- Whitman’s Department of Communications is a team of professionals who are experts in both their specialty areas and customer service.
- The team works in concert to develop communications ideas and strategies and execute action plans that help advance Whitman’s mission.
- To promote Whitman College as a liberal arts institution of national significance.
- To communicate the goals and accomplishments of Whitman’s people, programs and departments.
- To support cultivation and stewardship efforts targeting each of the college’s constituencies.
Michelle Ma, Chief Communications Officer
Chris Bishop, Publications Design Manager
Edward Weinman, Managing Editor, Whitman Magazine and College Communications
Gina Ohnstad, Media Relations Strategist
Matt Banderas, Visual Editor
Travis Congleton, Publications Designer
Peter Means, Web Development Specialist
Kristen Healy, Director of Digital Communications
Michael Cox, Online Content Coordinator
Amber Dobbs, Communications Operations Manager
Richard Anderson, Printing Assistant
Daniel Le Ray, Associate Editor of College Communications
Linda Marshall, Mailing Coordinator
Homero Menchaca, Mailing Technician
Chief Communications Officer
As Chief Communications Officer, Michelle Ma is responsible for the oversight of the Office of Communications as well as the implementation of strategies that build market position and strengthen the college overall, with a particular focus on supporting admissions, alumni relations, and development efforts. Prior to joining Whitman College and the Walla Walla community, Michelle resided in Orange County, Calif., where she served for nine years as director of marketing, public relations, and governmental affairs at Coastline Community College. In that role, her communications team was recognized with more than 40 awards for excellence in marketing, writing and design by the National Council for Marketing and PR (NCMPR) and the Community College PR Organization (CCPRO).
Her past experience also includes marketing and PR manager roles at Morris Communications, the California Association of Realtors®, and the Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Michelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications at the University of Southern Indiana and her master’s in Public Administration (MPA) at California State University, Long Beach.
When not on campus, Michelle is either playing out in the pasture with her husband and two young children, driving around town in her fully-restored 1970 VW bus, or traveling the world.
Office: (509) 527-5768
Publications Design Manager
Chris Bishop ’79, publications design manager, oversees major campus publications, including development and alumni projects. A lifelong local resident, Chris graduated from Whitman with degrees in studio art and education. During the 1980s she worked as a graphic artist and later was director of Carnegie Art Center. Chris and husband Larry Bishop ’76 live on a wheat ranch in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. For recreation, Chris practices figure skating and hones her improv dance skills. Nominated by her colleagues, Chris is a 2005 recipient of the Janice Abraham Award, which recognizes the significant contributions and outstanding service of Whitman staff members.
Office: (509) 527-5769
Managing Editor Whitman Magazine and College Communications
Edward Weinman’s debut crime thriller, The Ring Road, was a Barnes & Noble Nook First Pick— “compelling reads from emerging authors.” Before arriving at Whitman, Edward spent eight years in Reykjavik, Iceland, working as a travel writer, reporting from cities across Europe. Edward penned the feature film "A Little Trip to Heaven," a psychological thriller starring Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner and Julia Stiles. Edward earned his MFA in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College in Boston. Follow Edward at: https://www.facebook.com/TheRingRoad and https://twitter.com/edwardweinman1
Media Relations Strategist
Gina Ohnstad joined Whitman in August of 2014 as the Media Relations Strategist. She brings with her more than 15 years of experience in the news business to the Communications Department. Gina most recently lived in Portland where she produced the 5:00 news at the NBC affiliate. Her newscasts earned the station multiple Emmy, Associated Press, and Oregon Association of Broadcasters awards.
Gina has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Outside of work, Gina loves to camp with her family in their VW van and is an avid cyclist and runner. Keeping up with her toddler son does wonders for her training.
Director of Digital Communications
Kristen Healy, Director of Digital Communications, joined Whitman in August of 2013 after relocating from the Denver metro area. She previously worked as a senior engineer at CenturyLink, where she was responsible for creating Web sites and Web applications. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, knitting, and getting to know the Walla Walla area.
Office: (509) 522-4412
Matt Banderas is a 2004 Whitman grad. Originally from San Diego, Calif., he relocated to the "town so nice they named it twice" and hasn't looked back. A photojournalist at heart, Matt strives to create imagery that is beautifully honest. He worked for nearly eight years as a photographer at the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin before circling back to Whitman. He lives with his wife, Margarita Banderas '05, their son, Nico (a future Whittie?) and a couple of fun-loving boxer dogs. When not creating images, Matt is often playing outside, cooking (because that leads to eating) and cycling or playing soccer to balance out the eating.
Office: (509) 527-5969
Travis Congleton, publications designer, joined Whitman in March 2006. He assists Chris Bishop in the design of campus publications and spends most of his time working on posters, brochures and handbooks for the college. Travis graduated from Walla Walla University in 2006 with a major in graphic design and loved the Walla Walla area so much he decided to stay. He is originally from Battle Ground, Wash. Travis’ hobbies include music, painting, photography, and coffee. On most weekends he can be found downtown drinking coffee with his friends.
Office: (509) 527-4966
Michael Cox joined Whitman in January 2012. His responsibilities are focused on editing web content to ensure that pages and sites are accurate and effective, and he helps staff, faculty and students create and enhance their web communications. Originally from southern Idaho, he graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2011 with bachelor's degree in visual communication design and worked as a cartoonist for the school's newspaper.
Office: (509) 527-5807
Web Development Specialist
Peter Means joined Whitman in 2009. After spending the first four-and-a-half years working in the Development department on the alumni database, he joined the Communications team in May of 2014. As a web developer, most of his work is focused on the continual development and improvement of the Whitman website. Peter graduated from Washington State University in 2007 with a B.S. in Physical Science, and outside of work his interests include music, art, cycling, board games, wishing he owned a sailboat, and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Office: (509) 522-4400
Daniel Le Ray
Associate Editor of College Communications
Daniel Le Ray joined Whitman in August 2013 after five years living in the Boston area. Since graduating from the University of Warwick in the UK, he has worked in publishing, communications and marketing, including a stint in Berlin as editor of Europe's largest marketing and PR magazine, "Communication Director". Most recently, he was Marketing Manager for Sedo.com, an online company based in Boston. Outside of the Whitman communications office, he enjoys good food and good bourbon, good dogs and good music.
Office: (509) 527-4917
Communications Operations Manager
Amber Dobbs, communications operations manager, keeps the Office of Communications running smoothly. From her office in Boyer House, she maintains the department’s budget, serves as the college’s print buyer and oversees outsource printing, manages the outgoing mail service and participates in planning and executing Commencement week and other major events. Amber is active in volunteer work in the community, including providing literacy tutoring to adults and running adopt-a-family programs at Christmas. In her leisure time she enjoys gardening, camping, hiking and fishing.
Office: (509) 527-5160
Office: (509) 527-5185
Linda Marshall joined Whitman in the fall of 2008, bringing with her more than 14 years of experience with the USPS. Originally from Nebraska, Linda lives in Prescott with her two teenage children, Alisha and Beau. When not at work, you can find Linda either volunteering with the Prescott Lions Club, or the Prescott Parks and Recreation District, Prescott School District or watching her children participate in school activities.
Office: (509) 527-5793
Homero Menchaca joined Whitman in the fall of 2008, following a 30-year career with the Milton-Freewater office of the USPS. He and his wife of 33 years, Berzaida, have three children and five grandchildren; they have lived in M-F since moving from Texas in 1977. In his spare time, you can find Homer with one of his grandchildren, golfing, barbecuing, fishing, or watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Office: (509) 527-5266