Staff

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.

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Diana Mitsu Klos, Director of Engagement

Diana Mitsu Klos is a former executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association/Associated Collegiate Press, as well as a longtime staff member with the American Society of News Editors, where her portfolio included running the ASNE's journalism-education programming. As executive director of the NSPA/ACP from 2013-16, Klos oversaw eight national high school and collegiate conventions annually, plus several other training and recognition programs. While with 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. Klos grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., graduated from the City College of New York, and worked as an award-winning reporter, city editor and managing editor for news organizations in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. 
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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 15,000 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.

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Sommer Ingram Dean, Staff Attorney

Sommer Ingram Dean is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and most recently served as a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Sommer was a student journalist at the Tiger Times at Texas High School and The Baylor Lariat.  After graduating from Baylor University, she 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, Sommer interned for NPR's legal affairs correspondent and for The Washington Post.

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Danielle Dieterich, Journalism 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.

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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.  

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Interns

Caitlin McBride, Legal Intern

Caitlin McBride is a student at Michigan State University College of Law, specializing in First Amendment and Intellectual Property Law. As a former yearbook editor, she is strongly interested in protecting the rights of student journalists across the country. In 2017, she joined MSU's First Amendment Law Clinic, teaching student journalists across the state of Michigan about their legal rights through a series of interactive workshops. She continues this research at SPLC and as the Director of Content for the McLellan Online Free Speech Library, a website dedicated to giving students straight-forward and understandable answers to questions about censorship, social media, libel, copyright, and self-expression. 

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Monica Kast, Reporting Intern

Monica Kast graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in journalism in 2018. While at WKU, she worked at The College Heights Herald, the student newspaper, for three years as a reporter, the news editor and the managing editor. She has previously interned as a digital media intern for a startup near WKU and most recently, as a reporting intern at the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky. She is also a Fleischaker-Greene First Amendment Scholar, having spent a semester studying the relationship between the White House and the media as it relates to the First Amendment.

Contact Monica.