President and CEO
Greg Lukianoff is an attorney, New York Times best-selling author, and the President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, Freedom From Speech, and FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. Most recently, he co-authored The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure with Jonathan Haidt. This New York Times best-seller expands on their September 2015 Atlantic cover story of the same name. Greg is 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.
Greg has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and numerous other publications. He frequently appears on TV shows and radio programs, including the CBS Evening News, The Today Show, and NPR’s Morning Edition. In 2008, he became the first-ever recipient of the Playboy Foundation’s Freedom of Expression Award, and he has testified before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives about free speech issues on America’s college campuses.
A native of Toledo, Ohio, and a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law, Robert is the author of Twisting Title IX, from Encounter Books. During his 15-year career at FIRE, Robert has aided students and faculty members at hundreds of colleges and universities and personally traveled to dozens of campuses to educate students, faculty, and administrators about First Amendment issues. A free-speech activist who himself faced campus censorship, Robert’s writing has appeared in many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, and TIME. He has also represented FIRE on NPR, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN Tonight, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Stossel, Fox & Friends, and CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, as well as many other national and international television and radio programs.
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 thousands of students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys at events across the country.
Barred in New York and Pennsylvania, Will is a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association and serves as Co-Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
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 multiple United States Courts of Appeals.
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, four children, and two Boston terriers.
Vice President for Procedural Advocacy
For more than 13 years, Samantha Harris has advised students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys on issues of free speech and due process on campus. She lectures regularly about students’ rights at campuses and conferences around the country, including recently at the Judicial Conferences of the Third and Fourth Circuits. Samantha has been published in Inside Higher Ed, the New York Daily News, Reason, The Washington Post, Vox, and other publications, and has represented FIRE on CNN, ESPN, Fox News, NPR, and more.
Samantha received her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University in 1999, and went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2002. Following a clerkship with the late Judge Jay C. Waldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, she was a litigation associate at Pepper Hamilton LLP before joining FIRE in 2005.
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.
Associate Director of Individual Philanthropy
Ashley is a proud Philadelphia native who graduated cum laude from Drexel University, where she studied corporate and public relations. Previously, Ashley worked in marketing and events for a classic rock radio station, and came to FIRE as a Program Assistant in 2011 before quickly gravitating to fundraising work. Today, Ashley manages all aspects of FIRE’s individual giving, including donor relations, direct mail, fundraising events, and planned giving. Ashley now resides in DC, where she is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals DC Chapter. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading true crime novels, and spending time with her Aussie, Iggy Pup.
Senior 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.
Assistant Director of Communications
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.
Tyler is an attorney and a 2010 graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where he was an executive board member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a director on the Indiana Memorial Union Board of Directors, IU’s largest student programing board. He is also 2015 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law, where he participated in the school’s First Amendment Clinic and served as president of MSU Law’s chapter of the Federalist Society. During law school, Tyler completed legal internships at the US Department of the Interior’s Departmental Ethics Office and later at the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Since joining FIRE, Tyler has testified in state legislatures across the country about campus free speech and due process issues. He has also spoken at nearly 50 colleges and universities nationwide, discussing First Amendment freedoms, common ways in which universities censor student expression, and how students can stand up for their right to free speech.
Tyler resides in Washington, DC, and is a member of the DC Bar. He is an avid supporter of Chelsea FC, the Indianapolis Colts, the Indiana Pacers, and all things 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, is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, and has her HRCI PHR certification. As part of her work at FIRE, Peyton seeks to continue the legacy of the Drexel cooperative education program by hiring 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.
Sonia K. Deel
Sonia Deel received her undergraduate degree in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania in 2016, where she served as the senior class president. She earned her M.S. in marketing at American University in Washington, D.C., where she currently resides.
Before coming to FIRE, Sonia worked for the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida, and held numerous research positions focusing on consumer ethics and behavior change marketing, and market research and data analysis.
Sonia’s life-long passion for civil liberties brought her to FIRE, and she is very excited to work across departments to help execute FIRE’s mission on various fronts. In her spare time, Sonia enjoys taking spin classes, laughing along to comedies, and exploring new and fun activities around D.C. with her 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.
Outreach Officer, First Amendment Library
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.
Evan Cree Gee
Assistant to the Executive Director
Evan graduated magna cum laude with high honors in Political Science from Kenyon College in 2018. At Kenyon, he was involved with a fraternity, various singing groups, campus government, and the Outdoors Club. He also wrote occasional opinion pieces on students rights for the campus newspaper. His interest in the freedom of thought on college campuses began when, as a freshman, his advisor recommended that he read Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. As a senior, Evan wrote an honors thesis on Plato’s Laches, which led him to more fully understand the vital role that a climate of free expression plays in liberal education.
Evan has spent eight summers working for a Boy Scouts of America summer camp and continues volunteering for the organization when he can. He is thrilled to be joining the team at FIRE.
Donor Relations Associate
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 Foundation Relations and Donor Impact
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, Individual Rights Defense Program
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.
Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program
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.
Outside of FIRE, you can find Zach on the Ultimate Frisbee field, around a poker table, or hovered over a chess board. He serves as the President of the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance Board of Directors and enjoys watching his beloved New England Patriots win Super Bowls.
Executive Assistant to the President
Kayla is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs, Middle East Studies and Political Science. Before transferring to GW, Kayla attended a community college in Chicago where she became fascinated with cases of speakers who were kicked off campus and denied their right to free speech. At GW, she worked with student organizations to bring speakers to campus and encourage others to seek out a variety of viewpoints. Before coming to FIRE, Kayla interned at multiple think tanks focused on Middle East policy. She most recently interned for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy where she worked on a team dedicated to combating the U.S. opioid epidemic. In her free time, Kayla volunteers for Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure and raising awareness for autonomic nervous system disorders. Kayla loves attending political conferences throughout D.C. and hopes to stay in the city for the long term.
Program Officer, Campus Outreach
Rebecca graduated from Michigan State College of Law in 2015. While at MSU, Rebecca was a clinician and teaching assistant for the First Amendment Law Clinic. She also holds a B.A. in Political Science from Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame. Before coming to FIRE, Rebecca worked in Washington, D.C., as a community organizer. She worked with community focused organizations across the country that worked on fair housing and fair lending initiatives to bring attention to the needs of low and moderate income communities. During her free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, going to museums, and finding new interesting podcasts. She is also trying to earn her green thumb by trying her hand at keeping houseplants alive.
Senior Program Manager, 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. 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. She also completed internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is licensed to practice law in Virginia and Pennsylvania. After law school, she worked for the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia, before moving to Philadelphia to work at FIRE. Susan previously served as editor-in-chief of FIRE’s blog and as a member of FIRE’s litigation team, and she now works in FIRE’s legal and public advocacy department.
Foundation Relations Officer
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.
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
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, Legal and Public Advocacy
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 as a Program Assistant through Drexel’s cooperative education program and remained on FIRE’s staff for through the rest of her undergraduate career. After graduation, Sarah took on the position of Program Associate for FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, where she now works as a Senior Program Officer. In addition to defending freedom of expression on campus, Sarah also writes about the issues surrounding dissidents’ free speech and blasphemy in the international context.
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 writing, recording, and performing his own music.
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 a journalist and an attorney who tells stories about civil liberties on America’s college campuses.
Alex earned her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School where she worked as a teaching assistant for noted First Amendment scholar Donald Downs. She also 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. A proud native of Tucson, Arizona, Alex earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and French from the University of Arizona. Between college and graduate school, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, teaching English in rural, underserved schools. 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 Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and their three children.
Digital Activism and Marketing Coordinator
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.
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.
Senior Scholar in Human Development and Psychology
Pamela Paresky served as chief researcher and in-house editor for the New York Times bestseller, The Coddling of the American Mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure, by FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Her Ph.D. in Human Development and Psychology is from the University of Chicago, and she holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. She writes a blog for Psychology Today and has been published in a diverse array of other media outlets. Before joining FIRE, Pamela was a featured speaker at the National Character and Leadership Symposium at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), an adjunct/research professor at the USAFA Center for Character and Leadership Development, and a leadership coach and consultant. She worked with businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions, and her consulting ranged from curriculum development in adult and higher education to fostering cultures of kindness in K-12 schools to expanding leadership capacities. 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 also the Director of the Aspen Center for Human Development and the author of the research-based guided journal, A Year of Kindness. She continues to deliver workshops and keynote addresses on various topics in Human Development including (among others): leadership, happiness, bridging divides, and living a meaningful life.
Director of Communications
Nico Perrino is the director of FIRE’s communications department, which oversees media relations, social media, web development, graphic design, audio and video production, advertising and marketing, FIRE’s award-winning Newsdesk, and additional public awareness programs for the organization. He is also the creator and host of FIRE’s So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast.
Nico began defending civil liberties on campus with FIRE in 2010 as a summer intern. He joined FIRE full time 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 department. His writing has been featured in USA Today, Politico, and The Guardian, and he regularly travels the country to speak about student and faculty rights on campus.
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 was inducted into FIRE’s Prometheus Society for his on-campus activism in defense of student and faculty rights. He was also a winner of the 2011 “Free to Tweet” contest sponsored by 1 for All and the Knight Foundation.
Originally from Chicago, Nico now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area.
Video Editor and Production Manager
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.
Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder
Director of High School Outreach
Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder is an educator with 20+ years of experience in a variety of roles in different institutions, including teacher, counselor, administrator and professor in both public and private schools. A New Jersey native, Bonnie is an honors graduate of Harvard University with a master’s degree in Counseling from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in Higher Education from Penn State. She is the author of The New College Reality, The Unemployed College Graduate’s Survival Guide, and co-author of Finding Your Voice: A Free Speech Comic. Her work has been featured or mentioned by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Parents Magazine, CBS MoneyWatch, and other media outlets. Bonnie lives in Lancaster, PA and likes to go to Hershey Bears hockey games.
Director, Individual Rights Defense Program
A Colorado native, Adam moved westward to Los Angeles, where he attended Whittier College and graduated cum laude from Loyola Law School. 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 a justice of California’s Second District Court of Appeal.
Following law school, Adam practiced entertainment-focused civil litigation in California and wrote for a variety of outlets on matters involving the First Amendment and the Internet. Adam is a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association and is a member of the California and Pennsylvania state bars.
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.
Program Associate, Individual Rights Defense Program and Social Media Manager
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.