George Mason University

Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications collaborates with partners across the university to tell Mason’s story internally and externally.

Our team of writers and editors works with leadership, faculty, staff, students and community partners to align the university around core themes and messages and spotlight our success through news stories, features and other forms of communication. We share those stories through online and print publications, as well as through media outreach. The team also assists leadership with university-wide communication, presidential communication and crisis communication.

If you have a question about a story on the website, please reach out to the writer. If you have a general media inquiry or a question about the university, please email​



Director of Strategic Communications

Michael Sandler

Michael Sandler is the Director of Strategic Communications. He oversees external and internal communication for the university and leads a team that handles news, media relations, internal communications and crisis communications. Prior to joining Mason in 2014, Sandler spent nearly two decades as a reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., and Florida, covering government, politics, and policy. He has been a reporter or editor at the Associated Press, Congressional Quarterly, The Hill, the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) and The Washington Post.
Phone: 703-993-8815​


Managing Editor

Melanie Balog

Melanie Balog is the Managing Editor. She supervises the communications officers, oversees content for the Newsdesk and The George, and works with media to tell Mason’s story externally. She came to Mason in September 2014 after more than 18 years as a newspaper reporter, columnist, and editor, including at the Northwest Herald newspaper in suburban Chicago and the Charleston, S.C.-based Post and Courier newspaper.​​

Phone: 703-993-8785​


Presidential Communications Manager

Preston Williams

Preston Williams is the Presidential Communications Manager. He works with university officials on internal and external communications and serves as a liaison between the President’s Office and the Office of Strategic Communications. He joined Mason in 2013 as a communications officer. He previously worked for 15 years as a staff writer at The Washington Post, and prior to that wrote for other newspapers in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

Phone: 703-993-9376


Senior Communications Manager​

Damian Cristodero

Damian Cristodero is a Senior Communications Manager who covers the School of Business, the College of Education and Human Development, the Honors College and University Life. Cristodero also works closely with media to help tell Mason’s story externally. A graduate of Hofstra University, he joined Mason in 2015 after a long career as an award-winning sportswriter for organizations including the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) in Florida, the Gannett News Service and Newsday in New York.

Phone: 703-993-9118


Communications Officer

John Hollis

John Hollis is a Communications Officer who covers the Volgenau School of Engineering, the College of Science and social sciences in the College of Humanities and Social Science, as well as sustainability and military issues. He joined Mason in April 2017 and comes with 16 years of daily newspaper experience, including nearly 10 at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a correspondent stint with Time Magazine. He is the author of an upcoming novel chronicling the life and tragic death in Vietnam of his wife’s uncle, U.S. Marine Medal of Honor recipient (posthumous) Sgt. Rodney M. Davis.​
Phone: 703-993-8781