Staff

JOSH MOORE, ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Josh Moore rejoined SPLC in 2022 after twice serving as an intern in 2010 and 2015. Josh previously spent five years at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where he helped launch several new programs, oversaw the organization’s data efforts, and worked with journalists as an attorney. Earlier in his career, he was a newspaper copy desk chief. Josh’s passion for journalism began in the fifth grade when he published a family newsletter, and it was cemented as a high school junior when he started a student newspaper. During college, he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, and he led an effort — with SPLC’s support — that advocated for legislation protecting the free press rights of student journalists in Kentucky. As a first-generation college student, Josh earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University and his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. Josh lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his husband, dog and two cats.

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Mike Hiestand has been integral to SPLC’s success since 1989. He was an SPLC intern, its first legal fellow and then served as full-time staff attorney from 1991-2003. Over the years, he has assisted over 18,000 student journalists and advisers. As the SPLC’s Senior Legal Counsel, he currently works from the west coast on the SPLC hotline and related projects. In 2013-14, Hiestand traveled around the country with free speech icon Mary Beth Tinker, teaching and speaking out on behalf of student press rights and free expression. “Tinker Tour USA” kicked off on Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and logged just under 25,000 miles while speaking at schools, colleges, churches, a youth detention facility, courts and several national conventions. Hiestand, who grew up in Alaska, graduated from Bartlett High School in Anchorage and went on to Marquette University’s College of Journalism and Cornell Law School.

JONATHAN GASTON-FALK, STAFF ATTORNEY

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Jonathan Falk is an Education Law attorney with broad experience spanning almost a decade representing both school district and student clients. Jonathan was a high school student journalist for the inaugural class of contributors for the York High School newspaper The Talon in Yorktown, Virginia. He subsequently earned a Bachelor’s from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor and Master of Urban Planning from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Jonathan joined SPLC in March 2022 following a five year tenure with the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, New York as Program Director of the Education Law Unit, during which time he advocated for the free speech rights of students before countless boards of education and the Commissioner of Education in Albany.

SOMMER INGRAM DEAN, STAFF ATTORNEY

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Sommer Ingram Dean, who joined the staff in 2018, is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center who has long been an advocate for students’ speech and press rights. Sommer was a student journalist at the Tiger Times at Texas High School and The Baylor Lariat in college.  After college, she was a legislative and legal reporter for The Associated Press and Dallas Morning News. She is also a former SPLC intern (2010) and legal fellow (2015-16). Sommer has worked for NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, The Washington Post, and served as a law clerk for a federal judge.

HILLARY DAVIS, ADVOCACY AND ORGANIZING DIRECTOR

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Hillary Davis joined SPLC in October 2019, after six years lobbying state legislators with the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island. She has advocated for and alongside youth on issues of student’s rights, the First Amendment, racial profiling, and criminal and juvenile justice. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan and a BA in sociology from California State University, Northridge.

DANIELLE DIETERICH, DIGITAL STRATEGIST

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Danielle Dieterich graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Convergence Journalism in 2016. While in college, she interned for the Student Press Law Center, helping to grow its social media and online presence and working on the Active Voice program launch. After going back to school and graduating, Dieterich spent a year working as an engagement editor for digital news company Newsy before being hired back to the SPLC as a journalism fellow. In 2020 she was promoted to digital strategist.

ALEXIS MASON, OUTREACH AND OPERATIONS MANAGER

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Alexis Mason joined the SPLC staff in April 2019 from the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County in Fayetteville, N.C.  Mason interned at Action for Children, where she designed and developed a newsletter for the AFC’s community engagement initiative in North Carolina, and lobbied to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18. Mason has a paralegal certificate from Meredith College, and volunteered for Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Lawyer on the Line program. A journalism graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Mason was the wires editor of the A&T Register and has written for Carolina Peacemaker, Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles and Care Guide, and the Urban Call.

DEVIN YINGLING, COMMUNICATIONS FELLOW

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Devin Yingling graduated from St. Joseph’s University with a BA in political science and minors in English and journalism. During college, she worked as a reporter and as the editor-in-chief of The Hawk student newspaper, and she first joined the SPLC team as the Storytelling Intern. After graduating and spending a month in South Africa reporting and writing stories about issues pertaining to social justice, Devin then joined the SPLC staff again as the Communications Fellow in August 2022.

GRAYSON MARLOW, NICK FERENTINOS NEW VOICES FELLOW

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Grayson Marlow is a junior at New York University studying the intersections of Journalism, Law and Society. He’s hoping to go onto law school to study First Amendment Law after graduation.

TRISTAN TUCKER, JOURNALISM EXTERN

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Tristan Tucker is a graduate student at Northwestern University, an M.S. candidate at the Medill School of Journalism. During his undergraduate studies, Tristan served as the managing editor at North Carolina State University’s student newspaper, Technician, and studied communication, law, statistics and journalism. Tristan is interested in pursuing a career in sports law or management and using his video and statistics background to inform his work.

EMILY HICKEY, STORYTELLING INTERN

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Emily Hickey is a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she studies English and Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication. She previously worked as a copyeditor for The Maneater Student Newspaper, where she had the chance to work alongside brilliant student journalists, and later worked as Social Media Coordinator for DC-based nonprofit Rainbow Families. After college, she hopes to pursue work that incorporates her love for writing with her passion for education.