Speaker Bios

Finnish Higher Education Experts USA Study Tour 2014: "Communications and Community Relations”

Speaker Bios for Opening Workshop
Monday, March 31, 2014

Judith B. Gan

Office Head, Legistlative and Public Affairs
National Science Foundation

Judith B. Gan was appointed head of the National Science Foundation's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA), effective Dec. 18, 2011.

Gan comes to the foundation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she was director of communications for NOAA Fisheries. Prior to that she worked in corporate public relations for over 25 years, leading and aligning communications teams to drive cultural change, support customer missions and achieve business objectives. In her most recent corporate role, Gan was vice president of communications for Lockheed Martin's Information Systems and Global Solutions business area, supporting an organization of 50,000 employees addressing diverse civil agency, defense and intelligence customer requirements. Earlier in her career, she worked for IBM as a communications specialist in its Research and Federal Systems divisions. Among her external affiliations, she has served on executive boards for the Maryland Public Television Foundation and for the Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County, Md. 

Gan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry/biological chemistry from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science degree in journalism/science communications from Boston University.

Daniel Hurley

Associate Vice President, Government Relations and state Policy
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

On behalf of the 420 U.S. public college and university presidents, chancellors and system heads that comprise the AASCU membership, Daniel Hurley provides analysis, commentary and advocacy on a broad range of public policy issues affecting higher education at the campus, system, state and national level. His expertise includes issues related to the financing of public higher education, financial aid, college access and student success, and institutional best practices.

Hurley helps craft the association’s annual Public Policy Agenda, a compilation of federal and state policy positions and priorities. He coordinates an annual Higher Education Government Relations Conference, a unique partnership among four national higher education associations. He manages the AASCU Innovations Exchange, an online repository of successful and replicable campus and system-based policies, programs and practices. Hurley serves as the staff liaison for the association’s Committee on Policies and Purposes, which serves as a think tank for issues affecting contemporary public higher education. He also directs the AASCU Political Perceptions and Policy Priorities Project, which serves as a resource for research, advocacy and thought leadership on strategies for strengthening the relationship between public higher education and state government.

In addition to serving the AASCU membership, he serves as a resource to several higher education and state policy organizations, as well as state and national media. His perspective has been cited in such outlets as the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and C-SPAN, as well as the higher education publications The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed

Prior to joining the AASCU, Hurley served as the director of university relations and administrative services for the Presidents Council–State Universities of Michigan, based in Lansing, from 2003 to 2007. The Council serves as the coordinating body for Michigan’s 15 public universities. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the administrative assistant to the president at Ferris State University (Mich.).

Hurley has received a Ph.D. in public administration from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree in career and technical education from Ferris State University (Mich.), and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Grand Valley State University (Mich.). He has served as an adjunct professor for all three of his alma maters, as well as George Mason University (VA) and George Washington University (D.C.), teaching in the fields of communications, educational leadership, higher education finance and public policy.

Tiffany Lohwater

Director of Public Engagement
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Tiffany Lohwater is Director of Meetings and Public Engagement at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). A science communication and event professional, she is responsible for the AAAS Annual Meeting and the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. The AAAS Annual Meeting is the predominant international scientific conference for scientists, engineers, policymakers, journalists, and others interested in the intersection of science, technology, and society. The AAAS Center for Public Engagement provides a vehicle for boosting public awareness and understanding of the nature of science and the work of scientists, while at the same time increasing public input into scientific research and policy agendas. Lohwater’s work encourages scientists to take a more personal and proactive interest in public engagement. She previously worked in research communications and public events at Johns Hopkins University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Barry Toiv

Vice President for Public Affairs
Asociation of American Universities (AAU)

Barry Toiv is vice president for public affairs for the Association of American Universities, an association of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Toiv has extensive experience at the top levels of the federal government as well as the private sector.  He served for seven years in the White House under President Clinton and 15 years in Congress working for Rep. Leon Panetta on his personal staff and at the House Budget Committee.  Subsequently, he was a managing director in the public affairs practice at Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations firm.

In the Clinton Administration, Barry served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary to President Clinton, as Senior Advisor to White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, and as Associate Director for Communications at the Office of Management and Budget.

Prior to his service in the Clinton Administration, Barry was communications director of the House Budget Committee and its chairman, Rep. Panetta, and a press secretary and legislative assistant for Panetta.

Barry received a B.A. degree from Harvard.  He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.  He and his wife, Christine Fitzgerald, have two children.

Dana Topousis

Acting Director for Public Affairs
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Dana Topousis joined NSF in 2006, and serves in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs as the acting division director for public affairs.  She oversees the media, web, multimedia, social media, and writing teams.  She and her team are experts in executive communications training, issues management, strategic communications, media relations and messaging. She has accompanied journalists to Antarctica, led communications for international collaborations, and participated in the launch of a $200 million research vessel.   

Prior to joining NSF, Dana served as communications director for NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center. She served as a senior account executive for Fenton Communications, managed media relations for Conservation International, and served as deputy press director for the Peace Corps.

Dana served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, where she worked with a microcredit organization in a small community outside Nairobi.  She earned her master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University.

William Walker

Interim Vice President for Advancement Resources
Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

Bill Walker is a veteran of more than 40 years in higher education communications and marketing. He joined the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in September 2013 as Interim Vice President of Advancement Resources after retiring from the position of Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

At CASE, Walker is responsible for overseeing programs in communications, Web resources, magazine publishing, information services, book publishing, and research, serving CASE’s worldwide membership of 3,600 institutions and 70,000 individuals in more than 80 countries.

Prior to joining CASE, Walker served for 20 years in senior public relations leadership positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dartmouth College, and Rutgers University. In those capacities he was responsible for advancing public understanding and advocacy for those institutions, their educational opportunities and research discoveries, and their positions of importance in public and private higher education globally. He worked closely with other senior administrators on the planning and implementation of institution-wide integrated communications programs and advised presidents and governing boards on public relations policy. He led programs in internal and external communications, media relations, Web communications, publications, periodicals, special events, marketing, and government and community relations.

Walker has been active in the higher education communications profession throughout his career, having served on the Board of Trustees of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, as Chair of CASE’s Commission on Communications and Marketing, and as Chair and faculty member of the CASE Summer Institute in Communications and Marketing. He served on the Public Affairs Network of the Association of American Universities, and is a member of the National Press Club.

Walker has taught and lectured widely on public relations, journalism, communications, and education administration, and has spoken frequently to audiences in North America and Europe on a range of communications topics, including integrated marketing communications, technology in public relations, and issue management. His programs have won national awards in film and video production, media relations, and publications.

Walker began his career as an information specialist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and he later led communications programs at Skidmore College and the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Speaker Bios
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

William B. Bonvillian

Director, MIT Washington Office

William B. Bonvillian, since January 2006, has been Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Washington, D.C. Office. At MIT, he works to support the Institute’s strong and historic relations with federal R&D agencies, and its role on national science policy. Prior to that position, he served for seventeen years as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Senate. His legislative efforts included science and technology policies and innovation issues. He worked extensively on legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, on Intelligence Reform, on defense and life science R&D, and on national competitiveness and innovation legislation.

He has lectured and given speeches before numerous organizations on science, technology and innovation questions, is on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, and has taught courses in this area at Georgetown, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, MIT and George Washington. He serves on the Board on Science Education of the National Academies of Sciences, and has served on the Academies’ Committees on “Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations and Education,” on “Modernizing the Infrastructure of the NSF’s Federal Funds (R&D) Survey” and on “Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and the Development off 21st Century Skills.” He also serves on the Board of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and on the Advisory Council of the Mystic Seaport Museum. He was the recipient of the IEEE Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007 and was elected a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 for “socially distinguished” efforts “on behalf of the advancement of science and its applications.”

His book, with Distinguished Prof. Charles Weiss of Georgetown, entitled Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution, was published by MIT Press in 2009 and is summarized at:


His chapter “The Problem of Political Design in Federal Innovation Organization” appeared in the Stanford Univ. Press book The Science of Science Policy (spring 2011) and his chapter “The Connected Science Model for Innovation” appeared in the National Academy book 21st Century Innovation Systems for the U.S. and Japan (May 2009). His articles in recent years include, “ARPA-E and DARPA: Applying the DARPA model to energy innovation” (with R.VanAtta) in the Journal of Technology Transfer (Oct. 2011); “A New Strategy for Energy Innovation” (with J. Alic, D. Sarewitz, and C. Weiss) in Nature (July 15, 2010); “Stimulating a Revolution in Sustainable Energy Technology” in Environment (with C. Weiss, July/Aug. 2009); “Complex, Established ‘Legacy’ Sectors: The Technology Revolutions that do Not Happen” (with C. Weiss June 2011) and “Taking Covered Wagons East: A New Innovation Theory for Energy and Other Established Sectors” (with C. Weiss, Nov. 2009) both in Innovations; “The Innovation State” (July/Aug. 2009) and “Power Play – The DARPA Model and U.S. Energy Policy” (Nov./Dec. 2006) both in American Interest with the latter reprinted in the book Blindside (Brookings Press, Francis Fukuyama, ed., 2007); “Time for Climate Plan B” (Winter 2011), “Stimulating Innovation in Energy Technology” (with C. Weiss, Fall 2009), “The Politics of Jobs” (2007), “Meeting the New Challenge to U.S. Economic Competitiveness” (2004) and “Organizing Science and Technology for Homeland Security” (with K.V. Sharp, 2002), all published in Issues in Science and Technology; “Will the Search for New Energy Technologies Require a New R&D Mission Agency?” (2007) in Bridges; and “Science at a Crossroads" (2002), published in Technology in Society and reprinted in the FASEB Journal.

Prior to his work on the Senate, he was a partner at a large national law firm. Early in his career, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, working on major transportation deregulation legislation. He received a B.A. from Columbia University with honors, an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School in religion; and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he also served on the Board of Editors of theColumbia Law Review. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to Hon. Jack Weinstein, a Federal Judge in New York. He has been a member of the Connecticut Bar, the District of Columbia Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

Alaina Goldense

Business Writing Coach and Managing Director
The Communication Center

Alaina Goldense is a Business Writing Coach and Managing Director at The Communication Center, a Washington, DC-based communications firm.  Alaina brings nearly a decade of marketing and proposal management to The Communication Center. She has written winning technical and financial proposals for a wide variety of clients in the global finance, government and the non-profit worlds. Alaina’s visual approach to writing clear and memorable content emphasizes how formatting enhances readability.

In addition to large scale RFPs, she has crafted more than 500 short proposals. In her role as Managing Director, Alaina also writes company brochures, course descriptions, master service agreements, blog posts and newsletters. Alaina also leverages concise writing techniques to create professional PowerPoint presentations for clients such as Marriott International, the International Finance Corporation, American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. Government and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Alaina has a BA in Communication and History from Denison University.

Dean Jones

Executive Communication Coach, President and CEO
The Communication Center


Dean Jones has more than 20 years of experience in the communication training field.  Under Dean’s leadership, The Communication Center has doubled in size and has significantly increased the company’s global presence; delivering communication trainings on four different continents to hundreds of participants.

As President & CEO of The Communication Center, Dean serves as the primary liaison for clients, quality control and contract negotiation. Dean is a dynamic communicator and leverages her expertise in synthesizing complex data and scenarios to achieve successful business results.

Dean began her career in the accounting field working with a CPA firm outside Atlanta, Georgia. Dean was able to merge her financial background with her aptitude for public speaking when she joined The Communication Center.

Dean attended Harvard Business School, has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Finance from the University of Phoenix, and her Associates of Arts degree from Florida State.

Ian Wilhelm

Chronicle of Higher Education

Ian Wilhelm is editor of the Chronicle’s international section. He reports on the international activities of American colleges, manages the newspaper's foreign correspondents, and edits WorldWise, a Chronicle blog on global higher education.

Wilhelm previously worked for 10 years at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, covering international philanthropy and large private grant-makers. He has reported from Africa, China, Germany, and Sri Lanka, among other places, for The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

He holds a bachelor’s in writing from the Johns Hopkins University and a master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.