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    2014 Speakers

    Hoda Kotb, Co-Host, Fourth Hour of NBC's "Today"; Correspondent, "Dateline NBC"

    Hoda Kotb is the co-host of the fourth hour of NBC's "Today". She began hosting the 10 a.m. hour when it debuted in September 2007, and she currently hosts alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb has also been a "Dateline NBC" correspondent since April 1998 and she is a New York Times Bestselling author for her book "Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee".

    Kotb has covered a wide variety of domestic and international stories across all NBC News platforms as well as numerous human-interest stories and features. She covered in-depth, the aftermath and one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a story personal to Kotb who lived in New Orleans for six years. She has reported on the war in Iraq, the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and the War on Terror in Afghanistan.

    Kotb is a three-year breast cancer survivor and has been a part of several initiatives to raise awareness about the disease. Diagnosed in March 2007, she shared her story on "Today" in October 2007.

    Kotb graduated from Virginia Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism. She resides in New York City.

    Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent, CNN

    Candy Crowley is CNN's award-winning chief political correspondent and anchor of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, a political hour of newsmaker interviews and analysis of the week’s most important issues. Crowley took the reins of State of the Union in February 2010. In her role as chief political correspondent, Crowley covers a broad range of stories, including presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races and major legislative developments on Capitol Hill. Crowley was selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to moderate a 2012 general election debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney. The town hall debate, scheduled for Oct. 16, 2012 in Hempstead, NY, will be the first debate moderated by a woman in two decades.

    She has covered the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Bob Dole, Jesse Jackson, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, among others. Since the presidential nomination of Jimmy Carter, she has covered all but one of the national political conventions. She was also granted an exclusive sit-down interview with President George W. Bush days before he left office.

    Crowley began her broadcast journalism career in Washington, D.C., as a newsroom assistant for Metromedia radio station WASH. She has served as an anchor for Mutual Broadcasting and as a general assignment and White House correspondent for the Associated Press, where she covered most of the Reagan era before moving on to NBC-TV to become a general assignment correspondent in NBC’s Washington bureau. She came to CNN from NBC News in 1987. Prior to her current role, Crowley served as a congressional correspondent for the network.

    Crowley earned a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

    Peter Doocy, Correspondent, Fox New Channel

    Peter Doocy is currently a Washington-based correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2009 as a general assignment reporter based in the New York bureau.

    Most recently, Doocy reported live on the scene of the deadly Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he covered the marathon bombing in Boston and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Throughout his career at FNC, he has covered a multitude of stories, including former Vice President Dick Cheney's heart transplant surgery in March 2012, the 2011 floods in the Midwest and the 2012 and 2008 Presidential Elections.

    Doocy received his B.A. from Villanova University and previously worked as a student reporter at FNC's partner site, The Palestra.

    Brian Lamb, President, Chairman, C-SPAN

    Brian Lamb is the CEO of C-SPAN Networks. He’s been at the helm of the public affairs channel since he helped the cable industry launch it on March 19, 1979.

    Today, C-SPAN employs approximately 270 people and delivers public affairs programming on three television channels to the nation’s cable and satellite customers; globally to Internet users via and 15 other internet sites; and to radio listeners through C-SPAN radio—an FM station in Washington that can also be heard on XM satellite service nationwide.

    Brian has also been a regular on-air presence at C-SPAN since the network’s earliest days. Over the years, he has interviewed Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush and many world leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. For 15 years, beginning in 1989, he interviewed 800 non-fiction authors for a weekly program known as Booknotes. Four books of collected interviews have been published based on the Booknotes series. Currently, Brian hosts Q and A, an hour long interview program on Sunday evening with people who are making things happen in politics, media, education or technology.

    Brian Lamb is a Hoosier, born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana. Interested in broadcasting as a child, he built crystal radio sets to pick up local signals. During high school and college, he sought out jobs at Lafayette radio and television stations, spinning records, selling ads, and eventually hosting his own television program.

    After graduating from Purdue with a degree in speech, Brian joined the Navy. His tour included the USS Thuban, White House duty during the Johnson Administration and a stint in the Pentagon public affairs office during the Vietnam War.

    In 1967, his navy service complete, Brian returned home to Lafayette. However, it wasn’t long before he returned to the nation’s capital where he began as a freelance reporter for UPI radio. Later, he served as a Senate press secretary and worked for the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy at a time when a national strategy was being developed for communications satellites.

    In 1974, Brian returned to journalism, publishing a biweekly newsletter called The Media Report. He also covered telecommunications issues as Washington bureau chief for Cablevision Magazine. It was from this vantage point that C-SPAN began to take shape. Congress was about to televise its proceedings; the cable industry was looking for programming to deliver to its customers by satellite. Brian brought these two ideas together with C-SPAN, which launched with the first televised House of Representatives debate on March 19, 1979.

    Brian and his wife Victoria are longtime residents of Arlington, Virginia. When he’s not reading newspapers or non-fiction books, Brian is often in hot pursuit of the latest country music release.

    Carol Guzy, Staff photographer, The Washington Post

    Carol Guzy was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on March 7, 1956. She lived there until 1978 when she completed her studies at Northampton County Area Community College, graduating with an Associate's degree in Registered Nursing. A change of heart led her to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida to study photography. She graduated in 1980 with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Photography.

    While at the Art Institute, she interned at The Miami Herald and upon graduation was hired as a staff photographer. She spent eight years at the newspaper before moving to Washington, DC in 1988 where she is currently a staff photographer at The Washington Post.

    Her assignments include both domestic and international stories and documentary reportage. She has been honored twice with the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for her coverage of the military intervention in Haiti and the devastating mudslide in Armero, Colombia. She has received a third Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for her work in Kosovo as well. She is the only journalist to ever receive a fourth Pulitzer for coverage of the Haitian earthquake in 2010. She has been named Photographer of the Year for the National Press Photographers Association three times and eight times for the White House News Photographers Association and has earned other prestigious awards in her chosen profession of photojournalism.

    Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    Shear is a political correspondent for The New York Times politics and government blog, "The Caucus."  His posts are dedicated to breaking news, providing smart analysis and generally guiding reader, in real time, through a jungle of spin, partisanship and conflicting claims to an understanding of what is happening each day in politics and goverment.

    Mike joined The New York Times in 2010, after nearly twenty years at The Washington Post, most recently covering the White House.  He was the lead reporter for coverage of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates, spending 20 months on the campaign trail with John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and the rest. Prior to the campaign, Shear spent five years covering politics in Virginia, including the administration of Gov. Mark Warner and the Webb-Allen Senate race in 2006.   He was a member of the team of reporters who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.

    Originally from California, Shear is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College, and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    Jennifer Bendery, Congressional Reporter, The Huffington Post

    Jennifer Bendery has been a White House and congressional reporter for The Huffington Post since April 2011. She covered Congress for four years for Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent four years covering the Texas Legislature for GalleryWatch in Austin, TX. She also worked in book publishing for three years in San Francisco and was a health care policy re-porter for two years in Providence, R.I.

    Ed Henry, Chief White House Correspondent, Fox News Channel

    Throughout his tenure at FNC, Henry has covered all major news stories involving President Obama and his administration. Most recently, Henry covered the 2013 government shutdown and the National Security Administration (NSA) leaks involving the former NSA government contractor Edward Snowden and the NSA’s wide-ranging surveillance activities, the 2012 presidential election where he was on the campaign trail with President Barack Obama and the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th, 2012. Additionally, he interviewed former President Bill Clinton on Nelson Mandela's legacy after his death in 2013 and Israeli President Shimon Peres about Iran's nuclear program. In addition to his role as chief White House Correspondent, Henry represents FNC in the White House press corps and also served as president of the White House Correspondents' Association from 2012-2013.

    Prior to joining FNC, Henry was at CNN from 2004-2011 where he served as the network’s senior White House correspondent and a congressional correspondent. Additionally, he began his career working as a Senate correspondent at Roll Call for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jack Anderson and later became a senior editor there. Henry also served as the chief political analyst for WMAL-AM (ABC) and a contributing editor at Washingtonian Magazine. Previously, he was a political analyst at C-SPAN and WUSA-TV (CBS 9).

    The recipient of numerous journalism honors, including the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress and the White House Correspondents Association's Merriman Smith Award for excellence in presidential coverage under deadline in 2008.

    Henry graduated from Sienna College with a B.A. in English.

    Monica McNutt

    Monica McNutt is a digital reporter at News Channel 8 covering news and sports. She lives, breathes, and proudly represents the Washington Metropolitan area. She is a graduate of the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland, was a student athlete at Georgetown University and received a masters in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland. From winning a WCAC championship at the Verizon center to covering the college and professional teams that play there, she's thrilled to be covering the teams she grew up watching. High school sports in this region have a special place in Monica's heart as each gym is filled with personal memories and great stories waiting to be told.

    Kevin McCarthy, and WJFK HD2

    Kevin "BDK" McCarthy is a film critic in the Washington DC metro area. Kevin graduated from George Mason University in the spring of 2006 and majored in Communications with a concentration in media production and criticism.

    Kevin began his movie reviewing career on The Junkies morning show, heard on 106.7FM The FAN. He also hosts his own movie show on WJFK HD2. In the summer of 2007, Kevin was hired as the movie reviewer for the FOX 5 morning news. His full written reviews can be found at He has also been quoted in national ad campaigns. Kevin is known for his conversational writing style and unique rating system. Kevin has loved movies since even before he was born and remembers seeing his first R-rated film when he was just eight years old. That was a big step for him. The film was Terminator 2: Judgement Day and is still Kevin's favorite action film of all time. Some of Kevin's favorite moments in his movie reviewing career have been interviewing some of his influences/idols: Quentin Tarantino, Don Cheadle, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky, etc.

    Kevin appears on The Junkies every Friday morning and will continue to make appearances on FOX 5 TV. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and his reviews are featured on

    Tom Jackman, Washington Post

    Tom Jackman has covered cops and courts for newspapers in Kansas City and Washington, D.C., since 1985, and still has no major arrests on his record. He is a Northern Virginia native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame. At the Kansas City Times, and then The Kansas City Star, he covered the case of serial killer Bob Berdella and wrote a best-selling book about his gory murders. He also wrote a weekly general interest column, regular concert reviews, and co-hosted a weekly TV talk show. After joining The Post in 1998, he covered the D.C. sniper case and was the lead writer on The Post's breaking news coverage of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, for which the paper was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, he launched a general interest blog called the State of NoVa, about anything he finds interesting in Northern Virginia, with emphasis on music, sports and gambling. It has been hugely successful so far.

    Beth Parker, General Assignment Reporter, Fox DC

    Beth Parker joined FOX 5 in August of 1998 as a general assignment reporter. She started her career in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley at WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg. She did a little of everything there, working as a reporter, photographer, anchor and producer. Beth then moved to Wilmington, NC where she was the weekend anchor at WECT-TV.

    Next, she worked as a reporter at WGHP-TV in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston Salem market of North Carolina. From there she headed north and became a reporter at WBAL-TV in Baltimore. She's won two Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting. She has also won five Emmys — for investigative reporting, feature reporting and daily news reporting.

    Beth grew up in a small town in Central Pennsylvania called Selinsgrove. At a very young age she started asking "why, why, why?" and her career plan was set. She studied journalism and politics at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. When she's not asking questions, Beth likes to travel, read, cook, and play tennis. She also volunteers as a tutor with Project Northstar, a non-profit that helps D.C.'s at-risk kids.

    Jana Sweeny, Director, International Communications, American Red Cross

    Jana Sweeny ensures the American public is informed about the international work the American Red Cross conducts worldwide. Previously, she worked as a disaster officer helping local Red Cross chapters in five Western states become better prepared to respond to disasters. She has served as a director of communications, marketing and government relations in the Mid-Atlantic region working with more than 100 chapters on their communications strategies and efforts. Sweeney has also deployed on behalf of Red Cross in support of Operations Iraqi Enduring Freedom, as well as worked with military families in Germany and at stateside locations.

    Sweeny serves as a Red Cross national media spokesperson and external affairs liaison during times of disaster. She is a member of the International Response Roster and deployed to Haiti in 2010.

    David Culver, Reporter, NBC Washington

    David Culver is a reporter with News4’s Northern Virginia Bureau. Culver has deep roots in Northern Virginia. He was born and raised in Fairfax County, and most of his family still lives there. Culver attended Gonzaga College High School then graduated from William and Mary with a degree in Hispanic Studies. But Culver always knew he wanted to be a journalist and spent a few summers at NBC in Washington. He interned at News4 and wrote a blog for while studying abroad. He was also an intern for NBC News’ Investigative Unit in Washington. After college, Culver became a reporter and producer for WAVY-TV, the NBC station in Norfolk. Two years later, he began anchoring the station’s weekend morning newscasts. He joined News4 in December 2012. Culver is fluent in Spanish and studied Arabic in college. He lives in Arlington.

    Julie Simmons, Managing Director, Human Capital Strategic Consulting

    Julie Simmons is the Managing Director of Human Capital Strategic Consulting. In this role, she works with organizations to accelerate business performance and drive superior results through the development and advancement of people. She advises on talent acquisition, career development, succession planning, retention, training and leadership development, as well as total rewards. She brings with her nearly 20 years of human resources experience with professional services, non-profits and government contracting organizations. Prior to founding Human Capital Strategic Consulting, Julie spent 14 years providing internal human resources consulting to Grant Thornton, TEOCO Corporation, the American Society of Travel Agents and Arthur Andersen. Julie currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and is the chair of the Chamber’s Women’s Business Thought Leadership Group. She serves on the George Mason University Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Marymount University Board of Visitors. She is also the chair emeritus of the George Mason University Alumni Scholarship Committee.

    Rodger Smith, Visiting Professor of Communication, George Mason University

    Professor Rodger Smith is a visiting professor of Communication at George Mason University. He is currently teaching COMM 359 Media Management and COMM 148 Radio Workshop 1. Professor Smith has also taught COMM 354 Radio Production, COMM 348 Radio Workshop 2 and COMM 399 Sports and the Media.

    He is currently the faculty advisor for WGMU campus radio station. Professor Smith’s interest in Communications came from an interest in how the cause and effect of programming, how the media affects a culture, daily life and technology. His previous work in radio includes working for WFTR Front Royal, Virginia where he was a news director (1986-1988), sports director and mid-day on-air talent (1988-1989) and a morning drive personality (1990-1992). He also worked as an advertising/production director for WUSQ Winchester.

    Professor Smith is the director of a Summer Radio Camp geared for middle and high school students who have an interest in radio. The radio camp consists of 2-one week sessions in July where students learn basic radio skills like writing and producing commercial and news items as well as delivering on-air breaks. They also get to tour a professional radio station, WJFK. Professor Smith was nominated for the Who’s Who in the Media and Communications in 1997-1998. What students may not know about Professor Smith is an avid competitive runner in 5K and 10K races and has an encyclopedic knowledge of NFL history.

    Steve Klein, Professor Emeritus/Journalism, George Mason University

    Mr. Klein specializes in a cross-platform journalism approach and provides workshops for high school programs through his “Journalism for the Rest of Us” initiative and as a Teacher Consultant for the Northern Virginia Writing Project. He has taught classes in Writing Across Media, News Writing and Reporting, Introduction to Journalism, Online Journalism, Sports Writing and Reporting and Political Journalism at George Mason University, American University, Cape Cod Community College and Michigan State University. Mr. Klein will also teach History of Journalism (From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg) at GMU and a Journalism Practicum and Feature Writing at Mary Washington University during fall 2014. Prior to coming to Mason, he served as Online Sports Editor of USA TODAY, and also worked at the Lansing State Journal, Tennis magazine, the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate, Enterprise Radio/The Sports Network, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal, for the Cleveland Crusaders of the World Hockey Association, the South Bend Tribune, the Wisconsin (Madison) State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal.

    Casey Given, Editor and Political Commentator, Young Voices

    Casey Given is an editor and political commentator at Young Voices. His writings have appeared in a number of publications including The American Conservative, TheBlaze, Forbes, Education Week, The Daily Caller, The Hill, and The Wall Street Journal. Casey holds a rhetoric degree from the University of California, Berkeley and will begin pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at George Washington University in the fall.

    Cathy Reisenwitz, Editor and Political Commentator, Young Voices

    Cathy Reisenwitz is an editor and political commentator at Young Voices. Prior to Young Voices, Cathy was the Digital Publishing Specialist for a D.C.-based monthly news magazine. She began her career in internet marketing for one of the United States’ largest privately held companies, EBSCO Industries Inc. Cathy holds a Journalism degree from Samford University. Her writing has appeared in WIRED, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, Talking Points Memo and the Washington Examiner.

    Dianna Russini, Sports Reporter, NBC4

    Dianna Russini is an anchor and reporter for News4’s sports department. Russini’s journalism career started at George Mason University where she covered the sidelines for the Patriots’ men’s and women’s basketball teams for Comcast SportsNet in Washington, D.C. After graduation, Russini switched to the news side of the business, reporting for News12 Hudson Valley, then becoming the Eastern New York Bureau Chief for WNBC, NBC’s owned station in New York. While doing some sports reporting at WNBC, Russini realized she missed covering sports full time. She moved to Seattle to become a sports reporter, anchor and host for Comcast SportsNet Northwest. After stops in the sports departments of News12 Long Island and WVIT, NBC’s owned station in Connecticut, Russini moved back to the Washington area to join News4. In her role, she reports on local athletes and games around the Washington area for News4 newscasts, contributes to Redskins Final and hosts pregame and postgame Washington Redskins shows. Russini’s interest in sports came from her father, who played in the Little League World Series. In high school, she played four sports then was a Division 1 soccer player at George Mason. She continues to be involved in athletics, coaching youth soccer in the Washington area. Russini lives in Chevy Chase.

    Jamie Smith, Executive VP of Media Strategies, Edelman

    Smith brings nearly two decades of public relations and strategic communications experience to Edelman. Most recently Smith served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Press Secretary. She previously served as Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Before that, she was Communications Director for U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV’s Personal Office and the two Senate Committee’s he chaired – the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Smith also served as the Traveling Press Director and Spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign, Communications Director for former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and The Albright Group, Legislative Aide to Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey and Operations Manager for Issue Advocacy at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Smith is from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, and a graduate of Kenyon College.

    Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent, ABC News

    Jonathan Karl was named ABC News’ Chief White Correspondent in December 2012. He regularly contributes to all broadcasts, including “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer” and "Nightline.” In addition, he reports for all of ABC's digital proper-ties, including the popular political blog “The Note” and hosts a weekly digital show for ABC News/Yahoo! News. Karl has broad experience covering U.S. politics, foreign policy and the military. His reporting drives news cycles and has been recognized with some of the most prestigious honors in journalism, including the 2011 Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based reporting and an Emmy Award for his cover-age of the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. In 2001, he won the National Press Foundation’s Everett McKinley Dirksen Award, the highest honor for Congressional reporting. A regular contributor to “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Karl also serves as a guest anchor for the program. In February 2010 he secured an exclusive interview with Dick Cheney for the Sunday morning program. Prior to his current post at the White House, Karl served as ABC’s Senior Political Correspondent, covering national po-litical news, including presidential politics and Congress. In 2012, Karl was often on the campaign trail. His well-sourced reporting gave viewers an inside track on the veepstakes as the Romney campaign whittled down its list of candidates. A prolific writer, Karl’s work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Stand-ard, The New Republican Science Monitor and The San Francisco Chronicle. In December 1995, his non-fiction book, “The Right to Bear Arms: The Rise of America’s New Militias,” was published by Harper-Collins.

    Kevin Loker, Program Coordinator, American Press Institute

    A graduate of George Mason University, Kevin served three years as editor of the online-only outlet (now Fourth Estate). During college he also interned with The Washington Post, working on programming and social media strategy for its events branch, Washington Post Live. Through that internship and active tweeting, he landed a gig writing about technology and journalism for MediaBistro's 10,000 Words. That work as well as involvement with a student conference reporter program resulted in his first job out of college, digital coordinator at the Online News Association, a professional membership association for journalists. Kevin has been in his current job since summer 2013: program coordinator of the American Press Institute, a think tank for journalism. He helps create and organize API events, research and other projects that help advance journalism.

    Lisa Bonos, Assignment Editor, The Washington Post

    Lisa Bonos got her start in journalism at UCLA’s Daily Bruin, where she served as copy editor, chief editorial board member, columnist and managing editor. In the summer of 2005, she came to The Washington Post for a copy-editing internship. After several years of copy-editing business, national and local news for The Post, she spent two years editing op-ed columns and editorials. Now an assignment editor with The Post’s Sunday opinion section, Outlook, she guides amateur and professional authors through the writing and editing of lengthy and provocative commentary pieces. In her spare time, she writes book reviews and feature stories, and has dabbled in stand-up comedy.

    Steven Pearlstein, Professor, George Mason University

    Steven Pearlstein, a Pulitzer-prize winning business and economics columnist for the Washington Post, joined the GMU faculty as Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs in the fall of 2011. His route to university teaching has been an unconventional one. After several years as a reporter for small newspapers in New Hampshire, he moved to Washington to serve as administrative assistant to members of the House and Senate. He was a TV reporter for public television in Boston, senior editor at Inc. magazine, and founding editor and publisher of The Boston Observer, a monthly political magazine. He returned to Washington in 1988 as deputy business editor and, over the next two decades, also served as the Post’s defense industry reporter, economics writer and Canadian correspondent. He became an opinion columnist in 2003, with a wide-ranging interest in business and economic topics of local, national and international interest. Professor Pearlstein was awarded the Gerald R. Loeb Award for commentary in 2007 and the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2008 for columns the previous year anticipating and explaining the recent financial crisis and global economic downturn. In 2011 he won the Gerald R. Loeb Award for lifetime achievement in business and financial journalism. His work has also been cited by the Society of Business Editors and Writers. He has appeared frequently as a commentator on national television and radio programs. He continues to write a regular column for the Post, the Post’s leadership web site, On Leadership, and Ezra Klein’s wonkblog. At GMU, Professor Pearlstein focuses on teaching basic principles of economics and economic policy and exploring new ways to improve the economic literacy of undergraduates who are not economics majors. He also teaches a freshman reading and writing course in the Honors College. Professor Pearlstein grew up in Brookline, Mass. and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. in 1973 with a B.A. in American Studies. He is a former moderator of West Newbury, Mass. and a director of the Washington Tennis and Educational Foundation. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Wendy Gray. He has two grown children, Laura and Eli.

    Tim Carman, Writer, The Washington Post

    Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires ingesting more calories than a draft horse. Tim has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award and won one in 2011 for Food-Related Columns and Commentary. His work has appeared in three vol-umes of the "Best Food Writing" collections as well as the sixth edition of "Cornbread Nation." He's written for Food Network magazine, Men's Journal and Maxim. Tim has a fondness for fat, lazy beagles, fatty Texas-style brisket and long afternoons spent next to his smoker, surrounded by good friends, and good music.


    Amy Takayama-Perez, Dean of Admissions and Executive Director of the Washington Scholars Program

    As the Dean of Admissions Amy is responsible for the overall management and execution of George Mason University’s recruitment strategy. Amy also serves as the Executive Director of the Washington Scholars Program, home to the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference. She has an affinity for working with students and families in higher education. Before her involvement in the Washington Scholars Program, she was the Guidance Specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools and served as the Director for a county wide college access program. Previously, she has worked in the Office of Admissions as the Director of Undergraduate Recruitment. She has worked with countless students and families on the application and college search process and is very active in regional and national college counseling associations. A native New Englander, Ms. Takayama-Perez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Masters of Education from George Mason University, and serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

    Richard Friesner, Director of the Washington Scholars Program

    Richard is the Program Director for the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment. In this role, Richard develops the summit's curriculum, identifies and recruits exceptional faculty and nationally recognized speakers in a variety of environmental disciplines and specialties, and coordinates with a fabulous group of staff in the Office of Admissions to make the summit an unparalleled experience for the student delegates attending. Richard earned a BS in Environmental Studies/Chemistry and a MS in Environmental Engineering & Science at the University of Kansas. Prior to working with WYSE Richard worked at the US Geological Survey (USGS) and as an environmental consultant for a nationwide engineering consulting firm. Richard also has extensive experience with student leadership experiences both at the University of Kansas and with the Boy Scouts of America.

    Elena Johnson, Program Director, Washington Journalism & Media Conference

    Elena is the Program Director for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC). As the director, she works to create a fulfilling conference experience by developing the curriculum for the conference, as well as recruiting professional faculty and nationally recognized speakers in the fields of journalism and the media. She coordinates with the staff in the Office of Admissions to develop an enriching and well-executed conference for all the correspondents. Prior to working with WJMC, Elena worked as a College and Career Specialist helping high school students explore their educational and career goals and choices. She also managed the National Young Leaders Conference and the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Elena earned her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She is excited to welcome future journalists to the nation’s capital!

    Andrias White, Events Manager

    Andrias serves as the Event Manager for the George Mason Office of Admissions and the Advanced Team Leader for the Washington Scholars Program. As Event Manager, she plans and facilitates recruitment events that attract prospective students from all over the country and showcase the prestige and innovation that is George Mason University. In her role as Advanced Team Leader, she is responsible for all on-campus logistics for the Washington Scholars Program Conferences and works hard to provide a seamless D.C. experience for all of the scholars. Prior to her permanent role in the Office of Admissions, Andrias served George Mason as Event Coordinator Assistant in the Office of Admissions. As a student, she received several university awards and was a member of many student organizations, university committees, and academic honor societies. However, she is most proud of her term as Student Representative on the GMU Board of Visitors. Andrias will complete her Bachelors of Science in Tourism and Events Management from the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism this spring at George Mason University and is proud to be a Mason Patriot!

    Faculty Advisors

    April van Buren, Mesa Vista Middle and High School, Ojo Caliente, NM

    April van Buren, MJE, has taught journalism for a decade, including at Parkway Central High School in suburban St. Louis and at Mesa Vista Middle and High School in rural New Mexico. She's taught Beginning Journalism, Newspaper Production, Yearbook and some video and creative writing. She has also been an adjunct professor for the Communications Department at the University of New Mexico-Taos. From 2010 to May of 2013, she served as the New Mexico director for the Journalism Education Association and as the Vice President of the NM Scholastic Press Association. She earned her National Board certification in Language Arts in 2012 and studied journalism, education and library sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In August 2013, she moved to Madison, WI with her husband, a graduate student and former assistant editor of the Taos News. In her free time, she likes to read young adult fiction and plays roller derby and ice hockey.

    Anthony Whitten, Westfield High School, Chantilly, VA

    Anthony Whitten teaches journalism at Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va. for Fairfax County Public Schools. He advises the Guardian yearbook and the Watchdog newspaper. The publications have earned Trophy Class designations from the Virginia High School League and the Guardian yearbook has received two Silver Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association during his tenure. In 2013, the Journalism Education Association recognized him as a Rising Star; the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers honored him with the Washington & Lee Young Adviser Award. He began his scholastic journalism career as a high school yearbook editor at Park View High School in Sterling, Va. He then attended the University of Virginia and joined yearbook there and served as Business Manager of Corks & Curls for three years.

    Jesse Sutherland

    Jesse Sutherland (@jmclean3) is the broadcast news adviser for WKHS-TV, the TV news program at Waterford Kettering High School in Waterford, MI. She also helps advise, the online students news website, teaches 11th grade Language Arts and is a coordinator of Kettering’s freshmen mentorship program, Link Crew. Sutherland received the Rising Star Award from the Journalism Education Association in 2014 and the Future Teacher Scholarship in 2009. She is also the Michigan state director for JEA, the treasurer for the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) and a JEA Certified Journalism Educator. Sutherland has presented at numerous workshops and conventions across the country and serves on JEA’s Digital Media committee. She received her Journalism Degree from Michigan State University and is a huge Spartan fan. In her “free” time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband, playing with her new dog Clyne and doing nerdy film stuff for her friend’s production company, Big Foot Films.

    Matthew Schott, Francis Howell Central High School, St. Charles, MO

    Matthew Schott is the publications adviser for Francis Howell Central Publications, this is his ninth year as an adviser after working as a graphic designer at four different newspapers. He advises newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, website and broadcast. He loves working in a multimedia classroom that allows students to have an experience as close to working for a professional publication as possible.

    Schott's publications have won numerous awards, including a Gold Crowns from CSPA and a Pacemakers from NSPA, as well as received numerous honors from varied local, state and national organizations.

    In his personal time, Schott loves to spend time with his wife, an elementary school assistant principal, and two children, Noah and Sydney. He's a tech and photography geek, as well as an avid reader and rabid soccer fan. This is Schott's fourth year at WJMC. Hope you're ready for an amazing conference.

    Stan Zoller, Rolling Meadows High School, Buffalo Grove, IL

    Stan Zoller, MJE, has been a journalism educator and newspaper adviser for 14 years. During that time, his students have received a number of awards including Illinois Journalist of the Year (2010, 2011), finalists in the National Scholastic Press Association’s Sports Story of the Year (2010, 2012) and a finalist in the Journalism Education Association’s Journalist of the Year (2011). His student publications have received many awards including a 2012 Silver Crown from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, an NSPA Pacemaker finalist, and three successive George Gallup Awards (2010, 2011, 2012) presented by Quill and Scroll. Zoller is Illinois State Director for JEA and is also a member of its Multicultural Commission. He has also served on the Board of the Kettle Moraine Press Association. Zoller was a Dow Jones News Fund Distinguished Adviser in 2011 and a Special Recognition Adviser in 2010. He was a 2003 Fellow of the American Society of News Editors. Prior to becoming an educator, Zoller worked in the media and media relations. He is still active in professional journalism and is a board member of the Chicago Headline Club, the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. His hobbies include photography, golf and model railroading. He is married and has two sons.

    Melissa Larson, Mesa Middle School, Castle Rock, CO

    Melissa Larson is in her seventh year as an educator. In 2014, she received the Rising Star Award from the Journalism Education Association. In 2013, she was recognized as one of nine Apple Award Finalists for Secondary Educator of the Year in the Douglas County School District. She teaches IB MYP technology courses including Digital Media, Multimedia Productions and Electronic Publications at Mesa Middle School in Castle Rock, Colorado. She has been advising the Imprints yearbook for six years. Her yearbook has won several awards including NSPA 2nd Place Best of Show in 2011 and 2013 and NSPA 1st Place National Picture of the Year in 2012 and 2013. She is also the adviser for Mesa’s online news publication, She was a fellow at the 2012 ASNE Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Computer Information Systems at Colorado State University. She is married and has three daughters.

    Matt Rasgorshek, Westside High School, Omaha, NE

    Matt Rasgorshek (@matt_raz) is the broadcast and online adviser at Westside High School in Omaha, NE. His publications have received state and national recognition. Westside Wired has been honored as one of the nation's top high school online publications. Warrior Television has been recognized as one of the nation's top broadcast programs. He is the former vice president for the Nebraska High School Press Association (NHSPA) and is actively involved on the JEA's Digital Media committee. This past year, Rasgorshek received special recognition as one of the country's top broadcast journalism advisers by the Journalism Education Association. He was also awarded the NHSPA's Distinguished Adviser Award for 2011-2012. Prior to teaching, Matt worked behind the camera as a newscast director, producer, videographer and editor in local affiliates in Omaha and Phoenix.

    Brian Wilson, Kettering High School, Waterford, MI

    Brian Wilson, MJE, advises Kismet and The Murmur, the yearbook and newspaper at Kettering High School in Waterford, MI. He is also adviser of, the online student newspaper, taught AP Composition for seven years, and currently serves as a coordinator in the high school Academic Center. Wilson serves as JEA Liaison to the National Council of Teachers of English and is former president of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. He has presented at workshops and conferences across the country and in 2009 he was awarded the Golden Pen, given to Michigan’s top publication adviser. In 2011 he was named a JEA Distinguished Yearbook Adviser. This year, Wilson was named Teacher of the Year in the Waterford School District.


    Abigail Rubemeyer, Intern

    Abigail Rubemeyer is identified by her vast ambitions and her drive to succeed. She is an ambassador for the National Society of High School Scholars, reaching out to other students and helping them to achieve their educational goals. She is a member of the National Spanish Society and studied Spanish for the past three years. Abigail is also a member of the National Honor Society, where she connects through Oak Hills High School to further students’ abilities while outreaching to the community. Throughout high school Abigail participated in Spanish Club, Student Council and school programs including Veterans Day, PTA fundraisers and Teacher Appreciation Week. Abigail was also involved in athletics where she played soccer for Oak Hills during her freshman and sophomore year. Qualified by academics, she received the unique opportunity to attend college full-time during her senior year of high school. Through a program called PSEO, Abigail attended Cincinnati State and earned 27 credit hours towards college. Maintaining a busy schedule, a 4.0 GPA and balancing a college curriculum, Abigail graduated Oak Hills High School with highest honors. This fall, she will continue her education at George Mason University’s Honors College, where she plans to double major in Communications and Marketing.

    Savannah Behrmann, Intern

    Dreams can be terrifying to chase. That’s why in high school, Savannah Behrmann did everything to start obtaining hers of being a broadcast journalist of a major news network, specifically covering politics and international affairs, and eventually becoming an International Correspondent. As a recent top-honor graduate of Juab High School in Nephi, Utah, Savannah packed as much as she could into her already busy schedule. As the Student Body Publicity Manager for her high school, she had the chance to write articles every week for the city newspaper, The Times News. Savannah was also a staff writer for her school’s newspaper, The Clarion. Because of her love of current events, Savannah joined the debate team her freshman year, and by senior year, was serving as Vice President. She was also the two time, repeat state champion in National Extemporaneous Speaking. She was 1 of 50 students selected from around the world to attend Four Star Leadership and Debate with General Tommy Franks last summer. Growing up as a dancer and performer, Savannah joined her school’s drill team, and served as President her senior year. She also represented Juab High School as the Dance Sterling Scholar, and won first runner up during the regional competition. Savannah also founded, and served as President for, Juab’s chapter of the Young Democrats of America. The Washington Journalism and Media Conference was such an influencing factor in her life that Savannah will pursuing journalism at George Mason University this upcoming fall.

    Jenna Chapman, Intern

    Jenna Chapman will graduate Stockbridge High School in the spring of 2014 and attend Michigan State University’s School of Journalism in the fall. During high school, she served as the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper, Uncaged, for two years. Also, she ran cross country and track and was a member of student council and National Honor Society. While she loves running and giving back to her community, journalism has been the strongest passion of hers. For the past year she has worked professionally as a Heritage Media freelancer, and she has managed various social media accounts for local organizations under public relations internships. She was selected as a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association’s all-state student journalist staff; moreover, her journalism experiences has taught her to love and appreciate the art of investigative storytelling. She is very honored to be back at WJMC and please do not hesitate to ask her with any questions; Jenna hopes she can help enlighten you to the endless possibilities in the world of journalism.

    Doni Holloway, Intern

    Doni Holloway is an award-winning aspiring television journalist and rising senior at Scotland Early College High School in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Since a young age, he has eagerly sought out and earned valuable journalistic experiences in television, print, and radio. As a middle school student, he anchored, produced, and directed his school’s news broadcast, Bucks News. In 2011, he won the Teen Kids News national reporter contest, in which America voted for the winner. In 2012, his “Stop Rx Drug Abuse” public service announcement (PSA) received recognition from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper as one of the top ten entries statewide. He has interviewed newsmakers and leaders ranging from President Obama’s 2nd Inaugural poet Richard Blanco to NASA’s Senior Project Scientist for Hubble Dr. Jennifer Wiseman. As a National Youth Correspondent, Holloway auditioned and was selected to deliver the introduction for WJMC keynote speaker and TODAY Show co-host Hoda Kotb at the National Press Club. Earlier this year, he was selected from ten thousand applicants to be one of one hundred students to attend the 2014 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey & ESSENCE Magazine. He was recently selected by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) as one of the top student journalists in the country to attend AAJA’s JCamp in Boston, MA for intensive training this coming July. He contributes as a special correspondent for The Laurinburg Exchange and presents the “Award-winning Spotlight on Education” on WLNC radio. He also enjoys motivational speaking and mentoring students. Doni looks forward to helping create an incredible conference experience for future correspondents and is honored to return to George Mason University.

    Junior Faculty Advisors

    Evan Petschke, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Evan Petschke, originally from Mechanicsburg, PA, is currently a Junior at George Mason University majoring in Global affairs with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa and minoring in Journalism. She aspires to do many things with her degree, including working as an international correspondent, a diplomat, and/or a human rights activist. Evan is very involved on campus. She is the Director of Philanthropy for Alpha Phi, Eta Lambda, she works as a news reporter for Mason's newspaper, the Fourth Estate, and is the Co-chairperson of Marketing for Mason's National Panhellenic Council. Off-campus she works part time at Pacers Running Store in Fairfax and enjoys running long-distance races in her spare time.

    Nadgeena Jerome, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Nadgeena Jerome is an alumni of the 2012 Washington Journalism and Media Conference. She is currently a sophomore at George Mason University, and hails from the adventurous city of Brooklyn, New York. On campus, she is involved in Freshman Focus and Mason Cable News, both located in the Office of Student Media. This past semester, she was also an intern for the Washington Scholars Program. Along with being active in the Mason Community, she is the 2014-2015 International Junior Miss Virginia Teen.

    Kasi Bumgarner, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Kasi is a rising senior at George Mason University. She is pursuing a B.A. in Film and Video Studies with a minor in History and is an alumna of WJMC 2011. Kasi is heavily involved on campus, including being a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, a founding member of Mason’s professional cinematic arts fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha, and is a member of GMU’s Relay for Life Event Committee. She also holds leadership positions in these organizations, as recruitment secretary of A?? and recruitment chair of ?KA. In her free time, Kasi enjoys spending time with friends and producing videos for her beauty and fashion YouTube channel. She is passionate about communication in all forms, and is excited to welcome this year’s National Youth Correspondents.

    Rondene Grinam, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Rondene is a rising Junior from Jacksonville, Florida, attending George Mason University. She is currently studying Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor Global Affairs. Her main campus involvements include being Student Government's Secretary of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, a sister of Alpha Omicron Pi, and an intern for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference. Rondene is so incredibly thankful for her experience at WJMC for not only allowing her to explore her passion for journalism in the nation's capital, but for also introducing her to all of the opportunities available to her at GMU. As a freshman she jumped into getting involved in the Office of Student Media, as a co-host for a WGMU radio program, a news contributor for both the school newspaper and the school's freshman magazine, and the promotions director for the school's online news source. In addition to Rondene's passion for communication, she has a passion for traveling. After spending the past summer studying French abroad, she landed a marketing internship at GMU's Center for Global Education, where she enjoyed advertising the CGE throughout various channels on campus and sharing stories about her experience in Paris. She is looking forward to travelling more in the future, but most importantly, she is looking forward to returning as a Junior Faculty Advisor to the conference that put her so squarely on the path to her career.

    Courtney Metcalf, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Courtney is a member of the George Mason University Honors College, where she is a Communication and French double major with a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Aside from her academic studies, she is also a Mason Ambassador, a member of the Communication Team at the Office of Student Media, and a member of the Patriot Activities Council. Courtney plans to use her journalistic skills for investigative journalism, and hopes to create documentaries about world issues, namely about women and the wrongs done to them by society. Courtney attended the WJMC during her junior year in high school, where she became more passionate about journalism and documentary filmmaking. Next year, Courtney plans to be an RA and continue to work hard and gain knowledge to impact the lives of others.

    Jen Storm, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Jennifer Storm is a rising senior at George Mason University studying Managerial Economics and Spanish. She is passionate about understanding developing economies and working in public service. She has held several internships on Capitol Hill working for federal offices, has studied abroad at the University of Oxford, and led a research team to Papua New Guinea last year. Jennifer attended WJMC in 2010 and interned at the conference in 2011.

    Kala West, Junior Faculty Advisor

    Kala J West is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is currently a senior at George Mason University studying Communication with a focus in Media Production and Criticism and a minor in Film and Media Studies. Kala is Alum of the Washington and Journalism Media Conference and was apart of the 2010-2011 WJMC Advisory Board. At GMU she is a DJ for WGMU where she produces 2 shows, Kala J’s Gospel Hour and Girlfriends. She is the longest on Air DJ Mason has ever had. Also she is a Sports Director for Mason Cable Network and their Switcher Operator for live shows. After Graduation Kala wishes to work in Broadcast Television.