HADAR HARRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Hadar Harris, a human rights attorney and non-profit leader with a passion for working with and on behalf of students, joined the SPLC on Sept. 6, 2017. She previously served as the executive director of the Northern California Innocence Project. For 13 years, Harris was executive director of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law. Earlier in her career, Harris served as executive director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan legislative service organization of the US House of Representatives, under the leadership of the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA). Following her graduation from law school, she worked in private practice at the law firm Littler Mendelson. Harris holds a BA in Political Science from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles. Read more about Hadar.
DIANA MITSU KLOS, DIRECTOR OF ENGAGEMENT
(Best person to contact with if you’re a journalist seeking an interview with a member of our legal team, or if you’re with an organization that wants to invite a speaker/panelist for your event, or if you need to something right now) Diana Mitsu Klos, who has deep roots in journalism associations and newsrooms, has been a long-time SPLC ally and joined the SPLC in 2017. Klos was executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association/Associated Collegiate Press, and senior project director of the American Society of News Editors, where her portfolio included development of and grant writing for ASNE’s journalism-education programming. While at NSPA/ACP from 2013-16, Klos oversaw eight national collegiate and high school journalism conventions annually, plus training and recognition programs. At ASNE from 1996-2012, Klos launched the High School Journalism Initiative. With support from the Knight and Reynolds foundations, the initiative included a two-week training program for more than 2,300 media advisers; the first, free national website hosting service for student publications; an educational website and a national online advertising network. She also oversaw ASNE’s journalism ethics and international journalism programs, which involved coalition building. In addition, Klos researched and wrote “The Status of Women in U.S. Medis 2013” for the Women’s Media Center, which the template for subsequent annual updates. Klos graduated from the City College of New York, and worked as a reporter, city editor and managing editor for daily news organizations in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.
MIKE HIESTAND, SENIOR LEGAL COUNSEL
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 from 1991-2003. Over the years, he has assisted about 16,000 student journalists and advisers. He currently works from the west coast on the SPLC hotline and related projects. In 2013-14, Hiestand traveled around the country with 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. The bus logged 15,595 miles across the American east coast, midwest and southeast speaking to more than 20,000 students and teachers at 58 stops, including schools, colleges, churches, a youth detention facility, courts and several national conventions. In the spring of 2014, The Tinker Tour moved on to schools and events in the American west, midwest and southwest, as well as a stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Vancouver, Canada. 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.
SOMMER INGRAM DEAN, STAFF ATTORNEY
Sommer Ingram Dean, who joined the staff in 2018, is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. Sommer was a student journalist at the Tiger Times at Texas High School and The Baylor Lariat. After graduating from Baylor University, Dean worked as 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). During law school, Dean interned for NPR’s legal affairs correspondent and for The Washington Post.
HILLARY DAVIS, NEW VOICES ADVOCACY AND CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER
Hillary Davis joined the 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, COMMUNICATIONS FELLOW
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.
ALEXIS MASON, OUTREACH AND OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
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.
FRANK LOMONTE, SENIOR LEGAL FELLOW
Frank D. LoMonte served as executive director of the Student Press Law Center from 2008-17 and currently heads a First Amendment think-tank in Florida. He has worked in every sector as a lawyer — government, private practice, nonprofit, education — after a career as an investigative reporter and political columnist. LoMonte’s work combines a lifelong dedication to informed citizenship and transparent, accountable government, and developing public-policy solutions to the obstacles that get between the public and prompt access to the information essential for informed, participatory citizenship.
INTERNS AND FELLOWS
VICTORIA TANG, LEGAL FELLOW
Victoria Tang first encountered SPLC in high school when her principal attempted to suppress the student newspaper, of which she would eventually become co-editor-in-chief. Since then, she’s had a vested interest in press rights, leading her to explore First Amendment issues in law school. She was a legal intern at the National Coalition Against Censorship, American Civil Liberties Union, and Southern Poverty Law Center (the other SPLC). Prior to her legal career, Victoria was a science journalist, working as a research editor at Wired and a reporter at Discover. Victoria received her JD from UC Berkeley; MA in Newspaper, Magazine, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University; and BA in Molecular & Cell Biology, Political Science, and Rhetoric from UC Berkeley, where she served as a columnist and editor of the independent student-run newspaper The Daily Californian.
JOE SEVERINO, JOURNALISM INTERN
Joe Severino is a reporter at the Student Press Law Center. He is a recent graduate of West Virginia University. He was a reporter and then the news editor for the Daily Athenaeum, WVU’s independent student newspaper. He was born and raised in Elkins, West Virginia.