I decided the nicest thing I could do for you today is to fill your inbox with adorable pictures of puppies. Look at this one!

And this one!

Oh, and these two cuties!

Now, doesn't that feel good? Like a breath of fresh air, right? Boy, I sure needed that.  It's been quite a month, hasn't it? I think we can all agree 2017 has come in with a fierce energy that requires some puppy pictures to balance things a bit. 

If you are like me, you are probably doing your best to stay informed. If you are like me, you may be having a bit of trouble keeping up. Actually, I'd love to talk to someone who IS keeping up! You must be an information Jedi Master or something. (And, yes, I googled "is Jedi capitalized?" and found myself distracted by wookieepedia - the Star Wars wiki. I wonder why I'm having trouble keeping up...)

Seriously though, it's been a rough few weeks. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, it's pretty darn apparent that we have some serious work to do to unify our country. Do you want to know what is getting me through these days (besides puppy pictures)? My job. I wake up every morning knowing I have a purpose bigger than me, believing in the work of this organization and you, and doing all I can to push the media literacy movement forward. Each and every day. 

Our conference theme, Engaging Citizens, Building Community , is more important than ever. As far as I am concerned, there has never been a more important time for us to gather. I am inspired every day as plans move forward and details come together. We hope you have saved the dates of June 26-28 and plan to join us in Chicago.  We will be announcing details about conference registration and lodging very soon. Stay tuned!

You may have heard that we are  hiring a part time program manager. While that is certainly exciting, it does mean we are saying goodbye (for now) to our wonderful Manager of Engagement, Alicia Haywood. Alicia has been with us for over two years. She has been an incredible person to have on the team. She is exceptional in many ways, and I know she will bring all her awesomeness to her new role as co-executive producer of a new show for Fusion TV. I also know that her passion for media literacy is strong, and she will be back! Thank you, Alicia, for your time, energy and commitment. It has been a true pleasure working with you.

One other change hitting NAMLE this month is our brand new Student Leadership Council member, Catherine Burgess. 
Catherine will be working closely with Paul Mihailidis and Renee Hobbs on the Journal of Media Literacy EducationCatherine is a graduate student at Brooklyn College, pursuing an
M.S. degree in Media Studies with a media literacy concentration. Prior to Brooklyn College, Catherine attended the College of the Holy Cross, where she graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in English and minor in Philosophy. Currently she works at Macmillan Learning as a Development Editor for higher ed Communication textbooks. (You can find her on LinkedIn at  linkedin.com/in/cathburg  and on Twitter at @_cathburg.) We are all very excited to have Catherine on board. 

As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or cute puppy pictures you would like to share.  Here's a little more cuteness for you before I go....

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin's signature   Michelle Ciulla Lipkin
Executive Director  mciullalipkin@namle.net @ciullalipkin @medialiteracyed

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