The Center would like to thank the following volunteers who gave their time and expertise to review pages for the 2021 Federal Report Card. You have made the world a little clearer.
David Lipscomb (lead judge), Vice Chair of the Center for Plain Language, is also a board member of the International Plain Language Federation. He also serves on the working group developing ISO standards for plain language. David is Associate Teaching Professor at Georgetown University, where he serves as Director of the Writing Center. He began his college teaching career at Columbia University, where he also earned his PhD in English Literature.
David Lipscomb (overall lead judge listed above) assisted with compliance judging.
Annetta Cheek (team lead) is a founder and former Chair of the Center for Plain Language. She led the effort for the 2010 Plain Writing Act and developed the Federal Report Card to measure its success. After writing government regulations in her early career, Annetta became chief plain language expert on Vice President Al Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government, as well as chair of the interagency plain language group PLAIN. Currently, she is Chair of the International Plain Language Federation and helping steer the working group developing ISO standards for plain language. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Arizona.
Beth Landau (team lead) is a writer, editor and educator who makes complex information engaging and accessible to a wide variety of audiences. She is a plain language specialist and the owner of BEL Writing Services, which offers professional writing and editing services and workshops. She also coaches writers working on narrative nonfiction theses and manuscripts. Beth is an active Center for Plain Language volunteer and doesn’t intend to stop any time soon. She has an M.S. in Education from Walden University and an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College.
Casey Mank (team lead) is the co-founder of Bold Type, a certified women-owned training firm. She designs workshops, webinars, and coaching for professionals so that they can write more clearly and effectively at work. Casey joined the Board of the Center for Plain Language in May 2020. She teaches writing at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and McDonough School of Busines. She has a master’s degree in English from Georgetown and a BA in English from Muhlenberg College.
Grace Aldridge Foster (team lead) is the co-founder of Bold Type, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that provides writing training for professionals. She has worked with organizations including Capital One, Biogen, the Aspen Institute, the American Councils for International Education, and the U.S. Special Operations Command. Before, she led university writing centers and worked in editing. Grace teaches professional writing at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. Grace has a master’s degree in English and a certificate in the Engaged & Public Humanities from Georgetown University.
Joseph D. Siddall (team lead) is Supervisory Editor in the Audit Leadership and Support Operations and the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. He leads the agency plain language program and has trained Federal employees from all levels and backgrounds, including auditors from other agencies.
Danielle Robbio has experience across communications, public relations, and health policy. As a communications manager at ZERO TO THREE, she creates communications that motivate and inspire action on issues that affect young children and families. Previously she led research to inform communications strategies for clients at an award-winning public relations agency and simplified complex health services research for non-expert audiences at AcademyHealth. Danielle graduated cum laude from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in health science and a minor in Spanish.
Natalia Matveeva is a Professor of Communication Studies (Corporate Communication) at the University of Houston-Downtown where she teaches a variety of courses including government communication, small groups, business and professional speech communication, and intercultural communication. Her co-authored edited collection (with Dr. Godwin Agboka), titled Citizenship and Advocacy in Technical Communication, was published by Routledge in 2018. She has also published in peer-reviewed journals that include the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, andTechnical Communication Quarterly. She earned her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University.
Melissa Kargiannakis, is the Founder and CEO of skritswap – a start-up that swaps complex jargon into easy-to-understand, plain language. Melissa has won the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, an award from the Queen of England, and the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies in Canada. Earlier, she published her Master’s research on health tech. She also enjoys singing opera and snowboarding.
Carolyn Hinkley is a former reporter and newsletter editor with years of experience in public information/public affairs at the local and federal government levels. She has edited countless newsletter articles, annual reports, award ceremony materials, web postings and social media copy. Currently, she is on detail to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Arctic Energy Office as the Communications Director, where her responsibilities include writing blogs, maintaining the website, conducting stakeholder analysis, and managing social media.
Sharon Archer is a Procurement Analyst at the Department of Energy, where she is a member of the Plain Language Working Group. She was also editor of the DOE Acquisition Guide, the agency Industry Liaison, and served on FAR teams that draft federal acquisition regulations. Sharon was a Contracting Officer and policy writer for the National Archives and Records Administration and U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she provided annual training for the acquisition workforce. She is published in Contract Management and is a Certified Professional Contracts Manager. Sharon holds an MBA from The Ohio State University.
Karen Thomas, a member of the Center’s board, is a founder of USA TODAY where she spent 25 years as a reporter and editor. She is a lawyer currently working as an analyst at the Maryland Judiciary where she provides plain language recommendations and revisions to court forms, publications, and other documents. She also has extensive experience in scriptwriting, video production, and web site development for public content based on Maryland law and court processes.
Phil Sandick is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the English Department at Georgetown University and acorefacultymember in the Georgetown University Writing Program. Phil is currently working on projects related to writing program assessment, rhetorical genre theory, and digital pedagogy. He received his PhD in English (Rhetoric and Composition) from The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he taught writing and literature, and served as Assistant Director for the Undergraduate Writing Program. Formerly a fiction editor atThe Carolina Quarterly,Philreceived an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Kate Devine is a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Education, where she is Editorial Team Lead in the Writing Division of the Office of Communications and Outreach; she is also the agency’s Plain Language Officer. Among previous positions held, Kate owned a start-up publishing and consulting company and was also an analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She has an M.S. in agricultural economics from Rutgers University and an M.S. in education from St. Joseph’s University. She is also a certified Project Management Professional.
Brittany Brown is the Director of Digital Communications & Strategy at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. where she oversees the strategic use of television, video, photography, podcasts, web, and social media. She has more than a decade of experience in communications, including time spent developing social media strategy for the U.S. Army and National Public Radio. Based on her passion for teaching others about social media, she developed a social media management certificate program at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, where she is an adjunct instructor.
Bridget Sellers is a writer, editor, and researcher. She earned a master’s degree in English from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She has worked as a writer-editor or writing teacher for organizations such as the Georgetown School of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Georgetown School of Continuing Studies, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid, and Bold Type.