Speakers

M Adams

M Adams

Adams is the co-executive director of Freedom, Inc., a Madison nonprofit that works for social justice by challenging the root causes of violence, poverty, racism and discrimination. Adams is a leading figure in the Take Back the Land Movement and has presented before...

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Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar

Akhtar is a novelist and playwright whose work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Raised in Milwaukee, Akhtar is the...

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Brian Chaney Austin

Brian Chaney Austin

Chaney Austin has served Madison in the Police Department for over 18 years, currently as the captain of traffic and specialized services. Prior to relocating to Madison, Chaney Austin worked as a youth counselor and juvenile probation officer in the Chicagoland area.

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Abigail Becker

Abigail Becker

Abigail Becker joined the Cap Times in 2016, where she covers city and county government. She is also a co-host of the Cap Times’ Madsplainers podcast about local government.

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Kristen Bernard

Kristen Bernard

The central theme of Bernard's research is to further the understanding of how viruses cause disease with the goal of developing new therapies and vaccines. Her current research includes the study of West Nile, Zika, and Powassan viruses. Most recently, her lab is...

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Shiva Bidar

Shiva Bidar

Bidar provides strategic leadership for UW Health's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Her accomplishments include the development of a model interpreter services program. She has held many key roles in the community including serving as an alder for more...

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Aaron Bird Bear

Aaron Bird Bear

Bird Bear (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Diné) is the inaugural director of tribal relations at the university. He previously supported American Indian and Alaska Native students at the university and also historically underrepresented students as assistant dean of student...

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Tanya Bjork

Tanya Bjork

Bjork has served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton's campaign, President Obama’s re-election and as Director of Protect Your Care, a national health care organization. She also served in Jim Doyle's administration, directed Barack Obama’s 2008 Wisconsin campaign...

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Rebecca Blank

Rebecca Blank

Blank became chancellor of Wisconsin’s flagship university in 2013, bringing with her a deep commitment to educational excellence and innovation. She is an internationally respected economist who has twice served as the acting secretary of the U.S. Commerce...

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Damond Boatwright

Damond Boatwright

Boatwright oversees all operations within SSM’s integrated care delivery network in the Wisconsin Region including SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Madison. SSM Health is a St. Louis-based health care system provides care at hospitals, clinics and nursing homes in...

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Zach Brandon

Zach Brandon

Brandon has led the Chamber since 2012. Prior to that, he was the director of the Wisconsin Angel Network, an early stage investment organization focused on increasing equity investments in Wisconsin's entrepreneurs, and he also served as the deputy secretary of the...

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Matthew Braunginn

Matthew Braunginn

Matthew Braunginn is a Madison native and third-generation civil rights activist. He ties together a mixed-race lived perspective of a family steeped in civil rights work and a background in policy research and writing, focusing on racial and economic oppression.

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Justice Castañeda

Justice Castañeda

Castañeda leads Common Wealth Development, Inc., a local development organization specializing in affordable housing development, economic development and business incubation and youth development and mentorship in Madison.

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Jessica Cavazos

Jessica Cavazos

Cavazos began her career in politics, later becoming a community leader and an advocate for economic equity. Her community awards include being named Hispanic Woman of the Year by United Migrant Opportunity Services and Community Leader of the Year at Madison's...

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Esther Cepeda

Esther Cepeda

Cepeda is a journalist and essayist focused on issues affecting people of color. She recently completed 10 years of writing a nationally syndicated opinion column for The Washington Post Writers Group and, before that, was a reporter and opinion columnist for the...

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Lindsay Christians

Lindsay Christians

Christians has been writing about fine arts and food since 2008 for the Cap Times. She hosts a podcast called The Corner Table about food and drink in Madison, and she writes about theater and the arts.

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Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy

Since Conroy joined the company in 2009, Madison-based Exact Sciences has grown to more than 2,500 employees thanks to its signature product, Cologuard, a noninvasive colorectal cancer screening test used more than 2.5 million times. Earlier this year, Exact Sciences...

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James Conway

James Conway

Conway is medical director for Immunization Programs at UW Health. He has spent his career working and advocating for the prevention of vaccine-preventable disease in the U.S. and abroad, receiving an American Academy of Pediatrics Special Achievement Award in 2009...

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Anthony Cooper

Anthony Cooper

At the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Anthony creates and maintains relationships with employers, provides job development, oversees Nehemiah housing programs, works with the Department of Corrections and Madison Police Department regarding clients...

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Dawn Crim

Dawn Crim

Prior to her current role overseeing the state's licensing and regulation of businesses, Crim was an assistant superintendent at the Department of Public Instruction and earlier an associate dean at UW-Madison. She is also a co-founder of the Madison Network of Black...

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John D’Agata

John D’Agata

D’Agata is the author of "Halls of Fame" and "About a Mountain," co-author of "The Lifespan of a Fact," as well as the editor of the 3-volume series "A New History of the Essay." He lives in Iowa City where he teaches creative writing at The University of Iowa.

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Jack Daniels III

Jack Daniels III

For the past seven years, Daniels has led the reshaping of the college to respond to community needs, including a successful campaign to establish the Goodman South Campus on Madison’s south side. Before taking the Madison College post, Daniels was president of Los...

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Kimila Daniels

Kimila Daniels

Daniels has over two decades of experience in human resources and organizational development. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in organizational leadership and a graduate degree in management and organizational development.

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Sue Erickson

Sue Erickson

Erickson was named president and CEO in 2018 after joining Meriter more than 30 years ago as a lab technician, later serving as vice president of professional services and chief operating officer. Erickson was chair of the American Diabetes Association's Wisconsin...

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Tony Evers

Tony Evers

Evers, a Democrat, is the 46th governor of Wisconsin. Prior to that, he worked in education throughout his career, including a stint as the superintendent of the Verona Area School District. He became the state superintendent of schools in 2009 and held that position...

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Kathleen Falk

Kathleen Falk

Falk began her career litigating energy issues at Wisconsin's Environmental Decade; as Public Intervenor in the state Department of Justice, she changed environmental policy. She later served as Dane County executive and then as regional director for the U.S....

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Paul Fanlund

Paul Fanlund

A longtime Madisonian, Fanlund was a State Journal reporter and editor before becoming a vice president of Madison Newspapers. He joined the Cap Times in 2006 to lead its news operation and became publisher as well in 2018.

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Katelyn Ferral

Katelyn Ferral

Ferral is The Cap Times' public affairs and investigative reporter. She joined the paper in 2015 and previously covered the energy industry for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

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Jim Fingal

Jim Fingal

Fingal is the co-author and factchecker of the 2012 book "The Lifespan of a Fact," and a founder and publisher of Logic, a print magazine about technology and culture. He is the chief technical officer of Amino, a health care transparency company.

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Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin

The Marquette University Law School Poll, which Franklin leads in addition to serving as a professor of law and public policy at the university, is the most widely followed effort of its kind in Wisconsin, monitoring trends in politics and other matters of public...

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Keith Gilkes

Keith Gilkes

Gilkes is the founder of Platform Communications, which provides an array of communication, public affairs, and organizational management services to clients. Prior to founding Platform, Gilkes worked in government, serving as chief of staff to the Wisconsin Senate...

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Scott Girard

Scott Girard

Girard is the local K-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group.

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Richard Graber

Richard Graber

Prior to taking the reins at The Bradley Foundation in 2016, Graber served as the senior vice president for global government Relations for Honeywell International. He was the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2006 to 2009, where he actively engaged the Czech...

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Paul Guse

Paul Guse

Paul Guse runs one of Madison’s favorite private trivia companies — Smarter Than You Trivia. He’s worked and lived in Madison for over 20 years, is a proud Badger, and is really looking forward … wait, Eric Holder is going to be here at Idea Fest? Awesome.

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David Heide

David Heide

Heide is a Madison-area chef with over 20 years of experience. He is the owner, operator, and executive chef at Liliana’s, Charlie’s On Main, and Little John’s. He and his restaurants have won multiple local accolades, but Heide is also well known for his dedication...

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Eric Holder

Eric Holder

The committee, which is affiliated with the Democratic Party, aims to combat gerrymandering and Wisconsin is one of its target states. From 2009 to 2015, Holder served as the U.S. attorney general under President Barack Obama.

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Francesca Hong

Francesca Hong

A Madison native, Hong is one of the chef/owners of Morris Ramen. She learned at some of the Madison's beloved restaurants including Magnus, Graze, and Osteria Papavero. She is the co-founder of Culinary Ladies Collective and Cook It Forward, and also the Democratic...

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Jason Ilstrup

Jason Ilstrup

Prior to joining Downtown Madison Inc., Ilstrup worked in hotel management and development at HotelRED, the Iron Horse Hotel and the Madison Concourse Hotel. Before entering hospitality, he served as a legislative aide and legal counsel for several politicians. He is...

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Carlton D. Jenkins

Carlton D. Jenkins

Prior to taking the reins at the Madison Metropolitan School District in 2020, Jenkins served as superintendent of the Robbinsdale School District, a suburb of Minneapolis. Additionally, he has held positions as chief academic officer for the Atlanta Public School...

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Malia Jones

Malia Jones

Jones is a hybrid infectious disease epidemiologist/social epidemiologist. Her work at the Applied Population Laboratory focuses on how geography affects our health, especially spatial clustering of infectious disease and vaccines. Jones is also the editor-in-chief at...

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Jason Joyce

Jason Joyce

Joyce has been a leader in the Cap Times news operation since starting in 2013. Before that, he led the digital media efforts at Isthmus.

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Alan Kaplan

Alan Kaplan

Kaplan took the reins at UW Health in 2016. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a fellow of the American Association of Physician Leadership, where he has served as chairman of the board. He previously served as executive vice president...

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Ashley Kosiak

Ashley Kosiak

At the James Beard Foundation, Kosiak manages education and advocacy programs that promote a more sustainable food system. She received a masters degree in food studies from New York University, and has been working with chefs and culinary professionals on food policy...

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Gloria Ladson-Billings

Gloria Ladson-Billings

The former Kellner Family Distinguished Chair of Urban Education in the university's School of Education, Ladson-Billings, is the current president of the National Academy of Education and former president of the American Educational Research Association. She is a...

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Seth Lentz

Seth Lentz

Lentz works to advance the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin’s mission to forge public and private partnerships that support innovation and excellence in workforce development. He brings over 20 years of experience in developing, administering and...

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Carol Leonnig

Carol Leonnig

Leonnig is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post and the co-author of “A Very Stable Genius”, a portrait of the presidency of Donald Trump. Her work revealing the misconduct and failures of the Secret Service that had compromised President Obama’s security...

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Sabrina Madison

Sabrina Madison

Madison founded the Progress Center in 2018 to help Black women access needed resources and connections to help them and their families thrive. It is the continuation of earlier work by Madison, who also created the Black Women's Leadership Conference and the Black...

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David Maraniss

David Maraniss

Maraniss is a New York Times best-selling author, fellow of the Society of American Historians, and visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University. He has been affiliated with the Washington Post for more than 40 years as an editor and writer, and twice won...

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Ruth Marcus

Ruth Marcus

Marcus has been with the Washington Post since 1984, working as a reporter covering the Justice Department, the Supreme Court and the White House and then as an editor. She joined the paper’s editorial board in 2003 and began writing a regular column in 2006. In 2007,...

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Mary Lee McKenzie

Mary Lee McKenzie

At the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District's Clark Community School, McKenzie has developed curriculum and instruction on math topics and equity with a focus on online learning. She has presented at the Wisconsin Math Council Annual Conference and...

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Douglas McLeod

Douglas McLeod

McLeod teaches strategic communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has more than 100 research publications in academic journals and edited books. His research focuses on how media construct news stories about social movements and how news story framing...

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Gwen Moore

Gwen Moore

In 2004, Moore became the first African American to be elected to Congress from Wisconsin. She represents the state’s 4th Congressional District, which covers Milwaukee and some adjacent suburbs. Moore serves on the House’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, and she...

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Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy

Murphy has worked at the Cap Times since 1996 as a reporter and editor, the last 11 as managing editor. He is the architect of Cap Times Idea Fest and oversees the company's new membership program.

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Gregory Nemet

Gregory Nemet

Nemet teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs, and is currently a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His book, "How Solar Energy Became Cheap," was awarded the inaugural World Citizen Prize in...

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John Nichols

John Nichols

In addition to his work at the Cap Times, Nichols is the author of several books about politics and the media, including "Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse." He writes about electoral politics and public policy for The Nation magazine.

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Amber Noggle

Amber Noggle

Noggle is an Emmy Award-winning anchor at WKOW, which she joined nine years ago after working for News 12 in New York City. Noggle spends much of her free time volunteering for local organizations including the American Heart Association, which is particularly...

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Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar

Omar represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs. An experienced Twin Cities policy analyst, organizer, public speaker and advocate, Omar was sworn into office in 2019, the first Somali-American member of...

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Jessie Opoien

Jessie Opoien

Opoien covered state government and politics for the Cap Times as a reporter and now serves as the company's opinion editor, writing a weekly column and hosting the Wedge Issues podcast.

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Ramon Ortiz

Ramon Ortiz

Outside of his work for the Latino Chamber, Ortiz is an Associate Dean in the School of Arts & Sciences at Madison College, and he has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as an MBA from...

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Andrea Palm

Andrea Palm

Before leading Wisconsin's Department of Health Services, where she has overseen the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Palm was senior counselor to the secretary of Health and Human Services under President Obama where she oversaw the agenda for the public...

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Madeleine Para

Madeleine Para

Para ensures that Citizens Climate Lobby's volunteers nationwide have the tools and knowledge they need to advance the enactment of fair, effective climate solutions. She founded the CCL chapter in Madison in 2011 and the 350.org Madison chapter the next year, joining...

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Joe Parisi

Joe Parisi

A Dane County native, Parisi has been the chief elected officer of the county since 2011. His environmental initiatives include the establishment of both the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change and the Dane County Council on Climate Change. Parisi also...

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Eugenia Podestá

Eugenia Podestá

Podestá's work at Vital Voices, an international non-governmental organization in Washington D.C., supports the growth of women-led small and mid-size enterprises. As co-founder of Synergy Coworking, Podestá drives collaborative solutions and leadership development...

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Briana Reilly

Briana Reilly

Reilly joined the Cap Times in 2019 from WisPolitics.com to cover state politics. She is the author of the Campaign Notes newsletter.

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Brian Reisinger

Brian Reisinger

Brian Reisinger is a conservative writer and public affairs professional who has built a battle-tested career in media, communications and political strategy — first as an investigative reporter, then as a top aide to Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and...

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Satya Rhodes-Conway

Satya Rhodes-Conway

Rhodes-Conway was elected Madison's mayor in 2019. Prior to her election, she worked for nearly 14 years as the managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project, a learning network for mayors nationwide. She also served on Madison's city council for six years.

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Philip Rucker

Philip Rucker

Rucker is the White House bureau chief at The Washington Post, leading its coverage of President Trump and his administration. Rucker and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for their coverage of Russian election interference. He is also co-author...

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Angela Russell

Angela Russell

At the CUNA Mutual Group, Russell is responsible for leading the development, direction and implementation of short and long-term strategies and programs that support diversity and inclusion and overseeing CUNA Mutual’s corporate social responsibility program.

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Nasia Safdar

Nasia Safdar

Safdar is the vice chair for research at the university's Department of Medicine, the medical director for infection prevention at UW Health and an infectious diseases physician. She researches improving patient safety and reducing hospital-acquired infections. Safdar...

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Stacey Scannell

Stacey Scannell

Scannell managed and opened fitness facilities for about six years in the Madison area, purchasing The Soap Opera on State Street in 2015. She has served on the Madison Central Business Improvement District board since 2017.

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Carol “Orange” Schroeder

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

Schroeder and her husband, Dean, have been co-owners of the award-winning gift and gourmet shop Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street since 1975. In addition, Schroeder writes extensively about brick-and-mortar retail. A newly updated and expanded edition of her...

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Patrick Sims

Patrick Sims

Sims started work this year as the executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a premier arts conservatory. Before then, he was the chief diversity officer for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and came into that job...

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Charles Sykes

Charles Sykes

Sykes is a founder and the editor-at-large of The Bulwark, host of The Bulwark Podcast, and an NBC/ MSNBC contributor. He has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and other national...

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Kelly Tyrrell

Kelly Tyrrell

Tyrrell holds a masters degree in cellular and molecular biology from UW–Madison and a degree in zoology from the University of Florida. She was a AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow in 2011. In 2019, she won the National Association of Science Writers...

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David Wahlberg

David Wahlberg

Wahlberg has been the health reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal since 2005. His projects on patient safety, rural health care, doctor discipline, organ transplants and cancer have won national awards.

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Elizabeth Ward

Elizabeth Ward

Ward works with hundreds of volunteers and leaders across Wisconsin at the Sierra Club in efforts to quickly move off of fossil fuels, support a clean energy economy, protect and expand access to public lands and ensure safe drinking water. Prior to assuming the role...

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Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward

Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for 49 years and reported on every American president from Nixon to Trump. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and...

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Noble Wray

Noble Wray

Wray was chief of the Madison Police Department from 2004 to 2014. Since then, he has worked as a nationally recognized consultant for law enforcement organizations. He has also served on staff at the Police Leadership Institute at the University of Lowell...

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Natalie Yahr

Natalie Yahr

Yahr writes stories and produces podcasts for the Cap Times. Before moving into journalism, she trained as a Spanish-English interpreter and supported adult students working to earn their high school equivalencies.

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