Our Team

We consider ourselves enthusiastic ambassadors of Lamar University and our brand.

We're focused on building awareness and increasing support for LU across the board. We achieve this by collaborating with our partners across campus to connect the University with the general public as well as targeted audiences.


Kate Downing
Director of Marketing and Special Assistant to the President

Kate holds a degree in organizational communication from the University of Tulsa. She came to LU five years ago from the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business. There she served as the director of communication for six years, working under Kenneth Evans, now president of LU. Prior to this, she was the marketing and public relations coordinator at Topographic Inc. for more than 10 years in Oklahoma City. Kate grew up around the country in such places as Broken Arrow, Okla., Chapel Hill, N.C., and Hershey, Penn. She lives in Beaumont with her husband, Glenn, and two daughters, Ashton and Sydney.

Hannah Snodgrass
Marketing Associate

Hannah holds a B.S. degree in sociology, with minors in professional & technical writing and consumer studies from Virginia Tech. She moved to Texas from Virginia in April 2018 and joined the LU community in July. Hannah previously worked for JDRF – the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research – doing grassroots advocacy and government relations work in Washington, D.C. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Alex, and their friends, traveling, and serving as a volunteer for JDRF.  


Mandy Arceneaux
Associate Director of Marketing Relations

Mandy Arceneaux is the associate director of marketing relations for Lamar University. She is the liaison between the College of Education and Human Development, Human Resources, Information Technology, Online Programs and Advancement. She holds a B.S. in communication with an emphasis in public relations. She has served in various marketing roles for both non-profit organizations and the real estate industry. Mandy is a licensed Realtor where she has helped clients all over the Golden Triangle buy, sell and invest in residential property since 2012. She and her husband, Aron, have been a licensed foster family since 2014 and are active church members of Carpenter's Way. They live in Nederland with their kids, Jonah and Jenna.

Kayce Smith
Marketing Manager
College of Business 

Kayce Smith is the marketing communications manager for Lamar University’s College of Business. Kayce works with the dean, department chairs, faculty and extended staff so that print materials, web content, events, media and more are all consistent with Lamar University’s branding. Kayce holds a degree in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis in advertising from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which she obtained in 2015. Prior to joining Lamar University, Kayce held four internships in various professional environments. Her titles have included graphic design intern at SETX Advertising, marketing intern at Great Plains Media, social media intern at Xpress U clothing company and information technology intern at State Farm corporate headquarters.

Ryan Litchfield 
Marketing Coordinator 
College of Engineering 

Ryan Litchfield is the coordinator of marketing communications for the College of Engineering. He is actively involved in several areas of the college, including high school recruitment, student organization events and scholarships. Ryan hopes to bring his enthusiasm and expertise to continue the tradition of excellence within the College of Engineering by bringing bright, young students into the program. He holds two degrees from Lamar University, B.A. in History ('11) and an MBA ('14). Ryan is a native of Nederland, Texas, loves to dissect film and tv shows, and is an avid Houston Astros fan.



JT Robertson 
Marketing Coordinator 
College of Fine Arts & Communication 

Jennifer “JT” Robertson is the marketing communications coordinator for Lamar University’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. She holds a B.A. degree in mass communication with a concentration in public relations and a minor in journalism from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Prior to coming to LU, she served as a public relations liaison for Senator Mike Walsworth and associate director of communications and marketing for the American Cancer Society. She has worked on numerous political campaigns and done freelance work for Penino and Partners Public Relations, Hill & Knowlton Strategies, Martin Productions, The Symphony of Southeast Texas and Trinity United Methodist Church. She and her husband, Lance, live in Mid-County with their two children, Randall and Reese.


Daniel McLemore
Associate Director of Marketing Communications

Daniel holds a B.S. in communication with an emphasis in broadcast and advertising and is currently studying to receive an M.B.A. specializing in marketing from Lamar University. He has worked in the television industry as a promotions and productions coordinator, as well as a graphic designer and copywriter for a local ad agency. In his current role, he is responsible for licensing, video services, social media, recruitment marketing, ad placement, digital media, brand management, content marketing and strategic messaging. He is married and has two young children. Away from work, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing piano for his church and conducting various home remodeling projects.

Bri Gore
Social Media Manager

Bri Gore is Lamar University's social media manager. She works with the other groups within the Office of Marketing Communications to bring engaging content to our students and community through commonly used social media platforms. She believes that social media is a powerful tool and hopes to continue strengthening LU's digital voice. Her work includes posting content and developing social media accounts, engaging with students online, managing our student social media team, facilitating live video, and identifying and photographing events and news to share with our audience. Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Bri finished her studies in anthropology, with an emphasis on cultural anthropology and historical archaeology, at the University of Houston and spent three years working independently as a content strategist and social media manager for companies across the U.S. 

Kevin McGee
Video Coordinator

Kevin earned a B.S. in communications with an emphasis in broadcasting and film from Lamar University in May 2016. He began working as a student in 2014 making videos for LU's public relations department. As a student, Kevin was heavily involved with reviving LU's on campus living community by being a part of Alpha Tau Omega's Leadership Development Fraternity, the Baptist Student Ministry and LUTV News. Kevin has won awards at the Houston Press Club's Lone Star Awards and the Press Club of Southeast Texas and has had a video aired on the Discovery Channel. He enjoys producing exciting videos for current degree seekers, potential new students and proud alumni.


Grayson Meek
Director of Event Management

Grayson holds both a B.A. and an M.A. in history from Lamar University. In her role, she is responsible for all of the setups and breakdowns for the events held on the eighth floor and the Rudy Williams Building. She also assists with scheduling and planning events, as well as designing event decor. Grayson worked at her student newspaper at SFA and has contributed articles to several music journals.

Lori Richardson 
Special Events Manager

Lori Richardson is a Special Events Manager for the Office of Event Management at Lamar University. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing the setup, breakdown, and operations of events held on the eighth floor of Mary and John Gray Library as well as other buildings across campus. Lori graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Management. She then spent her time working for Marriott International in Lexington, Kentucky in Event Operations for Griffin Gate Resort & Spa. Outside of work she and her fiancé, Matt, enjoy cooking, attending various sporting events, and traveling just about anywhere. 

Vesta Aery
Special Events Assistant

Vesta Thompson is the special events assistant for the Office of Event Management. She handles guest reservations, distributing event invitations and event record keeping. She also provides pre-event, on-site and post-event assistance for the special events coordinator. She is currently enrolled at Lamar University to complete her bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences. In the fall, she will also be enrolled at Region 5 Education Service Center, and upon graduating she will be a certified teacher. In her spare time, Vesta enjoys playing board games, going to the movies and attending local sporting events with her husband and kids.  She also enjoys playing co-ed softball on her team The Untouchables, reading and crocheting.


Cynthia Hicks
Creative Director

Cynthia Hicks is the creative director for the Marketing Communications Department for Lamar University. A proud LU grad, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1989 with a certificate in Technical Editing and Master of Arts degree in English in 1993. Previously, Cynthia worked as a publication specialist for the division of University Advancement, a technical journalist and editor for Gulf Coast Hazardous Substance Research Center, an editorial assistant for the Journal of Teacher Education and Practice, a copy writer for Ann Lee & Associates Advertising and a copy editor for the University Press. She is a past president for the Press Club of Southeast Texas and currently is editor of Cardinal Cadence Magazine.

Amanda Toups
Graphic Design Coordinator

Amanda Toups is a graphic designer for Lamar University Marketing Communications Department. She is responsible for the development of print and digital graphics for various entities on campus under the direction of our creative director. In addition to designing material for the university’s marketing efforts, Amanda also assists many offices and departments on campus. It is her responsibility to design flyers, posters, ads, brochures, postcards, invitations and logos while also handling graphics for social media, video, web content and emails. It is her goal to ensure her solutions are consistent with the university’s brand and visual standards. She strives to make sure that our client’s message is effectively delivered to the intended audiences — current students, potential students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and the general public. Amanda graduated from Lamar University in 2015 with a BS in graphic design and a minor in advertising. She is an active member of our local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the professional association for design, AIGA Houston East Satellite. She hopes to further her career by obtaining an MA in graphic design and visual experience. She lives with her husband, Tyler, in Orange.

Morgan Hill
Graphic Designer

Morgan Hill is a graphic designer for Lamar University's Marketing Communication Department. She is a proud LU Alumni and graduated in 2017 with a BFA in Graphic Design. Her goal is to keep a cohesive and consistent brand identity for Lamar University by creating a number of print and web graphics. She hopes to pursue her education further by getting her MBA with an emphasis in Marketing. In her free time, Morgan enjoys reading, painting, and spending time with her husband and her dog, Willow.



Shelly Vitanza

Director of Public Affairs

Shelly Vitanza, a Beaumont native and graduate of Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science from Texas A&M University. For the past 30 years Shelly has held a variety of communications and media relations positions. Most recently she served as the specialty publications manager for the Beaumont Enterprise responsible for four monthly publications. Shelly has also hosted a weekly radio show on iHeartmedia for nearly six years and regularly serves as an emcee for local nonprofit fundraising events. Shelly is married to Carl, and the couple live in Beaumont with their three school-aged children.


Charla Pate
Director of Web Communication

Charla manages web strategy and the development of web-based projects and applications for LU websites and university initiatives. She also assesses and continuously works to improve the performance of the LU web environment. An alumna of LU, Charla has worked for the university since 1995 and in addition to her various roles, she has participated in faculty technology training, software training, video conferencing, instructional design and web development. Charla has more than 10 years of web experience, and she and her multi-disciplinary team work to ensure that our web pages provide meaningful and innovative experiences that are user-centric, meet the evolving needs of Lamar University academics and business, and are visually appealing.

Stacey Haynes
Web Editor

An LU staff member since 2000, Stacey works with web content owners to help continuously improve the university’s web presence. She develops templates and guidelines for creating, managing and publishing web content throughout the university’s content management system and provides training for system users. Stacey has more than 18 years experience in design, coding, responsive sites and development. Her years of web experience allow her to help arts organizations in the Beaumont area develop web solutions for which she has received awards from the Press Club of Southeast Texas. Prior to joining web communications, Stacey spent many years doing on-air fundraising and marketing for LU's NPR radio station. In her spare time she works to restore and renovate her mid-century modern home.

Mohammed Abdelkarym
Web Developer

Mohammed holds a bachelor’s degree in computer and information science from Ain Shams University in Egypt. He also holds a master’s degree in computer science from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. Mohammed works on projects related to CMS, CRM, designing and developing APIs and services integration. He has experience in web development, designing, web security and mobile development. He also has experience simplifying, automating and enhancing complex business processes for organizations in diverse industries.

Madison Franco
Digital Content Editor

Madison edits content to maintain a warm and welcoming web presence. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in communications from University of St. Thomas in Houston, where she studied in the honors program. Madison previously worked as an editor for a popular online publication for three years, which sparked her interest in web communications. Away from work, she can be found sewing, blogging, or spending time with her husband and their two rescue cats. 

Christy Swanson
Digital Communications Coordinator

Christy has a B.A. in communications from Stephen F. Austin State University. She works with clients across campus to create online stores through LU Marketplace. She also develops web forms and accepts submissions for the University Event Calendar. Christy has more than ten years experience with Lamar University where she previously served as the executive associate for the senior associate provost. She spends her free time leading worship at her church and performing in community theatre.