Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media, University of Michigan

University of Michigan

Nikki Sunstrum is the Director of Social Media for the University of Michigan, where she is responsible for developing innovative solutions for strategically leveraging and advancing interactive communications at one of the world’s top universities. In her two years at U-M, Sunstrum has transformed UMSocial into a pillar of global best practices among higher-education peers and industry professionals. Her collaborative and goal-oriented methods have expanded the impact and understanding of online communications universally and cultivated audiences that now place U-M within the Top 10 on every major social media network. Her duties include the overarching coordination and leadership of a unified presence, standards and policy implementation, consultation, facilitation, and training, each aimed at ensuring that all communications provide additional value to university stakeholders, mitigate institutional risk, and elevate brand perception. Sunstrum is a recognized leader in the development and evaluation of emerging communication strategies for high performance and goal-oriented results. Her early adoption and proactive engagement on Snapchat and Yik Yak have become leading best-practice examples globally.


Prior to assuming her current role, Sunstrum developed and coordinated the State of Michigan’s statewide social media footprint: reinventing constituent engagement, elevating transparency, and establishing Michigan as a trailblazer and leader for government social communications. By the end of her tenure, Michigan ranked third nationally in engaging government communications methods, making her responsible for managing daily interactions with an external audience of 6 million and an internal one of more than 46,000 state employees.


Sunstrum earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s degree from Aquinas College. She is a certified teacher, former elected public official, municipal program coordinator, active volunteer, and coach.