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Caty Borum Chattoo's picture
Caty Borum Chattoo
Co-Director

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
Co-Director

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 FMA program at American University. Her latest documentary, The Mama Sherpas, 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 into the birthing process in the hospital system. The film is executively produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein (The Business of Being Born). 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 won a Fulbright Senior Award to teach broadcast media in Lebanon in the spring of 2005. She teaches digital media and editing courses for SOC.

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

Angelica Das's picture
Angelica Das
Consultant

Angelica Das specializes in strategy for social impact documentary and has 11 years of experience in non-profit communication, management and administration. She currently manages special projects as a consultant for both the American University Game Lab and the Center for Media & Social Impact. She previously served for five years as the Center's associate director, overseeing all operations, events and content production on empowering media that matters. Angelica's contributions to the field extend from research to field work as an impact producer for the upcoming documentary CITY OF TREES, producer for AS A FATHER and previously as a co-producer for ROAMING WILD (2014). Angelica is a rising leader in the film community of Washington, D.C. and beyond, volunteering on a number of juries and committees including with AFI DOCS, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Filmfest DC, and on a national level, the Peabody Awards and BRITDOC Impact Awards. Her speaking and panelist roles have included the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam, Sundance Film Festival and Full Frame Documentary Festival. She is also an active member of the Advisory Board for local production company Meridian Hill Pictures.

Angelica has been living and working in Washington, D.C. since 2004. As program officer with the National Geographic Society, she coordinated grants and media for premiere explorers and adventurers. She previously managed operations for the nonprofit Machik, for the mission of incubating social innovation on the Tibetan plateau. She received a Master of Arts in International Media from American University in 2010, with a focus on the role of hyper-local media in information environments. Angelica holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Rochester and post-baccalaureate certificate in Polish language and culture. A true global citizen, Angelica has roots in Poland and India and continues to explore the world through documentary filmmaking.

Angelica can be reached at: das [at] american [dot] edu

Patricia Aufderheide's picture
Patricia Aufderheide
Senior Research Fellow

Center director Patricia Aufderheide is University Professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. She is the co-author with Peter Jaszi of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (University of Chicago Press, July 2011), and author of, among others, Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007), The Daily Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), and of Communications Policy in the Public Interest (Guilford Press, 1999). She heads the Fair Use and Free Speech research project at the Center, in conjunction with Prof. Peter Jaszi in American University's Washington College of Law. She has been a Fulbright and John Simon Guggenheim fellow and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival among others. She has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the Preservation and Scholarship award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association, and the Woman of Vision Award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010. Aufderheide serves on the board of directors of Kartemquin Films, a leading independent social documentary production company, and and on the editorial boards of a variety of publications, including Communication Law and Policy and In These Times newspaper. She has served on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service, which produces innovative television programming for underserved audiences under the umbrella of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and on the film advisory board of the National Gallery of Art. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota.

Pat can be reached at: paufder [at] american [dot] edu

Laura DeNardis's picture
Laura DeNardis
Internet Policy Fellow

Laura DeNardis is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at American University. She is a globally recognized Internet governance scholar whose research addresses Internet policy and technical design issues related to communication rights and freedom of expression online. Before joining American University, she served as the Executive Director of the Yale Information Society Project. Her books include Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability (MIT Press 2011); Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance (MIT Press 2009); Information Technology in Theory (Thompson 2007 with Pelin Aksoy); and a forthcoming Yale University Press book on Global Internet Governance. DeNardis earned a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech, an MEng from Cornell University, an AB in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.

Laura DeNardis can be reached at denardis [at] american [dot] edu

Benjamin Stokes's picture
Benjamin Stokes
Civic Media Research Fellow

Benjamin Stokes is a researcher at USC, where he is completing his PhD on civic learning, participatory mapping and real-world gaming. Previously, Benjamin served at the MacArthur Foundation as a program officer in their $50M portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. Benjamin is a co-founder of Games for Change, the branch of the serious games movement which seeks to advance social change. Benjamin has also led design teams on games and e-training, reaching more than 150,000 youth at the nonprofit MercyCorps/NetAid. In educational technology, Benjamin produced virtual field trips and research tools for their network of more than 43,000 high schools at the ProQuest/Bigchalk educational publishers.

Ben can be reached at bgs [at] benjaminstokes [dot] net

Mitra Arthur's picture
Mitra Arthur
Graduate Fellow

Mitra I. Arthur is a native of both Upper Marlboro, MD and Columbia, SC. She received her Bachelors in Arts in English and Music from Columbia College, SC. Mitra has a background in Theatre, Arts Management & Education and Event Producing after time with various theatre companies, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Capital Jazz Productions. Mitra is currently pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Electronic Media at American University.

Casey Freeman Howe's picture
Casey Freeman Howe
Graduate Fellow

Casey Freeman Howe is a filmmaker, researcher and entrepreneur working at the intersection of art, technology and politics. She holds a BA from Duke University in Political Science and International Comparative Studies and is currently an MFA candidate in Film and Electronic Media at American University.

Jessica Henry Mariona's picture
Jessica Henry Mariona
Graduate Fellow

Jessica Henry Mariona is a researcher and storyteller exploring how art, entertainment, and media are used to create positive social change around the world. She is a Washington, D.C. native, and holds a BA in Theater from the University of Maryland, College Park. Jessica also served as a Youth Development Specialist in the U.S. Peace Corps in El Salvador. She is currently pursuing her MA in Strategic Communication at American University.

Daniela Perez's picture
Daniela Perez
Graduate Fellow

Daniela Pérez Frías was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Film and Electronic Media at American University in Washington, DC, where she is on course to graduate this spring. Daniela received her BA in Communication from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, where she made her first documentary short, El Codo del Arte. She was producer for the short fictional film Northeast Front, which told one mother’s harrowing tale of protecting her children from the drug violence in northern Mexico. When not working on films, Daniela can often be found eating Thai noodles. She is always the first on the dance floor.

Daniela can be reached at daniela.p.frias [at] gmail [dot] com