President and CEO
Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and the author of the books Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate and Freedom From Speech. He is also co-author of The Atlantic’s September 2015 cover story, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” written in partnership with Jonathan Haidt. Additionally, Greg, along with Harvey A. Silverglate and David French, co-authored FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus.
A graduate of American University and Stanford Law School, Greg has always focused on the First Amendment and constitutional law, and he has testified before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives about free speech issues on America’s college campuses.
Greg is a blogger for The Huffington Post and Ricochet.com, and his articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, TIME, and numerous other publications. He is a frequent guest on national television shows and local and nationally syndicated radio programs, including NPR’s Morning Edition, CBS Evening News, NBC’s Today Show, CNN’s New Day, Fox’s Special Report and The Kelly File, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.
In 2008, Greg became the first-ever recipient of the Playboy Foundation’s Freedom of Expression Award, and in 2010 he received Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE. Greg was also an executive producer of Can We Take a Joke?, a feature-length documentary that explores the collision between comedy, censorship, and outrage culture, both on and off campus.
Before joining FIRE, Greg practiced law in Northern California; interned at the ACLU of Northern California and the Organization for Aid to Refugees in Prague, Czech Republic; and was the development manager of the EnvironMentors Project in Washington, D.C. He is a proud member of the board of advisors of Philadelphia’s Theatre Exile, and in his free time, he runs the Genetic Music Project, an open source genetic art project combining music and science.
Robert L. Shibley, FIRE’s executive director, is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law. He is the author of Twisting Title IX, from Encounter Books. Robert’s experience serving as the managing editor of a college newspaper that frequently decried (and faced) censorship and bias led him to a career defending the rights of college and university students and faculty members. Since starting at FIRE in 2003, Robert has aided students and faculty members at hundreds of colleges and universities.
Along with traveling to various campuses to speak about First Amendment issues, Robert has represented FIRE on The O’Reilly Factor, CNN Tonight, Stossel, Fox and Friends, and Lou Dobbs Tonight, in national and international radio and TV interviews, and in op-eds in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, and TIME, as well as the New York Post, Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Reason, National Review, and many other newspapers and magazines. He is a member of the bar in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Robert and his family live in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, home to the Duke Blue Devils and several other, lesser intercollegiate athletic teams.
Vice President of Programs
Peter Bonilla, a native of the Washington, D.C., area, joined FIRE in 2008. Previously at FIRE he for several years directed FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, advocating directly on behalf of wrongly censored students and faculty members nationwide. Peter comments frequently for radio, print, and television media, lectures on free speech and academic freedom issues to students and faculty around the country, and has written for multiple outside publications. Prior to joining FIRE, Peter was Literary Manager of Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company, one of the country’s top theatres for the development and production of new politically and socially-themed plays. He is a past recipient of a fellowship in playwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his first play was developed (with stage and film actor David Strathairn) at Philadelphia’s PlayPenn New Play Development Conference, and premiered to critical acclaim in Arizona in September 2011. In 2009, Peter was a contestant on the television game show Jeopardy! His undergraduate degree, with a double major in theater arts and economics, is from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Advocacy
Will began defending student and faculty rights for FIRE in 2006 after graduating from New York University School of Law, where he served as an associate executive editor for the New York University Law Review. Will has appeared on national cable television and radio on behalf of FIRE and has spoken to students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys at events across the country. Will’s writing has been published by The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jurist, Inside Higher Ed, Daily Journal, the Charleston Law Review, and many other outlets. Will edited the second edition of FIRE’s Guide to Due Process and Campus Justice, co-edited the second edition of FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus, and has coauthored amicus curiae briefs submitted to a number of courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. Will has taught FIRE’s Continuing Legal Education programs in New York, Pennsylvania, and online. A member of the New York State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association, Will serves as Co-Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
Will graduated magna cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2003. A proud native of Buffalo, New York, Will now lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.
Senior Vice President of Finance and Development
Alisha is a Philadelphia native who graduated from the College of William & Mary, where she studied economics and marketing. She previously worked on fundraising campaigns for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Alisha leads FIRE’s development and finance activities, including donor relations, foundation grants, fundraising events, and fiscal management. Alisha is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philadelphia Chapter. She currently volunteers as a birth doula, sits on the board of a birth center, and lives in the Mt. Airy section of the city with her husband, three children, and two Boston terriers.
Vice President of Policy Research
Samantha Harris graduated from Princeton University with a degree in politics in 1999 and went on to earn her J.D. in 2002 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Journal of Constitutional Law. Samantha joined FIRE in 2005 after serving as a law clerk for the late Honorable Jay C. Waldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and working as a litigation associate at the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.
As Director of Policy Research, Samantha conducts extensive research on policies affecting speech at hundreds of colleges and universities and is the author of FIRE’s annual Spotlight on Speech Codes report. She has also spoken to students, faculty, and administrators around the country, and has represented FIRE publicly on national television and radio as well as in publications including Inside Higher Ed and the New York Post. When not defending free speech on campus, Samantha enjoys cooking, a cappella singing, and playing the flute and piano.
Vice President of Policy Reform
Azhar Majeed, a native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, received a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in History from the University of Michigan in 2004. He is also a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. As an undergraduate, his academic interests included comparative constitutional law and political philosophy, particularly from the time period of the Enlightenment. During law school, Azhar represented the University of Michigan at the 2006 Tulane International Moot Court competition. Azhar was one of FIRE’s inaugural Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellows and was also a FIRE legal intern in 2005.
Annual Fund Manager
Ashley is a proud Philadelphia native who graduated cum laude from Drexel University with a B.S. in communications, concentrating in corporate and public relations. Ashley first came to FIRE in 2011 through Drexel University’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. Before coming to FIRE, Ashley co-oped at Greater Media Philadelphia where she worked on research, promotions and events in the sales and marketing department of 102.9 WMGK, Philadelphia’s classic rock radio station. Ashley is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philadelphia Chapter. In her spare time, she enjoys perusing health blogs, working on her fitness and spending time with her adorable bunny Hughie and crazy Aussie Iggy.
Program Officer, Policy Reform
Laura Beltz is a Philadelphia-area native who graduated from Penn State University with a B.A. in English through the Schreyer Honors College. She is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is a member of the Pennsylvania State Bar. While at Penn State, her interest in the role of free speech on college campuses developed through an English course on public expression that involved topics ranging from banned books to the constitutionality of Penn State’s speech codes. Laura wrote an honors thesis on law and literature and spent much of her four years competing with Penn State’s Mock Trial organization. At Penn Law, Laura was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law. After spending her first summer of law school as a legal intern for FIRE, Laura worked as a legal intern at the National Constitution Center. Laura returns to FIRE as a policy reform program officer.
Daniel graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Before joining FIRE, he worked at a global development non-profit and as the director of communications at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, where he defended strong liberal arts curricula and advocated for increased transparency and accountability on campus. In his spare time, Daniel likes studying American history, brunching, and playing kickball. Daniel knows for a fact that Dolly Parton is the best human on Earth, but he believes in your right to disagree.
Legislative and Policy Director
Joe Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of Government Administration, where he earned his Juris Doctor and master’s in Government Administration. Prior to law school, Joe attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), where he graduated cum laude and co-founded the university’s ACLU chapter. A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Joe joins FIRE having demonstrated a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties. He has served as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where his work earned him accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly (“2007 Lawyer on the Fast Track”) in 2007 and from Super Lawyers magazine (“Rising Star”) in 2008. In 2010, Joe taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School as an adjunct professor, where he lectured on good trial practices and supervised law students as they represented real clients in both state and federal courts. Just prior to joining FIRE, Joe served as the interim legal director for ACLU affiliates in Nevada and Utah.
Director, Individual Rights Defense Program
A native of Skokie, Illinois, Ari Cohn earned his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied political science and sociology. Growing up in Skokie, he studied the famous ‘National Socialist Party of America’ case at an early age, which cultivated a profound respect for the First Amendment, and a lifelong passion for free speech issues. He brings a diverse perspective on student disciplinary issues as well; as an undergraduate, he served on the University of Illinois’ student conduct hearing committee, and later returned to work as a legal intern in its Office of University Counsel. Ari is a member of the Illinois State Bar, and previously served as a legal fellow for FIRE in 2011, after which he joined the Chicago office of Mayer Brown LLP, where he represented large multinational corporations in high-stakes commercial litigation. When not working to advance the cause of civil liberties, Ari enjoys playing the guitar and the violin, attending concerts, following his beloved Chicago and University of Illinois sports teams, and being dragged all around town by his spirited Siberian Husky.
Tyler is a 2010 graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington with dual degrees in political science and history. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a director on IU’s largest student programming board, helping plan events such as Culture Fest and Homecoming activities. After spending time working as a program facilitator at Camp Miniwanca in Michigan, he enrolled at Michigan State University College of Law and graduated in May 2015. At MSU Law, he participated in the school’s First Amendment Clinic and was president of MSU Law’s chapter of the Federalist Society.
In his free time, Tyler enjoys hiking, soccer, and playing a variety of games on Playstation 4, though typically not simultaneously. He is an avid supporter of the Indianapolis Colts, Chelsea FC, and the Indiana Hoosiers.
Director of Human Resources
Peyton graduated from Drexel University in 2011 with a B.A. in communications, concentrating in global journalism. Through Drexel’s cooperative education program, Peyton began working for FIRE in the spring of 2008 as a Program Assistant. After being on FIRE’s staff for three years while finishing her undergraduate degree, she took on a full-time position after her graduation. She is now in charge of the organization’s human resources department, and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. As part of her work at FIRE, Peyton seeks to continue the legacy of the Drexel cooperative education program by hiring and supervising new Drexel co-op students each year. Outside of her involvement at FIRE, Peyton is a proud New Yorker, she is passionate about the music and culture of the 1960s, and she loves spoiling her pug, Francis.
History Research Fellow
Gordon Danning graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984 with a degree in political science, and obtained a J.D. from UC Berkeley in 1988. In lieu of practicing law, Gordon taught social studies at a public high school in Oakland, California for many years, and relocated to the East Coast in 2012 to pursue further education. Gordon has published a law review article on the free speech rights of high school students, and has conducted research on political violence. His current position as FIRE’s History Research Fellow has him researching the relationship between hateful speech and violence. In his spare time, Gordon follows baseball, attends films, and debates with his Facebook friends.
Lead Graphic and Interactive Designer
Nikki is a Philly-based graphic designer with a passion for social design. She joins FIRE with a B.F.A. in graphic design from Piedmont College, a post-baccalaureate certificate from Maryland Institute College of Art, and a M.F.A. in graphic and interactive design from Tyler School of Art. She believes in supporting the underdog, stretching her mind, and utilizing design as a platform for positive social growth. In her spare time, Nikki creates hand crafted leather goods, enjoys musicals, and reads dystopian literature.
Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program
Jackie graduated in 2015 magna cum laude from Drexel University with B.S. degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies. She has been working at FIRE ever since participating in Drexel’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. At Drexel, she was the Event Coordinator for the campus’ Students Advocating for Feminism and Equality group. After graduation, she took a full-time position with FIRE as the Assistant to the Executive Director. Jackie’s interests in free speech stems from her love of political satire and previous involvement in student activism. When she is not thinking about the state of free speech on college campuses, you can find her preaching to others about how The Chris Gethard Show will revolutionize late night TV.
Executive Assistant to the President
Eli graduated from Yale University with honors in psychology in 2016. A passionate advocate for mental health, Eli was president of Yale’s student-led mental health advocacy group, Mind Matters, worked as a student-wellness counselor at the school’s Walden Peer Counseling for 2 years, and served on a committee that coordinated with the head of Yale’s Mental Health & Counseling department. Eli’s passion for free speech began when he read FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff’s piece, “The Coddling of the American Mind.” His passion further grew as he experienced the 2015 Halloween controversy at Yale, which occurred in his dorm. Eli grew up in sunny Palo Alto, CA, but now lives in Washington, D.C. In his free time, Eli enjoys hiking, biking, watching sports, listening to podcasts, and learning about etymology.
Sam Flannery graduated from Ohio University in 2017 with a degree in political science and entrepreneurship. While at Ohio University, Sam was the director of Students Defending Students, an organization dedicated to advising students through the school’s judicial processes. He also worked to improve Ohio University’s code of conduct, successfully advocated for a trash fine appeal process, and served on the board of directors of the Center for Student Legal Services. In the summer of 2016 Sam worked as a FIRE summer intern. In his free time, Sam enjoys golf and watching the Philadelphia Flyers.
Amy graduated in 2017 from Drexel University with a B.A. in International Area Studies with a concentration in Justice and Human Rights. Her areas of interest were conflict resolution and the Middle East. While at Drexel, she participated in Drexel’s Cooperative Education program and began at FIRE as a Program Assistant in 2016. After graduation, she came to FIRE full time as a Development Associate. Outside of work, Amy enjoys illustration and typography, studying Arabic, and hanging out with her cat, Luna.
Director of Development
Bridget Glackin graduated cum laude from Fordham University with a B.A. in History and Political Science in 2007. After earning her undergraduate degree, Bridget worked as a press officer at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York City, focusing on issues such as culture, immigration, and higher education. In 2009, she returned to Fordham University to pursue an M.A. in Modern European History, completing her master’s thesis on the intersection of socialist and feminist ideologies in late 19th century Britain. This passion for the study of competing ideologies and her belief in the value of open scholarship drives her commitment to the preservation of liberty on America’s college campuses.
Program Officer, Campus Outreach
A native Philadelphian, Theresa graduated magna cum laude from La Salle University with a dual major in English and political science and a Leadership and Global Understanding (LGU) minor. Theresa’s passion for free speech in education was ignited as a tutor and mentor for middle school students through the Writers Matter program. At La Salle, Theresa was the recipient of both the James A. Finnegan Memorial fellowship and senior student award by La Salle faculty and administration for her contribution to public service. Upon graduation in 2013, Theresa moved to Bratislava, Slovakia on a grant through The Fulbright Program where she taught English to primary and secondary school students. Upon completion of her grant, Theresa continued teaching adults through a language school that prepared the employees of Slovak Government Ministries to host the Presidency of Council of the European Union in 2016. In her spare time, Theresa has a passion for street art, exploring Fairmount Park, and watching travel shows and documentaries.
Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow
For 13 years, Adam was an attorney with the Student Press Law Center, giving legal assistance to over 15,000 students, parents, and others. While at the Center, he co-authored their legal textbook, Law of the Student Press. In the past, he taught student media law for Michigan State University’s graduate school of education and advocated for domain name owners in arbitration. He blogs on First Amendment and civil rights issues on the Huffington Post. Adam is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and Fordham College at Lincoln Center, and is licensed to practice in New York. In his free time, he researches the history of classic American recipes.
Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow
A native New Yorker, Zach graduated from Binghamton University in 2013 and Syracuse Law in 2016. He developed an appreciation for free speech as the President of the College Libertarians and the Federalist Society where he sought to bring those with divergent opinions together for debate and discussion. After serving as a legal intern for FIRE, he became a student attorney for the Criminal Defense Clinic where he defended indigent Syracuse residents on misdemeanor charges.In his spare time, Zach enjoys playing chess and poker, watching his beloved New England Patriots win Super Bowls, and playing his cello.
Senior Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy
Susan Kruth earned her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2007, with a concentration in music and film. After a handful of short film and documentary gigs, Susan was inspired to go to law school in order to study the ways that the Constitution protects filmmakers. While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, she served as musical director of the law school’s a cappella group, the A Cappellate Opinions, and performed in UVA Law’s spring musical comedy program, the Libel Show. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is now a member of the Virginia State Bar. She got her start working to protect free speech through a fellowship with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also completed civil rights internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project.
Zoe is a former FIRE intern who graduated in 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in economics and anthropology. Upon graduation from college she worked in the Institutional Advancement department at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the nation’s oldest natural history museum.
Zoe is thrilled to be returning to FIRE to spread the gospel of the glory of free speech. A native of the suburbs of Philadelphia, Zoe is happy to be back where everyone agrees that it’s a “hoagie” not a “sub.” Aside from her twin sister, Zoe has three great loves: Beyoncé, corgis, and her cat, DJ.
Staff Attorney, Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project
Brynne graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in sociology in 2009. After graduating from GW, Brynne worked for the National Fair Housing Alliance before returning to GW and earning her JD in 2013. While in law school, Brynne served as a co-president of Lambda Law and as the president of the GW Law Feminist Forum. She was also a notes editor for the George Washington International Law Review. Brynne joined FIRE in 2016 after working as a litigation associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
As an Associate Attorney in the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, Brynne helps to challenge unconstitutional speech codes at colleges and universities throughout the country. Brynne’s been a vocal advocate for free speech since grade school and has wanted to help protect others’ free speech rights since she participated in the Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition while in law school. Brynne is barred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In her spare time, Brynne enjoys playing a variety of RPGs, needlepointing, and knitting, when her cats, Hydra and Toothless, do not demand her attention.
Mike graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2009 with a B.A. in Film & Communications. In 2011, he moved to New York City and began working full-time for an Emmy-winning production and post-production house. During the five year span he was at the company, he worked his way up from office assistant to post-production coordinator. In the fall of 2015, Mike decided that he wanted to transition careers and found his way to Philadelphia and FIRE. Mike is an avid fan of comedy, politics, and film. His love of expression is what initially drew him to the mission of FIRE, and he’s proud to work with an organization that fights for individual rights. In his spare time, Mike can be found at yard sales looking for tchotchkes, watching hilariously bad and incredibly good films, or drawing illustrations.
Production and Design Manager, Sweidy Stata Video Fellow
Chris is a graduate of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. He started his video career interning with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s communications department. From there, Chris went on to coordinate parts of the Labor 2008 Campaign in Philadelphia. Chris has spent much of his career working in post-production, both in the Washington, D.C., and New York media markets. He has produced video for a variety of commercial companies and nonprofit organizations, including TEDx; amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research; Honda; and Cartier. Chris comes to FIRE from Bleacher Report, where he served as a video editor in New York. Chris is also an avid Philadelphia sports fan.
Senior Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program and Social Media Manager
Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Drexel University in 2014 with a B.S. in political science and a minor in history. In 2012, Sarah began working with FIRE through Drexel’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. She stayed on FIRE’s staff for another year through the rest of her undergraduate career. After graduation, Sarah took on the position of Program Associate for FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. In addition to her passion for free speech, Sarah is an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan.
John is a graduate of Purchase College (S.U.N.Y) where he earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy. He also earned a master of arts in education from the University of the Arts and a nanodegree in front end Web development from Udacity. John began his career teaching Web development at Salem Community College (N.J.) and at La Salle University (Pa.). He has worked with companies such as IKEA, Westinghouse Lighting, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. John has contributed to several open source projects, including Philly Bike Share Android App and ParkSnap iOS App. He recently authored his own content management system for Comcast’s Digital Welcome Guides. During off hours, John enjoys composing music and is a drummer for James Day & the Fish Fry. Most notably, he has performed with them at the International Blues Competition in Memphis, Tenn.
Research Fellow in Psychology
Cynthia, a native of the Washington, D.C. area, graduated summa cum laude from Emory University with a B.A. in English. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University. For her doctoral dissertation, she did research on false memory and unusual memory phenomena; Cynthia has discussed her doctoral research on Big Picture Science. Cynthia was an assistant professor at Coastal Carolina University. While at Coastal Carolina University, she also consulted on the “Brainwashed” episode of the Discovery Channel’s Curiosity Series. In her free time, Cynthia teaches at the Harvard Summer School. Cynthia lives with her family (human and pug) in the Boston area.
Alex is an investigative journalist and attorney who tells stories about civil liberties on America’s college campuses.
She has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications where she was a researcher at the Tully Center for Free Speech. She also holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School where she worked as a teaching assistant for noted First Amendment scholar, Donald Downs. A native Tucsonan, Alex earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and French from the University of Arizona. After college, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Madagascar, teaching English in area schools and collaborating with local reporters on free press and social media initiatives through the U.S. Embassy’s American Press Center in Antananarivo. Alex is licensed to practice law in New York, the District of Columbia, and Wisconsin. She has worked as a lawyer in private practice, and as counsel for Wisconsin’s Dane County Circuit Court and Fiskars Brands, Inc.
She lives outside Washington, D.C., with her husband and their three children.
Digital Outreach and Alumni Development Fellow
Tim Murphy graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in government and history in 2010. His studies focused on the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, from which he developed a strong appreciation for the importance of First Amendment rights in making social change. In 2012, he joined the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which successfully legalized cannabis in Colorado by ballot initiative, making Colorado the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use since its federal prohibition. Tim joined FIRE in 2017 as its new Digital Outreach and Alumni fellow. He will be expanding FIRE’s alumni network and providing opportunities for alumni to get involved.
When not encouraging alumni to become First Amendment advocates, he is busy getting embarrassed on the tennis court, cooking overly-elaborate meals, or plastering Calvin and Hobbes comics around FIRE’s Philadelphia headquarters.
Kelsey graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 2013 with a B.A. in political science and from the University of North Texas in 2016 with a M.S. in political science. While in graduate school, Kelsey worked on a variety of data collection efforts focusing on social movements and comparative politics. She was also a graduate assistant for the National Science Foundation’s Research Education for Undergraduates program where she taught methodology and statistics to a handful of undergraduates from across the country.
When not focusing on her research, Kelsey is a proud Buffalonian, an avid reader, and advocates for the rights of the mentally ill. She was first introduced to FIRE’s mission when she attended a FIRE Student Network annual conference. She is excited to join a team advocating for the rights of students.
Director of Campus Outreach
Molly Nocheck, a Cincinnati native, graduated from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2013 with a B.S. in journalism. During her time as an undergraduate, Molly served as the director of Students Defending Students, an organization dedicated to advising students through Ohio University’s judicial processes.
Molly leads the FIRE Student Network, which empowers and mobilizes student activists on our nation’s college campuses. Molly has traveled to colleges and universities across the country to educate students on their First Amendment rights and arm them with the tools necessary to stand up and create positive change on campus. Her passion for due process and free speech is only matched by her love of Skyline Chili.
Chief Research Officer to the President and CEO
Pamela Paresky has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Psychology from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Columbia University. She also holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and regularly blogs for Psychology Today. A featured speaker at the National Character and Leadership Symposium, Pamela was an adjunct/research professor at the United States Air Force Academy where she co-taught a leadership course, and provided a civilian perspective for the director of the academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development. Pamela was also an executive leadership coach and consultant for businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions, which included creating cultures of kindness in K-12 schools. Her previous work at the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center focused on happiness, relationships, and “Flow,” a construct describing optimal human experience. Pamela is the Director of the Aspen Center for Human Development and is the author of the research-based guided journal, A Year of Kindness. In her spare time, she delivers workshops and keynotes on leadership, happiness, and living a meaningful life. Pamela lives in Colorado with her two children.
Director of Communications
Nico graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history. While at IU, he was a member of the track & field team and served as editor-in-chief for the Indiana Standard and as a reporter and columnist for the Indiana Daily Student. Nico’s on-campus activism in defense of student and faculty rights led to induction into FIRE’s Prometheus Society. He was also a winner of 1 for All and the Knight Foundation‘s 2011 “Free to Tweet” contest.
Nico first joined FIRE in 2012 as a Program Associate and Assistant to the President, later serving as a Communications Coordinator. In 2014, Nico went to work for the Institute for Justice, before returning to FIRE in 2015 to manage its communications team.
Originally from the Chicagoland area, Nico lives and works in New York City. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, studying history, and pretending he is Jimmy Buffett. Nico is the host of FIRE’s So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast.
Video Editor and Production Associate
Aaron has spent his career recording, editing, and producing videos and television shows for numerous nonprofits and liberty-focused organizations in the the Washington, D.C. area. Before joining FIRE, he was director of studios at the Leadership Institute, and interned in the Institute for Justice’s graphics and design department in Arlington, VA.
Aaron Reese earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the University of Illinois’ School of Art and Design. He also received a high distinction from the Canberra School of Art and Design’s six month photomedia workshop.
He lives with his wife and two cats, and he enjoys animating and illustrating.
Communications Coordinator; Production Editor, Newsdesk
A Philadelphia suburb native, Bill graduated from Temple University in 2016 with a degree in journalism. During his time as an undergraduate, Bill covered Philadelphia’s city council and a range of issues like civil asset forfeiture and soda taxes for both the student newspaper and his personal blog. Bill began his career by interning and briefly working for the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C. during the last stretch of the 2016 election before moving back to Philadelphia. Drawn to FIRE by his passion for journalism and media, Bill is a certified news junkie. He can be found on weekends in one of Philly’s many concert venues.
Program Associate, Campus Outreach
Luke Ripp graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in political science and received his J.D. from Marquette University Law School. While at Marquette, he was active in the Federalist Society and served on the International Executive Board of Students for Liberty. Luke joins FIRE after gaining experience working professionally in a variety of legal, policy, and outreach roles, in both Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. In his free time, Luke enjoys rowing, campfires, and studying the philosophy of God.
Alec graduated with University Honors from New York University, where he completed his B.A. in Politics in three years. He then served two terms in the national service program, AmeriCorps, including a year with City Year Philadelphia where he coordinated a service-learning program for high school students. Alec graduated magna cum laude from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he was the Lead Articles Editor of the Temple Law Review. At graduation, he was elected to the Order of the Coif and honored with the David Adamany Prize for excellence in the study of constitutional law.
Prior to joining FIRE, Alec was a senior member of the Conflicts Department at the international law firm Dechert LLP, where he was part of the team that identifies and researches potential conflicts of interest for all of the firm’s new matters.
Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder
High School Outreach Fellow
Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder has worked in education at both the high school and college level for most of the past 25 years. She has taught and served as a guidance counselor at the high school level and worked as a college professor and administrator at both private and public universities. Bonnie has earned public school certification credentials in four different states and, most recently, served as an adjunct professor in the College of Education at Millersville University in Millersville, PA. A New Jersey native, Bonnie is an honors graduate of Harvard University, has a master’s degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in Higher Education from Penn State. She is the author of The New College Reality and The Unemployed College Graduate’s Survival Guide. Her work has been featured or mentioned by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Parents Magazine, CBS MoneyWatch, and other media outlets.
Bonnie likes to hang out at Hershey Bears hockey games, read lesser-known Dickens novels, play bagpipes, and think about the possibility of taking ballroom dancing lessons.
Senior Program Officer and Investigative Reporter
Adam Steinbaugh is a reporter with a legal background, graduating cum laude from Loyola Law School in 2012. A Colorado native, Adam moved westward, enrolling in Whittier College, where he served as student body president and was involved in Whittier’s local fraternal organizations. During law school, he served as an assistant to Professor Aaron Caplan, researching the First Amendment issues involved in the use of restraining orders to enjoin civil harassment, and externed for the Honorable Jeffrey Johnson of California’s Second District Court of Appeal.
Following law school, Adam practiced entertainment-focused civil litigation in California and authored an eponymous blog, where he covered a wide range of topics involving the First Amendment and the Internet. He later joined Popehat, and his commentary on internet and free speech issues has been featured in The Guardian, ArsTechnica, Channel 4, the CBC, and various other outlets.
Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon
Director of Litigation
A native of the Philadelphia area, Marieke graduated summa cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2004. Marieke continued her studies at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2008.
After law school, Marieke clerked for the Honorable A. Richard Caputo in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania before joining the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a legal fellow in 2009. She later joined the Philadelphia firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis as a commercial litigation associate, where she continued to work on civil rights cases on a pro bono basis, focusing primarily on the First Amendment. Right before joining FIRE, she served as a Project Coordinator for the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, where she implemented projects addressing disability discrimination and health care reform. Outside the office, she loves to be around horses and volunteers for a therapeutic riding program.
Assistant to the Executive Director
Ryne graduated with general honors from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a B.A. in Classics and an emphasis on Latin and Greek. As a student, he was a DJ for many poetry events and after graduating, he worked as a sound engineer and production assistant at various performance venues across the Chicago area. His passion for protecting free scholarship, artistic freedom, and students’ right to protest brought him to FIRE. Ryne’s interests include movies, music, and video games, in addition to more niche things like giant robots and pro wrestling. In 2013, he captained a winning team in the world’s largest scavenger hunt.
Program Officer, Policy Reform
Mary Zoeller, a Philadelphia native, graduated from Furman University in 2014 with degrees in Political Science and Religion. Upon graduation from Furman, Mary returned to the Philadelphia area, where she attained her Juris Doctorate from Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova Law, Mary served as a managing editor of student works for the Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal. A former FIRE legal intern, Mary is thrilled to return to FIRE as a policy reform program officer. In her free time, Mary enjoys yoga, travel, and pampering her golden retriever, Colby.