In what has turned out to be a delightfully varied communications career ...

I began as a newspaper journalist after earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. I then moved into the freelance world and now teach graphic design and writing at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. After starting out as a young reporter at the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, I moved to The Orange County (California) Register, where I worked first as an editor for its Community sections and then as a copy editor for the daily paper. At the time, The Register was a nationally distinguished newspaper known for its compelling photography and trailblazing design. During my early years there, I became more and more intrigued by the power of visuals to tell important stories and make a difference, so I sought projects that gave me room to stretch into that side of the industry. When the first Apple computer made its debut in the newsroom, I volunteered without hesitation to help launch the paper’s digital design era — and my own design career with it. I officially changed jobs, taking with me the respect for words and thoughtful wordsmithing that would inform my work as a designer. In this new role, I designed for all of the paper’s news and feature sections, as well as special sections and books, and went on to win honors for the work I did, including from the Lowell Thomas Awards and the Society for News Design.

Eventually, I left The Register and began pursuing a wider range of visual storytelling and communication opportunities, focusing primarily on arts-related projects. This experience included promotional design, book design, web design, book editing, picture editing and multimedia projects for commercial, editorial and nonprofit clients. During that time, I also co-founded and co-led Photo Night, a popular and beloved grass-roots organization created to quench a growing thirst for camaraderie, community and discussion among Southern California press photographers. Eventually spawning similar groups around the US and beyond, Photo Night drew as many as 500 people for a single event and photographers from as far north as San Francisco and as far south as Baja, Mexico.

Now happily living and teaching at the corner of words and visuals, I mentor the next generation of visual communicators while introducing students from all disciplines to the power of design. Outside of class, I served for many years as the Syracuse University liaison to the Society for News Design, helping to coordinate and facilitate the judging of its annual international competition; I regularly tackle assorted departmental projects; and, in a perfect convergence of my love for writing and design, I am working on a children’s alphabet book that features animal illustrations designed using only the letters in their names.

Originally from Chile and fluent in Spanish, I also spend a lot of time sharing epic adventures with my family, running, camping, unapologetically looking for opportunities to feed my brainstorming addiction, and doing my best to produce a very occasional essay for a blog I share with a friend,