Subscribe to our email list
SMPA Alumni Newsletter Fall 2016
SMPA Alumni Newsletter Fall 2016
Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2016
Dear Alumni,
Friday, May 6, 2016, SMPA celebrated its Silver Anniversary with a gathering of more than 200 alumni, faculty, staff and friends in the City View Room overlooking the National Mall. Special guests GW President Steven Knapp, Chuck Todd, GW '95, and Darley Newman, BA '01, offered toasts, and Tommy Siegel, BA '07, entertained the crowd with original songs. Professors Matt Hindman, Janet Steele, Steven Livingston and David Karpf wowed the group with their "Faculty Ignite Talks," showcasing their current research on the problems of digital local news, the journalisms of Islam, digital communication and technology in transnational advocacy, and how digital analytics contributed to the Trump phenomenon.Visit  for videos, photos and more from the event.
Thank You to Our Donors
SMPA CAN Expands with Mentoring Program
SMPA would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the program from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Your gifts were used in myriad ways, including in helping SMPA launch the SMPA Career Access Network (SMPA CAN).
Through your generosity, SMPA CAN has surpassed it's goal for the year and we are on our way to raising $250,000 to cover the first five years of the program.  The money donated this year funded NINE internship packages this summer to students who were taking low or unpaid internships around the country. We couldn’t have done any of this without you. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  View the list of donors.
SMPA CAN is growing. This fall, we are piloting a mentoring program for students. A small test group of mentors, volunteers from our National Council, will help us launch the program. Stay tuned as we'll be giving an update on the mentoring program in the spring and we'll be looking for additional volunteers. Questions? Email Jennifer Halpin at
If you would like to make a gift to support SMPA and its programs, please click here or contact Kimberly Bowers at
SMPA Welcomes New 
Terker Distinguished Fellow
Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian joins the school.
Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian joins the School of Media and Public Affairs as the 2016-2017 Terker Distinguished Fellow in Media and Public Affairs. In this role, he will participate in class discussions, student and faculty gatherings and public events throughout the academic year. In 2014, Rezaian, a U.S.-born Iranian-American, was arrested and held in Evin—an Iranian prison—for more than 18 months on charges related to espionage, which he denied. He was released by Iran on January 17, 2016. Read more.
Frank Sesno, 
Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs

Alumni News
SMPA Panel Examines Role of the Media in 2016 Election
Less than 60 days before the 2016 presidential election, media experts and pollsters gathered in Jack Morton Auditorium to debate the role of the press during an election cycle and what each presidential candidate will need to do to win in November.
The School of Media and Public Affairs event, “Decision Time: What Are Trump and Clinton Doing to Politics and Media?” was hosted by Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, who attended George Washington University in the early1990s. Read more.
Every year during Alumni Weekend, campus comes alive as thousands of alumni, friends, and families return to GW. All Colonials and their families are invited to attend October 27-30, 2016.
During the four days of activities, alumni can choose from 60+ events, including the All-Alumni Kickoff Party, Alumni Achievement Awards, Back to Thurston tours, Taste of GW, the Sunday Political Discourse (moderated by SMPA Director Frank Sesno), Reunions for 1’s and 6’s and much much more!
The Office of Alumni Relations launched a new program for alumni to connect with one another through both virtual and in-person networking opportunities. The eight new industry networks (including one in Media & Communications) are not bound by geographic region, current workplace, or degree and provide another way for alumni of all schools to engage with other alumni around professional interests that they are passionate about. Click here to learn more. #NetworkGW

Stay Connected with SMPA
  • LinkedIn Group: With more than 900 members, the SMPA LinkedIn group for students and alumni is helping connect Colonials like you to job openings and other discussions. Please join today.
  • Facebook: Visit our SMPA Facebook page and connect with alumni, students and faculty.
  • Twitter: Follow us on Twitter @SMPAGWU for current SMPA news and tell us what makes you #SMPAproud.
  • Update Your Contact Information: Remember to keep your contact information updated here.

If you have any internship opportunities at your organization, please let our students know by emailing details to

Class Notes Fall 2016
Russell Tomar, MD ’63, BA ’59, is retired, writing, and resting. He has written one book and four complete plays since getting off the fast train. He is glad that GWU Journalism is okay and has moved into the modern world. He says hello to all past, present, and future students and graduates.
Robert “Bob” Wheelock, BA ’79, will produce the first Presidential and the Vice Presidential debate for ABC News this fall. He continues to pursue new projects for his company, RSWmedia, based in NYC. He is hopeful that his son Tim, who worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign the past seven months, will be admitted to GWU in the spring. His other son Matthew is in his first year at the Culinary Institute of America and will be in New Orleans for the fall and winter doing his externship.
Eric Federing, BA ’82, directed Press Information Center operations at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. This was his 6th Convention at the helm of the PICs, and his 7th in PIC management overall.  
Jim Clarke, BA ’87, is now The Associated Press' Regional Director for the U.S. Central region, responsible for member relations and sales in eight states. He's been with the AP for 24 years, and has previously been a reporter, news editor and bureau chief. He is based in Denver.
Alison (Leeman) Clay-Duboff, BA ’87, has loved life since GWU launched her on her worldwide career path. She is happily settled in Manhattan Beach California, where she sells real estate with a passion and success driven by the structure and education attained at GWU. She is a proud mother and grandmother, with her two Bouviers always at her side.
Greg Wymer, BA ’88, is now the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. In addition, he is still DJing as a side job, having started back in college to help raise funds for WRGW.
Scott Rosenbaum, BA ’91, recently finished his second film—a documentary about three of the last of the Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf musicians called “Sidemen: Long Road To Glory”. The film had it's world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March and it is currently screening at festivals around the world.
Heather (Pastor) Moran, BA ’95, after 20 years in the TV industry, has taken a job as the Executive Director of Sixth & I, a non-profit cultural center in Washington, DC.
Aaron Golub, JD ’02, BA ’96, is living in Raleigh, NC, where he works as Senior Corporate Counsel for Grifols, a life sciences company based in Barcelona.
Andy Brill, BA ’97, a GW Men's Basketball season ticket holder and two-time Emmy Award winner, recently celebrated twelve years as a Senior Editor at Discovery Communications.  Andy is currently assigned to TLC on-air marketing and promotions, but in recent years, worked on Science Channel and Travel Channel.  Andy lives in Rockville, MD with his wife Marlie (BA '97) and two small Colonials fans.  
Abby Jones, PhD, BA ’97, will spend this next year serving as a Visiting Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication. During this time, she is looking forward to writing a book on the comparative media coverage of global public policies such as climate change and completing other research projects.
Erich Zimmerman, BA ’98, has spent the past three years as the Transportation Director for the National Association of Regional Councils, after nearly a decade with the taxpayer watchdog organization, Taxpayers for Common Sense. He is a proud resident of the Brookland neighborhood of DC, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
Matthew Katz, BA ’00, authored the book, "American Governor: Chris Christie's Bridge to Redemption," published by Simon & Schuster's Threshhold Editions. He is a political reporter for WNYC public radio and NPR.
Darley Newman, BA ’01, is the host and producer of "Travels with Darley," a new travel TV series that debuts its second season on PBS this fall. Newman's production team from DCN Creative recently filmed in Hong Kong and Europe for new episodes. This series arose following Darley's popular and Emmy-winning "Equitrekking" TV show, which broadcasts on PBS and networks in over 90 nations.
Brian Dobler, BA ’03, authored his first book “Media and Culture in the U.S. Jewish Labor Movement: Sweating for Democracy in the Interwar Era,” which is due out from Palgrave Macmillan in December 2016. It is based on his dissertation, for which he earned a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. One year ago, he moved to Los Angeles with his spouse and grad school sweetheart, Dr. Christina Ceisel.
April Slayton, BA ’03, was named communications director for the National Park Service in October of 2015 after serving for the previous year and a half as the NPS chief spokesperson. She is leading the communications effort surrounding the 100th anniversary of NPS, working with partners to invite a new generation to discover the amazing national park system.
Michelle Kessel, BA ’05, joined ABC News as a producer for Nightline in October after 10 years at NBC News.
Joy Cameron Burks, BA ’06, is a Vice President at a DC-based public affairs firm called Subject Matter, where she leads the Media division, overseeing the strategic development and tactical execution of media outreach initiatives. She established the agency's in-house broadcast production studio and has managed a range of productions, including satellite media tours and interactive town halls.
Samuel Farber, BA ’06, is currently a play-by-play broadcaster for Fox Sports West, and also works as a sports anchor on Fox Sports Radio nationally as well as locally in Los Angeles.
Lindsay Rosen, BA ’06, is a Writer and Producer on the Travel Channel show, “Mysteries at the Museum.”
Kristin Sosanie, MPS ’08,  BA ’07, started working as an independent consultant after a stint handling national and state communications on the caucuses for Martin O'Malley's presidential campaign (as Deputy State Director in Iowa). She is now helping nonprofits and local theater groups with their marketing and public relations efforts, and just moved out to St Louis until the election to handle rapid response and communications for Chris Koster's campaign for Governor of Missouri.
Stephen Krupin, MA ’08, taught the graduate-level speechwriting course in SMPA during spring semester 2016, and in April was appointed Senior Presidential Speechwriter at the White House.
Paul Fucito, MA ’08, was promoted to Press Secretary for United States Patent and Trademark Office in October 2015. He recently worked with the White House on several high-profile campaigns including publicity roll out for the National Cancer Moonshot initiative and historic signing of the Defend Trade Secrets Act. He served as White House Business Council representative at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.     
Marshall Cohen, BA ’09, recently served as Campaign Manager for the successful congressional campaign of Jamie Raskin in MD-8, the most expensive House congressional primary in history. He is now the Deputy Political Director at the Democratic Governors Association, working with candidates and incumbents across the country to elect Democratic governors in 2016.
Brooke (Miller) Davis, BA ’10, married Eric Davis on May 28, 2016 at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ. They are currently living in DC. Eric is an accountant at E*TRADE Financial, and she is a Content & Campaigns Strategist with Blue State Digital.
Ashley Carufel, BA ’11, is the Assistant Director of Content Strategy and Social Media at PBS Headquarters. She was a speaker at the 2016 BlogHer Annual Conference in Los Angeles, and led the national social campaign for the latest season of The Great British Baking Show.
Amy Gopal, BA ’11, was promoted in August 2016 to the role of content strategist for Sharecare, a health and wellness engagement platform based in Atlanta, GA. Before being promoted, she worked for two years with the company as a web content publisher.
Ash McDaniel, BA ’11, began a new role at Golf Channel in January 2009, as a producer for the morning show.  Since her SMPA days, her goal was to become a producer and now she’s living that dream.
Ishaan Prakash, BA ’11, is Editor, Live Operations at ANI (Asian News International). ANI, is India's largest multimedia news agency and a Reuters partner in the subcontinent. ANI delivers content from across India to the World via the Reuters World News Service and provides domestic LIVE content to Indian channels and newspapers.
Colleen Shalby, BA ’11, after three years with PBS NewsHour, she moved back to her home state of California for a job with the LA Times, where she’s been working with the politics and engagement teams since December.
Marie Zisa, BA ’11, following her service with the Peace Corps in South Africa, she at a nonprofit in New York City that advocates for women and low-income communities. She is now attending law school at Georgetown University Law Center.
Andrew Clark, BA/MA ’12, is the Opinions Editor at the Independent Journal Review (
Alexandra Larkin, BA ’12, is Chief of Staff for New York State Assembly Member Pamela Harris. This year, she was recognized by The Home Reporter at their 40 Stars Under Forty Awards & Networking Event in Brooklyn, NY.
Lyndsey Wajert, BA ’12, is heading to Boston in the fall to attend Boston University School of Law. Though she left DC and her job of four years with The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), she hopes to be able to continue a career in media advocacy work through a focus on First Amendment Law.
Brittany Jones, BA ’13, is currently working at Mayor Bill de Blasio's Public Engagement Unit.
Sara Snyder, BA ’13, has a growing freelance business. She is working at USA TODAY as a multimedia producer throughout July and August and has most recently produced videos for AJ+ and National Geographic. She has 12 credits left in completing her Master's Degree at NYU in Food Culture. She taught a Backpack Journalism course in late July for Mediashift, PBS's digital education site.
Chanelle Havey, BA ’14, celebrated one year at i360 as a TV Media Planner in August 2016.
Aliya Karim, MA ’14, BA ’13, celebrated two years at World Food Program USA this June, where she serves as Social Media Editor, managing all social media accounts, overseeing the WFP USA website and contributing to content. Most recently, she co-led the redesign of WFP USA's website, which soft-launched in mid-August.
Lindsey MacNabb, BA ’14, is an associate producer who writes and produces segments for CNN's “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” During the election season, she has been producing from the control room for all primary election nights, and produced CNN's "Magic Wall" segments from the field at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Henry Morillo, BA ’14, is an Associate Story Producer on Lifetime's hit series, "Dance Moms," now heading into its 7th season.
Doug Remley, MA ’14, BA ’13, has spent the past 2+ years since graduating from the MA program working for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture as the publications coordinator, conducting research, writing and editing books, and helping to prepare for the opening of the Smithsonian's newest museum on the National Mall this fall.
Dominique Bonessi, BA ’15, traveled in Istanbul, Turkey in September for a year on a 2016 Bringing Home the World Fellowship with the International Center for Journalists. She will also work with the Fuller Project for International Reporting in Istanbul which focuses on a women's rights beat.
Daniel Hajjar, MA ’15, recently accepted a position with the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy to be their Communications Officer.
Ari Massefski, BA ’15, is working for the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies managing university relations and student recruitment for their study abroad program in the Middle East. The strategic communication skills he learned in SMPA are helping him raise awareness of the Arava Institute’s educational opportunities.
Bailey Mohr, BA ’15, works as a Senior Strategist at Mothership Strategies, overseeing the online fundraising programs for some of the most competitive Democratic House and statewide races in the country.
Josh Strupp, BA ’15, started an alternative opinion and satire publication called “The Rival” while in SMPA. The goal was to give students an unfiltered platform to discuss what mattered most at GW and to their generation. Since then, the small blog has expanded to ten additional schools including Howard, Duke, and NYU. Just this week he launched a brand new site and is planning further expansion in the fall.
Juliana Tamayo, BA ’15, worked with Latino communities in the U.S. as digital lead for a social marketing firm. She helped all Hispanics get informed through radio programs and digital campaigns most relevant to their situation. She is a contributor and writer for The Mighty, and other websites and blogs.
Amina Akhtar, BA ’16, works as a production assistant for the Production Services department at The National Geographic Channel.
Samantha Cohen, BA ’16, is a desk assistant at NBC News in their Washington, DC bureau.
George Dobbins, BA ’16, is starting his first year at Georgetown Law this fall.
Eric Estroff, BA ’16, lives in New York City and works on the Digital Strategy and Partnerships for Sweetgreen.
Farida Fawzy, BA ’16, is an intern with CNN at the World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, in the Digital News department. She has helped create and promote content online. CNN has published several articles with her byline.
Sam Gubitz, BA ’16, is a PhD student at Northwestern University studying political science.
Jorah Huntington, BA ’16, moved to Boston, Massachusetts and started a new job at Text100, a global marketing communications firm.
Annarose (AJ) Jacob, BA ’16, is a Digital Strategist at Mothership Strategies.
McKinley Kant, BA ’16, moved back to her home state of Wisconsin, where she works as Deputy Party Affairs Director for the State Democratic Party. She enjoyed playing a role in her state's delegation to the Democratic National Convention, which she attended in July.
Timothy Kenna, BA ’16, is working at Meltwater as a Media Consultant.
Lauren Lindemann, BA ’16, is an associate at Reservoir Communications Group, which works on advocacy, reputation, and organizational brand communication strategy.
Michelle Mangione, BA ’16, worked as a Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in early 2016. She recently relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark to pursue a Master's Degree in Data, Information Science, and Cultural Communication.
Sarah Miller, BA ’16, is an assistant account executive at Edelman for the financial communications team.
Zach Montellaro, BA ’16, JMC Minor ’16, works at POLITICO as a web producer.
Juliet Muir, BA ’16, is attending USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism to pursue her MS in Journalism. She was awarded the Dial Torgerson Memorial Scholarship, Los Angeles Times Scholarship, and Annenberg Grant Fund.
Ariana Mushnick, BA ’16, has a position at Precision Strategies, working in digital strategy.
Samantha Sorbaro, BA ’16, is an associate producer with News 12 Westchester.  
Kan Yan, BA ’16, is in China on a business trip in Hangzhou for the G20 Summit.
Twitter Facebook LinkedIn YouTube
powered by emma