Office of University Relations
200 South Andrews Avenue, 10th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2066 

(800) 541-6682 x25357
Fax: (954) 262-3954

University Relations Staff

Brandon Hensler

Brandon L. Hensler, M.S., APR

Interim Executive Director of University Relations
Phone: (954) 262-5385

Brandon L. Hensler, M.S., APR, is the Interim Executive Director of University Relations for Nova Southeastern University. In this role, he plans and executes the university's overall branding and marketing communications plan and leads the marketing communications management team. Hensler manages the strategic integrated marketing communications planning process for the university and manages the execution of such initiatives internally as well as with external agencies. He also manages executive communications and public relations for the Office of the President; measurement of the department's paid, earned and owned media initiatives; and manages the overall University Relations budget.

Hensler previously served as Director of University Relations, and as Associate Director of Public Affairs for Nova Southeastern University.

Prior to joining NSU, Hensler was the Director of Communications for the ACLU of Florida, a statewide non-profit legal/advocacy organization based in Miami with offices throughout the state. He oversaw the organization's media relations, public relations and advertising strategies, and served as the organization's bilingual spokesperson locally and nationally. Prior to the ACLU, Hensler worked for PR Newswire, a New York-based international news organization.

Hensler is a county commission-appointed board member on the Broward County Human Rights Board. He is a past-president of the Public Relations Society of America's Greater Fort Lauderdale Chapter, and is a graduate of Leadership Broward Class XXX. Hensler was a founding member of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association's Sun Trolley Foundation Board, and previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Miami University "1809" Alumni Association.

Hensler holds a M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from NSU's Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and a B.A. in International Studies/Latin American Studies from Miami University of Ohio. He is Accredited in Public Relations by the Universal Accreditation Board and is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Alyssa Rothman
Alyssa Rothman, M.S.

Director, Office of Information Services
Phone: (954) 262-7956

Alyssa Rothman is the Director of the Office of Information Services at Nova Southeastern University. In this role, she manages communications for the colleges of Psychology; Natural Sciences and Oceanography; and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; as well as the Honors College. In addition, she oversees and implements communication plans and project management for NSU initiatives, such as the first annual Holocaust Reflection Contest. This program invited Florida middle and high school students to reflect on lessons learned from studying Holocaust survivor testimonials.

Rothman previously served as Director of the Office of Online Programs and as an Academic Advisor serving NSU undergraduate students.

Prior to joining NSU in 1996, Rothman was a director of local, privately owned preschools and a professional clown. Her service to the community includes fundraising for the United Way, American Heart Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Rothman holds an M.S. in Computer Technology in Education from Nova Southeastern University and a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts. 

Elizabeth Braegger
Elizabeth Braegger

Web & Desktop Publishing Specialist
Phone: 954-262-9109

Elizabeth Braegger is the Web & Desktop Publishing Specialist for NSU’s Office of Information Services. In this role, she contributes to the university’s communications, branding, and event promotion efforts with a focus on our visual presentation. As a graphic designer and photographer, she is the creative mind behind some of NSU's memorable and effective print and digital designs.

Braegger's original graphic design products for NSU have included event invitations, programs, posters, and tickets; SharkTube images; postcards; and the current template for Open House/Admissions major slicks. Her photographs of students, alumni, faculty, administrators, guest speakers, and VIP attendees have been utilized in web Spotlight articles, the Farquhar Forum magazine, Admissions print materials, SharkBytes, college-based social media, and profiles of success.

Her eye for contemporary, targeted, and on-brand imagery enhanced projects including Academic Fest, NSU's 50-Year Celebration, the Holocaust Reflection Contest, and multiple redesigns of college websites.

Having joined NSU in 2007, she served the communications needs of the former Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences before transitioning to University Relations in 2015. Braegger brings to this division experience with logo design, photo editing and archive management, generating social media images, and event staging. She is Mac and PC fluent, and an expert user of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. She is trained in web content management. Her experience includes effectively collaborating with writers/editors, printing vendors, photographers, and OIIT.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Braegger holds an Associate of Arts in Fashion Design from the Arts Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Her daughter attends the NSU University School.

Dana Kantrowitz
Dana Kantrowitz, M.A.

Assistant Director, Editor
Phone: (954) 262-8184

Dana Kantrowitz is the Assistant Director and Editor for NSU’s Office of Information Services. In this role, she contributes to the university’s communications and marketing efforts with an editor’s eye, a background in creative writing, and a collaborative approach. She helps develop, write, and edit various print and digital content for a selection of NSU colleges, and serves as an editorial liaison between these colleges, University Relations, the Office of Publications, and OIIT.

Prior to joining University Relations, Kantrowitz served a similar role at NSU’s Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. Her first position at the university was Associate Editor and Copywriter for the Office of Publications.

Since joining the university in 2006, she has generated, edited, and managed content for college websites and Facebook pages; admissions and donor relations print pieces; and newsletters for alumni, students, staff, and the larger community. She has contributed to projects including the annual First Look brochure, award-winning issues of Farquhar Forum and Horizons magazines, the Holocaust Reflection Contest, TEDxNSU, Academic Fest, and the narrative history of the College of Arts and Sciences.  

Kantrowitz previously worked as a freelance ghostwriter, copy editor, and communications consultant. She also tutored adult ESOL writers and composition students of all ages, and taught freshmen composition courses at Florida State University and Johnson & Wales University. As a graduate student, she served as an editorial intern for Florida Public Radio; The Florida Review literary journal; and Runaway with Words, a nonprofit organization that brings poetry-writing to at-risk youth.

Kantrowitz holds an M.A. in English (Creative Writing Track) and a Certificate in Editing and Publishing from Florida State University, as well as a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida. 

Kathleen Kernicky
Kathleen Kernicky

Phone (954) 262-8141

As a writer/editor, Kathleen is responsible for writing content that focuses on the achievements of NSU students, faculty, and alumni. Her articles appear in an array of places, serving NSU’s website as well as developmental materials aimed at prospective students, alumni, donors, or peer institutions.

Prior to joining the Office of University Relations, Kathleen was the managing editor and writer of the Farquhar Forum, the magazine of NSU’s college of arts and sciences. In addition to the magazine, her Spotlight articles published online feature the success stories of NSU alumni and students, including travel-study experiences, internship opportunities, innovative research, the Undergraduate Honors Program, faculty mentorship, and the core benefits of academic majors and programs.

Prior to joining NSU, Kathleen was a news reporter and feature writer at the (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel newspaper. With a longtime background in journalism, she also has worked as a news reporter, writer, and editor at the Miami Herald and the Miami News.

Kathleen was a recipient of the Kiplinger Fellowship in Public Affairs Reporting at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where she received a Master of Arts degree in Journalism. She is a native of Miami, Florida.


Mara Kiffin
Mara L. Kiffin

Director of Internal Communications
Phone: (954) 262-5350

Mara L. Kiffin is the Director of Internal Communications for Nova Southeastern University. In this role, Kiffin plans and manages internal communications and execution strategies for university-wide initiatives and campaigns; creates, develops key messages and executes communications plans in support of strategic objectives. Additionally, she serves as Executive Editor of the university magazine, Horizons, and manages content for internal communications channels including SharkBytes, SharkTube, digital signage, SharkLink, and iShark mobile application.

In the advancement of NSU’s Core Value of Diversity, Kiffin serves as chair of the committees for Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. As chair, she coordinates cultural programs/activities/events and collaborates with representatives from university departments, colleges, schools and centers to create integrated programs that recognize and celebrate diversity. Since 2003 she has served as chair of the organizing committee for the annual African Presence Art Exhibition.

Kiffin joined NSU in 2000 and has previously served as the Associate Director of Internal Communications and the Assistant Director of Public Affairs. Prior to joining NSU, she served as Communications Manager with Girl Scouts of Broward County.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University, a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from NSU, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Florida Atlantic University, pursing a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies.

Christie L. Williams
Christie L. Williams

Internal Communications Editor
Phone: (954)-262-2106

Christie Williams is the Editor of the Internal Communications department for Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for supporting the internal communications department by creating and populating internal channels of communication, coordinating the building of the NSU brand within the university community, and serving as a communications liaison between University Relations and the Office of Innovation & Information Technology.

Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Merchandising from Florida State University and Masters of Science degree in Leadership from NSU.

Melissa Ruidiaz
Melissa Ruidiaz

Director of Marketing Communications
Phone: (954) 262-5355

Melissa Ruidiaz is the Director of Marketing Communications at Nova Southeastern University. In this role, she is responsible for increasing brand awareness through strategic marketing initiatives, including paid advertising, digital and social media, and advancement communications. Ruidiaz works with internal and external constituencies to develop and execute an advertising plan and oversees the university's owned media presence including social media and website content. She works collaboratively with the Executive Director of University Relations with overall brand management strategy and creative execution.

Ruidiaz has over 10 years of higher education marketing experience. She previously served as the Director of Marketing and Communications with NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing, where she led increased enrollment through various marketing initiatives. She has worked at NSU for over 11 years in a variety of roles often directly developing marketing plans and strategies to increase awareness and enrollment. Her expertise and areas of interest include integrated marketing communications, digital marketing, social media, analytics, and brand marketing.

Ruidiaz holds a M.B.A. in Marketing from Florida Atlantic University and a B.S. in Marketing from Nova Southeastern University.  She is also certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Bernadette Bruce
Bernadette Bruce

Associate Director of Advancement Communications
Phone: (954) 262-2051

Bernadette Bruce is the Associate Director of Advancement Communications at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for developing marketing plans and communications to grow support for NSU. She works collaboratively with the Director of Marketing Communications as well as the advancement teams for donor relations, alumni relations, annual giving, and development.

Bruce comes to NSU with 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications. She has worked with entrepreneurs and clients in industries ranging from government and real estate to entertainment. Her background includes investor relations, public relations, advertising, branding, project management, social media, and special events. Most recently, she worked with University School of NSU to augment retention and recruitment strategies for the Junior Kindergarten-Grade 12 college preparatory school before moving to NSU’s Division of Advancement and Community Relations.

Bruce is a member Leadership Broward XXIII, and a former graduate and board member of Leadership Memphis. She also served on the boards of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul, Inc., the organization that founded the Smithsonian Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. She was named a Top 40 under 40 by Memphis Business Journal in 2003.

She holds a M.B.A. in Leadership from NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Memphis.

Kim Cohane
Kim Cohane

Online Marketing and Social Media Manager
Phone: (954) 262-2128

Kim Cohane is the Online Marketing and Social Media Manager at Nova Southeastern University.  She is responsible for managing NSU's online presence, increasing online brand awareness, and the strategic implementation of NSU's social media initiatives. She works closely with the Director of Marketing Communications and the university's advertising agency to increase NSU's visibility using paid digital media advertising, Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) initiatives.

Additional responsibilities include leading university-wide social media trainings to promote a unified brand message and best practice strategies for NSU's colleges, departments, and organizations.  She is responsible for updating images and content for NSU's website, the iShark mobile application, and manages the online interactive map of NSU's campuses. 

She holds certifications as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Google Advertising Professional (GAP).  She has a B.S. in Natural Sciences from the University of South Florida, an M.S. in Business Leadership from NSU's H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, and is currently a doctoral student at NSU pursuing a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Marcia Garcia
Marcia Perez-Del Valle

Digital Media Specialist 
Phone: (954) 262-7629 

Marcia Perez-Del Valle is the Digital Media Specialist for the Office of University Relations at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for managing NSU's online presence with a focus on communicating NSU's brand message to prospective students via digital media channels.

Marcia works closely with the Director of Marketing Communications and provides support for the university's online and social media initiatives. She also works closely with the university's advertising agency and serves as a support for owned and paid media initiatives including: social media content strategy, search engine optimization, and paid digital media advertising. Additional responsibilities include: managing digital media assets including video and still images, serving as a liaison to the Office of Information and Innovation Technology and Web content manager for NSU's top level website pages, and working collaboratively with academic units by communicating best social media practices in order to convey a unified brand image across social media networks.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies from Nova Southeastern University and is pursuing her M.B.A. in Marketing at NSU's H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Julie Spechler
Julie Spechler

Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (954) 262-5348
Cell: (954) 591-3361

Julie Spechler is the Director of the Office of Public Affairs at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for development and implementation of communications, marketing and public relations services that advance NSU's mission, vision and core values.

Spechler and her public affairs team are charged with disseminating information to media and internal audiences locally and globally about the programs, students, faculty, alumni, events, achievements, research and activities of the university. The team works to enhance NSU's reputation as a leading academic and research institution.

Spechler provides public relations and marketing support for a myriad of university and community-wide initiatives such as NSU's Regional Campuses located throughout Florida, The Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. She also provides PR support advancement to the Offices of Alumni Affairs, and Athletics, and is the primary media contact to NSU's executive and senior level officers. Spechler and her team are also responsible for much of the content of NSU's award winning premiere magazine,Horizons; NSU's weekly SharkBytes electronic employee newsletter; as well as content for NSU's social media profiles and website.

Prior to joining NSU, Spechler spent 25 years at AT&T, where she served as the company's Public Relations Director for Florida. Her responsibilities included supporting the firm's business and consumer efforts in a variety of public relations and marketing initiatives including media relations, marketing, employee communications, executive counseling, strategic philanthropy, and public policy. After leaving AT&T, she formed a boutique PR agency representing clients ranging from entertainment to communications to education. Spechler got her start in academia at Barry University, where she served as Alumni Director before joining AT&T/BellSouth.

She currently serves on University of Florida's Public Relations Advisory Council; is an active member in her local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA); and is a member of the American Association of University Women and of the Society of Professional Journalists. Spechler has a B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations from University of Florida and a M.A. degree, with an emphasis in marketing and public relations, from NSU's Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Joe Donzelli
Joe Donzelli

Associate Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (954) 262-2159
Cell: (954) 661-4571

As an Associate Director of Public Affairs at Nova Southeastern University (NSU,) Joe Donzelli provides public relations and marketing support for: Oceanographic Center (including the Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Ecosystems Science; the National Coral Reef Institute; the Guy Harvey Research Institute; the Save our Seas Shark Center; and the Broward County Florida Sea Turtle Conservation Program;) the Center for Psychological Studies, the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Institute for the Study of Human Service, Health and Justice and the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development.

Before joining the NSU family, Donzelli was the Director of Communications and Printing Services for the School District of Lee County, Florida (Fort Myers,) which is the ninth-largest public school system in the state and 40th largest in America. He was responsible for the internal and external communication and media relations for the district, including crisis communication. As the Director of Communications, Donzelli was called upon numerous times to make presentations on various communications topics at local, state and national conferences (Sunshine State School Public Relations Association, the Florida School Boards Attorney's Associate and the National School Public Relations Association) and many of his projects won state and national PR awards.

Prior to working for Lee County Public Schools, Donzelli was a Communications Specialist with the School District of Broward County, Florida (Fort Lauderdale) where he assisted the director with internal and external communications for the nation's sixth-largest public school system. Donzelli started out in the communications field as an Assistant Reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper, where his main "beat" was K-12 education (public and private) while also filling general assignment roles whenever assigned.

Donzelli holds a B.A in Communications from Florida Atlantic University (where he wrote for FAU's student newspaper) and is also a proud graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.

Jeremy Katzman
Jeremy Katzman

Associate Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (954) 262-5408
Cell: (954) 661-7000

Jeremy Katzman, M.B.A., APR, is an associate director of public affairs for Nova Southeastern University. His duties include providing public relations and marketing support for the Health Professions Division, Office of Research and Technology Transfer and biotech areas.

Katzman has nearly a decade of strategic integrated marketing and communications experience. Prior to joining NSU, Katzman served as associate director of public relations and e-philanthropy for Miami Children's Hospital Foundation. His primary focus was to enhance the foundation's brand and message by serving as the primary media contact, spokesperson and copywriter and also managing the organization's website and social media presence. He previously served as an account executive at O'Connell & Goldberg Public Relations in Hollywood, FL where he provided expertise to clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, non-profit, hospitality and sports. He also was a member of the MEDNAX (Pediatrix Medical Group) marketing department.

Katzman is a long-time volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where he is a member and previously served as chair of its Young Adult Board, which provides a forum for young adults going through cancer to interact with survivors. He also is a volunteer for the 2015 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest hosted by the David Posnack JCC.

Katzman is president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Greater Fort Lauderdale Chapter. He holds a B.A. in public relations and a B.S. in political science from the University of Florida and is a member of the UF Hall of Fame. He earned his master's degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University. Katzman is accredited in public relations by the Universal Accreditation Board.

Vera Mandilovitch
Vera Mandilovitch

Associate Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (954) 262-5309
Cell: (954) 882-3570

Vera Mandilovitch is an associate director of public affairs at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She provides public relations and marketing support for the Alvin Sherman Library, the Division of Student Affairs, the Don Taft University Center, University School, the Office of International Affairs, Special Olympics Broward County, the College of Undergraduate Studies, and the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education.

Prior to joining NSU, Mandilovitch was an associate at the global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in Miami where she managed and coordinated public relations, press trips and communications for one of their primary clients, the Costa Rica Tourism Board. She was also a major contributor to the Livestrong Foundation and the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay campaigns. While at Burson-Marsteller, she secured media coverage on several national network programs including the Travel Channel and Wheel of Fortune.

Before moving to Miami, Mandilovitch served as the communications manager for Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago. Erie House is a United Way member organization and was named one of the top 25 Latino Nonprofits in the United States in 2010 by Hispanic Business magazine. She managed all aspects of public relations, media sponsorships and communications for the organization. During her time at Erie, she worked closely with elected state and U.S. Congressional officials on press conferences and large-scale media campaigns. She also created, wrote and coordinated content placement for annual reports and newsletters.

Preceding Erie Neighborhood House, Mandilovitch was the communications coordinator at the March of Dimes Foundation in Chicago. Her work with the Chicago media market garnered regional and national recognition within the organization by receiving two awards for the highest media impressions in 2006.

Her many accomplishments include the execution of public relations campaigns resulting in a significant increase in awareness, exposure and funding for organizations.

Mandilovitch is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Board member and serves as publicity chair and Miami-Dade chapter liaison. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Marla Oxenhandler
Marla Oxenhandler

Associate Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (954) 262-5315
Cell: (954) 770-9204

As an Associate Director, Public Affairs for Nova Southeastern University, Marla Oxenhandler provides public relations and marketing support for the Shepard Broad Law Center, the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering and Computing and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Before joining the NSU Public Affairs team, Oxenhandler was Manager of Media Relations for Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida – the third largest public healthcare system in the United States. In this role, she handled both proactive and reactive communications for six South Broward County Florida hospitals.

Her extensive experience in the field also includes additional roles in both external and internal communications as Senior Account Executive, O’Connell & Goldberg Public Relations in Hollywood (FL;) Director of Public Relations, Jewish Family Service of Broward County; freelance writer for The Miami Herald; Manager of Internal Communications, Burger King Corporation in Miami; and Manager of Internal Communications, Owens-Corning Fiberglas in Toledo, OH. Oxenhandler also ran her own successful communications business for nine years.

Oxenhandler is a member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Toledo.