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Youth Advisory Board

Alyssa Blair

Alyssa Blair is a junior at West Springfield High School in West Springfield, Massachusetts. She discovered journalism through creative writing and enjoys journalism because of the fact that it is storytelling of real people and events. WJMC helped Alyssa to realize her true passion for written journalism, educated her in the field, and surrounded her with a community of people who she felt understood by. In school, she is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society and the Superintendent Advisory Board, is an editor for her school’s newspaper and news station, and is an outstanding member of her school’s swimming program. She hopes to pursue a degree in mass communications following her graduation in 2019 and is looking forward to helping a whole new group of WJMC members on their journeys in the field of journalism.

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Youth Advisory Board

Alex Varada

Alex Varada is currently a junior at Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia. In her free time, she likes to volunteer at her local hospice center and tutor elementary and middle school students in various subjects including public speaking and math. She is tri-lingual and aspires to become a pediatric psychiatrist. Alex is also a photography editor for her school’s yearbook. WJMC was a one-of-a-kind experience for Alex, because she was not only fortunate enough to meet speakers such as Sonya Gavankar and April Ryan, but she also interviewed Arthur Bryant about the current state of affairs.

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Speakers

Scott Jackson

SCOTT JACKSON

Co-Host of “Inside the Locker Room" on Washington Redskins Radio Network

Scott Jackson is a Co-Host of “Inside the Locker Room” with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell on The Washington Redskins Radio Network. A Northern Virginia native and lifelong DC Sports fan, Jackson is also the Official Redskins Post Game Show Co-Host with Clinton Portis, and he can be seen on CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Wizards ‘Game Time’ and ‘Wizards Extra. In addition to covering professional sports, Jackson has been a play-by-play announcer for the past two seasons for “CAA Football on CSN.” His career includes time in Raleigh, NC and Jacksonville, FL.

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Speakers

Mark Hopson

Co-Founder, HPC Leadership Institute

Mark C. Hopson holds a Ph.D. in intercultural communication (Ohio University) and M.A. and B.A. degrees in organizational communication (Western Michigan University). His main areas of expertise include critical intercultural communication; the rhetoric of race, culture, and gender; and the communication of violence prevention education.

Dr. Hopson’s publications include Notes from the Talking Drum: Exploring Black Communication and Critical Memory in Intercultural Communication Contexts (2011, Hampton Press); and Masculinity in the Black Imagination: Politics of Communicating Race and Gender (2011, Peter Lang).

Dr. Hopson’s research extends his value for teaching and service.  He received the Spirit of King Award (2011, Office of Diversity Programs and Services, George Mason University). Also, he served as chair of the African American Communication and Culture Division of the National Communication Association (2007-2008).

In 2008, Dr. Hopson began facilitating Changing Lives Through Literature (Fairfax County, VA), an alternative sentencing program for men on parole, and juvenile groups. The award winning program has been nationally recognized. In 2007, he was appointed to the leadership committee for the George Mason University Campus Climate Taskforce― an interdisciplinary effort to create safer environments for discourse about cultural difference.

As co-founder of the HPC Leadership Institute, Dr. Hopson facilitates violence prevention education seminars targeting relationship abuse, sexual assault, and harassment prevention. Dr. Hopson believes that cultural and racial sensitivity can lead to social responsibility. He actively promotes communication research that contributes to the health and wellbeing of society.

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Speakers

Maggie Linton

Host & Executive Producer, The Maggie Linton Show

Maggie Linton has been in broadcasting for 42-years. Maggie began her career in 1972 as a Sports Anchor for the KU Sports Network at KANU-FM in Lawrence, KS.  In 1974 she became Community Affairs Director and weekend Sports Anchor for KAKE-TV in Wichita, KS.  As the first woman Sports Anchor on TV in Wichita, KS she repeated this honor in St. Louis, MO at KPLR-TV and again in Washington, DC at WTTG-TV.

Maggie was a Sports Anchor and feature reporter for XM Satellite Radio USA Today News Channel.  She was also a producer for the Major League Baseball Channel, Associate Producer for the 2006 Grammy Awards, and Host of Red Cross Radio which aided the government, Red Cross and victims of Hurricane Katrina.  From 2006 – 2013 Maggie was Program Director of Sirius XM Book Radio.  At present she is Host and Executive Producer of The Maggie Linton Show, a two hour weekday talk show on Sirius XM Urban View Channel 126. Guests include New York Times bestselling authors, plus stars of sports, entertainment and politics.

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Speakers

Eric Felten

Managing Editor, The Weekly Standard

Eric Felten is Managing Editor of The Weekly Standard, a journalist with a deep understanding of American politics and culture. He has appeared on NBC, Fox News, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, and C-SPAN, and has written for the Wall Street Journal, People, Washingtonian, Forbes, Reader’s Digest, National Geographic Traveler, and many other publications. His celebrated cocktail column in the Wall Street Journal won a James Beard Foundation award for best newspaper writing about wine, beer and spirits. His book How’s Your Drink? was named by BuzzFeed as one of the 65 books everyone should read in their twenties. His most recent book is Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue.  From 2009 to 2012 he wrote the culture columns, “De Gustibus” and “Postmodern Times,” for the Wall Street Journal. Felten was also host of the long-running Voice of America-TV current affairs talk show “On the Line,” and anchored VOA’s international broadcast coverage of national news events, including elections and State of the Union addresses. Before that, Eric was a consulting producer, and occasional panelist, for “The McLaughlin Group.”

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Speakers

Frank LoMonte

Executive Director, Student Press Law Center

Frank LoMonte joined SPLC in January 2008 after practicing law with Atlanta-based Sutherland LLP and clerking for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Before law school, LoMonte was an award-winning investigative journalist and political columnist for daily newspapers in Florida and Georgia. LoMonte graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was a senior editor of the Georgia Law Review. His articles about the First Amendment and media-law topics have been widely published in Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the American University Law Review, the University of North Carolina First Amendment Law Review, and in many other outlets.

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Speakers

Emily Jashinsky

Commentary Writer, The Washington Examiner

Emily Jashinsky is Commentary Writer for the Washington Examiner, and served previously as the spokeswoman for Young America’s Foundation (YAF)– the nation’s largest conservative youth outreach group and the organization that maintains the Reagan Ranch in California. At YAF, Emily spearheaded media initiatives to push back against bias on college campuses. Her work has been featured everywhere from the Washington Post to “Good Morning America.” She is a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business. In 2016, Red Alert Politics named Emily to its “30 Under 30 List” of leading young conservatives.

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Speakers

Sarah Westwood

White House Reporter, Washington Examiner

Sarah Westwood is White House Reporter for the Washington Examiner. She previously covered local government for the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal.  She appears frequently on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, and many talk radio programs, including WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” and WTOP News in Washington.

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Speakers

Emily Vraga

Assistant Professor, George Mason University

Emily K. Vraga joined the faculty at George Mason University in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and spent one year as a Post-Doctoral Research Instructor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.

Dr. Vraga’s research focuses on how individual predispositions and motivations influence the processing of media content, particularly in the evolving digital environment. Her work has investigated a wide range of new media formats, including political blogs, social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and television programs that blur the lines between entertainment and information. Dr. Vraga is particularly interested in the ways in which partisans process messages to match their predispositions, as well as techniques that can limit biased information processing and the spread of misinformation.