Registration opens for panel discussion with CSU grads on the political frontlines


As part of the Your Voice. Your Vote. Your Rights. initiative to encourage civic engagement, voting and informed discourse, the Colorado State University System is hosting a virtual panel called “CSU Grads on the Political Frontlines” on Friday, Oct. 16. The CSU System is co-sponsoring the panel with CSU Fort Collins, the Department of Journalism and Media Communication, and the Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership.

President Joyce McConnell said it is a great point of pride to have CSU alumni share their insight of what’s happening in the nation’s capital and across the country through the lens of their expertise and careers.

“I am so excited about this panel, which showcases our extraordinary alumni working at the heart of our democracy, on the ground and behind the scenes,” McConnell said. “I’m even more excited by the diversity of perspectives and experience that the panelists will bring to this conversation. This will be exactly the kind of dialogue that we seek to foster in our classrooms and across our campus.”

Today’s students, tomorrow’s leaders

Sam Houghteling, panel moderator and program director of the Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership at CSU, said the center operates on the belief that today’s students are tomorrow’s civic and political leaders, and this panel is an excellent testament to that idea.

“All of these panelists, not long ago, were active students at CSU who today are leaders in communications and politics in our nation’s capital,” said Houghteling. “We’re looking forward to an exciting discussion about their work, the world they operate in, and what it means for all of us who are engaged in the life of this country.”

CSU Fort Collins, CSU Pueblo, CSU Global and the Colorado State University System collaborated to launch Your Voice. Your Vote. Your Rights. in late September and will carry forward the initiative through the end of December. In addition to the panel discussion, the initiative includes monthly newsletters from CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank, guest essayists and stories on free speech, politics, and dialogue. Frank will provide opening comments for the panel on Oct. 16.

“The CSU System is focused this fall on talking about how we talk to each other, particularly around politics and divisive issues that we need to be able to discuss more productively than we do,” Frank said. “No one understands this better than the professionals working on the front lines in the political heart of our country. It’s an honor to host this exceptional group of people to share their perspectives and experiences working in D.C. during this challenging and historic time.”

About the panel

What is it like working as a journalist covering Washington, D.C., during this time of intense political polarization and ongoing protests across the nation as we near election day? What is it like working in communications for organizations where your job involves navigating the nation’s political unrest and ensuing media coverage, or working in other roles in direct contact with the country’s lawmakers and power brokers, and activists trying to fight for change?

This panel discussion focuses on the lives and work of Colorado State University alumni who have established careers in the political arena in the U.S. through their roles as journalists, communications strategists, lobbyists and legal counsel. Six out of seven panelists earned degrees from the Journalism and Media Communication department at CSU, while Molly O’Connor’s degree is in Agricultural Business.

CSU Grads on the Political Frontlines

Date: Oct. 16, 4-5:30 p.m. MDT

Opening Comments: Tony Frank, CSU System Chancellor

Moderator: Sam Houghteling, CSU Fort Collins Political Science, Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership at Colorado State University


Eugene Daniels II, Video Reporter, Politico

Kelly Kennedy, Managing Editor, The War Horse News

Staci McDermott, Communications Manager, McCain Institute for International Leadership

J. David McSwane, Investigative Reporter, ProPublica

Molly O’Connor, Director of Federal Government Relations and CLPAC Political Director at CropLife America

Brian Roehrkasse, Vice President of Communications, Facebook

Anthony Sciascia, Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives

The Zoom call is limited to 500 people and prior registration is required at:

Once registered, a confirmation email will provide information on how to submit questions in advance of the panel. Attendees also can submit questions for panelists during the event.

The event will be recorded and posted online at these two websites by Monday afternoon, Oct. 19: