped to lead the university’s public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cal is a member of the board of directors of the Worker Rights Consortium. He has an A.B. in American Studies from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
The Office of Protocol and Events
Mary Haines, Director of Protocol and Events
Mary arrived to Georgetown University in 2012, and has served as director of protocol and events since 2014. She is an expert in event coordination, logistics and security, protocol and cultural issues. For high-level events and dignitaries visiting campus, Mary coordinates the design of programmatic and production elements. She is proud to assist in producing the university’s annual Let Freedom Ring! concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Prior to her tenure at Georgetown, Mary served for 30 years in the federal government. She is a graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts.
Jackson Menner, Deputy Director of Protocol and Events
Jackson liaises with colleagues from across the university in high-level event planning. He is responsible for event coordination, logistics and security, protocol and cultural issues, as well as program design and production for dignitaries visiting campus.
Prior to joining the Office of Protocol and Events, Jackson served from 2017-2022 in the Office of the President, both as special assistant to the president and as a speechwriter and communications specialist. A graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, Jackson previously worked in electoral campaign politics.