Photo of Kalev Leetaru

Kalev Leetaru

Founder, GDELT Project; Media Fellow, Real Clear Foundation; Senior Fellow, Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, The George Washington University; Google Developer Expert for Google Cloud Platform

One of Foreign Policy Magazine's Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013, Kalev is a Media Fellow at the Real Clear Foundation, a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security and a member of its Counterterrorism and Intelligence Task Force and a Google Developer Expert for Google Cloud Platform. From 2013-2014 he was the Yahoo! Fellow in Residence of International Values, Communications Technology & the Global Internet at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor, as well as a Council Member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government. His work has been profiled in Nature, the New York Times, The Economist, BBC, Discovery Channel and the presses of more than 100 nations. In 2011 The Economist selected his Culturomics 2.0 study as one of just five science discoveries deemed the most significant developments of 2011. Kalev’s work focuses on how innovative applications of the world's largest datasets, computing platforms, algorithms and mind-sets can reimagine the way we understand and interact with our global world. More on his latest projects can be found on his website at kalevleetaru.com or blog.gdeltproject.org

Pre-Conference Workshop: Mining The Media At Planetary Scale: Exploring Our Global World Using The Modern Cloud

Keynote: Looking Back On 20 Years Of Data Mining The Web And Forward To Our AI-Powered Online Future

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Safiya Noble

Author; Associate Professor, UCLA; Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford

Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Information Studies and African American Studies, and a visiting faculty member to the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in Department of Media and Cinema Studies and the Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2019, she will join the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford as a Senior Research Fellow.


She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press).


Safiya is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award. Her academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology. She is regularly quoted for her expertise by national and international press on issues of algorithmic discrimination and technology bias, including The Guardian, the BBC, CNN International, USA Today, Wired, Time, and The New York Times, to name a few.

Dr. Noble is the co-editor of two edited volumes: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online and Emotions, Technology & Design. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of the Commentary & Criticism section of the Journal of Feminist Media Studies. She is a member of several academic journal and advisory boards, including Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno where she was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018.

Keynote: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Breakout Session: The Internet is Broken and It's Breaking Us

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Dave Kissel

Global Business Lead, DDB

Dave Kissel has built a distinguished career in marketing, advertising and sports for Fortune 500 clients, by leading high-impact teams at world-class agencies and media companies.

Dave is currently a member of the worldwide leadership team of DDB, one of the largest and most awarded advertising agencies in the world, and a partner to McDonald’s Corporation in 44 countries. Dave is responsible for the global leadership and coordination of DDB’s worldwide McDonald’s relationships, helping each office deliver innovative strategy, content and experiences to measurably grow the McDonald’s brand and business. In addition, Dave is a member of Omnicom’s Global Client Leadership Team.

Dave moved into DDB’s McDonald’s global role after having been a key architect and builder of Omnicom’s We Are Unlimited, called by The Wall Street Journal as the “Advertising Agency of the Future;” an agency designed specifically for McDonald’s U.S. Dave helped establish the agency, source its talent, develop its first work and, as the agency’s Chief Delivery Officer, helped create the agency’s operating system and technology tools. In its short tenure, We Are Unlimited has become one of the most awarded creative agency offices in the world.

In addition, Dave is currently a Strategic Advisor to, and the former CEO of, InStadium, a national Nielsen-measured sports media network consisting of 450+ pro and college teams. Under Dave’s leadership, he helped transform InStadium into a multi-media video and gaming platform for major brands. Prior to InStadium, Dave helped create and scale the award-winning agency Zócalo Group, Omnicom’s first dedicated social media agency, a division of Critical Mass.

A frequent speaker on sports marketing, advertising and social media, Dave has more than 25 years of accomplishments and awards in sports media and marketing, is an advisor to Block Six Analytics, a sports-analytics technology company, and to the University of Illinois’ College of Media’s Executive Board. Dave lives in a northern suburb of Chicago with his wife, three daughters, and German Shepherd dog.

Keynote: What’s more important, technology or content? A modern marketer’s perspective.

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A.Mahdy AbdelAziz


International technical speaker, Google developer expert (GDE), Oracle Developer Champion, trainer and developer advocate. Passionate about Web and Mobile apps development, including PWA, offline-first design, in-browser database, and cross platform tools. Also interested in Android internals such as building custom ROMs and customize AOSP for embedded devices.

Breakout Session: Offline-first Apps with WebComponents

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Annie Adams

The Graduate College, University of Illinois

Annie Adams is a human-centered artist and designer who uses place-based arts, culture, and design to increase civic engagement. She is interested in creative placemaking as a holistic experience from digital to print to on-site interactions. She is the New Media Specialist in the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this role, she is the lead designer for the college's communications and marketing efforts; including web, print, digital signage, way-finding, social media, and video. She has a BA from the University of Minnesota and MFA from the Rhode Island School of design. Adams uses large scale public installation to inspire conversation and activity around place, memory, and time. Her artwork has been shown nationally and internationally in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces.

Breakout Session: Getting Everyone Onboard: Creating Brand Advocates

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Mike Aparicio


Mike Aparicio discovered the web as a student at the University of Illinois in 1994 and has been making websites ever since. His first page, Mikey's Chicago Bulls Page, was named one of PC Computing's Top 1,001 Websites of 1996. After a long career as a "web guy," Mike started at Groupon in 2011 where he fell into a more specialized role as an HTML/CSS expert and discovered a love of design systems. As a Senior UI Engineer on the design team, Mike built Groupon's in-house CSS frameworks and helped drive the development of their design system. Mike lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife, two sons, and two dogs.

Breakout Session: Lessons From the Coupon Factory: Design Systems at Scale

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Jeff Barczewski


Jeff Barczewski has been a software engineer, architect, and instructor for over 28 years. He graduated from University of Illinois in 1989 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Jeff is the founder of CodeWinds and Inspired Horizons, a training and consulting firm based in St. Louis, MO. He is married and has a daughter who is a multimedia journalist for WHO-HD. Jeff has enjoyed delivering workshops and talks for conferences like JSConf, Strange Loop, Connect.tech, JazzCon.tech, Nodevember, and MidwestJS. Prior to starting CodeWinds, he served as an officer in the US Air Force and has worked at companies of all sizes including being part of a small team that built the MasterCard foundation for ApplePay and secure tokenized payments via MasterCard Digital Enablement Service. He loves sharing the latest pragmatic techniques with fellow developers.

Breakout Session: Simplified Functional JS for the win!

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Daniel Barker

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Dan spent 12 years in the military as a fighter jet mechanic before transitioning to a career in technology as a software engineer and then a manager. He was the Chief Architect at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners leading their technical and cultural transformation. He's now leading RSA Archer as their Chief Architect in their cloud migration and conversion to SaaS. Dan is also an organizer of DevOps KC and the DevOpsDays KC conference.

Breakout Session: Monitoring the Easy Way

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Charlotte Bauer

The Graduate College, University of Illinois

Dr. Charlotte Bauer is Assistant Dean for Communications and Strategic Planning in the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this role, she leads the college's communications and marketing efforts, including web, print, and new media. Dr. Bauer completed her bachelor of fine arts degree in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also earned a certificate in Medieval Studies. Prior to earning her graduate degrees, she worked in television advertising. Her research, publications, and teaching focuses on identity and representation of early medieval universities and on the history of the book and book arts.

Breakout Session: Getting Everyone Onboard: Creating Brand Advocates

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Abby Bell


Abby Bell has more than 15 years of sales and marketing experience, specifically in marketing automation as a manager and consultant. She has received several awards for automating lead workflow, including the Data Clean House Markie from Eloqua/Oracle in 2011 and the Best Lead Scoring Markie from Eloqua/Oracle in 2012. She is currently the Marketing Automation Director at Simantel where she works with the VP of Strategic Services to oversee the marketing automation team.

Breakout Session: Reaching a Segment of One: Collecting and Utilizing Data to Create a Personalized User Journey

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Adrian Bettridge-Wiese

2wav, inc.

Adrian is a software consultant with over a decade of experience building and strengthening teams. His work focuses on human experiences and connections, both in the software they create and in the work they do within clients' organizations. His approach draws on his training in music and human resources as well as experience working in the arts, academia, and technology.

At 2wav, Adrian is responsible for making sure that all the pieces that make 2wav a great company keep rolling smoothly. He's also a user-experience advocate and designer, occasional front-end developer, and provides business consulting services.

Breakout Session: Strengthening Teams through Decision-Making Frameworks

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Andy Blacker

College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois

Andy has been a communications professional at Illinois for more than two decades.

Breakout Session: Web Redesign from the Client/User Perspective

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Jack Brighton

Illinois Public Media

Jack has served many roles during his career in media and technology: as a public radio producer and program host, multimedia editor, web developer, digital storyteller, and university instructor. He has been deeply involved in digital media preservation projects funded by the Library of Congress and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including the American Archive project and the PBCore Metadata initiative. He has also served on the PBS Digital Advisory Council, the NPR Digital Advisory Working Group, and the Public Media Platform Advisory Council. His interests include using open source software and innovative design to help communities solve problems.

Breakout Session: The Internet is Broken and It's Breaking Us

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Vanessa Burgett

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Working as part of the marketing and communications team at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts since 2007, Vanessa Burgett is currently the Creative Director for the Center’s Creative Services Studio, overseeing the creation of print, web, and video deliverables. Having been involved now with three iterations of KrannertCenter.com, she currently manages the website with the help of an eclectic team of individuals from the Center, the University, and the marketing and design firm, SURFACE51. The current version of KrannertCenter.com launched in May 2016 so she is actively scheming what the next web redesign strategy might entail.

Breakout Session: Web Redesign from the Client/User Perspective

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Christine Coughlan

Aten Design Group

With a background in library science, Christine has always enjoyed what librarians call the reference interview – it's about understanding who you're talking to and what information they seek. She believes a web experience expands beyond content on a page to a conversation between the viewer and content owner. She works with stakeholders to interpret user needs, strategic objectives and content to anticipate the user's needs before a first interaction and to create an experience that supports digital conversations and findability.

Chris has worked with inspiring organizations such as Human Rights Watch, UC Berkeley and the World Wildlife Fund to create systems that focus on the user and further the organization's goals. She has spoken at eduWeb, Special Libraries Association events, Design4Drupal and DrupalCon.

Breakout Session: How Our Collaborative Discovery Informed the Design of Stanford Summer Session

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Patrick Delancy

Patrick Delancy has been a passionate software developer since the late 90s. He has worked on a wide range of products, from multi-tier mobile application platforms to small platform applications and websites and everything in-between. As a family man and a professional developer, he loves to solve difficult problems, and considers himself to be a life-long learner. He only wishes that there were more hours in a day!

For a few years Patrick managed a team of 18+ developers. He focused heavily on the personal development of his team and his role as coach and mentor. He escaped from management and continues to make mentoring one of his highest priorities as a technical lead and architect for multiple development teams with nearly 30 developers in all.

As a developer, Patrick is comfortable with all types of languages, but most of his professional career has been focused on C# and web technologies.

Breakout Session: Learn a Candidate's True Personality in 10 Questions or Less

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Caitlin DeWilde

The Social DVM, LLC

Dr. Caitlin DeWilde is a practicing veterinarian and founder of The Social DVM, a small consulting firm devoted to helping veterinary practices manage and grow their social media and online reputation. She has partnered with small and large animal veterinary practices, national industry groups, non-profit organizations, and individual veterinarians to create practical yet creative strategies to succeed online and in practice. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and an alum of the AVMA';s Future Leaders Program. In her free time, she enjoys travel, photography, and of course, the many hilarious corgi and cat-related videos on social media.

Breakout Session: Chatbots: The Next Online Conversation

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Debra Domal

Amara Yoga Arts

Debra Domal is a certified yoga instructor currently teaching at Amara Yoga & Arts and the Mettler Center. Her areas of interest include restorative and gentle yoga, yoga for beginners, and Yoga Nidra. In her life off the mat, Debra is a freelance graphic designer and copywriter with an MA in Writing Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graphic design training from Parkland College.

Breakout Session: Shoulders, Necks, and Wrists, Oh My! Seated Yoga for Coders & Designers

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Meaghan Downs


Meaghan Downs is a Los Angeles-based social media strategist at 9thWonder, a strategic marketing, media and idea company with seven locations across the country. From tourism and hospitality to B2B clients, Meaghan consults on digital social media strategies to support and reach business goals while applying creative digital storytelling techniques to reinvigorate traditional content. A former director of social media at the U. of I., she advised internal and external stakeholders on how to tackle crisis communication, campaign strategies and social media measurement.

Breakout Session: Managing Social Media Without Losing Your Mind

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Drew Fast

Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning, University of Illinois

Drew Fast works as a Visual Media Designer for the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning @ UIUC, where he collaborates with faculty and researchers to create didactic visualizations to foster learning; including illustrations, animations and virtual experiences using evidence-based design.

Drew is fueled by a passion to better communicate scientific knowledge and believes that everyone can become successful visual communicators when given the right tools. Drew is a medical illustrator by training, receiving a BS in Molecular Biology and BFA in Painting from UIUC and his MS in Biomedical Visualization from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His Master's thesis focused on improving educational materials produced for deaf and hard of hearing American Sign Language users by using the latest cognitive science research and eye tracking.

Breakout Session: The Science Behind Good Design

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Fred Galoso

Trello, Atlassian

Passionate about building platforms, product, data, and connecting the dots, Fredrick has worked at organizations large and small with a focus on being a multiplier through the intersection of product, software engineering, and data analysis.

He is currently a software engineer at Atlassian, makers of Trello, a popular collaboration tool that creates a shared perspective on any project.

Fredrick has previously spoken at #uofiwebcon and has presented topics on software engineering, data architecture, analytics, and visualization at national and regional conferences.

Breakout Session: Emojis for Business - The Modern Art of Working Remotely and Asynchronously

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Lindsey Gates-Markel


Lindsey is the lead content strategist at Pixo, a woman-owned digital engineering agency in downtown Urbana. She loves working with real humans to plan the structure and messages of great content. After years of working in English-y writing and editing jobs, she’s found her calling in consulting (and she can never be replaced by a robot, so don't even try).

Pre-Conference Workshop: Just Enough Strategy: How to Redesign Your Site Without Losing Your Marbles

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Dan Harmon

Office of Communicatins for Enrollment Management, University of Illinois

Dan has been working with .NET technologies for the past 12 years. In his current role, he leads a small team, developing systems for Enrollment Management units at Illinois.

Breakout Session: Building Flexible Web Apps

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Julia Hartman

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois

Julia is an Assistant Coordinator for the ATLAS Internship Program through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. With the ATLAS Internship Program she helps undergraduates in the College of LAS get hands on technology experience in a workplace environment through internships across campus as well as non-profits off campus. Julia spent eleven years in the music classroom and now enjoys the change of pace at the University of Illinois as a coordinator. Julia has a B.A. in Music Education and an M.M.Ed with a technology emphasis from Illinois State.

Breakout Session: 20 Tips for Effective Integration of Interns

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Rabimba Karanjai

Rice University, Mozilla

Rabimba Karanjai is a full time graduate researcher, part time hacker and FOSS enthusiast. He is working with Mozilla Research Mixed Reality team on WebVR. He also is a Mozilla TechSpeaker and would love to chat with you on VR,AR,Security and openweb over a cup of coffee or bottle of beer.

Breakout Session: State of WebXR: What do you need to know today for building Web Mixed Reality Applications

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Julia Nucci Kelly

Krannert Art Museum

Julia Nucci Kelly is Communications & Marketing Director for Krannert Art Museum (KAM) at the University of Illinois, where she manages the museum’s digital and print marketing, media relations strategy, and social media. She recently led the successful redesign of KAM’s website, from research through implementation, launching the museum’s first publicly searchable database of its collection of more than 10,000 works of art. She geeks out regularly as art photographer for the museum; her photos are featured most recently in the art catalogue Autumn Knight: In Rehearsal (Distributed Art Publishers, 2019).

Breakout Session: Web Redesign from the Client/User Perspective

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Erin Knowles

University of Illinois Extension

Erin is the Social Media Manager for the University of Illinois Extension. A self-declared multipotentialite, she has worked in a creative capacity in jobs ranging from a Policy Analyst for a federal agency in Washington, D.C., to owning her own photography business here in Champaign-Urbana. "Storyteller" is the ultimate title she would like on her business card one day.

Breakout Session: Lights, Camera, Action: Facebook LIVE

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Melissa Kuhl

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois

Melissa Kuhl serves as a Digital Media Specialist for the College of LAS at Illinois. In this capacity, she handles social media and website content while focusing on recruiting students to study the humanities. She has nearly a decade of experience in marketing and even more in storytelling, and her interests lie in merging the two to deepen student, alumni, and public understanding of the University. She spends her spare time exploring photography, playing geeky board games, and snuggling with her cats.

Breakout Session: Expanding Your Social Media Reach and Engagement with Storytelling

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Matthew Lewandowski

Barkley REI

Matthew Lewandowski is a passionate analyst, strategist and, most importantly, a story teller. He currently leads the Digital Analytics team at Barkley REI who combine tried and true methodologies with innovative applications of data and measurement methodologies. Matthew believes that the key to achieving success with his clients is by understanding their specific goals and objectives and tailoring data strategies that help combine disparate data sources into meaningful insights. Matthew has spoken on many digital marketing panels as well as presented at the 2018 Tableau Conference. He is also an instructor in a Google Analytics course at Johnson County Community College, located in the Kansas City metro.

Breakout Session: Beyond the Basics: Unlocking Your Analytics Potential

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Lauren Liss

Columbia College Chicago

Lauren Liss is the Coordinator of the Interaction Design major and the User Experience and Web Development minors in the Interactive Arts and Media (IAM) Department at Columbia College Chicago, and has been a faculty member in this program since 2006. She received her Masters in Education, Learning Design and Leadership, New Learning, from the University of Illinois, where she studied knowledge acquisition and educational theory through the lens of usability and technology. She teaches interface design, interaction theory, user experience and usability, and collaborative development. She also runs an interaction design company, Goodspark, which focuses on content management systems and usability analysis for small businesses, with a specialization in women-owned businesses and creative firms.

Breakout Session: The Benefits of Iterative Failure

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Chris Lorenzo


Chris has worked at Comcast since 2007 -- currently as a Distinguished Engineer. He enjoys building/motivating teams and ramping up new projects using the latest patterns and web primitives. Besides coding in Javascript, he loves spending time with his family and helping out in the community.

Breakout Session: Performance Optimizations for Progressive Web Apps

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Ashley McQuaid


Ashley is a Senior IA/UX Designer at iFactory, and leads information architecture, interaction design, and user researching and testing for clients. She collaborates directly with sales, strategic research, and content strategy teams to advocate for users at all stages of the design process. The best part of her job is digging into complex problems and discovering new ways to adapt her knowledge for each client. She loves getting to know her clients individually and creating unique solutions for institutions that make an incredible impact on their communities.

Breakout Session: Navigation to the Rescue! : Tips for effectively addressing multiple audiences and lots of content

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Melinda Miller


Melinda is a UX designer, information architect, and the general manager at Pixo – a woman-owned digital engineering agency in downtown Urbana. Melinda has spent her professional career researching, organizing, and designing information. First, as a journalist when she worked as a newspaper designer in Upstate New York and now for Pixo where she works on enterprise website and web application projects. Melinda has a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Library and Information Science both from the University of Illinois.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Just enough strategy: How to redesign your site without losing your marbles

Photo of Ian Mullinder

Ian Mullinder


Ian has spent 14 years as a developer at the forefront of ever-changing web technologies. He works with clients to come up with solutions that best fit their technical goals and needs. His past clients include MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Harvard Institute of Politics, Yale ITS, Grinnell College, and Rutgers Undergraduate Admissions. Ian is a regular presenter at the Maine Drupal User group in Portland, Maine.

Breakout Session: Google AMP: High-Speed Pages in Higher Ed

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David Needham


David Needham is a Developer Advocate at Pantheon where he focuses on developer education and training. When he's not blogging about productivity at davidneedham.me or speaking at conferences, you can probably find him with his bicycle-loving family playing board games in Champaign, IL.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Visual Regression Testing with BackstopJS

Photo of Allie Ofisher

Allie Ofisher


Being a hybrid visual and UX designer, Allie finds order where you thought only chaos could exist. As a lead UX designer at Pixo, a woman-owned digital engineering agency in downtown Urbana, Allie uses a combination of logic and creativity to bring clarity to each challenge and improve users' interactions with technology. She cultivated her creative passion and interest in human behavior by earning a B.F.A in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Just enough strategy: How to redesign your site without losing your marbles

Photo of Andrea Pellegrini

Andrea Pellegrini

University of Illinois System

Andrea Pellegrini is the Assistant Director of University of Illinois Student Financial Services & Cashier Operations. She runs the Student Money Management Center for all the University of Illinois System, including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago & University of Illinois at Springfield. Andrea received an associate degree from Richland Community College, bachelor of science in psychology and master of education in human resource development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked with the Student Money Management Center since 2010 providing administrative support, strategic leadership and educational program development for financial literacy initiatives across the University of Illinois System.

Breakout Session: 20 Tips for Effective Integration of Interns

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Beth Peralta

University of Illinois Extension

After 10 years in healthcare as a registered dietitian, Beth Peralta landed her dream job in 2013 as Media Communications Specialist for University of Illinois Extension's Illinois Nutrition Education Programs. In this role, she fuses her nutrition background and passion for communications by managing overall communications strategy for the statewide program, including social media, website content, e-newsletters, print and web-based pieces, SMS campaigns, recipe creation, and photography. Beth is also an avid volunteer in the Champaign-Urbana community and in the nutrition field, and you can catch her on a monthly segment for WCIA 3's The Morning Show as part of their Healthy Living series.

Breakout Session: Expanding Your Social Media Reach and Engagement with Storytelling

Photo of John Riviello

John Riviello


John Riviello created his first hypertext document on the Internet in 1996 and has been obsessed with building for the web ever since. He spends his days as Distinguished Engineer and Lead Frontend Developer at Comcast, where he works on the Xfinity customer websites and web applications. He loves discovering and building new tools that make web development more enjoyable and sharing that knowledge with everyone around him through speaking at conferences and facilitating workshops. He is also the author of the Lynda.com course "CSS to Sass: Converting an Existing Site." In his free time, he prefers surfing waves over surfing the Internet.

Breakout Session: Future-Proofing Your JavaScript Framework Decision

Photo of Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts


With over 15 years of experience working with text, image, metadata, and video content, Caroline has witnessed the transformation of content and SEO. Her past clients include Bennington College, the Department of Defense, Harvard Baker Library, the National Geographic Channel, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Rutgers Undergraduate Admissions. She has presented at the Illinois Webcon (2016), DrupalCon, and the OmniUpdate User Training Conference, and her perspectives on content development have appeared in A List Apart.

Breakout Session: Google AMP: High-Speed Pages in Higher Ed

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Michelle Rome

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois

Michelle is a creative person interested in assisting organizations and individuals in using computing technologies to do their job better. This involves streamlining processes and providing easy access to meaningful information. She also has a strong desire to give undergraduate students opportunities to apply what they learn during their academic coursework in real world work settings and have included them on my project teams whenever possible.

Breakout Session: 20 Tips for Effective Integration of Interns

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Cory Rylan

Crylan Software

Cory Rylan is a full-time front-end web developer and Google Developer Expert in Angular and Web Technologies. He works full time building responsive web applications and progressive web apps. When not making web apps he is busy teaching Angular and other web technologies in workshops and conferences. He loves the web and is optimistic of the places it can take us.

Breakout Session: Reusable UIs with Web Components

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Christine Scherer

Northwestern University

Christine is responsible for ensuring that all online courses developed by the School of Professional Studies Distance Learning Department meet high standards of web accessibility. Having taught herself the ins and outs of WCAG, VPATs, and other accessibility acronyms, she has shared her knowledge by developing and delivering training for staff and faculty. She consults with colleagues across the department, school, and university on web accessibility issues, and serves as a member of several university-wide accessibility committees. She also teaches and develops courses for the University of Illinois-Springfield in their Digital Accessibility for Educators certificate. In addition to her accessibility roles, she is a copy editor, copyright reviewer, and web content writer for the department.

Breakout Session: More Than Captions: Web Accessibility in Online Education

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Todd Spinner

University of Illinois

Todd is an Academic Advisor, CHEM 199 Instructor and web/social media manager in the School of Chemical Sciences at the University of Illinois. He received his bachelor's and master's degree at Eastern Illinois University and has been creating websites since 1995 along with developing a career in student & academic affairs over the past 25 years. He has developed websites and social media campaigns for numerous universities, non-profit organizations, and businesses. He currently runs his own website focusing on higher education technology & academic advising and several focusing on the cycling community. His latest passions include cycling, outdoor life, integrating technology in higher education and minimalism/essentialism.

Breakout Session: Less is More: Reducing "Clutter" & Prioritizing What Matters to Unleash our Creativity and Productivity through Minimalism

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Benjamin Sweedler

Pavlov Media

Benjamin Sweedler grew up in Urbana, but moved to California to experience the mountains and the ocean. He also attend California Polytechnic State University, where he received a Bachelors in Computer Science. Degree in hand, he's returned to the Midwest, and works at Pavlov Media as a UI developer. He's diving head first into both the local tech scene, as well as the wacky wavering landscape of front-end engineering. As a newcomer to the field, he likes to share how learning web development feels – which parts are frustrating, and which parts are fun. In his spare time, Ben plays board games and the violin.

Breakout Session: Reusable Component Libraries: Bootstrap and Beyond

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Stephen Tidmore

Mighty Citizen

Stephen built his first website in 1999 (around the same time Nick launched this company). For a few years after college, Stephen developed websites for Dell.

But then wanderlust struck Stephen and he bought a one-way ticket to Spain – launching a six-year journey around the globe. In his time abroad, Stephen built and directed international community service programs in Nicaragua, the British Virgin Islands, and on Native American reservations in Montana. He taught English in Spain. He was an adventure coordinator in Belize. In all, Stephen has lived in, worked in, or visited 30 countries.

Back home in Austin, Stephen became a webmaster at The University of Texas at Austin before joining Mighty Citizen in 2012. As a technical savant and savvy communicator, he's the perfect person to direct the technology on which our clients build their digital identities.

Breakout Session: Don't Ignore 100 Million People: How to Make Your Content Accessible

Photo of Patrick Wicker

Patrick Wicker

Mighty Citizen

Patrick was there before most people had even heard of "search engine optimization." He was digging around Google Analytics when Google Analytics was still a toddler. His computer screen is continually filled with tables and charts and presentation slides explaining those tables and charts.

And he loves it all. He loves turning data into actionable tactics. He loves showing our clients, step by step, how they can easily attract new visitors. He loves combining all sorts of online marketing tactics – analytics, SEO, social media, display ads, etc. – into a long-term strategy that, quite simply, works.

Before joining Mighty Citizen in 2013, Patrick earned his Internet bona fides working in the high-tech marketing industry. He installed marketing automation platforms; he planned and executed multi-channel campaigns, and he oversaw lead management and email marketing initiatives.

Breakout Session: Pleasing Google, Boosting Applications: SEO Insights for Universities

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Matt Wiley

University of Illinois Extension

Matt Wiley works as a Design Specialist for the University of Illinois Extension. He draws upon his illustration and design skills for storyboards, animations, and infographics. In his free time he dabbles in long-exposure photography, 3D modeling, and conceptual design. He recently self-published a children's book called "My Cat is Depressed," and is currently writing a webcomic about propaganda, holograms, and punching nazis.

Breakout Session: Lights, Camera, Action: Facebook LIVE

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Brad Wood

Earlham College

Brad Wood is the Lead Web Developer for Earlham College, a small liberal arts college located in East Central, Indiana. He started building websites in the 3rd grade and went on to study Computer Science / New Media / Systems at Taylor University. After graduating he pursued a web development career in Southern California.

In 2014 a remote web job allowed him to relocate to Indiana, the state where he was born and raised. He lives on an 8 acre homestead with his wife and three daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys incorporating technology into the hobby farming in order to work smarter and not harder. He raises chickens, sheep, and grows fresh produce. He also is an aspiring YouTuber and avid entrepreneur.

Breakout Session: Bringing your CMS into the 21st century

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Amy Young

University of Illinois

After consulting on the prime-time show NUMB3RS for six seasons, Amy decided to go back to school and in 2011 earned an MFA in Film Directing from CalArts. Since then, she has worked for five years as a videographer, making short videos about students, faculty, and alumni of Illinois Wesleyan University. Presently, she's producing and directing a feature-length documentary about the science and history of the kilogram, partially funded by Kickstarter campaign that raised over $25,000. Amy is a Media Communications Specialist at the University of Illinois.

Breakout Session: How to make a video to convince taxpayers that your academic research is worth their tax dollars

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Kerstin Zauke


Kerstin Zauke is a designer turned developer who has a passion for all things web. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in advertising, and for over a decade has helped organizations large and small meet their marketing goals by implementing custom digital solutions. From concept to completion she is skilled at building web, intranet, and mobile application projects. She currently works as a Front-End Developer for Simantel in Peoria, Illinois.

Breakout Session: Reaching a Segment of One: Collecting and Utilizing Data to Create a Personalized User Journey