About Media Relations

Rebecca Valli, Director

Rebecca Valli oversees Cornell’s media relations strategy. She specializes in senior administration support and management of media relations day-to-day operations. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a journalist and reported for the Voice of America from Beijing and Hong Kong. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Milan and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Hong Kong.



Gillian Smith, Deputy Director

Gillian Smith specializes in research and experts related to arts, culture and lifestyle; and supports day-to-day operations. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, she worked as a digital producer for the NBC affiliate in Boston and began her career as the editor of an independent newspaper on Massachusetts' South Shore. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College.

  • Arts, Culture & Lifestyle



Becka Bowyer, Media Relations specialist

Becka Bowyer specializes in research and experts related to science, as well as Cornell's international research and outreach. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, she worked as a television news producer at WAVY and WCAV in Virginia. She holds bachelors' degrees in political science and English from Binghamton University. 

  • Science and health
  • International 



Lindsey Knewstub, Senior Media Relations Specialist

Lindsey Knewstub specializes in research and experts related to agriculture and food as well as business, economics and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, she did non-profit work within the Ithaca community for several years. She holds a bachelor's degree in communication management and design from Ithaca College.

  • Agriculture & food 
  • Business, economics & entrepreneurship



Jeff Martin, Media Relations Specialist

Jeff Martin specializes in Cornell’s connections to the local community and supporting institutional media efforts; as well as Cornell's connections to New York state and New York City. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, he worked in communications for the City of Atlanta. He holds a bachelor's degree in public relations from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  • Cornell in New York State
  • Cornell in New York City
  • Local & regional media 



Bert Odom-Reed, Broadcast Studios Director

Bert Odom-Reed leads our Broadcast Studios where he specializes on TV/radio broadcast studio transmissions. During more than 25 years of service in the media arts at Cornell, Bert has led and been part of several diverse teams to tell the Cornell story for six university presidents, faculty researchers, and staff and student leaders. He holds a radio/TV degree from Onondaga Community College and has completed coursework in computer science and physics at Grambling State University.



Rachel Rhodes, Media Relations Specialist

Rachel Rhodes splits her time between media relations and public affairs at Cornell University and is based in Washington, D.C. As a media relations specialist, she specializes in research and experts related to law and public policy and Cornell’s presence in D.C. Rachel also works with think tanks, non-profits, and other research organizations in D.C. to highlight Cornell faculty experts. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, she worked in the federal government as an analyst for the Government Accountability Office. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. 

  • Law & public policy



Abigail Shroba, Media Relations Coordinator

Abigail Shroba specializes in managing Media Relations' media monitoring and distribution tools, social media accounts, on-campus media support, and metrics and reporting. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, she worked in academic and educational publishing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Penn State.



Jeff Tyson, Senior Media Relations Specialist 

Jeff Tyson specializes in research and experts related to climate, sustainability and energy, and spearheads efforts to write and pitch op-eds. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, Jeff worked as a radio producer at WNPR – Connecticut Public Radio, and as a reporter at Devex in Washington, D.C., where he covered the World Bank and international development trends. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.

  • Climate, sustainability & energy
  • Op-eds