NEWS RELEASE: Student Press Law Center adds leaders in law, journalism education and philanthropy to its Board of Directors


Diana Mitsu Klos, director of engagement
(202) 728-7267 /

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The Student Press Law Center has named four new board members to serve its mission to promote, support and champion the rights of student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college levels.

“There can be no more important time to support and protect student journalists, and we are gratified that these new board members will generously share their talent and time to lead the organization during an era of both internal growth and vexing challenges to the First Amendment rights of student journalists,” said Jane Eisner, chair of the Board of Directors.

The SPLC board consists of 15 members who come from law, journalism, education, nonprofit management and philanthropy. One board seat is reserved for a student representative.

Angela Buonocore has a 36-year track record of leading award-winning advertising and PR campaigns, launching new brands and building existing ones, creating philanthropic efforts, serving as the senior communications strategist on initial public offerings and spinoffs, and developing top communications talent.

After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising, Buonocore began her career with General Electric, followed by 11 years at IBM, where she held a number of communications posts of increasing responsibility, ending her tenure there as a Director of Communications Programs. She then joined PepsiCo as head of Employee Communications for Pepsi-Cola North America. After the spinoff of the company’s bottling operations in 1999, she was tapped to be Vice President of Communications for the newly formed Pepsi Bottling Group. She moved to ITT in 2007 as head of communications for the company, and was promoted to SVP and Chief Communications Officer in 2008. She led the communications effort when ITT split into three separate companies in 2011, and then became Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of Xylem, the water technology business, after the split was completed. She retired from that position in 2014.

In 2010, she was named by the National Organization for Women’s founding New York City chapter as a Woman of Power and Influence. She was named to the UF College of Journalism and Communications Hall of Fame in 2007. Buonocore was the founding chair and is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council of the College, charged with philanthropic leadership and increasing recognition among key constituencies of the College’s leading-edge programs, outstanding faculty and top-ranked students.

Kelly Furnas teaches multimedia journalism in the School of Communications at Elon University in North Carolina, where he also advises the converged student news media, Elon News Network. He was executive director of the Journalism Education Association from 2010 to 2016 and he currently serves as the association’s global engagement director. From 2005 to 2010, Furnas served as editorial adviser to student media at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.

Furnas has received the Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association, as well as the Medal of Merit and Master Journalism Educator status from JEA. He has a degree in journalism from Kansas State University and a master’s in business administration from Florida State University. He has worked as an editor for newspapers in Las Vegas and Tallahassee, Florida.

Neha Madhira, a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, is a journalist, activist and feminist. A press censorship battle over Eagle Nation Online while a student at Prosper (Texas) High School was covered by The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News

The censorship experience inspired Madhira to advocate for student free press laws in her state and around the country. Madhira received the first Young Journalist award by the Women’s Media Center in 2018, gave a talk at TED Women about the importance of the New Voices legislation for student journalists and wrote an op-ed for CNN about student press freedom. She continued her work with the Student Press Law Center by serving as its first Nick Ferentino New Voices Fellow during the summer of 2019. Madhira is currently a breaking news reporter at The Daily Texan and an editorial board member of the WMC’s F-Bomb.

Amy Kristin Sanders is an attorney, associate professor and former journalist. Before joining the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, she taught for more than four years at Northwestern University’s campus in Doha, Qatar. Prior to that, she earned tenure at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the intersection of law and new technology as it relates to media freedom. Specifically, she focuses on international and comparative media law and policy issues, including media freedom, internet governance, social media and digital literacy.

Sanders has authored more than 20 scholarly articles in numerous law reviews and mass communication journals. She is a co-author of the widely recognized casebook First Amendment and the Fourth Estate: The Law of Mass Media, published by Foundation Press. 

An expert witness and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, Sanders has advised international governments and law firms regarding regulatory proceedings, policy development and pending litigation. Sanders regularly speaks to media and civic groups about topics including media freedom, social media, media literacy and the impact of new technology on freedom of speech.

Sanders has developed and taught courses on comparative media law, media ethics, media leadership, sports and the media, and media and society. 

Sanders worked as a copy editor and page designer for the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun. She earned a Ph.D. in mass communication law from the University of Florida. She obtained her MA in professional journalism and her Juris Doctorate at the University of Iowa, where she focused her studies on media law.

The Student Press Law Center (, @splc) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working at the intersection of law, journalism and education to promote, support and champion the rights of student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college levels. The SPLC provides information, training and legal assistance at no charge to student journalists and the educators who work with them.