Town Hall Meetings

american university
Thursday, June 27
4:15pm – 5:15pm

Join us on Thursday, June 27th at American University for a series of four Town Hall meetings where conference attendees will come together to discuss issues and challenges facing the media literacy community. Click the link below to read about each town hall:

Media Literacy and Social Justice
Media Literacy and the Tech Industry
Media Literacy Education Policy & Advocacy
Media Literacy and Civic Engagement

Media Literacy and Social Justice:
Exploring the promises and challenges of using media literacy to work towards social justice and educational equity

Constitution Hall #1
3501 Nebraska Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

In many ways, media literacy and social justice are inextricably linked. Both are emancipatory in nature: the practices and pedagogies that inform both media literacy and social justice seek to empower, amplify, and liberate through productive and often radical ways. In this town hall conversation, we will engage a selection of experts and audience members in discussions around the ways that media literacy education can be used to inform and achieve social justice and equity in both in- and out-of-school spaces. We will imagine what this might look like, what barriers we might face, and what some tangible next steps might be for the work we do in our own classrooms and educational spaces.


Srivi Ramasubramanian
Professor, Department of Communication
Texas A&M University

Srivi Ramasubramanian is Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University. Her work focuses on media literacy, diversity, social justice, activism, and media psychology. She is the Director of the Difficult Dialogues on Campus Race Relations, founding chair of the Communicating Diversity student conference, Convener of the campus-wide Inclusive Pedagogy Workshop Series, and cofounder of Media Rise (a nonprofit for meaningful media for social change). Her scholarship was recognized with the 2017 Outstanding Researcher Award from NAMLE.

Jeff Share
Faculty Advisor, Teacher Education Program

Jeff Share’s research and practice focuses on preparing educators to teach critical media literacy in K-12 education, for the goals of social and environmental justice. Writing with Douglas Kellner, they have a new book coming out in 2019 called, The Critical Media Literacy Guide: Engaging Media and Transforming Education.

RaShawna Sydnor, M.A.Ed, CAS, M.A.T
Restorative Practices Coordinator

RaShawna Sydnor is an educator who is passionate about, and deeply committed to, ensuring that the children she serves receive an education rich with history and positive representation. When she is not taking additional courses for professional development, she is reading, tweeting or obsessing about the film Black Panther.

Asad Muhammad 
Vice President, Impact and Engagement Strategy
American Documentary

Asad was born and raised in New York City and has over 15 years of experience in education and community development with a primary focus on the advancement of court-involved and incarcerated youth, securing safe housing for LGBTQ youth, and enhancing public school education in Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans and New York. Most recently, Asad worked for United Way for Southeastern Michigan as a Pathway Coach building college and career pathways in Detroit public high schools. He trained school leaders, teachers, school counselors and college advisors in aligning school environments and curriculum with industry-valued, career opportunities for students.

While in Detroit, Asad served on the Board of Directors for the Ruth Ellis Center. The center is the only organization in the country that has a residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system, and is mission-specific to queer youth experiencing homelessness. Asad graduated from Hampton University with a degree in business management and information systems. In 2014, he completed the Public Leaders Fellowship with Leadership for Educational Equity. Asad has been a longtime fan of POV, initially connecting with the organization over ten years ago when organizing a Manhattan public screening of the POV film Love and Diane.


Emily Bailin Wells, EdD
Independent Scholar
Adjunct Instructor, New York University

Emily holds an Ed.D. in Communications and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds a masters degree in Education, Culture & Society from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Her research interests and professional experiences are in the fields of critical media literacy, multimodal storytelling, and antiracist pedagogies and identity work.

Media Literacy and the Tech Industry:
Exploring collaborative ways to navigate rapid technological growth

Collaboration Lab
Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building
3501 Nebraska Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and has forever altered the ways we consume, create, and share media – in our homes, schools, and communities. How do we ensure students learn the skills to think critically of the media around them when changes in technology outpace our ability to fully understand them? How can the technology industry help in this endeavor? Join in a conversation with educators, media literacy advocates and representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter as we ponder our relationship with technology and ensure media literacy keeps pace with the speed of innovation.


Anne Collier
Founder and Executive Director
The Net Safety Collaborative

Anne Collier is founder and executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, home to for K-12 schools. A youth advocate with more than 20 years’ writing and speaking about youth and digital media, Anne has served on three national task forces on Internet safety, including the Obama administration’s 2009 Online Safety & Technology Working Group, which she co-chaired. Having co-authored the US’s first parents’ guide to teen social networking, published in 2006, she has also contributed to a number of books and publications, most recently Bullying: Perspectives, Practice and Insights (Council of Europe, 2017). She serves on the Trust & Safety advisory boards of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Yubo. In 2016, she gave a TEDx talk on “The Heart of Digital Citizenship” at the ITU’s WSIS in Geneva. She blogs at

Jena Wuu
Policy Programs Manager for Social Impact

Jena Wuu is a Policy Programs Manager for Social Impact at Facebook, based in San Francisco, CA. In this role, she helps to lead the company’s work globally on supporting media literacy education and reducing the spread of misinformation through specialized curriculum development, in-person training programs, and scaled public awareness campaigns.

Jena joined Facebook in 2018 after six years at Uber, where she oversaw its safety public policy work and worked closely with policymakers, law enforcement, and safety advocates globally on issues such as criminal justice reform, sexual assault and domestic violence, human trafficking, and safety in public spaces. Prior to her career in tech, Jena was the Programme Officer at the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), a Vienna-based NGO that supports clean energy projects in emerging markets.

Kevin Kane
Public Policy Manager
Twitter, Inc.

Kevin Kane is Public Policy Manager at Twitter based in Washington, D.C., where he supports the global election integrity team. Prior to joining Twitter, Mr. Kane worked for Orbital ATK (now part of Northrop Grumman) and in the U.S. Senate for Senators Hutchison, Burr, and Shelby. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served as an Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division. His military awards include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger Tab, and Parachutist Badge. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Citadel.

Jessica Covarrubias
Education Program Lead

Jessica Covarrubias leads Google’s Be Internet Awesome, an educational program about digital citizenship and online safety. Jessica holds an MBA and MA in Education with a focus on K-12 from the University of Michigan. Prior to graduate school, she worked in a number of marketing and strategy roles for PepsiCo and Nike. Jessica is originally from Chicago and earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.


Tori Horton
Market Researcher, Product

Tori graduated from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication with a Master’s Degree in Public Diplomacy where she focused on using new technology to facilitate cross-border collaboration and global citizenship. She has spent the past ten years working to launch startups promoting equity in the areas of finance and media literacy. Tori has worked on media literacy education grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and National Science Foundation. She is involved with parents in her local community to raise awareness about media literacy education. As a product researcher at PayPal, Tori is passionate about new technology and media literacy, recognizing the profound impact of both to create more equitable communities.

Lynette Owens
Founder and Global Director
Internet Safety for Kids and Families
Trend Micro

Lynette Owens is the Founder and Global Director of Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families program with the mission of helping kids around the world become great digital citizens. Founded in 2008, the program has now reached close to 3 million students, parents and teachers in 16 countries.

With over 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Lynette regularly speaks, blogs and works with communities and school districts across the U.S. and around the world. She has helped build a force of almost a thousand employee volunteers and a network of collaborations with NGOs, technology companies and law enforcement organizations to make online safety, digital citizenship, and media literacy education a priority for all kids.

Lynette is a board member of the National Association of Media Literacy Education, and serves on the advisory boards of INHOPE and U.S. Safer Internet Day. Based in the Boston, MA area, she is a mother of two, wife of one, tireless pro-youth, pro-tech advocate and believer that the impact of technology on society is completely in our hands.

Media Literacy Education Policy & Advocacy:
Exploring ways to promote media literacy legislation

Constitution Hall #2
3501 Nebraska Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

The process of advocating media literacy education and making policy is a very relevant topic as multiple states have begun to address media literacy legislation. This town hall conversation will focus on the process of research and policy development, what this legislation could look like, how it has varied by state, and the method of advocating for this work.


Alicia Haywood
iSpeakMedia Foundation

Alicia Haywood is an award-winning producer who has been working in the professional media industry for 24 years. Her credits include: How Stuff Works, Fusion TV, Microsoft’s AltspaceVR, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah Radio, Onion Studios, AOL/TechCrunch, ABC Radio Networks, Hebrew Seminary for the Deaf and Hearing, The Style Network, The History Channel, and SiriusXM. She has also produced content for such major brand clients as: Intel, Jockey, Arby’s Foundation, Rooster Teeth, and LiveNation.

With notable career achievements spanning television, film, radio, and digital media platforms, still her most fulfilling successes stem from her role as an educator—making lasting impressions on the minds of the next generation. Alicia is the founder of The iSpeakMedia Foundation, which focuses on advancing media literacy education in communities that need it most. She is a member of the Chicago Literacy Alliance and played an instrumental role in launching Media Literacy Week in the United States in 2015.

Blanchi Roblero
Senior Associate
Penn Hill Group

Blanchi Roblero brings extensive experience in legislative advocacy, strategic outreach and knowledge in navigating the congressional process to Penn Hill Group. Previously, Blanchi served as Deputy and Acting Chief of Staff to the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs (OLCA) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Blanchi worked in the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and completed a Gates Foundation-sponsored Graduate Public Policy Fellowship for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in 2012, where she worked both for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics on Federal policy matters directly impacting minority students. In 2012, Blanchi authored a policy brief, Professional Development: The Importance of Teaching Vulnerable Populations, which was published by the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.

Blanchi holds a Master’s degree in Education Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University (NYU) and two Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Sociology from the City University of New York (CUNY), Hunter College.

Jessica R. Wolff
Director of Policy and Research
Center for Educational Equity Teachers College
Columbia University

Jessica R. Wolff is director of policy and research at the Center for Educational Equity (CEE) at Teachers College, Columbia University. She leads the media literacy education project of the statewide DemocracyReady NY Coalition (which CEE convenes). The Coalition seeks to advance media literacy in education policy and practice as a vital part of New York students’ constitutional right to an education that prepares them for civic participation. Wolff’s broader research interests include understanding and documenting disparities in school-level resource availability and resource-accountability policy. Wolff was principal investigator of a statewide study of resource adequacy in high-needs schools in eight New York school districts. Her current research include a comparative case analysis examining the extent to which public high schools are equipped with resources and practices necessary to prepare students for civic participation.


Jaclyn Siegel
New York State Chapter Leader
Media Literacy Now

Jaclyn Kahn Siegel is the history department coordinator and technology integrationist at Winston Preparatory School, a private school in NYC for students who learn differently. In addition to being the NY chapter leader at Media Literacy Now, Siegel is also a member of NAMLE’s leadership council.

Media Literacy and Civic Engagement: Exploring Strategies for Full Participation as Media Literate Citizens

Constitution Hall #3
3501 Nebraska Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

In today’s society, citizenship is inextricably linked to one’s understanding of and access to the media landscape. Whether interpreting mainstream news on events of the day, posting social media commentary on a community issue, or organizing digitally with neighbors and fellow citizens, participation in civic life requires media literacy skills. In this Town Hall conversation, attendees will explore ways that media literacy education can foster a deeper understanding of one’s rights and responsibilities as citizens and cultivate informed and effective civic engagement. Attendees will share discoveries from their own efforts and challenges yet to be addressed, and our expert panel will help us collectively formulate a path forward.


Dr. Paul Mihailidis
Associate Professor
Civic Media and Journalism
Emerson College

Paul Mihailidis is an associate professor of civic media and journalism in the school of communication at Emerson College in Boston, MA, where he teaches media literacy, civic media, and community activism. He is founding program director of the MA in Media Design, Senior Fellow of the Emerson Engagement Lab, and faculty chair and director of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. He earned his PhD from the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lawrence Paska, PhD
Executive Director
National Council for the Social Studies

Larry Paska is the Executive Director of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), a professional membership association that provides leadership, service, and support to K-12 classroom teachers, college/university faculty, curriculum designers/specialists, supervisors, and other leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies. Larry began his career as a middle school social studies teacher, and is originally from the Albany, NY area.

Kristine Gloria, PhD
Associate Director
Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy
Aspen Institute

Dr. Kristine Gloria is the Associate Director of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy – a joint venture with the Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute. Dr. Gloria has worked on issues related to communication systems, journalism, technology and public policy for over a decade.

Abby Kiesa
Director of Impact
Tufts University

Abby is the Director of Impact at CIRCLE, an applied research center focused on young people in the US, especially those who are marginalized in political life. CIRCLE’s research informs policy and practice for healthier youth development and a more inclusive democracy. CIRCLE is part of the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.


Tony Streit
Managing Project Director
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)

Tony Streit is a Managing Project Director at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), with expertise in youth development, media education, out-of-school time, and informal STEM learning.  Streit currently leads the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE), providing materials and training on high-quality out-of-school experiences that promote the development and academic achievement of school-age children.  Streit is a Co-Founder of Street-Level Youth Media, a celebrated Chicago youth media organization, and serves as Board President of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).