The Washington Journalism and Media Conference


Rebecca Roberts


Curator of Programming, Planet Word Museum

Rebecca Boggs Roberts is an award-winning educator, author, and speaker, whose books include The Suffragist Playbook: Your guide to changing the world; Suffragists in Washington, DC: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote; and Historic Congressional Cemetery.  The International Literacy Association named The Suffragist Playbook the best young adult non-fiction title for 2021.

Through her career, Rebecca has served many roles, including a journalist, producer, tour guide, forensic anthropologist, event planner, political consultant, jazz singer, and radio talk show host. Currently she is the curator of programming at Planet Word, a new museum that celebrates the joy and wonder of words and language.

Rebecca received her BA in Politics from Princeton University and her MA in Anthropology from George Washington University. An active volunteer in her native Washington, Rebecca serves of the board of the National Archives Foundation, on the Women’s Leadership Committee of the Trust for the National Mall, and on the Editorial Advisory Committee of the White House Historical Association.

She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, three sons, and a long-eared hound dog. Rebecca’s next book is a biography of Edith Wilson, published by Viking in 2023.


Andrias White Murdaugh


Vice President of Strategic Events, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Andrias White Murdaugh, MBA, CMP, CSEP, CVP has dedicated her career to excellence in event management and digital production strategy for high-profile organizations.  In 2020, she was named vice president of strategic events for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) where she is responsible for building CBCF’s reputation for high performance and results through executional excellence, stakeholder engagement, and high caliber strategic events and televised productions. Her previous roles include director of logistics for George Mason University’s Office of Admissions, senior event manager for Events DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, senior facility and sales manager for the former Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, and CEO of Andrias Events, LLC. She’s also stepped from behind the curtain to serve as guest co-host for WTVR CBS 6’s lifestyle and entertainment show Virginia This Morning. In addition to receiving the Professional Convention Management Association’s 20 in their Twenties Award and the International Association of Venue Manager’s 30 Under 30 Award, she proudly served on the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Exam Item Review Committee, grader for the Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) Exam, and judge for International Live Event Association’s Professional Achievement in Creative Events Awards and Espirit Awards. Andrias earned a BS in Tourism & Event Management and an MBA from George Mason University where she later served as adjunct faculty and was inducted into the inaugural 40 under 40 Honors. She is the proud wife of fellow Mason alum David W. Murdaugh III, MBA and new mom to David IV.


Emily Buck


Washington News Bureau Chief, RFD-TV

Emily Buck is the Washington News Bureau Chief for RFD-TV, a pay television channel that features programming devoted to rural issues, concerns and interests. 
Emily grew up on her family’s beef and tobacco farm in Tennessee. She showed livestock and was active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), including serving as State FFA President. Before joining RFD-TV she was Congressional staff, working to advance grassroots policy issues for Tennesseans. Now, she works with USDA, Congress, and the White House to provide the news rural America needs.


Nicholas Wu


Congressional Reporter, POLITICO

Nicholas Wu is a congressional reporter at POLITICO.  He previously covered Congress for USA TODAY, where he started at the outlet’s breaking political news team. He’s covered both of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trials, COVID relief battles, the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, and more on Capitol Hill. He’s a graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in public policy and minored in American Studies and East Asian Studies.


Alison Bethel


Vice President of Corps Excellence, Report for America

Alison Bethel is Vice President of Corps Excellence at Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that places emerging journalists in newsrooms across America.  Previously, she was Executive Director of the Society of Professional Journalists, where she was only the second woman and the first person of color to serve in that capacity in SPJ’s 110 years. Bethel has more than 35 years of experience as an award-winning reporter, bureau chief, senior editor and media trainer. She has worked in senior-level positions at The Boston Globe, The Detroit News, Legal Times and the Nassau Guardian in The Bahamas. From July 2016 to May 2017, Bethel  served as a visiting professor of print and investigative journalism for the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media in Bangalore. She also spent a year in Accra, Ghana, for the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for Journalists, as a Knight International Journalism Fellow, helping Ghanaian journalists improve their reporting skills in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. She also worked at The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Times, Poughkeepsie Journal and the now-defunct State Times in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2009, she joined the International Press Institute, based in Vienna, Austria, as Deputy Director before becoming the Institute’s executive director a year later. She was the first woman and the first person of color in IPI’s 60-plus-year history to hold the position. The next year, she was named one of the 60 most influential black women in Europe by the nonprofit Black Women in Europe. In 2018, she was awarded the President’s Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Bethel is a co-founder of the Media Institute of the Caribbean and acts as an advisor/consultant for the news website in Barbados. She is also an advisory board member for Journalism & Women’s Symposium, a member of Journalism’s Strategic Committee, a board member of Southern Foodways Alliance and an advisory board member for the International Center for Media Ethics. She holds membership with the National Association of Black Journalists and the organization Christian Women in Media.

Faculty Advisor

Keirsten Robinson


Faculty Advisor, WJMC Alumna

Keirsten Robinson is a WJMC and George Mason alumna who currently works as a digital political strategist.  She graduated with a BA in Communication with concentrations in journalism and public relations and minored in both political communications and American government. During her time at Mason, Keirsten was a staff writer for the Fourth Estate and an anchor for Mason Cable News. In her current role, she creates digital media content for political campaigns and organizations. Most notably, she contributed to President Biden’s 2020 campaign as well as the 2 Georgia Run-Off Elections. In her free time she enjoys traveling the world, trying new food, and attending as many concerts as possible!


Taj Kokayi


WJMC Alumnus and Film & Video Studies Student, George Mason University

Taj Kokayi is a senior Film & Video Studies major at George Mason University, with a concentration in directing and a minor in theater performance.  He has worked on many film productions, including award-winning student films and a feature length documentary with an Oscar-nominated director. Two years in a row, he has been recognized for his commitment to representing the Black community through film with the Black Artist of the Year & the Social Media Activist of the Year Awards at George Mason’s Black Excellence Gala. And he was named this year’s Homecoming King for Black Mason Royalty. His film Woken From a Dream was an official selection at 11 festivals across the world, and won 5 awards, including Best Student Film, Best Experimental Film, and Best VFX. Taj is also currently a Finalist for the prestigious Princess Grace Award, and received a grant from the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program for his thesis film More Than A Damsel.

Taj has also received scholarships from the Alumni Association and Center for the Advancement of Well-Being and made the Dean’s List three years in a row.

In the spring of 2019, he spent a semester abroad in Spain expanding his studies to international journalism, film, and media. When he is not working on film productions, he is active in helping advance diversity on campus. During the 2019-2020 academic year, he served as a public relations chair for two of the largest Black student organizations on his campus, BSA and the Black, African-Heritage and Caribbean Coalition. And last summer, he helped organize the Black Lives Matter Peaceful March that took place on campus. He has also served as the founding directing representative for the Film at Mason Student Advisory Council and as a video producer for University Life.


Assad Khan


DJ, DC101 Radio & Associate Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs, George Mason University

Khan is a 20+ year DC radio veteran.  Having started as an intern which eventually turned into a spot as an on-air personality at the Legendary 99-1 HFS, Khan then went across town to iHeartRadio’s DC101 as a weekend/swing DJ. Focusing primarily on the alternative rock format, Khan has worked to engage audiences, build a rapport with the listeners and educate students on the industry of radio. During college, he was the promotions and public affairs director as well as a DJ of various specialty shows at WWVU-FM (U92) at West Virginia University. In his free time, he works as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs in the College of Science at George Mason University.


Katie Urban


Corporate Communications, Capital One

Katie Urban currently works on the Corporate Communications team at Capital One, specializing in public relations, earned media engagement, and influencer strategy for Capital One’s flagship consumer credit cards.  Prior to joining Capital One, Katie worked at Arlington-based real estate developer CRC Companies, where she developed marketing and communications strategies to assist with property lease-ups, win new business, and recruit new talent to the firm.

In college, Katie interned at Conde Nast for Glamour Magazine in New York City and at the NBC News affiliate in Charlottesville, Virginia. She also was an editor and columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Professional Studies in Corporate Communications and Public Relations from Georgetown University.

Advance Team Staff

Ashley King


Advance Team Member

Ashley King is the Event Coordinator in the Office of Admissions at George Mason University.  Ashley started with the Office of Admissions in October of 2019 and is excited to support her second in-person conference.  One of Ashley’s passions is to create visually engaging content by using her graphic design skills, so be on the lookout during the conference because you might just see one of her designs! Ashley earned her B.A. in Theater from George Mason University. In her free time you can catch Ashley going to concerts, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.