Among the faculty who teach in the Master of Arts in Communication program:
Kelly Bruhn, APR, associate professor: Bruhn brings years of public relations experience into the classroom. She teaches in both the public relations and graduate programs. Prior to joining the Drake faculty, Bruhn created award-winning campaigns for Verizon Wireless and various nonprofit organizations. She earned her doctorate from Michigan State University, her master’s from Ball State University and her bachelor’s from Valparaiso University. Bruhn also serves as the Drake SJMC’s associate dean.
Sandy Henry, associate professor: Henry, who teaches advertising and visual communication, amassed more than 20 years of experience in creative advertising and marketing. She has won many awards for her work, including Addys, Tellys, NAMAs and CASE awards, but she is most proud of the awards won by her students — including American Advertising Federation awards and the Broadcast Education Association International Festival of Media Arts Best of Festival Award. Henry received her bachelor’s degree from Drake and her master’s from Miami University.
Jennifer Glover Konfrst, APR, assistant professor: Konfrst teaches in the public relations and strategic political communications majors, as well as the graduate program. She worked in public relations for 20 years, most recently at Iowa Public Television. There she led the network’s brand strategy, cross-platform promotion, media relations, crisis communication and promotion to other PBS stations across the country. She also has experience in agency PR, worked in Chicago for Fannie Mae and began her career working for a U.S. Senate re-election campaign. Konfrst earned her bachelor’s degree and her master’s in public administration from Drake.
Chris Snider, associate professor: Snider teaches classes in web design, social media strategy, multimedia and digital strategy. He is nationally known as an expert in digital media and teaches workshops in cutting-edge technology throughout the country. Prior to joining the Drake faculty, Snider was managing editor for digital and innovation at The Des Moines Register, where he was named the top digital editor of Gannett Co. He also worked as a designer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Baltimore Sun, and earned his bachelor’s from the University of Iowa and M.B.A. from Drake.
Catherine M. Staub, associate professor: Staub is the Peggy Fisher and Larry Stelter chair of magazine studies at Drake. She is also the founder and CEO of Lexicon Content Marketing, which provides its clients with communications, marketing, PR, photography, graphic design and more. Prior to starting her own business, Staub was learning and development manager and national implementation team coordinator for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; an associate editor at Meredith Corp., and a high school English teacher. She earned an Ed.D., an Ed.S., a master’s in journalism and a bachelor’s in English and education from Drake.
Matthew Thornton, assistant professor: Thornton teaches in the public relations and strategic political communication majors as well as the graduate program. His scholarship focuses on political communication, and his professional background includes acting as director of a countywide community and economic development corporation. He earned a business degree from the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.
Jill Van Wyke, associate professor: Van Wyke teaches public affairs reporting, multimedia communication, visual communication and editing as well as in the graduate program. She was a reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor at The Des Moines Register for 11 years. She earned a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in education from Drake.