Introducing the QI Communications Team

By Alicia Clarke

Qualcomm Institute (QI)—the UC San Diego division of Calit2—regulars have probably noticed several new faces on the fifth floor of Atkinson Hall this year. Quite a few of those belong to the QI Communications Team.

From left to right: Scott Blair, Katie Ismael, Molly Wofford (front center left), Jennifer Hollis, Alicia Clarke (front center right), Xochitl Rojas-Rocha. Back center: Alex Matthews. Not pictured: Trisha Kholiya.

With Alicia Clarke joining QI as the communications director in July 2018, the team has grown and continues to evolve— yet their goals remain largely unchanged. They are to:

  • Highlight the exciting outcomes from the research and collaborations that make the QI community truly unique.
  • Continue to offer professional communications services, such as general and technical writing, grant writing, photography and graphic design.
  • Explore new communications tools to reach a broader and more diverse audience. This includes the strategic and consistent use of social media, increased outreach to the media and, eventually, venturing into new domains, like podcasting.

QI is supported by talented and dedicated writers, designers, photographers and strategists. A short introduction to each of the team members follows.   

Alicia Clarke, Director

Alicia is the new director of communications for the Qualcomm Institute. She brings a love of science, storytelling and more than a decade of experience to her work. Most recently she was the communications director at NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, headquartered just outside of Washington D.C. Previously, she worked as a science writer for PBS, Polar Field Services and Michigan State University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology and a Master of Art in journalism.

Scott Blair, Senior Graphic Designer

Scott Blair is the graphic designer, web designer and front-end developer at QI, where he provides design and development support for many initiatives and projects. Scott graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Art and from the New York Institute of Technology with a Master of Art in communication arts. 

Jennifer Hollis, Writer

Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Art in communications from UC San Diego in 2015. Before joining QI’s front office in 2017, Jennifer worked in the front office of a local Alzheimer's assisted living facility. Last year, she began supporting the QI communications team as a social media writer. 

Katie Ismael, Media Communications Specialist

Katie is a new media communications specialist (public information officer) for QI. Most recently, she was managing editor at University of the Pacific in Northern California, where she oversaw the alumni magazine and other university publications, including the e-newsletter for faculty and staff. She has also served as a communications/media relations manager at UC Irvine’s business school, at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California, and at Mills College in the Bay Area. Earlier in her career, she was a reporter for The Press-Enterprise newspaper in inland Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from UC Riverside and a Master’s in journalism from the University of Southern California.

Trisha Kholiya, Student Writer

Trisha is a student science writer at QI. She is currently a second-year human biology major with a minor in psychology at UC San Diego and is also President of UCSD BioScholars and a clinical assistant at the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence. She joined QI in February 2018 and enjoys exploring the interdisciplinary nature of QI through feature writing.

Alex Matthews, Senior Producer and Director

Alex is a senior producer/director at QI who creates video and photography content for a wide variety of campus organizations. He is a graduate of the UC San Diego Visual Arts Program ('06) and received certification in digital compositing from Legend 3D. He began his career at the Jacobs School of Engineering and has worked for QI for the past 12 years. In his spare time, he is also a freelance photographer for KNSD NBC 7 and Live Nation and covers events and concerts throughout Southern California.

Xochitl Rojas-Rocha, Senior Writer

Xochitl comes to QI with a background in science writing, journalism and public outreach. Before arriving at QI, she worked as a science communicator with the U.S. Geological Survey's Western Ecological Research Center in Sacramento, CA. Her favorite part of being a science writer is learning about the creative ways in which researchers answer questions about nature and society. Xochitl holds Bachelor’s degrees in Marine Biology and Literature from UC Santa Cruz.

Molly Wofford, Senior Proposal Writer

Molly has a strong editorial background with experience in both writing and editing. She spent 10 years in the field of academic publishing, working as a book project manager for Elsevier, one of the largest publishers of scientific books and journals. She also worked as a freelance journalist for the Copley Press, San Diego Union-Tribune and other publications. Molly came to the QI in 2014 after having worked for seven years as an editor for the Department of Surgery in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. As the in-house proposal writer for QI she is a valuable resource who can make the proposal process easier for researchers both experienced and new to grant writing. 

Media Contacts

Alicia Clarke
(858) 822-5825