Celebration 2020


School of Media & Public Affairs

2020 Commencement Celebration
Saturday, May 16, 2020


Students Smiling



We invite the Class of 2020 graduates, families and friends, to celebrate commencement. Scroll down, check out our video! 




Watch the SMPA Celebration Video



Message From Director Frank Sesno 

Dear 2020 Graduates, 

On behalf of everyone at the School of Media & Public Affairs, congratulations on your well-earned academic achievement! Today marks the start of a new and important journey. 

We wish we could be with you and your families and friends in the Jack Morton Auditorium, where we gather each year to celebrate commencement. COVID changed the way we mark this occasion, but nothing can take away from your accomplishments, experience, and learning at SMPA. 

You have done astonishing things. As you studied journalism and political communication, interned, and traveled the world, you saw the power of ideas, the impact of information, and how disinformation can distract and divide. You learned from professors whose research and creative work are dedicated to better understanding the world around us and to strengthening our democracy at a time of great challenge. You had a front-row seat to political thought leaders, journalists, policymakers - to history itself. You had a chance to ask them provocative questions - and they challenged you. 

You build upon this foundation as you pursue your lives and your careers. These are challenging times, but you will get through them and you will grow, contribute, and thrive. The world needs you. 

Congratulations, SMPA Class of 2020!  Please stay in touch through social media and email. Drop a line from time to time and tell us what you’re up to. Come back next year for an in-person commencement, which will embrace the classes of 2020 and 2021.  

Always remember that you are part of an extended, supportive family that is fiercely #SMPAProud! 

I wish you all the best, 

Frank Sesno




Students Graduating with Special Honors 



  • Taylor Galgano

  • Samantha Cookinham

  • Rachel Armany

  • Celine Castronuovo

  • Lena Geller

  • Julia Albert

  • Colleen Grablick

  • Meredith Hessel

  • Leah Potter

  • Monica Mercuri

  • Christina DeBartolome


Political Communications

  • Joseph Brecht

  • Monica Iskander

  • Jack Nassetta

  • Benjamin Pistora

  • Brenna Reach

  • Vincent Roselli

  • Lily Werlinich

  • Mark McKibbin

The Class of 2020!


Undergraduate Degree Candidates


Master's Degree Candidates


Political Communication 

Samira E. Baird 

Joseph T. Brecht 

Colleen A. Calhoun 

Casey Leigh Danoff 

Francesco Vincent DeSantis

Robert Mihai Dickson

 Olivia G. Dupree 

Gabrielle Gallone 

Andre M. Gonzales 

Dylan C. Hoff 

Jacob Howie 

Jade Jasmine Hurley 

Monica Sami Iskander 

Avery Glynn Jaffe 

Jonathan D. Kandell 

Taylor Kane 

Matilda Katherine Kreider 

Rebecca Y. Kwon 

Allison Marie Lapps

 Julia Katherine Lemp 

Yuval Lev 

Xun Li 

Melody F. Magly

 Mark McKibbin 

Alexandra N. Mitchell 

Jack Owen Nassetta 

Max Nelson 

Andrew Tyler Parco 

Benjamin Pavel Pistora

Brielle Nicole Powers

 Brenna Marie Reach 

Vincent M. Roselli 

Jacob Ryan Samuels 

Mia I. Saponara 

Elizabeth F. Schiller 

Sarah Marie Sem 

Jocelynne Simbana 

Andrew Wood Smith 

Lily I. Werlinich 

Erika K. Winter 

Caroline Mallory Zonts


Journalism & Mass Communication 

Almaz A. Abedje 

Julia Albert 

Ariel Anza 

Rachel B. Armany 

Lissette Becherano

Selam Berhea 

Elizabeth O. Bolaji 

Shruti Bramadesam 

Caroline E. Carpenter 

Celine E. Castronuovo 

Paige J. Childs 

Samantha Jean Cookinham 

Christina Rose DeBartolomeo 

Kelly Nicole Del Percio 

Andrew V. Demeter 

Morgan Lynn Denhart

Kaitlin Mary Drapkin 

Matthew O. Enman 

Jacob Kimberlin Folvag 

Taylor M. Galgano 

Lena Rose Geller 

Guy Ginsberg 

Colleen A. Grablick

Danielle R. Grace 

Shayna A. Greene 

Rida A. Haq 

Alexandra R. Hardle

Rafael Javier Hernandez Sanchez 

Meredith Ann Hessel 

Kelly M. Hooper 

Simone Aureon Hunter-Hobson 

Emily Insana 

Tian Lu 

Katherine T. McCarthy

 Simone B. McKenny 

Monica Jewel Mercuri 

Victoria Middleton 

Bridie Rose O’Connell 

Mary Anne G. Porto 

Leah S. Potter 

Meredith K. Roaten 

Jacob M. Rosen 

Aaron Franklin Schwartz 

Hannah Brielle 

Kestin Sessler Marisa L. Sinatra 

Louis C. Staub 

Samantha Treiman 

Lindsay Elizabeth Wigo 

Erika Zepeda



Media and Strategic Communication

Kaitlyn Angrove

Leah Marie Bacon 

David Andrew Beavers 

Yancey William Burns 

Daniel Stern Chaplik 

Ilana Creinin 

Kevin Christopher Demille

 Sarah Ellen Dicioccio 

Natalie Ruth Edelstein 

Saori Eto 

Armin Haracic 

Jada Moenay Harkins Andrews 

Elizabeth Louise Bateman Jessup 

Jianwei Li, Jr. 

Sophia Ray Meacham 

Catherine Douglas Moran 

Schuyler Palmer Nelson

 Seth Andrew Nieman

 Matthew Schwartz 

Devika Singh 

Zhainagul Tolemissova

 Elizabeth I. Wehr 

Yi Yang 

Joshua Christian Yeadon


*While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the candidates listed above, it is not an official record of an individual's degree status. The Office of the Registrar of the university maintains the official list of all graduates.  

Kevin Demille

Kevin Demille

M.A. Media and Strategic Communications

"Only at GW can you hear from a guest lecturer,
a journalist who is a prisoner of war, and then have a class
with a former speechwriter for the secretary of state."



Celine Castronuovo

Celine Castronuovo

 "I interned at CBS news during my junior year and I helped print off copies of the Mueller Report on the day it was released. SMPA students truly have a front-row seat to history."


Almaz Abedje

"My only at GW moment happened when I was on my way to my media law class and I ended up being late because there was a protest coming down 21st street. The SMPA student in me had to get footage of it!"


Shruti Bramadesam

"I am so grateful for all of the friends I have made throughout this journey. I am definitely #SMPAProud!"

While we know nothing can truly make up for your graduation not being in person this year, the George Washington University invites you to come back next spring to attend the May 2021 university-wide Bicentennial Commencement on the National Mall.