Meet Our Team

Specialist Acquisitions Editors

Todd Armstrong

Communication & Media Studies and Popular & Cultural Studies

Todd has more than 30 years of experience in the academic publishing industry, working for companies such as SAGE, McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall/Pearson, Cengage/Wadsworth, and W.W. Norton. Having worked in acquisitions, management, marketing, sales, and production, he has a thorough understanding of the full breadth of the academic publishing business. He is a member of the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Textbook and Academic Authors Association, and numerous regional communication associations. Todd holds degrees in English and history from The College of William & Mary.

Seidy Cruz

Latin American Studies, Chicano Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Sociology

Seidy has worked for Cognella since 2002, serving as a senior acquisitions editor for several years before transitioning into her current role as a specialist acquisitions editor. Seidy holds a B.S. in political science and a minor in French literature from the University of California, San Diego. After graduation, Seidy worked at San Diego Dialogue, a think-tank focused on issues affecting the border region. Her passion for inclusive communities and sound public policy led her to work at the Institute of the Americas. She now feels fortunate to combine her love for academic publishing and her drive to bring awareness to issues affecting Latinos and Latin American Studies in her role with Cognella.

David Miano, Ph.D.

History and Religion

David earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego. His doctoral thesis, Shadows on the Steps: Time Measurement in Ancient Israel, became his first published book. His research embraces the history of the ancient Mediterranean world and Near East, including Greece, Rome, Egypt, Israel, Mesopotamia, and Persia. He currently teaches at the State College of Florida, Manatee. He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Association of Ancient Historians, and the Society of Biblical Literature. David is also the founder and executive director of Schola Antiquorum, a national nonprofit academic society dedicated to the study of ancient history.

Laura E. Pasquale, Ph.D.

Psychology and Family Studies

Laura earned her B.A. in psychology from State University of New York at Binghamton, her M.S. in psychology from Villanova University, and her Ph.D. in human science with an emphasis in organizational systems from Saybrook University. Laura brings 25 years of service in healthcare, psychology, and publishing to her role with Cognella. Her extensive experience in the field includes clinical practice and program development; organizational culture, sustainability, and system change; teaching adults in academic and professional settings; and serving as an author and editor for published works in healthcare, management information systems, organizational development, and performance improvement. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the International Society for the Systems Sciences.

Mary Jane Peluso

Criminal Justice, Criminology, Homeland Security, and Security

Mary Jane brings a strong editorial background to Cognella, having created successful publishing programs for other notable publishers including Charles Scribner’s Sons, Macmillan, John Wiley & Sons, Pearson, Yale University Press, and Elsevier. Most recently, Mary Jane worked as a consultant and freelance acquisitions editor for CRC Press, Academic Press, and Logistics, Inc. She holds an M.A. in English literature from Holy Names University and a B.A. in English from the City University of New York. Mary Jane also studied English literature at the University of London and mediated instructional design at NYU.

Field Acquisitions Editors

Jennifer L. Codner

Midwest Region

Jennifer began her academic publishing career in 1994 when she took a job as a generalist sales representative with Thomson. Jennifer then served as a marketing manager for South-Western College Publishing before being promoted to acquisitions editor, overseeing tax, accounting, and business communication lists. She later worked at CCH Incorporated as an acquisitions editor managing tax, accounting, and law publications. At Cognella, Jennifer helps instructors develop texts within the Midwest region. She holds a B.S. in hotel and restaurant management from Ohio University.

Jennifer McCarthy

Southeast Region

Jennifer, a former Teacher of the Year nominee at the high school level, couples a hands-on background in academia with extensive experience in higher education publishing to serve as an acquisitions editor for Cognella. With more than eight years with the company, Jennifer has collaborated with countless professors to transform initial concepts for textbooks into fully-developed, meaningful resources for the modern classroom. Jennifer works in Cognella’s Southeast region.

Mieka Portier

Southern California, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest Regions

Mieka joined Cognella as an acquisitions editor on the University Readers Custom team, partnering with professors, departments, and programs to create customized course materials. In her current role, Mieka works with authors and editors in Southern California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, and Hawaii to publish engaging readers and thought-provoking original manuscripts. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Davis.

John Remington

Northeast Region

John brings an abundance of knowledge and expertise to Cognella with more than 36 years’ experience in the academic publishing industry. Over the course of his career, he has served in a number of capacities, including sales representative, sales manager, bookstore liaison, and technology specialist with Pearson, Key College, and Content on Demand. Since 2010, John has served as a senior acquisitions specialist with Cognella and, in doing so, has discovered a passion for the editorial side of higher education publishing. John oversees Cognella’s Northeast region.

Angela Schultz

Midwest and Southern Regions

Angela is a senior field acquisitions editor who manages Cognella’s Midwest and Southern regions. Angela began her career in higher education publishing in 1998 with Macmillan, where she worked on technology-related trade books. Over the course of her career, Angela has honed her skills across the industry, gaining experience in developmental editing, marketing, cover design, copyediting, and in-depth editing. Angela holds a B.S. in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Kristina Stolte

Western Region

Kristina brings more than 18 years of experience in acquisitions and sales across all disciplines to her role with Cognella. Kristina is responsible for acquisitions in Cognella’s Western region. She holds a B.A. in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from Washington State University.

Project Editors

Amy Smith

Project Editor

With nearly seven years of experience in the publishing industry, Amy Smith brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as project editor with Cognella. She has a strong background in publishing textbooks in diverse fields of study including culinary arts, construction management, HVAC systems, and communications, to name a few. Additionally, Amy has worked in editorial, manuscript editing, and production capacities in previous professional roles. She holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in publishing studies from Illinois State University, as well as a certificate in Essentials of Project Management from the University of Chicago.

Kaela Martin

Project Editor

In her role as project editor with Cognella, Kaela Martin manages the editorial phases of revision projects. She brings more than four years of experience in academic publishing to her role, including previous positions as an intern at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and an editorial assistant at Plural Publishing. Kaela taught English abroad in France and holds a B.A. in English and French literature from the University of California, San Diego.

Tony Paese

Project Editor

Prior to joining the Cognella team as a project editor, Tony worked for two years in an editorial role with Thieme Medical Publishers in New York City, where he gained experience in acquisitions, manuscript development, and administrative support. Before joining Thieme, Tony worked at Therapeutics, Inc., supporting clinical trials as a clinical research assistant. He holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Michelle Piehl

Project Editor

Michelle Piehl is a project editor with a strong background in editing, journalism, teaching, music education, and public affairs/community relations. Michelle is currently pursuing a master’s of Professional Studies in Publishing at the George Washington University.

Gem Rabanera

Project Editor

Gem Rabanera brings nine years of experience in academic publishing to her role as project editor with Cognella. Her previous roles include editorial and production work for journals and PreK-12 educator professional development at SAGE Publications, as well as project editor work on medical books for Plural Publishing. Gem holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Kassie Graves

Vice President of Editorial; Social Work and Human Services Acquisitions

Kassie joined Cognella in 2015 as the director of acquisitions and sales. As the vice president of editorial, Kassie manages Cognella’s specialist acquisitions editors and field acquisitions editors, as well as overseeing the Cognella Academic Publishing imprint. Kassie also leverages her personal knowledge within the fields of social work and human services to sign engaging and effective texts in the discipline. Kassie brings a wealth of expertise to Cognella with over 20 years of experience in the publishing and marketing industries. Prior to joining the team, she served as an associate director, publisher, and acquisitions editor for SAGE Publications. She holds a B.A. in journalism from California State University, Northridge, and an M.B.A. from California Lutheran University.

Jamie Giganti

Director of Academic Publishing

Jamie joined Cognella in 2011 as a project editor, overseeing the editing and publication of Cognella textbooks in a variety of subjects. As the director of academic publishing, she oversees the start-to-finish success of Cognella publications, from equipping editors and authors with the tools they need to develop a manuscript to ensuring the production preparation of books runs smoothly. Jamie also connects with authors to ensure their publishing experience has surpassed their expectations. Before joining Cognella, she worked with the Journal of International Affairs as the director of production and with the publication division of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue. Jamie earned dual B.A. degrees from Emory University in Russian language and literature and dance and movement studies. She also holds a Master of International Affairs from SIPA at Columbia University. Jamie loves the intersection of education and books, which is how she came to be in the publishing field.