Tricia is currently finishing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut, and her research focuses on informal learning in libraries. Her undergraduate degrees include a B.A. in Community Organizing and an A.S. in Video Production. She currently works as the Educational Director for Thinkalong at Connecticut Public, and was formerly the Director of YOUmedia and Teen Services at Hartford Public Library. With more than a dozen years of experience engaging youth and young adults in literacy, technology, and science learning, she’s developed a love for working beside teens to create spaces and programs that support their journey to a thriving adulthood, academically, civically, and socially. She holds giant research crushes on James Paul Gee and Mimi Ito, loves vegan chocolate ice cream, and aspires to grow vegetables like the world might end.
Azsanee Truss is a Ph.D. Student at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. As a PhD student, her research focuses on how we can use multimodal methods to study critical media literacy. Her goal is to understand what factors influence the media literacy practices that exist within various communities, specifically focused on how socioeconomic status plays a role in these.
Prior to becoming a student at Annenberg, she earned her B.S. in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, College Park, and my M.A. in Instructional Technology & Media from Teachers College, Columbia University after working as a technology consultant for two years. It was at TC that she became passionate about the use of technology to engage in multimodal methods of teaching and learning through her coursework and fellowship in the Media and Social Change Lab (MASCLab). In addition to writing about these topics, she also spends a lot of time creating media projects related to issues of race, gender, class, and educational equity.
Tessa is President and CEO of the Center for Media Literacy, a position she has held since 1999. She also founded the Consortium for Media Literacy, a nonprofit which provides research and a quarterly leadership publication. Jolls was awarded the 2020 NATO Fulbright Research Award in Brussels, as well as Visiting Scholar positions at American University/Brussels, UCLouvain, and the University of Latvia Faculty of Social Sciences. She also served as a 2019 Fulbright Specialist for a two-week assignment in Bulgaria, delivering lectures and doing teacher training. In 2015, Jolls received the Global Media and Information Literacy Award, in recognition of her work in Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, from the UNESCO-initiated GAPMIL, in cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
Donnell is the Associate Director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). A former college reference librarian, Donnell holds a BA in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Arizona State University and a Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Donnell has worked with NAMLE in a variety of capacities over the past six years. She was the editor of NAMLE’s Monthly Update newsletter, has served on both the Student Leadership Council and Leadership Council, and was the Program Co-Chair for the 2019 NAMLE Conference. Donnell is also the parent of a child with a disability and has spent the last decade as a special education advocate. Donnell lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, Tim, their three children, and their beagle, Bogart T. Higginbotham (a.k.a. “Bogey”).
Nygel currently serves as the YOUmedia Program Coordinator at Hartford Public Library. With a decade of experience focused on youth empowerment and development, Nygel continues to work on developing innovative ways to create access to opportunities of empowerment for black and brown youth and communities. Nygel recently co-developed HPL’s Hartford Change Makers Summer Program, an opportunity for Hartford to celebrate its Black, Latinx & Indigenous history makers through 6 weeks of 7 virtual workshops. The workshops are all facilitate by Hartford Artists & will culminate in two community mural projects that will showcase the Changemakers in the hearts of Hartford’s Northend and Southend.
Prior to joining YOUmedia, Nygel successfully served as the Job & Business Developer at Allied Rehabilitation Centers creating and finding opportunities of employment for individuals with intellectual limitations and disabilities.
Stephen is the Social Studies Consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education. He is a long social studies educator at the high school and college level, and is a Past President of the National Council for the Social Studies
Elizabeth Salmon-Morales is an educator, media journalist and a seeker of truth who believes that democracy dies without the light of an informed public engaged in civil discourse. Elizabeth works for Grossman Solutions, a business development service whose main client is Access Health CT where she helps organize and implement plans to engage the uninsured population in Hartford. Elizabeth worked in curriculum development in after-school programs in the Hartford and East Hartford Public Schools where she curated extracurricular curriculum in topics such as entrepreneurship, geography, urban agriculture and team building. Elizabeth has experience in website and UX development, designing user interfaces for business applications. She created her first startup this year called PostPro, a niche freelancer marketplace platform application, which is in the development phase.
Elizabeth loves roller-skating, is a sap for singing along to Disney movies and deeply enjoys learning about different cultures and traditions.
Kelly Whitford is an educator, curriculum developer, and art historian. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History of Art and Women’s and Gender Studies at Wheaton College, Massachusetts. Her research focuses on public sculpture in seventeenth-century Rome, but her teaching broadly examines global visual and material culture from 1350 to the present day, with particular emphasis on visual, media, and information literacy. She specializes in designing student-centered and experiential courses, lessons, and workshops. She has taught and trained a wide variety of learners, from middle school students in Benin, West Africa to college undergraduates, and from volunteers to teachers in training.
She holds a PhD in History of Art and Architecture from Brown University, an MA in Art History from the University of Oregon, and a BA in Art History from Carleton College.
Jennifer Pelletier is an educator and curriculum developer who has taught history and social studies for 17 years, in both public and private schools in Connecticut. She has taught courses at the middle school and high school level in World History, American Identity, International Relations, and Contemporary World Issues. Jennifer holds an MA in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA from Connecticut College.
Jennifer’s interests include writing, theater, and travel. Fun fact: she lost on Jeopardy in 2003.
Katie Eber is a huge nerd, a poet, and an educator. She’s currently the Assistant Director for Programming Engagement at PBS, having joined the mothership after six years at Connecticut Public. Katie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University and a BA in English from Roanoke College. She’s the outgoing Poet Laureate of Wallingford and is currently working toward a Masters in Educational Technology. A media literacy advocate, Katie’s worked with students, teachers, librarians, media creators, and other educators to emphasize the need for strong media lit education at every age.
She is also a die hard Liverpool FC and Hartford Athletic fan, and is very, VERY happy that soccer is back on TV.
Melissa is a teacher librarian in West Hartford, CT. She earned her B.A. in elementary education from St. Cloud State University, an M.A. in elementary education from Northern Arizona University, an M.A. in educational psychology/gifted and talented from the University of Connecticut, and her LMS certification from the ARCLMS program. She is the vice president of the Connecticut Association of School Librarians, a member of the Customer Advisory Board for Scholastic Book Fairs, a 2019 AASL Social Media Superstar Reader Leader finalist, and her most recent publication was an article in the October issue of School Library Connection entitled, Create a Culture of Reading.
Alexis has a dual B.S. from Eastern Connecticut State University in Communications and Sociology, and attended Bay Path University where she received her M.S in Communications. Alexis has worn many hats in the education world and especially enjoyed her time on the board of directors for Connecticut Association for Gifted and Talented. Alexis found herself advocating for change in education, most recently as the program facilitator for the adult education program at the Urban League of Greater Hartford and a program facilitator for Metropolitan Learning Center. Alongside her passion for education, Alexis is a former cheerleader and longtime coach who was compelled to open a cheerleading training center to give athletes of all abilities and backgrounds an opportunity to take part in her program.