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Media Relations and Communication

As one of the nation's largest, most dynamic universities, it's no surprise that the great work we do at FIU is making headlines. Our Media Relations and Communication team is central to ensuring that we convey the right message, serving as the liaison between the university and news media and helping the members of our university community tell the FIU story.

Whether you're a journalist looking to get in touch with an FIU area expert or a faculty member seeking to promote cutting-edge work, Media Relations and Communication can help.


Maydel Santana '91, MSM ’16

AVP of Media Relations and Communication

Tel: 305-348-1555

Twitter: @maydel

I have worked in and with South Florida media for the better part of the last three decades. I began my career at The Miami Herald in the afternoon of the first day of my freshman year at FIU. I majored in journalism and worked on the student newspaper, while working at The Herald part time, first as an assistant for the social column, then as a weekend assistant on the news desk and later as a junior features writer.

After graduation from FIU, I went to work at el Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald’s Spanish language sister paper. I worked as a general assignment reporter, covered education and immigration. Among the most memorable stories I covered were the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Cuban rafter crisis of 1994.

In 1995 I returned to FIU to join the media relations team as the assistant director, where I have been part of FIU’s spectacular transformation into a research institution and one of the largest universities in the country. In my media relations capacity, I lead a bilingual, award-winning team that helps tell the FIU story to local, regional, national and international media and manages crisis communication for our 54,000 student institution.

Recently I went back to the classroom to earn a graduate degree in marketing.

Madeline Baró  MPA ‘11

Director of Media Relations

Tel: 305-348-2234

I am a communications professional with two decades of experience in journalism and media relations. I currently serve as Director of Media Relations for FIU. In that role, I supervise the team that writes and disseminates news about the university to national and international media outlets, as well as assists media looking to cover news about FIU or include FIU experts in their coverage. Prior to joining FIU, I worked for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, covering the Cuban-American community and other immigrant communities in Miami. Before that I worked for the Associated Press in Texas, including two years as the correspondent in Harlingen, on the U.S.-Mexico border. My other journalism experience includes working for the Miami Herald’s online edition, writing breaking news for the website and technology articles for the Living section. I am a native of Hialeah, Florida and hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Latin American Studies from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in public administration from FIU.

Ana Valdes MBA '17

Director of Communications

Tel: 305-348-5408

As a bilingual communications professional with more than two decades of experience in journalism, communications and speechwriting, I now serve as Director of Communications for FIU. In that capacity, I am the university president’s speechwriter, and manage internal communications for the university. Prior to joining FIU in 2019, I worked at Miami Dade College as Director of Internal Communications and Community Engagement and the Florida Department of Children and Families as Director of Communications for the Southern Region. For 10 years, I worked as a newspaper reporter at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, helping the company launch its first and only Spanish-language weekly newspaper and later covering politics, transportation, social services and breaking news for the English-language daily newspaper. A native Miamian, I hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in business administration from FIU.

Dianne Fernandez ’94

Broadcast Relations Manager

Tel: 305-608-4870

I am an Emmy-nominated, veteran broadcast journalist who spent 17 years covering some of the nation’s biggest stories. Most recently, I was the political reporter for WSVN-Channel 7 covering a historic recall election that garnered national attention and the turmoil within the City of Miami Police Department. It was the culmination of a 10-year career at 7News spent cultivating sources and earning the trust of a community. Using the skills honed on the scenes of some of this country’s biggest news stories, I became FIU’s Broadcast Specialist in 2011. It is my job to get FIU on the nation’s airwaves.

Lourdes Perez ’11

Media Relations Specialist

Tel: 305-348-6944

With nearly 10 years of PR experience under my belt, I now serve as media relations specialist at FIU helping maximize FIU stories and news. In the past couple of years, I worked in the tourism area of expertise at Newlink where I led PR and communication efforts for various tourism and travel clients around the world. Before joining the agency world, I interned at several local entertainment companies including HBO Latin America and Latin World Entertainment.

I am fluent in English and Spanish and hold a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from FIU. In addition to a love for travel, I am an avid reader and passionate genealogist.

Gabriela Aguirrechu ’18

Media Relations Specialist

Tel: 305-348-2232

I am a proud FIU graduate who is currently the media relations specialist in the Office of Media Relations. In this role, I work to maintain the public and media outlets informed about FIU news. Within this role, I am responsible for writing and editing media advisories and releases, help connect FIU experts to the media for commentary, and manage the FIU News Twitter account. I am fluent in English and Spanish, and hold a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from FIU.