For the Media


Sydney Hawkins currently manages communications, branding, and digital marketing strategy connected to the University of Michigan’s arts and culture initiative. She spent eight years as a radio broadcaster in Michigan before working in marketing communications leadership roles at U-M Museum of Art (UMMA) and the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit Ann Arbor). She is passionate about arts education, policy, advocacy, access, and creative community place-making.

Hawkins also serves as the primary PR  contact for arts and cultural units at Michigan News, a department within the Office for the Vice President of Communications. Focus areas at U-M include, but are not limited to: Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Architecture and Urban Planning, Art History, Classical Studies, The Institute for Humanities, University Libraries and Museums, cultural collections, the Stamps School of Art & Design, The School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Screen Arts & Cultures, and more.

For media inquiries, faculty expert requests, feedback, or story ideas, contact her by phone at (734) 615-8765 or by e-mail at

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Natsume Ono is a recent graduate of the U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, earning her B.S. in Architecture and a minor in Food & the Environment in May 2020. As a marketing and media assistant, Ono leads social media strategy and content creation for U-M Arts & Culture accounts and serves as a liaison for central U-M Social content. While a student at U-M, she was also the Design Team Lead for TEDxUofM and a Co-Artistic Director for Salto Dance Company.


Christina Shepich is a junior in the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, working toward her B.A in Communication and Media Studies and a minor in Economics. As a marketing and media assistant, Shepich develops strategies to showcase student talent on various social media platforms, recently launching a biweekly podcast featuring student creatives. Shepich is also an undergraduate fellow for the Communication and Media department and is on the U-M Musket marketing team.  She hopes to pursue a career in public relations or experiential marketing.


Lilian Varner is a senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, working toward her B.A. in International Studies with a specialization in International Norms, Security, and Cooperation, and a regional focus in Europe. As a marketing and media assistant, Varner writes content for and develops related social media and PR strategies. She has a background in photography and writing, and hopes to pursue a career that allows her to share the arts’ ability to spark communication, generate perspective and create social change.