Get to know your college advisors! Use the list below or skip ahead and read our bios.

Advisors listed by major
Art & Materials Conservation  Keith Lusson 312-369-7283 
Art and Art History  Brian Ritchard 312-369-7734
ASL & English Interpretation  Keith Lusson  312-369-7283 
Audio Arts & Acoustics Kamillah Ong  312-369-3233
Business & Entrepreneurship (Music Business, Marketing, Live & Performing Arts)  Bess Fuertes 312.369-7929
Business & Entrepreneurship (Arts Management, Advanced, Design, International, Media, Sports, Visual Arts) Brian Ritchard 312-369-7734
Cinema Art + Science Jill Sultz 312-369-7372
Cinema Art + Science Gabby McCadd 312-369-7648
Cinema Art + Science (Animation) Kamillah Ong  312-369-3233
CMI - Advertising  Jeff Howard  312-369-7762
CMI - Multimedia Journalism  Jeff Howard  312-369-7762
CMI - Public Relations  Jeff Howard  312-369-7762
Creative Writing  Lauren Targ 312-369-8626
Cultural Studies Keith Lusson  312-369-7283 
Dance  Sneha Reddy  312-369-7554
Design (Graphic Design, Advertising Art Direction) Karen Smith 312-369-7646
Design (Interior Architecture, Illustration) Erin Mallory  312-369-7649
Education  Keith Lusson  312-369-7283 
Fashion Studies  Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Harrington Students Erin Mallory  312-369-7649
Interactive Arts & Media  Lauren Targ 312-369-8626
Interdisciplinary Major  Keith Lusson  312-369-7283 
Music Ritch Barnes  312-369-7932
Photography Sneha Reddy  312-369-7554
Radio Paula Brien  312-369-7935
Television  Paula Brien  312-369-7935
Theatre Will Casey 312-369-8623



Bess Fuertes

Bess Fuertes is thrilled to have recently joined the College Advising Center. Her background in art history is conducive to situating your artistic practice and scholastic inquiry within a wider, globalized context. As a first-generation college student, she is keenly aware of the challenges related to navigating higher education. Bess loves a good “dad” joke, so please stop by if you have one to share. In the meantime, what did the zero say to the eight? Nice belt!

College Advisor, 312-369-7929,

Business & Entrepreneurship (Music Business, Marketing, Live & Performing Arts

brian marth

Brian Marth


Brian Marth started at Columbia in 2000 and since that time he has worked in several positions in advising for the College. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and his Master of Arts in Student Development in Higher Education from The University of Iowa. After several years at Columbia, his favorite part of the position is still working one-on-one with students. When he is not at Columbia, he spends the majority of his time journaling, exercising, or dancing with his wife and two daughters. 

Assistant Provost of Academic Services, 312-369-7933,

brian r

Brian Ritchard


Brian is a painter, curator, advisor and educator with over twenty years of experience working in the art world and at Columbia.  He can help you to pick the best degree program at Columbia and to get it completed on time and on budget.  Portfolio development, career outcomes and academic planning are all a part of the discussion.  Set up a meeting with Brian to plot your next move at Columbia and beyond.

College Advisor, 312-369-7734,

Art and Art History, Business & Entrepreneurship (Arts Management, Advanced, Design, International, Media, Sports, Visual Arts)


Erin Mallory


Erin Mallory has been advising students at the college level in various design disciplines for over 7 years.  She recently joined Columbia as the College Advisor to Illustration and Interior Architecture students.  Prior to her career in higher education she worked as a Visual Merchandiser in Chicago arranging window displays and in-store displays.  She describes herself as a design enthusiast and enjoys being surrounded by creative people.  In her spare time she enjoys walking along the lake, going to the zoo and eating cookies.

College Advisor, 312-369-7649,

Design (Interior Architecture, Illustration), Harrington transfers


Gabby McCadd


Gabby is the advisor to Cinema Art + Science students. She is a coffee connoisseur and loves all things art & entertainment. She is also an avid reader, writer and movie enthusiast. One of her favorite mantras is “Good things come to those who hustle.”  You’re here at Columbia because of your talent & passion, but a strong work ethic coupled with your education and training will make you go the distance. Gabby is looking forward to helping you build a successful road map to your academic and professional goals!

College Advisor, 312-369-7648,

Cinema Art + Science


Jeff Howard


Jeff Howard joins Columbia with a background in advertising and diversity work. Jeff worked for over five years in advertising and communications for the Chicago Transit Authority and Loyola University Chicago. He most recently served as the founding director for the LGBTQ student life office at the University of Chicago. Jeff’s undergraduate studies included photography, communication, and history. He earned his undergraduate degree from Hope College and holds a master’s degree in higher education for Loyola University Chicago. In his spare time, Jeff loves urban exploration and is a public transit nerd with a particular love of subway systems.

College Advisor, 312-369-7762, 

Communication in Media & Innovation (Advertising, Multimedia Journalism, Public Relations)


Jessica Horwitz


As the college advisor for Fashion Studies students, Jessica is continuously awed by the talent and commitment her students exhibit. She is passionate about helping her students reach their full potential while at Columbia. When not advising her students, Jessica likes to spend time reading, doing crossword puzzles, and trying new restaurants throughout the city. She is excited to welcome you to Columbia and looks forward to getting to know you.

College Advisor, 312-369-7801,

Fashion Studies


Jill Sultz


Jill works with Cinema Art + Science students. She has been teaching in CA+S for 15 years. She is a filmmaker and passionate cinephile. Jill’s other interests include military history, baking and fashion.

College Advisor, 312-369-7372

Cinema Art + Science


Kamillah Ong


Kamillah is one of the college advisors for Film & Video students. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from DePaul and a master’s degree in higher education from Loyola University, she’s spent years studying, working, dreaming and exploring in Chicago. She strongly believes college is a catalyst, an opportunity to challenge yourself to discover what you love and what you do well, and define how you will use your creativity to impact your community. Her favorite part of her job is helping students figure out how to do that and more.

College Advisor, 312-369-3233,

Audio Arts & Acoustics, Cinema Art + Science (Animation)


Karen Smith


Karen Smith, advisor to Advertising Art Direction and Graphic Design students, is sure she knows the best pizza places in Chicago. With a city known for its slice, that’s saying something. Karen is constantly involved in the city- whether it’s going to concerts and plays or cheering on the Bears win or lose (like a true Chicagoan does.) Karen is awed by the talent of her students and is quite confident she’s seen some of the best art directors and graphic artists walk through her door.

College Advisor, 312-369-7646,

Design (Advertising Art Direction, Graphic Design)


Keith Lusson


Liberal Arts & Sciences Advisor, Keith Lusson, reads U.S. History, and teaches it, too. He also digs hoops, golf, and perhaps most ironically—a good musical. Keith looks forward to helping you explore, find, and articulate your passion, and enjoying it along the way.

Associate Director, 312-369-7283,

Art and Materials Conservation, ASL - English Interpretation, Cultural Studies, & Education


Lauren Targ


Lauren is the quintessential collaborator. She has worked in theatre and film as an actor, director, and writer, and, most recently, has co-authored a book. As an interdisciplinary artist whose passion is nurturing students, Lauren understands what her students are going through as they build good lives in the arts. Stop in the College Advising Center to see her, and share your vision of your future. You can work with her on making it a reality.

Assistant Director, 312-369-8626,

Creative Writing, Interactive Arts & Media


Lex Thompson


Alexis “Lex” Thompson is the Administrative Assistant in the College Advising Center where she helps College Advisors be awesome and flawless. Previously she worked as an Orientation Leader and a Resident Assistant before graduating from Columbia in May 2015 with a BA in Journalism. If she could have any super power, Lex would choose to control the weather so that the temperature in Chicago never drops below 30 degrees.

Administrative Assistant, 312-369-7986,


Mary Rachel Fanning


Mary Rachel has worked all over the creative spectrum from photographing communities to digital storytelling in refugee camps. She channels her love of tech, stories, and advocacy into online advising and communications. A southern ex-pat residing in Chicago, Mary Rachel is a fan of slow bike rides and passionate about urban agriculture.

Coordinator of Online Communications, 312-369-7344,

Online and general advising


Paula Brien


Paula has had two careers -- as a journalist and as a college advisor to media students. Both are rooted in a similar, and critical, set of skills: understanding the audience, asking the right questions, and finding the best answers. Paula is your source, from what classes to take to what connections to make.

College Advisor, 312-369-7935, 

Radio, Television


Rachel Horton Smith


When not giving you advice (and keeping you sane), Rachel is probably out writing poetry. Rachel describes her students as some of the most interesting, and well-rounded people she knows. With compliments like that, why wouldn’t you want to see her?

Associate Director, 312-369-7621,


Ritch Barnes


Ritch Barnes is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago in Film & Video. He has worked on several Hollywood features, he is a passionate poet, fiction writer and Jazz enthusiast. Ritch enjoys meeting with students to share his knowledge and to hear their creative stories. According to Ritch, he lives in the best of both worlds because he can help young people find their dreams, while he pursues his own. Stop by the CAC and don’t hesitate to tell Ritch your story (or stories).

College Advisor, 312-369-7932,



Sneha Reddy


Sneha Reddy advises Dance and Photography students. She is thrilled to work with such a creative and diverse student body. Aside from her interests in student development and work as an advisor, Sneha is a visual artist. She has illustrated published children’s books, paints, draws, sculpts, and simply enjoys making “stuff”! Sneha is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she completed her B.A. in Art & Design and M.A. in Higher Education. She looks forward to getting to know her students and working with them from orientation through graduation.

College, Advisor, 312-369-7554,

Dance, Photography


Will Casey


Will Casey is a fellow lover of the theatre, and after many years as a professional actor, has the connections and insight that will guide you on your way to a life on stage. He’s also a wiz at the bbq (with a dry rub that will knock your socks off) and will be more than happy to help you find that killer monologue you’ve been looking for (and also give you a great toast, just in case.)

College Advisor, 312-369-8623,