About Phoenix Forward

Welcome and thank you for reading Phoenix Forward. We publish articles that celebrate current University of Phoenix students, as well as faculty members and partners of the University. We cover news that impacts our various schools and colleges and share information about careers and everyday life — all things that are important to a student.
Phoenix Forward was launched in January 2012 and has won numerous industry awards. It is written by writers who have an insider’s view of the University. It showcases the community as a vital, connected network of dynamic individuals who are collectively changing the landscape of education.
Our site is growing daily and we hope you’ll return to see our new content and features. We want to hear from you: To share feedback — or to pitch article ideas to the editorial team — please contact us at phoenixforward@phoenix.edu, and be sure to follow what’s going on at the University on Twitter® and Facebook®.

Amanda Flatten, Beth Jim and Trista Sobeck
Co-Editors, Phoenix Forward



Amanda Flatten

Amanda Flatten has more than 14 years of print and digital magazine publishing experience. She has served as senior editor of Phoenix Focus, the University of Phoenix Alumni Association magazine; editor and associate publisher of Dallas/Fort Worth House & Home, a regional home and garden publication; and editor and publisher of two legal publications in Southern California. Amanda enjoys inspiring others with thought-provoking stories and photography.

Beth Jim has a background in television news at WSBT and AZFamily, and a master's in sociology from Notre Dame. But her true calling is in coordinating and organizing, and she wows the team with an impressive attention to detail that never leaves i’s undotted or t’s uncrossed. Beth is a genius at keeping balls in the air and trains on schedule, though she never speaks in clichés.

Trista Sobeck is a 10-year veteran of the University of Phoenix marketing department. Her background includes writing for a Philadelphia-based bridal magazine and starting a travel magazine in Arizona. She cares deeply about the University of Phoenix brand, knows the University history and believes in being a champion for the working learner. If energetic Trista had her way, there would be a couple more exclamation points in Phoenix Forward.

Staff Editor

Tina May

Tina May has worked at newspapers across the country, from New York’s Newsday to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Her proudest professional moments include being an editor at The Denver Post when it won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Columbine High School massacre, and supervising the 2004 presidential election team at The Arizona Republic. Though she is enjoying online publishing, she will always have ink in her veins.

Copy Editor

Lana Gates

Lana Gates — AP style maven, trademark guru and proofreader extraordinaire — has been writing and editing since 1991. (Really, she started in third grade with a story about a dragon and a fly.) Her work has been featured in Software Magazine, Computerworld, Sourcingmag.com, eHow and Livestrong.com, among others. Lana is on a continuous hunt for dangling modifiers.


Mary Barry is a writer with more than 12 years of experience, primarily working in health and education.  She specializes in marketing copy for print, web and social media, but has also been published in fitness and business magazines, including Commercial Executive Magazine. Mary enjoys fashion, fitness and poker, avoids gluten like the plague and is rarely seen without her kitten heels.

Leslie Gospill began her career in Colorado as one of state’s first female sportswriters. She moved on to write for national publications — including San Francisco Chronicle, Golf Digest, Self Magazine and Shape Magazine — eventually starting her own marketing communications agency in San Francisco and publishing a regional lawyers’ magazine. Now living in Phoenix, Leslie is celebrating her seventh year with the University.

Jill Elaine Hughes has worked as a professional writer, editor and journalist for nearly two decades, contributing articles to, among others, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader and The Washington Post; she has also authored several books. Jill's beats include health care, psychology and technology, though she also enjoys covering topics she knows nothing about. Based in Chicago, she is a history buff who loves old Hollywood movies and Renaissance fairs.

Jenny Jedeikin has been a professional writer for 20 years; her work has been published in a range of publications from Rolling Stone and InStyle to the San Francisco Chronicle. Most recently she worked as communications director for a national environmental nonprofit. Jenny likes to think she has infinite curiosity for the world beyond her San Francisco backyard, and enjoys the challenge of transforming complex issues into palatable prose.

After cutting his teeth on short stories about surfing centaurs in elementary school, Shadi Mirza graduated to more serious fare, creating copy for brands like Starwood Hotels as well as nonprofit organizations. Shadi has both a BA and MA in English and, as a result, has read “The Grapes of Wrath” more times than he’d like to admit. He never refuses a good hamburger.

Jennifer Paull is a writer and editor specializing in travel, food and drink, fashion and other admittedly indulgent topics. She has edited several best-selling and award-winning travel guidebooks — mostly with Fodor’s — and her byline has popped up everywhere from The Australian to Martha Stewart Weddings. She’s also a founding columnist with Book Riot, so all her novel-reading hours can be considered “research.”

Robrt Pela is a career journalist known mostly as an arts columnist for Phoenix New Times and as a weekly correspondent for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He’s worked as a writer and editor for numerous magazines, including Psychology Today, The Advocate, Phoenix Home & Garden and Men’s Fitness. His last book, “Filthy,” is a biography of film director John Waters. Robrt also runs an eponymous Phoenix art gallery.

Stevie Ann Rinehart has been writing primarily in a marketing capacity for nonprofits and private-sector companies since 1993. A former professional cartoonist, her writing pen beat her drawing pen for her affections, and she now enjoys interviewing faculty and alumni to create a compelling story. Stevie Ann has a BA and MA in political science, is a certified specialist of wine, and loves her hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.

Elliott Smith has been writing professionally for more than 15 years, first as a full-time sportswriter for newspapers in Texas and Washington state and then for Seattle Goodwill. Now living in the Washington, D.C., area, he’s a freelancer for MSN, MLB.com and Modern Man. Author of “Beltway Boys” – the 2013 book on the Washington Nationals – Elliott spends his free time chasing his two children around the backyard.


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Phoenix Forward Awards

MarCom Awards

MarCom Awards

Writing/Web Copy – Student Life section
Website Element/Infographic – University of Phoenix partners with national parks

Website Element/Infographic – What do employers really want?
Writing/Web Copy – Careers section

Honorable mention:
Website Element/Infographic – Don’t let grammar mistakes derail your career
Writing/Web Copy: Community section

Content Marketing Awards

Best Educational Publication

Apex Awards

Grand Award:
Design & Illustration – Infographics
Award of Excellence:
Best New Magazines & Journals