February 18, 2020


Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class

By: AF Editors

This month, AF is kicking off the spring 2020 term of the Writing Fellows Program. With a total of 46 students, it’s our biggest class to date! Below, meet the 26 fellows who will make up the virtual section of this spring’s class. Learn more about how you can be a part of our next class, see our application here!

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual ClassToni Airaksinen
Toni Airaksinen is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn and Reston, VA. Over the last five years, she has published thousands of exclusive news articles exposing the lack of due process afforded to men accused of sexual misconduct, First Amendment violations by university administrations, and higher education related lawsuits. Her bylines can be found in PJ Media, USA TODAY, The Daily Caller, Quillette Magazine, and more. She is a 2018 alumna of Barnard College.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 1Rachel Citak
Rachel Citak is legal counsel for Citizens for Community Values, Ohio’s largest Christian public policy organization. As a black pro-life advocate, she is passionate about issues concerning human trafficking and pro-life efforts. While working as a registered lobbyist and licensed attorney in the state of Ohio, she spends much of her time at the state capitol testifying for bills that promote God’s blessings of life, family, and religious freedom. Her written work includes two op-eds published in The Columbus Dispatch and The Western Journal, as well as mentions in Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire and LifeNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @rachelrcitak.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 2Mary Rose Corkery
Mary Rose Corkery is a native of Boston, MA, and part of a family of six siblings. A senior at the University of Dallas (UD) majoring in politics with a concentration in ethics, she serves as the academic director for the UD Alexander Hamilton Society, is a fellow for the American Public Philosophy Institute, and is a former cross country track athlete. She currently writes as a correspondent for Campus Reform, with her work mentioned in the Leadership Institute and the Drudge Report. When she is not studying, Mary Rose likes to run, travel with her friends, and cheer for all of the Boston sports.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 3Jessica De Gree
Jessica De Gree is a high school Spanish III teacher and elementary school history teacher at a Great Hearts Academy in Phoenix, AZ. Before teaching at the classical school, Jessica played basketball professionally in Spain where she also taught English as a second language to Spanish children. A graduate of Hillsdale College, Jessica has been invested in the liberty movement and seeks to befriend those who share her mission of promoting a free society characterized by individual liberty and constitutional self-government.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 6Christina Eastman
Christina Eastman is a graduate of the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, where she received degrees in engineering and violin performance. She is an analyst at American Philanthropic, a non-profit consulting firm dedicated to strengthening civil society. Prior to joining American Philanthropic’s Denver office, Christina graduated from The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program.Her writing has appeared at Fox News, The Daily Signal, American Greatness, and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Witness Blog. She is also a member of the violin section of the Boulder Symphony.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 7Brogan Feeley
Brogan Feeley hails from Los Angeles, CA. In May 2019, he graduated from Boston College, where he majored in history and theology with a classics minor. Brogan graduated Magna Cum Laude, became a member of the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honors Society, and was awarded a Civic Internship Grant as a junior fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy. In 2016 Brogan worked in the Vatican City as a development intern for the Patrons of the Vatican Arts, and in 2017 he worked for the TaxPayers’ Alliance in London, England. During the summer of 2018 Brogan worked at Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, DC, and he participated in the American Enterprise Institute’s Values and Capitalism Program in June 2019. Currently, Brogan serves as a Jesuit volunteer in Nashville, TN, working with Project Return to assist formerly incarcerated individuals in their reentry to society. Brogan enjoys playing drums, attending punk rock concerts, and debating politics with anyone who cares to listen.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 8Bradley Foster
Bradley is a recent graduate of North Dakota State University (NDSU), having graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in political science. In his time on campus, he was involved extensively with various pro-liberty groups. As president of a Young Americans for Liberty chapter, Bradley effectively restarted the chapter and organized several high-profile events. He was also the founding president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at North Dakota State, where he recruited members, organized events, and ultimately won his organization the new student organization of the year award from NDSU. In addition to his on-campus activity, Bradley was the volunteer coordinator for Legalize ND, the 2018 effort to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota. Despite the loss, Bradley is still committed to bringing reform to North Dakota’s oppressive marijuana laws, serving on the board for Legalize ND and as the youth coordinator.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 9Chalon Hutson
Chalon Hutson currently works with the Grassroots Leadership Academy as a grassroots trainer. Prior to joining the Grassroots Leadership Academy, Chalon served in the United States Army Reserve for six years as a photojournalist. During his duty, he worked for the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, writing for a weekly publication for the naval base, The Wire, after which he was awarded the prestigious Army Achievement Medal. After his service in the Army Reserve, Chalon joined the Arizona Chapter of Americans for Prosperity as a field director. In this position, he helped build movements for grassroots activists around Phoenix, and drove policy changes on criminal justice reform in the Arizona State Legislature. At the Grassroots Leadership Academy, Chalon uses his experience to educate and motivate others to build movements and take actions towards positive change. Growing up, Chalon spent extensive time in both Illinois and Arizona. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 10Branson Inscore
Branson Inscore is the John Blundell fellow at the John William Pope Foundation where he serves as a program assistant, policy researcher, and journalist. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019, majoring in communication studies and double minoring in American history and music. Branson is originally from Iredell County, NC.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 11Vivian Jones
Vivian E. Jones works in the Tennessee State Senate. Prior to that, she managed communications for a nonprofit raising awareness of religious minorities in the Middle East. An alumna of Hillsdale College, her work has appeared in The Federalist, The Hill, The Washington Times, and publications of the Heartland Institute. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys reading and going on walks with her husband and baby daughter around the Nashville suburbs. Follow her on Twitter @vivian_e_jones.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 12Amanda Kieffer
Amanda Kieffer grew up in the bluegrass hills of Kentucky and graduated from Liberty University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in government: western legal traditions. She is a proud transplant to Charleston, WV, where she is joining the Cardinal Institute as their communications associate. Before joining the Cardinal team, she spent time working for her father’s mobility company helping veterans to regain their freedom and mobility. She is a strong proponent of opportunity and independence and is eager to promote liberty and prosperity in West Virginia.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 13Paige Lambermont
Paige Lambermont is a policy associate at the Institute for Energy Research. In her role, she writes about the impacts of government policy on energy markets. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University and is from Butler, PA.


Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 14Lexi Lonas
Lexi Lonas is a junior at The Pennsylvania State University of Altoona. She is studying political science with hopes to be a journalist after school. Lexi is a columnist for Lone Conservative and a student reporter for The College Fix. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, and playing soccer.


Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 15Christian Lubke
Christian Lubke is a sophomore at Carthage College. He is a contributor and editor for Lone Conservative. In his free time he likes to read books and listen to podcasts.



Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 16Jordan McGillis
Jordan McGillis is deputy director of policy at the Institute for Energy Research, a Washington-based think tank that offers a free-market perspective on energy economics and environmental challenges.



Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 17Jason Orestes
Jason Orestes is a former financial analyst who currently writes for both the Washington Examiner and Wall St. publication TheStreet. His work has been syndicated to RealClearMarkets and RealClearPolitics and can also be found on the investing/finance publication Seeking Alpha. His focus is predominantly on contemporary political developments as they relate to economics, fiscal/monetary policy, markets, and culture. In addition to finance and writing, he has strong experience with technology startups and enterprise sales leadership.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 18James Paek
James Paek is a blogger for Students for Liberty. His areas of expertise are international affairs, American politics, Korean politics, and current affairs. His articles have been published by Students for Liberty, FreedomFest, One Young World, Medium, and Maven. He also appeared in a talk show called “Whiskey Politics” at Freedomfest to discuss inter-Korean relations and geopolitics within the Korean peninsula. James received his associate’s degree in political science from the University of North Georgia and his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 19Patricia Patnode
Patricia Patnode is a contributor for the AF blog as well as a student at Loras College in Iowa. She serves on the executive board for Lone Conservative.com and her work has appeared in publications such as The Daily Caller, The Daily Signal, and the Washington Examiner. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @IdealPatricia.


Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 20Cheyenne Plott
Cheyenne Plott serves as the Leadership Institute’s (LI) major gifts officer for the western United States. Plott graduated from the Honor’s College at Middle Tennessee State University and later earned a master’s  in nonprofit management from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She completed The Fund for American Studies Public Policy Fellowship in 2018-19. She also interned at The Heritage Foundation before beginning her work at the Leadership Institute. She believes written communication is the most important skill for the education, promotion, and funding of conservative principles.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 21Amanda Snell
Amanda Snell is an analytics associate at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). She grew up in small-town Idaho and is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho in economics. Prior to joining FEE, she completed the Charles Koch Internship Program and interned with The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom. She enjoys working with entrepreneurs and is passionate about the potential for innovation in the private sector.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 22Shelby Sterling
Shelby Sterling is the policy analyst for the Think Local Liberty project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) in Austin, Texas. She attended the University of Oklahoma where she earned a bachelor’s degree  in letters: constitutional emphasis, which is a combination study of philosophy, history, and literature on the U.S. Constitution and the Founding Fathers.After graduation, Shelby followed her passion for law and returned to Texas to pursue her Juris Doctor  at Texas A&M University School of Law. Following a semester participating in the law school’s residency externship program in Washington, DC, Shelby graduated with a concentration in domestic public policy. Shortly after the bar exam, Shelby interned with TPPF’s Center for the American Future. Upon passing the bar exam, she knew she wanted to stay at TPPF and soon transferred to full-time as a policy analyst.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 23Katie Tahuahua
Katie Tahuahua is communications manager for Life:Powered, a national initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation to raise America’s energy IQ. A native Texan, Katie has a lifelong passion for the power of the written word to educate, inspire, and persuade. Her communications, digital marketing, and public policy background includes service in the administrations of Governors Rick Perry and Greg Abbott, the Texas House of Representatives, and a congressional campaign. Her writing has appeared in national publications including Fox News, the Washington Examiner, and the Daily Wire.In her spare time, Katie enjoys reading, cooking, and exploring local parks with her two rescue dogs. She lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband, Geoffrey.Speaking of dogs, since you were probably wondering, her last name  rhymes with Chihuahua.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 24Oluwatobi Walker
Oluwatobi Walker lives in Orlando, FL, where he is the founder of EquipmentGram. Oluwatobi has a strong interest in writing about issues which relate to and affect economic freedom. His writings have appeared in outlets such as the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and RealClearMarkets. He is also a member of the FEE Alumni Network, and you can learn more about him at www.tobiwalker.com.

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 25Deanna Wallace
Deanna Wallace is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Shreveport, with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications, and a Juris Doctor from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center. During law school, Deanna was published in the Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review on the constitutionality of pain-capable abortions bans and in the Grove City College Journal of Law and Public Policy on legislative term limits. After law school, Deanna served as the legislative director for Louisiana Right to Life, and helped pass important laws recognizing the humanity of the unborn and protecting mothers from the abortion industry. Deanna then served as legal communications director for Americans United for Life (AUL) in DC. In July 2018, Deanna returned to Louisiana to join the communications team at the Louisiana Department of Justice, where she helps educate Louisiana citizens on Attorney General Jeff Landry’s legal efforts to protect Louisiana’s consumers, children, and the constitutional rights of all citizens. 

Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 26Christian Watson
Christian Watson is a student at Mercer University pursuing a double-major in philosophy and journalism. He aspires to achieve his goal of becoming a public intellectual through his writing and other commentary-related activities. His work has been featured in USA Today, Spiked!, Washington Examiner, TownHall, and more.


Meet the Spring 2020 Writing Fellows Virtual Class 27David Waugh
David Waugh is currently a student at Hampden-Sydney College, where he studies economics. He is from Chapel Hill, NC. In his free time he enjoys reading about political economy and philosophy, running, and spending time with friends and family.