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Our Team

Byron Stewart
Owner, Theater-Based Consultant, Dramatic Diversity+Design
Byron is adjunct lecturer for Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, Office of Personal Development. He teaches a course titled “Engineering Improv: the Art of Allowing” targeted to undergraduate engineering students.

Byron is a science communication coach who uses his theatre background as a performer/director to help others take command of the stage and have a presence.

Byron has coached a variety of scientists and technical professionals, from high school educators to corporate teams – all highly specialized professionals seeking assistance in connecting their interest, passion and expertise with the variety of audiences they address. Clients include Northwestern University’s Reach for the Stars, McDonald’s (US & Global), Walgreens, Sears, and for Tekes and Aalto University, Helsinki Finland.

Byron has facilitated theatre-based communication workshops and individual coaching sessions for Northwestern University’s Research Experiences for Undergrads, Summer Research Opportunity Program, and Design for America, IIT’s Institute of Design, University of Chicago, University of Illinois Chicago, Columbia College, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Economics. He has provided job talk and tenure talk coaching to graduate students as well as faculty at various research institutions. Byron is a graduate of Howard University, Washington D.C.

Beth Bennett
Medill School of Journalism
Beth Bennett is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her teaching is focused on television news writing, video producing and on-camera reporting. Bennett works with both undergraduate and graduate students and has taught all the major video courses in Medill’s curriculum. In addition, Bennett founded Sticks and Stones Media, which specializes in presence coaching, media training and short-form video production.

In 2009 Bennett produced her first documentary Under the Ice, which showed at the Chicago United and St. Louis International Film Festivals. It aired on WTTW (PBS) and Wisconsin Public Television licensed it. In 2011 Bennett produced Kindred, which also aired on WTTW and won a Midwest Emmy. Her 2012 short film Spin screened at the Toronto Film Festival and made it to the semi-finals for the International Documentary Race.

Prior to joining Northwestern’s full-time faculty in 2006, Bennett worked on-air for TV stations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Traverse City. Bennett has covered major disasters, politics, crime, education and entertainment. Most recently, she worked as a freelance reporter/anchor for Tribune-owned CLTV. Her reports were also broadcast on WGN-AM. Bennett has worked as a freelance producer for the following shows: FOX News Chicago, CBS Early Show, Metromix the TV Show and the NBC reality series Starting Over.
Bennett has an MSJ from Medill and an A.B. in English and art history from Kenyon College.

Dr. Barbara Shwom
Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences
Barbara Shwom holds joint appointments in the Kellogg School of Management, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. For more than 30 years at Northwestern, she has designed and taught a wide variety of communication courses, including Writing in Organizations (Kellogg), Communicating Complex Data (McCormick), and How to Become an Expert in Roughly 10 Weeks (Weinberg). She also serves as a communication coach for graduate and undergraduate project teams in McCormick’s Segal Design Institute, where she helps students prepare design presentations for both corporate and entrepreneurial clients.

Professor Shwom’s teaching at Northwestern has been recognized by both an outstanding teacher award and an appointment as a fellow of Northwestern’s Searle Center for Teaching Excellence. In addition to her work at Northwestern, Barbara is also the managing principal of Communication Partners, a consulting practice that specializes in helping clients communicate complex information to external and internal audiences. Communication Partners’ client list includes organizations from a range of industries, including biotechnology, high tech research and development, pharmaceuticals, management consulting, market research, financial services, engineering, and consumer products.

Barbara is co-author of Graphics and Visual Communication for Managers and Business Communication: Polishing Your Professional Presence. She is active in a number of professional associations and has served as president for both the Association for Business Communication and the Association of Professional Communication Consultants.

Kelley Collins
Business Development Specialist
Collaboration and resourcefulness have underscored a 20 year career in management and business development. Her Masters in Business Management and Organizational Behavior has added to her expertise in understanding the intricacies of organizational structures and processes to bring success and clarity to situations. Kelley is driven to focus on innovation in the technology arena while staying connected with the economics of a given entity.

While with Duracell’s New Product and Technology Group (worldwide leaders in consumer battery technology), Kelley worked closely with executive and engineering teams within companies such as HP/Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Kodak and Apple. She demonstrated ways to communicate and to interpret complex engineering concepts and business plans to bridge a broad spectrum of individuals from product development to sales.

Her work has brought her face-to-face with the critical need to innovate in the areas of science and technology to maintain the nation’s leadership position for tomorrow. She strongly feels that identifying, enticing, and training creative minds can be cultivated with STEM curriculum throughout our educational system, elementary to higher education. Kelley’s combination of a science and business background provides a solid foundation for guiding individuals to create communication methods that intrigue and inform diverse audiences.

Nick DiMaso
Filmmaker, Actor

Nick DiMaso is a graduate of Northwestern University (’15) with degrees in Psychology and Radio/TV/Film, as well as a Certificate in Creative Writing for the Media. Currently working in Chicago as a filmmaker/editor/actor, Nick has worked on short films, comedy networks, national and regional commercials, and nonprofit marketing materials. When not making movies, Nick serves as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager at the nonprofit Horizons for Youth, and he sits on boards with Camp Kesem and the Obama Foundation. Nick performs improv at iO Chicago and CIC Theater.

Shane Larson
CIERA at Northwestern
Shane Larson is a Research Associate Professor of Physics and the Associate Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern. Shane is also an Astronomer at the Adler Planetarium. His research interests are primarily in gravitational wave astrophysics and data analysis.

Shane is passionate about communicating science to a broader audience. He has taught science communication workshops, including a “Writing for Scientists” course (CIERA) that focuses on teaching students writing for CVs, proposals, and academic journals, as well as for the press and for science blogs.

Shane maintains his own project WriteScience to communicate scientific ideas.