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Center Administrative Staff

Caty Borum Chattoo's picture
Caty Borum Chattoo

Caty Borum Chattoo is Executive in Residence in the School of Communication, and Principal Investigator and Creative Director at the Center for Media & Social Impact. As a social-change communication specialist and media producer, she has been engaged as a senior campaign strategist, documentary producer and social-impact research director with media companies, nonprofit organizations and foundations, most recently including Participant Media, Link TV, KCETLink, Working Films and more. She has produced two theatrical documentary feature films (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and The After Party), a TV documentary and transmedia series (Stand Up Planet), multiple half-hour documentary TV specials, a seven-part documentary TV series, and multiple PSA campaigns designed for social change on issues ranging from global poverty to human rights. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, PBS Media Shift and Impatient Optimists (Gates Foundation blog), and her documentaries have aired on the Sundance Channel, Pivot, NDTV (India), PBS World, Link TV, KCET and more. Previously, she was a senior vice president in behavior-change communication at FleishmanHillard International Communications in Washington, D.C.,where she served on the senior leadership team for a national teen prescription drug abuse campaign that was awarded the Public Relations Society of America’s highest honor, the Silver Anvil for Public Service.

In Los Angeles, she was a longtime collaborator with TV producer Norman Lear as a producer and a founding director of Declare Yourself, a national youth civic engagement campaign; and special projects director at the USC Norman Lear Center, a research center that examines the social impact of entertainment. She was also a program officer in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Entertainment Media & Public Health program, where she managed TV partnerships with MTV and BET for the Foundation’s HIV awareness campaign; and a media fellow in civic journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Borum Chattoo holds a master’s degree in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania (The Annenberg School for Communication), and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies (summa cum laude, In Honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from Virginia Tech.

Caty Borum Chattoo can be reached at: chattoo [at] american [dot] edu

Brigid Maher's picture
Brigid Maher

Brigid Maher is a tenured, associate professor of Film and Media Arts. She is Co-Director of the Center for Media and Social Impact and Associate Division Director of the Film and Media Arts Division at American University. Her latest documentary, The Mama Sherpas, is currently screening across the country and follows nurse-midwives, the doctors they work with, and their patients, over the course of two years. The documentary provides an intimate glimpse into what midwives can bring to the birthing process in the hospital system. The film is executively produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein ( The Business of Being Born ) and distributed by Bond/360.

Maher’s creative work concentrates on national and international women’s issues with a particular focus on the Middle East and more recently women’s health. Maher’s previous award winning documentary, Veiled Voices , followed three Muslim religious leaders in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon and screened on over 150 public televisions stations across the United States with multiple national satellite broadcasts. The film was also featured in numerous international film festivals, including Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival and the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival and is distributed by Arab Film Distribution.

In 2005, she taught and worked in Lebanon as a Fulbright Senior Scholar where she filmed a festival award winning fiction short, AWOL, shot on location in in the Bekaa Valley and distributed by Third World Newsreel. Before that she wrote, directed and produced the feature film Adrift in the Heartland, shot in the West Bank and Chicago. Her films have screened at international film festivals throughout the United States.

Maher’s scholarly writing focuses on the interplay between traditional film and new media theories. Her additional award-winning film work has shown in festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Her writings have been published by Cilect, the International Digital Media Arts Conference Journal and featured in the D|N|A Anthology.

Maher’s contribution to the academy further includes her roles as the co-executive editor of the online Journal for Digital Media Arts and Practice, incoming president of the International Digital Media Arts Association and Conference Vice President for the University Film and Video Association.

Brigid can be reached at bmaher [at] american [dot] edu