Sarah Baker, a CNN booker/editorial producer based in Washington, DC, since 2008, has worked at ABC News with Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson, and others. A Smith College graduate, she also studied at University College London.

Colleen Brennan-Barry is assistant director of college and community relations and director of web communications for Monroe Community College (NY). She also is vice president of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association.

Mary Bruce covers the Obama administration as a White House producer for ABC News. Previously she served as ABC’s education producer, covering the U.S. Department of Education and education reforms and innovations. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

Jane Bennett Clark is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. She has covered college financing for several years and supervises the magazine’s annual rankings for best values in public and private colleges and universities.

Kathleen deLaski, member of George Mason University's Board of Visitors, is president of The deLaski Family Foundation, a leading Washington area grant-maker in education and the arts. Previously, she was founding president of The Sallie Mae Fund, the non-profit arm of student lending leader, Sallie Mae.

Natalie DiBlasio, breaking news reporter at USA TODAY, has hosted USA TODAY’s webbroadcast segment, “USA NOW.” She wrote about colleges in two states that legalized pot and reported their students’ views on smoking marijuana. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont.

Steve Drummond is the Senior National Editor for NPR News. He oversees the network's national news coverage and a team of more than 70 reporters, producers and editors in Washington and NPR's domestic bureaus, including coverage of business and economics, national security, and the arts.

Tom Evelyn is St. Lawrence University’s vice president for communications. Previously he was senior director of news and media relations at Bucknell University and directed the news and information operation at University of Central Florida.

Vivian Fel is a 12-year veteran of the popular morning NBC TV show, Today. She produces live and taped segments for all four hours of Today, ranging from breaking news stories to the show’s popular concerts on the Rockefeller Plaza.

Josh D. Fitzwater, director of social media at Kenyon College, manages Kenyon’s social community sites and develops and implements strategic social media initiatives. He earned a marketing and communications master’s degree from Franklin University.

Peggy Fox is a three-time Emmy-awardwinning, multi-media journalist who reports and anchors the news for WUSA 9 TV in Washington, DC. She covered her alma mater, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), during its tragedies in 2007 and 2011.


Laura Helmuth is science and health editor for Slate magazine. Previously, she was the science editor for Smithsonian magazine for eight years. She holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University of California at Berkeley.

Erin Hennessy, assistant vice president of public affairs and publishing for the American Council on Education (ACE), has been at ACE since 2007. Previously, she served as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Committee.


Tony Hoppa, assistant vice president of communications at SUNY, Geneseo, encountered drinking and hazing issues firsthand this year. He also has held senior-level PR positions at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Queens University in Charlotte.

Scott Jaschik
and Doug Lederman, editors and founders of Inside Higher Ed, will lead a team of reporters/editors who will exchange ideas with members of the audience. Inside Higher Ed is a national daily online publication about higher education that attracts more than 2 million monthly page views.

Jenna Johnson writes about higher education for the Washington Post and pens the blog, “Campus Overload.” A graduate of University of Nebraska, she covered last summer’s leadership crisis at the University of Virginia.

Erin Martin Kane joined Syracuse University as associate vice president for public relations in November 2011. She oversees the Office of News Services and works to create a unified and proactive communications agenda for the university.


Melissa Korn has been a reporter at the Wall Street Journal in New York for two years. She covers higher education with a focus on business schools. A graduate of Cornell University, she also holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Janet Lorin has covered higher education for Bloomberg News since 2008 with a focus on college admissions and financial aid. She has covered the nonprofit testing industry, university presidents on corporate boards, and the impact of the economy on university finances.

Petra Ludwig became director of public affairs at Monmouth University (NJ) in 2003. Her 20 years of experience includes handling communications during Superstorm Sandy. She also has held PR executive jobs at Adelphi University and St. Francis College.

Liz McMillen, on the staff at the Chronicle since 1984, was named editor in August 2011. Previously, she was editor of the Chronicle Review, the weekly magazine of ideas in print. She directs more than 70 editors and reporters who write about higher education. Several Chronicle reporters/editors will accompany her to collect specific pitches and ideas from creative participants.

Mark Owczarski is assistant vice president of news and information at Virginia Tech. He managed crisis communications during the April 2007 Virginia Tech shootings and recent slaying of police officer Deriek Crouse.

Peter Rooney has been director of public affairs at Amherst College since 2008. His team was responsible for strategic communications and outreach in response to an Amherst student blogger’s claim that the college ignored multiple sexual assaults.

Geoffrey Rushton is manager of social media and public information at Pennsylvania State University. He guided Penn State’s digital communications activities and the deluge of mass media attention throughout the arrest, trial, and conviction of former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Mark Scolforo, an Associated Press reporter based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has written and contributed to more than 100 stories about the Jerry Sandusky case since the arrest in fall 2011.

Jeffrey Selingo is author of College (Un) Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students and editor-at-large, Chronicle of Higher Education. He has spent 14 years at the Chronicle.

Christopher Shea, a freelance writer and higher education blogger, has been a reporter, editor, columnist, or blogger at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal. He contributes to many publications, including the Atlantic, Washington Post, and Smithsonian magazine.

Rachel Sklar is a writer, social entrepreneur, and co-founder of TheLi.st. She covers media, politics, culture, and technology and was a founding editor of Mediaite and Huffington Post. She was listed in Forbes’ “Women Changing the World.”

Michael Smart, president of MichaelSmartPR and former national news director at Brigham Young University, has trained more than 4,000 PR professionals from Frankfurt to Tokyo on how to boost publicity results. He previously spent 14 years in campus media relations.

Candace Smith, executive director of the Office of Media Relations at George Washington University, is a former national and foreign broadcast and print news correspondent. She worked for Associated Press in Washington, DC, for several years covering local and national stories, including the anthrax scare and September 11 attack on the Pentagon.

Susan Snyder covers higher education for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has covered education crises for years and shares a Pulitzer Prize that she earned as part of the Inquirer’s five-reporter investigative team on violence in the city’s public schools.

Jacques Steinberg was a journalist at the New York Times for 24 years. He initiated “The Choice,” the Times’ college admissions and financial aid blog, and is author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College. He now works with Say Yes to Education, a national nonprofit education foundation committed to increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban youth.

John Wall has been director of media relations at Juniata College since 2000. He oversees the college’s public relations and social media activities, the alumni magazine, and web content. He was a writer-editor at nearby Penn State from 1994 to 2000, and was a journalist at various publications from 1984 to 1994.

James Warren is Chicago editor-at-large for NewsBeast, national correspondent for the Atlantic, and an MSNBC analyst. He also now serves as Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News. He is a frequent radio commentator and former managing editor and Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune.