Meet the Team

Meet the Team

We are a 60-person professional staff dedicated to supporting all University of Chicago students, faculty, staff, alumni, and outside small business owners in navigating the complex process of creating and growing a startup or bringing their idea to market. We also serve as an important gateway for industry partners, helping them access new research and technologies from the University of Chicago.

Marketing and Communications

Marketing and Communications

Devin Wideman

Devin Wideman

Associate Director, Marketing and Communications

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Devin Wideman

Associate Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3695
E: devin.wideman@chicagobooth.edu

Devin Wideman serves as the associate director of digital marketing and communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role he creates and implements strategies to foster external awareness to Polsky’s programs, startups, and mission among a wide variety of audiences, including University of Chicago alumni, students, faculty, staff, community-based entrepreneurs, and external partners.

Prior to joining Polsky, Devin worked in communications at both the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools and Alumni Relations and Development. In these roles, he used his expertise in marketing communications, videography, and photography to expand their digital presence through interactive social media campaigns and on-going original video content. By developing creative social media engagement strategies, he was able to successfully increase the audience size and engagement of both the Laboratory Schools’ and Alumni Relations and Development’s social media channels across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Devin earned a B.A. in Marketing Communications at Columbia College Chicago, and an MAT in Education at National Louis University.

Devin is passionate about photography and videography, and is always looking for new and innovative ways to expand his skillset and tell stories through his art.

Melissa Fassbender

Melissa Fassbender

Associate Director, External Relations and Science Communications

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Melissa Fassbender

Associate Director, External Relations and Science Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1134
E: melissa.fassbender@chicagobooth.edu

Melissa Fassbender serves as the associate director, external relations and science communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she works closely with the Science and Technology team to highlight translational research, IP-based startups, among other groundbreaking innovation and new technologies from across the University. She also is responsible for planning and managing all logistics for external brand-building opportunities and events, engaging with campus partners, media outlets, and external organizations in the entrepreneurial, science, technology, and business community.

Prior to joining Polsky, Melissa was an editor at Xconomy where she wrote about innovation in the biotech space. Before this, she held the same title at Outsourcing-Pharma, a global publication focused on drug development and clinical trials. She also was the editor of an online and print magazine dedicated to design engineering.

Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, where she majored in literary studies and minored in communications and journalism.

Melissa is interested in old books, modern art, and coffee in any form.

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Associate Director, Media Relations and External Communications

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Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Associate Director, Media Relations and External Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
P: 312.286.0060
E: Alexia.Elejalde-Ruiz@chicagobooth.edu

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz is associate director of media relations and external communications at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. She leads all media relations for the Polsky Center and develops successful external communication strategies to generate local, national, and global coverage of the Polsky Center and its leadership in venture creation, science innovation, technology commercialization, partnership development, and supporting South Side small businesses.

Alexia came to Polsky after a 20-year career as a journalist. Most recently she was a business reporter at the Chicago Tribune covering the food industry and employment issues, beats that found her traversing peach farms in downstate Illinois and automated manufacturing plants in the northwest suburbs to tell the human stories behind the data and trends. Prior to joining the business desk, Alexia was a features reporter for the Tribune’s lifestyle section and for RedEye. Alexia got her start in journalism covering crime for the City News Service and suburban news for the Daily Herald, plus had early stints at WGN Radio and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

A native of Washington, D.C., Alexia received her bachelor of art’s degree in international relations from Brown University. She currently lives in Logan Square with her husband and their dog, Kaya, whose walks take up an inordinate amount of her free time.

For media inquiries, please contact Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz at 312.286.0060 or alexia.elejalde-ruiz@chicagobooth.edu.

Jessy Tapper, AM ’15

Jessy Tapper, AM ’15

Senior Writer and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications

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Jessy Tapper, AM ’15

Senior Writer and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: jtapper@uchicago.edu

Jessy Tapper Derleth, AM ’15, serves as the senior writer and content manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is primarily responsible for writing the Polsky Weekly 10, a weekly email newsletter that shares the most relevant and exciting news in Polsky’s ecosystem to upwards of 25,000 subscribers from around the world every Friday. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Jessy worked as a copywriter for a comprehensive marketing agency, helping to shape the voice and experiential language for a variety of household brand names, from Sour Patch Kids and Wheat Thins to United Airlines and the U.S. Army.  

Jessy earned her master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University where she graduated cum laude with highest honors in English. 

Outside of her work with the Polsky Center, Jessy spends most of her time writing for other mediums, currently trying her hand at fiction. In her spare time, she loves reading a good (and sometimes bad) book, yoga, learning to cook, NFL RedZone, and her adorable French bulldog pup named Hank. 

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