Staff members at Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery are essential in supporting the institution’s mission of excellence in clinical outcomes, research and education. By providing various management, administrative, technical, financial, marketing and communications needs, staff members allow our healthcare professionals to serve patients in the most efficient way. Meet the members of the department’s marketing and communications team, managed by IT/MarCom Director Ken Wamsley, below!
CoCo – Manager, Digital Marketing & Communication
From: St. Louis, MO
Education: BA in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University in Chicago.
Joined the team: October 2019
Job description: “My main responsibility is to lead and establish a marketing team to support all of our WashU surgeons and staff. I also focus on building the Department’s digital strategies and marketing campaigns across all of our platforms as we continue to build our team’s portfolio.”
William – Technical Writer/Editor
From: St. Louis, MO
Education: BA in English with a writing certificate and honors certificate from University of Missouri – St. Louis, MFA in Creative Writing from UMSL.
Joined the team: January 2020
Job description: “I create and edit written copy to support print and digital marketing, patient education, recruitment and other initiatives. Some of my main projects include writing for the Department of Surgery Annual Report, writing and editing website copy, and editing patient education materials such as surgery journey guides.”
Catherine – Social Media Coordinator
From: St. Louis, MO
Education: BA in public relations with honors and a minor in marketing from Bradley University.
Joined the team: November 2020
Job description: “I create content for and manage four of the Department of Surgery’s social media channels, the General Surgery Residency accounts and the Colon and Rectal Surgery Twitter. I also write pieces for the department news page and put together monthly marketing and communications emails.”
Madelaine – Social Media Coordinator
From: Alton, IL
Education: BA in Mass Communications and MS in Media Studies from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Joined the team: May 2021
Job description: “Much of my job involves producing written and multimedia content for our Department of Surgery news page, social media channels, Annual Reports, patient education pieces, among many others. I also strategize and produce content for the Divisions of Cardiovascular Surgery, Urologic Surgery and Section of Vascular Surgery Twitter accounts. Additionally, I handle faculty on/off-boarding on our websites and coordinate with our partners on the BJC Doctors and FPP/Physicians group to ensure our faculty listings are accurate on their sites. There’s certainly more to the job that I haven’t listed, but I’m always up to take on new tasks to support the DoS!”
Megan – Technical Writer and Editor
From: Wildwood, MO
Education: BS from Honors College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University in Anthropological Sciences and English Creative Writing with a minor in Forensics. Also currently in the Master’s in Anthropology program of George Mason University.
Joined the team: July 2021
Job description: “I help the Marketing Department produce compelling posts for the Department of Surgery website, providing new digital content for the Washington University School of Medicine community. These pieces are informative and entertaining for our patients and celebrate our department’s physicians, research, and programs.”
Chrystie – Graphic Designer/ Medical Illustrator
From: Lake Worth, FL
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Medical Illustration and a minor in Advertising and Public Relations from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
Joined the team: August 2021
Job description: “My role involves designing learning content produced by the MySci instructional specialists for patient education, annual department reports, marketing materials for web/social platforms, infographics, illustrations, and visuals for the Department of Surgery BSO/Information Systems.”
Emily – Graphic Designer/Photo Editor
From: St. Louis, MO
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts/Graphic Design from the School of Visual Studies from University of Missouri-Columbia.
Joined the team: August 2021
Job description: “I create social media graphics for the Department of Surgery, design the Annual Report, and edit photo content.”
Tomas – Web Developer
From: San Diego, CA
Education: Bachelor of Science in Media Arts with an emphasis in Web Design and a Associates Degree in Graphic Design.
Joined the team: November 2021
Job description: “My role in the bigger scope is to help plan, design and code upgrades to the main Department of Surgery site and any of the other various Surgery division websites, and additionally I provide support for any website changes and fixes that come up throughout the week.”
What brought you to WashU?
CoCo: “I grew up in the St. Louis Community and working at a legendary institution that can impact the community around us was very important to me. I love social and digital media, but the opportunity to build a team that can help truly uplift the health and safety of the community I love was one I could not pass up.”
William: “I came to WashU because I wanted a career that would use my writing and storytelling skills while pushing me to learn new skills and information from subject matter experts.”
Madelaine: “Higher education marketing is something I’m incredibly passionate about and I believe that education is the best investment someone could ever make for their future. When I first came upon the opportunity to support the Department of Surgery in this role, I immediately admired surgeons’ commitment and investment in themselves, particular the time dedicated to educational training, residency, fellowships, research, and clinical practice to become some of the best surgeons in the country. That’s not where it ends, though– They also work each and every day working to educate the next generation of surgeons. That’s a remarkable thing! When I realized this, I knew I had to apply for the position, and I’m so glad I was selected to join the team!”
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Catherine: “Being able to share the accomplishments of our surgeons and trainees is very rewarding. They are saving lives every day and deserve the recognition!”
Megan: “I love exploring and synthesizing information about medical conditions and procedures to compose my posts. These articles are meant for WashU’s patients who I hope to empower with knowledge to help guide their journey towards healing.”
Emily: “My favorite thing about my job is knowing that I am helping promote an organization whose main goal is to help other people. Being a part of something like that is the greatest feeling in the world.”
What is your favorite thing about your coworkers?
Madelaine: “They’re all so incredibly talented! It’s inspiring to be around people who are just so excellent at what they do and it makes me want to work harder and be better for them.”
Megan: “I’ve never experienced such a supportive team! They are a group of welcoming and vibrant people with talents that help uplift my own.”
Tomas: “Everyone I’ve met has been very friendly, genuine and helpful!”
When have you felt most proud of your work?
William: “When working with a patient on a patient story, hearing about how a WashU surgeon made their life better, and having the opportunity to help tell that story.”
Catherine: “When a tweet I shared about Dr. Strasberg’s retirement reached thousands of people and received dozens of replies congratulating him. It was great to see social media as a tool to connect surgeons across the country and celebrate a legendary career.”
Chrystie: “It is incredibly encouraging when a doctor likes the illustrations that I create and is just as excited about them as I am. I feel honored to be able to create work that helps make a difference in the world of patient education and visual communication.”
Is there a memorable moment from your job you could share?
CoCo: “I had never seen or been in an OR before (or even seen an episode of Grey’s Anatomy) when we were asked to film residents in the OR for recruitment season. Ken Wamsley, our IT/MarCom Director, and I spent the entire day bouncing from OR room to OR room grabbing different footage from a variety of surgical specialties. I remember being so overwhelmed by all the parties at play to serve our patients and fully realizing the magnitude of strengths this Department has. I went to sleep immediately when I went home from pure exhaustion (I don’t know how they do it) but spending the day with our surgeons on the job taught me why what we do at WashU Surgery is truly special.”
William: “The 2020-2021 resident graduation celebration was a memorable night for me. Our team supported multiple events that evening with photography, social media, and digital marketing. Being part of that group and seeing how our team came together was very rewarding.”
Madelaine: “The Department recently hosted the Society of Black Academic Surgeons’ annual meeting on campus. The Surg MarCom team collaborated in such a seamless, fluid way that day and made our live coverage of the event such a massive success. I felt so proud to be a part of the team that day!”
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Megan: “I’m an eclectic type of person, so I appreciate a variety of at home and adventuring activities. In my leisure time, I can easily be found experimenting with cooking, reading, listening to music and podcasts, or working on a creative project life crafts or story writing. Outside of my home, I spend a lot of time in cafes, exploring parks and trails, or discovering new restaurants and attractions with friends from my university programs.”
Chrystie: “I am a figure skater as well as a figure skating coach. I also love to bake!”
Emily: “I love reading, playing tennis, learning new art hobbies, and taking my dog everywhere I go.”
Do you have a mantra you live by or piece of advice to share?
Chrystie: “Always be kind. You don’t know what others are going through.”
Emily: “Life is Good.”
Tomas: “If I had to translate one of my favorite quotes into my own words it would be to not hold grudges or on to negativity but instead, live the best life you can.”
If you were a surgeon, what kind would you be?
CoCo: “Minimally Invasive Surgeon. To be able to perform surgery and to be able to offer patients the added benefits of robotic surgery would be rewarding.”
Catherine: “Surgical oncologist. To help patients in their journey to becoming cancer-free would be very rewarding.”
Tomas: “Heart surgeon, it has a very simple but important function and there’s a lot of symbolism and meaning behind the heart.”