About the Staff
Lakshmi “Laki” Eassey, Program Director (Washington, D.C.)
Laki graduated from Pitzer College in California with a B.A. in Global Communications and Studio Arts. Over the past few years, Laki has worked with newspapers and magazines from Gaborone, Botswana to Los Angeles, California. She has also taught in Ladakh, India and has spent the past year teaching and doing freelance work in Germany. This is Laki’s seventh year on staff, previously she was Head Team Advisor for Globalization and International Business program, and a Team Advisor with our International Diplomacy and Diplomacy Abroad programs. In the future, she hopes to pursue a combined Master’s in New Media and Asian Studies because she believes in the media’s power to bring about positive change.
James Kicklighter, Head Team Advisor (Washington, D.C.) and Program Director (Berkeley, California)
James Kicklighter graduated from Georgia Southern University with a B.S. in Public Relations. He served in numerous capacities during his undergraduate career, including Director of Publicity for Student Government Association and the Student Programming Board. He was twice named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and was the Public Relations Student of the Year. He is currently the Co-Chairman of JamesWorks Entertainment, featured in the Examiner.com “CEOs Under 25″ series, and was a screener for the 2009 International Documentary Association’s Distinguished Feature Award. A film director and producer, recent titles include The Car Wash with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s Edith Ivey, winner of the Audience Choice Award at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, Land of Higher Peace, a documentary about international children’s aid in Ethiopia, Theater of the Mind, created for the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas, and Di Passaggio, winner of The Accolade Award of Merit alongside ABC News, USA Today, and Discovery Kids.
Aja Romain, Team Advisor
Aja graduated from The George Washington University in D.C. where she earned her B.A. in Psychology. Recently she has worked on season 3 of the Rachael Ray Show and part of season 4, where she worked in production as well as in the audience department. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Manager of the Theatre department at Independent Lake Camp in Pennsylvania. Currently, Aja is earning her M.A. in English Literature at Lehman College in NYC and is also an Associate Teacher for a Nursery School in White Plains, NY. Her hobbies include hanging out with her 4 year old Australian labradoodle Cleo, and playing Super Mario Bros. 3 on her “vintage” Nintendo. Aja is also an NSLC alumni from the International Diplomacy Program. This is her first year on staff.
Caroline “Carly” Piersol, Team Advisor
Carly picked up a camera in seventh grade and hasn’t put it down since. She is currently studying photo illustration and English at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. Carly has worked her way up the ladder as a staff photographer, assistant photo editor and photo editor at The Daily Orange, Syracuse University’s independent student newspaper. In addition to her time there, Carly has shot for numerous other student publications. In high school, she was given several awards from Newspaper In Education for her coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign rally in Carly’s hometown of Lancaster, PA. Outside of school, Carly owns Piersol Photography and freelances in Lancaster and Syracuse.”
Clay LePard, Team Advisor
Clay LePard is a Broadcast Journalism major at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a sports anchor for CitrusTV’s “Cuse Coutdown,” as well as a news anchor for the nightly newscast. This past February, Clay worked with NBC at the Vancouver Winter Olympics where he was an intern for the afternoon coverage featuring Al Michaels. He has interned for ESPN Radio Boston, and loves to represent his Boston sports teams. In the fall, Clay will be working as a student reporter for ABC News on Campus. Clay is an NSLC Journalism & Mass Communication alumnus and looks forward to returning to where it all began.
Curtis “Buddy” Blessing, Team Advisor
Buddy resides in Philadelphia, PA and attends Temple University as a student of Political Science and Broadcast Journalism. He has worked on numerous local and national elections ranging from township commissioner to President, most recently as a Community Organizer for Obama for America. Buddy has been a featured syndicate for Fox News affiliate ThePalestra.com , the Temple News, the Temple Times and is a regular contributor to Young Philly Politics. In his free time Buddy enjoys writing, reading, music and playing almost any sport. Buddy is NSLC alumni from the U.S Policy & Politics program. This is Buddy’s third year on staff.
Jonathan Pope, Team Advisor
Jonathan Pope graduated from Georgia Southern University with a B.S. in Multimedia Communications. During his time there, he produced several documentaries and short films. Among these was Theater of the Mind, a short documentary about the Golden Age of radio. The documentary was presented at the 2009 National Association of Broadcasters’s BEA festival in Las Vegas. More recently, it was presented at the 2010 Macon Film Festival and the Southern States Communication Association’s 2010 Convention in Memphis, TN. Jonathan also worked as an intern in the Graphics and Design department of CNN in Atlanta. While there, he worked as a production assistant for the award-winning documentary series, Black in America. His other works include the short films Flowers for Annabelle (producer/director/writer/editor) and The Car Wash (cinematographer), both of which are touring festivals around the country. In the fall, Jonathan will begin his M.F.A. in Film Production at University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts. He aspires to work in the film industry as a cinematographer and editor. This is Jonathan’s first time on staff.
Kelina Imamura, Team Advisor
Kelina is a magazine journalism major at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. At school, Kelina works with NY GEARUP and local high school students to produce a weekly page in The Post-Standard, Syracuse’s city newspaper. Kelina is managing editor at 360 Degrees Magazine, managing editor at Medusa Magazine, a staff writer for The Daily Orange and contributing writer for JERK and 20 Watts magazines. Her stories have been published in Shut Up! Magazine, an independent music, fashion and lifestyle quarterly. She is also a member of the Society of News Design. And while she considers herself an Oregonian at heart, Kelina currently lives in Waikoloa, Hawaii. In her free time, she enjoys writing, sleeping and keeping up on pop culture. This is Kelina’s second year on staff.
Kelly Outram, Team Advisor
Kelly studies newspaper journalism and English at Syracuse University. On campus, she worked with The Daily Orange newspaper as a staff writer, assistant feature and feature editor, as well as blogged for campus magazines and wrote for various other non-campus publications. Kelly spent this past semester studying abroad in London as well as visiting other European landmarks. While at home in Olney, Md, she spends time maintaining her personal blog and catching up on her favorite TV shows. Kelly’s dream job is to be a television writer. In the future, she hopes to make a difference in the media. This is her third summer with NSLC.
Steve Erdman, Team Advisor
Steve Erdman graduated from American University in Washington D.C. with a B.A. in Film/Visual Arts with minor in Literature. He has since continued his studies at American, pursuing an M.A. in Film and Video Production. He just recently won a Student Emmy for best non-news production for a documentary Ecoviews: Life on the Bay. This will be his third year with the Discover the World of Communication program, but first with the NSLC. In the future he hopes to move to Los Angeles to work as a writer/producer for television.
Wyatt Eddy, Team Advisor
Wyatt Eddy is a senior at American University, expecting to graduate in December 2010 with a BS in Audio Technology and a minor in Physics. Over the last few years he has working with a number of studios and artists both in and out of the classroom. He worked as an assistant engineer for Innovation Station Music in Arlington VA, working with singer-songwriters with a focus on MIDI production. He later went on to freelance for Pros from Dover Productions in Rockville MD, working with sound design and scoring for film. Wyatt has also worked extensively with the AU Performing Arts Department recording and mixing Classical and Jazz recitals. In the future, he hopes to work with both music production and sound for film.
Liz Warden, Intern
Liz Warden is currently a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Liz is a print journalism major at the Annenberg School of Journalism and an international relations minor at the USC School of International Relations. During her time at USC she has worked as a reporter and editor for the student newspaper the Daily Trojan and also reports for Annenberg Radio News and the South Los Angeles Report, a multimedia website that covers underrepresented South Los Angeles communities. Outside of journalism, Liz is a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and a high school mentor. Liz also fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a cast member at Disneyland last summer. This is Liz’s first year on staff.
Rachel Williams, Intern
Rachel Williams is an alumna of NSLC and attends San Diego State University. She is pursuing a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Business Marketing. She currently works as an official student representative in the SDSU Ambassador organization and is a member of the SDSU Civil Core. Rachel recently worked on a winning public relations proposal for the non-profit organization Center for Community Solutions in San Diego, CA. Her future plans include gaining international experience by interning abroad for a year after graduating.
Rebecca Pilgrim, Intern
Rebecca was born in San Diego, California and later moved to Denver, Colorado. Rebecca grew up skiing and playing tennis. She attended NSLC in 2008 at American University and is very excited to be back helping out with the conference. Rebecca currently attends the University of Colorado at Boulder where she is a pre-journalism and mass communications major specializing in Advertising. Rebecca plans on becoming an Advertising Account Manager and hopes to live in a big city like San Francisco.
Ryan Babula, Intern
Ryan Babula is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Religious Studies. Over the past two and a half years, Ryan has worked for the University’s award-winning campus newspaper, The George-Anne, most recently as the Features Editor. During his tenure, he earned Second Place for Best Film Review through the Georgia College Press Association. In the fall, he will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design to earn his M.A. in Cinema Studies, after which he plans to become a Professor of Cinema Studies. This is Ryan’s first year on staff.