Shawn Healy and Hannah Wise join SPLC’s Board of Directors

Headshots of Hannah Wise & Shawn Healy with the SPLC logo to the left.

The Student Press Law Center has named two new members to its Board of Directors to strengthen its mission to support, promote and defend the First Amendment rights of student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college levels. 

  • Shawn Healy, Ph.D., senior director of policy and advocacy at iCivics
  • Hannah Wise, audience development editor for The Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle

“Shawn and Hannah are two stars in their professions who bring deep personal experiences with the intersection of education, journalism and the law,” SPLC board chair Logan Aimone said. 

“Shawn’s background as a civics educator and advocate, and Hannah’s innovation in both college and professional newsrooms, will add impact to SPLC’s mission to strengthen and protect the rights of student journalists across the country,” Aimone said. “Our mission is more important than ever as student journalists face increasing challenges to their essential work in their communities providing news, documenting history and empowering voices. We are thankful that these new board members are willing to share their expertise and perspectives, and we look forward to their valuable contributions.”

SPLC’s Board of Directors consists of up to 15 volunteers from across the fields of journalism, education, law, philanthropy and nonprofit management. Board members serve for three-year terms, which are renewable for one additional term. The new board members are:

Shawn Healy

Headshot of Shawn Healy

Shawn Healy, PhD, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy, leads iCivics’ state and federal policy and advocacy work through the CivXNow Coalition and oversees civic education campaigns in several key states. He plays an active role in recruiting supporters to fund policy, advocacy and implementation efforts nationwide to ensure impact.

Healy chaired the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education in 2014 and later led separate, successful legislative campaigns for a required civics course in Illinois in middle and high school, respectively. He also led the Illinois Social Science Standards Task Force. Its recommendations were adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education in 2015.

Healy also serves as an adjunct professor in Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Serve Illinois Commissioner. Before joining iCivics, Healy worked for 15 years at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in various capacities, most recently serving as Democracy Program Director. He began his career as a social studies teacher at West Chicago Community High School (IL) and Sheboygan North and South High Schools (WI).

A 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin, he holds a MA and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in political science and earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Political Science, History and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His dissertation is titled “Essential School Supports for Civic Learning.”

Hannah Wise

Hannah Wise is Audience Development Editor for The Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle. She is most passionate about building communities and thinking about the future of sharing news. Hannah is a lecturer at the University of Kansas, where she teaches courses in audience engagement. 

Hannah was a 2021-22 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow at the University of Missouri. She created Disability Matters, a toolkit to help newsrooms to better serve the disability community. Previously, Hannah was a Social Strategy Editor at The New York Times and the Audience Development Editor at The Dallas Morning News. Her reporting on Facebook Live during the 2016 police ambush was part of The News’ coverage that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news in 2017.

Hannah was named to Editor & Publisher’s 2019 “25 under 35” list of the next generation of leaders in newspapers. She is also the stitching maven behind the viral Instagram account @sewmanycomments, where she doesn’t read the comments, but sews them.

She is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Kansas, where she studied journalism and Germanic languages and literature. Hannah holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, where she was a Mayborn Scholar. Her thesis work focused on applying human-centered design theory to improve the relationships between journalists and the communities they serve.

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