Marisa Kwiatkowski


Investigative Reporter, USA TODAY

Marisa Kwiatkowski is an investigative reporter for USA TODAY. She has handled investigations relating to social services and welfare issues, including child abuse and neglect, poverty, elder abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and access to mental health services. Marisa has earned more than 50 journalism awards, including the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, IRE’s Tom Renner Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award in public service, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award and Indiana Journalist of the Year. Prior to USA TODAY, Marisa worked for media outlets in Indiana, South Carolina and Michigan.

In 2016, Marisa and her colleagues launched an investigation into USA Gymnastics that revealed top officials at the sport’s national governing body failed to report many allegations of sexual abuse by coaches. It also showed how predators exploited a lax culture to prey on children. As a result of the series, more than 500 women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Larry Nassar, a longtime team physician who worked in four Olympic games. Nassar pleaded guilty and is serving time in prison. The CEO board of directors of USA Gymnastics resigned. Multiple people have faced criminal charges. The series also spurred the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.

In 2013, Marisa received two national awards, as well as state and regional awards, for her coverage of the difficulties of children with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities to receive appropriate mental health services. She found parents falsely admitting to neglect in order to secure services for their children. After Marisa’s series published, state officials pledged up to $25 million per year to close the funding gap.


Ann Peters


Campus Consortium Program, Pulitzer Center

Ann Peters oversees the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium program, which creates opportunities for journalists, students and faculty to examine global issues across disciplines at a growing network of university and college partners and offers international reporting fellowships. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgetown University Law Center, Ann began her career as a correspondent for United Press International. She reported from North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Egypt and South Africa between 1983 and 1991. Her domestic reporting ranged from covering the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster to North Carolina politics. Her assignments abroad gave her ample opportunities to cover international affairs, whether interviewing Palestinians and Israelis during what would become known as the first Palestinian intifada or South Africans on the days and weeks following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. After her days at UPI and then at law school, Ann worked in London as a research associate and consultant for Human Rights Watch, focusing on blinding laser weapons, laws of war and arms embargoes, and then in Washington, D.C. for the Open Society Institute as program director of its Landmines Project. She also practiced law at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP, a firm specializing in providing legal advice to nonprofit organizations and individuals in the areas of nonprofit organization tax law, election law, employment law and environmental law.


Patrick Davis


Manager of Field Operations, CNN Washington

Patrick Davis serves as the Manager of Field Operations at CNN’s Washington Bureau, where he oversees technical & logistical planning for daily newsgathering, breaking news, and major events including Inauguration, State Funerals, State of the Union, Oval Office Addresses, Papal visits, and hurricanes. Over the course of his career, Patrick has worked at a variety of jobs throughout the television & radio industries: production assistant, guest booker, writer, shooter, editor, advertising sales, show producer, field producer, DJ, reporter, and anchor. During his time at CNN, he has covered numerous election cycles, and every major story since 9/11, earning several distinguished awards, including multiple Emmys and a Peabody. Patrick is a long time member of the Capitol Hill Radio & Television Correspondents Association, and serves on the Board of the Technical Advisory Subcommittee. He began his career in local television & radio, while earning his journalism degree at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.


Kasi Bumgarner


Assistant Digital Producer, National Endowment for Democracy

Kasi Bumgarner is an Assistant Digital Producer at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). At NED, she creates a variety of digital content to highlight events and capture stories of the organization’s grantees and fellows who are advocating for democracy and human rights around the world. Before joining NED, she worked as a receptionist, a freelance video editor, and a production intern for an independent documentary, Imitating Life: The Audacity of Suzanne Heintz.

Kasi’s love for storytelling and digital media began at a young age, but it wasn’t until she attended WJMC as a National Youth Correspondent in 2011 that she realized she could turn her passion into a career. She has loved being a part of the WJMC family ever since, returning as a Junior Faculty Advisor in 2014 and a Videographer in 2016.

Kasi graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Film and Video Studies from George Mason University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, exploring new spots in the DC area, and producing videos for her lifestyle YouTube channel, Curlyhairlove.


Shermichael Singleton


Contributing Host, Vox Media

Shermichael Singleton is a political consultant, writer, commentator, and Contributing Host of Vox Media’s Consider It, a current affairs digital show that airs weekly on Facebook Watch. He is also a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree for Law and Policy for his contributions to politics and media.

As a political operative, he has worked on the presidential campaigns of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich where he focused on youth outreach and engagement. From there he went on to work on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in campaign operations and coalitions where he traveled the country during the 2012 election. During the 2015 and 2016 cycle, he worked on the presidential campaign of renowned Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson where he was the faith coalitions advisor tasked with targeting and building coalitions within the faith community, which would become Dr. Carson’s strongest base of support. As a result, Dr. Carson became the only candidate to surpass President Trump in polls for several straight weeks during the 2016 campaign cycle.

In addition to his work on political campaigns, he was an opposition researcher for America Rising, LLC where he did opposition research for several Republican candidates running for Congress and the United States Senate. Beyond politics, he also worked with Florida based non-profit Lauren’s Kids, which focuses on raising awareness about child sexual abuse. During his time with Lauren’s Kids, he was a part of a team of former political operatives who worked on a statewide bus tour across Florida to raise awareness for this very important issue.

When Dr. Carson ended his bid for the presidency, he appointed Shermichael as his director of communications, where he would manage all communications for the former presidential candidate. As Dr. Carson’s top aide during the presidential transition process, Shermichael played a pivotal role in successfully guiding Dr. Carson through the Senate confirmation process. Subsequently, he was appointed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where he was sworn in as the Deputy Chief of Staff, the youngest ever appointed to the role in the history of the agency. Getting acclimated in his role at HUD, Shermichael was later fired by the Trump Administration after an articled surfaced where Shermichael criticized then-candidate Trump. After his dismissal, Shermichael went on to become a CNN Political Commentator.

In addition to co-hosting his weekly show on Vox Media, he appears weekly on MSNBC where he offers political analysis.

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied Political Science at Morehouse College and Government and Politics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Kayla Sharpe


Pro Copy Editor, Politico

Kayla Sharpe is a POLITICO Pro Copy Editor and co-author of Pro Technology’s Patent Politics newsletter.

A graduate of the College of William & Mary with degrees in Film & Media and American Studies, she began her journalism career as the Digital Media Editor of the student newspaper, The Flat Hat. Before joining POLITICO, Kayla worked at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, where she supported freelance journalists covering systemic and underreported global issues, and completed internships at the Brookings Institution, the Democratic National Committee and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Additionally, her work has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, receiving their 2017 Regional Mark of Excellence Award for In-Depth Reporting, and the College of William & Mary, receiving their 2016 Rex Smith Journalism Award.

Kayla lives in Vienna, Va., enjoys all things video games and considers herself to be a quintessential Washington creature.


Daniela Pierre-Bravo


TV Producer, MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

Daniela Pierre-Bravo is a New York City-based TV producer for MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” which features in-depth and informed discussions that help drive the day’s political conversation. Daniela books a wide variety of guests, including top newsmakers, Washington insiders, journalists, and cultural influencers for its three-hour live show. Daniela is also a contributing writer and the millennial ambassador for Mika Brzezinski’s “Know Your Value” platform – a movement that empowers women to recognize their personal and professional value by developing and inspiring their individual growth. Her writing has been featured in NBC Latino. Daniela is the co-author of “Earn It! Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond” with Mika, which focuses on young women navigating the workforce.


Laura Barrón-López


National Political Reporter, POLITICO

Laura Barrón-López is a national political reporter for POLITICO, covering House campaigns and the 2020 presidential race. Previously, she led 2018 coverage of the Democratic Party for the Washington Examiner, hitting the campaign trail to write about House and Senate races. Before that, Barrón-López covered Congress for HuffPost for two and half years, focusing on fights over fast-track authorization, criminal justice reform, and coal miner pensions, among other policy topics in the Senate. Barrón-López also covered energy and environment policy for The Hill. Her work has been published in The Oregonian, OC Register, E&E Publishing, and Roll Call. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from California State University, Fullerton.


Lauryn Cantrell

Lauren is the President of The Society of Professional Journalists at George Mason University. She seeks to instill solid networking skills, strong ethical morals, and an appreciation for the history of journalism and those who have dedicated their lives practicing and defending their rights to the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press.


John Hollis


Communications Officer, George Mason University

John D. Hollis lists 17 years of daily newspaper experience, including nearly 10 years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a lengthy stint as a correspondent for Time Magazine. He has authored three books, including “Sgt. Rodney M. Davis: The Making of a Hero,” the 2018 hit that chronicles the inspirational life and death of the U.S. Marine who became Macon, Georgia’s lone Medal of Honor recipient following his death in Vietnam in 1967. In 2013, Hollis teamed with former professional wrestler Lex Luger to pen “Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler – His Reign, Ruin, and Redemption.” Over his career, Hollis has covered the Super Bowl, the Olympics, five college basketball Final Fours, the College World Series, the NBA and the NFL and major college football and basketball within both the ACC and SEC. The University of Virginia and Woodberry Forest School alum is currently working as the Communications Manager at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.