About Us

We are a group of educators and scholars passionate about the practice of media literacy.

Our work combines years of experience within the media literacy practice and teaching with that of scholarship from the social science and humanities fields. We prioritize an integrative and collaborative process as key to our mission, and seek to bring together practitioners and scholars within the many subdomains of media literacy to build key learning targets and goals assisting educators and administrators with the implementing of media literacy education.

Our work is driven by the passage of Illinois Public Act 102-055, which requires media literacy education for all students at the high school level in Illinois.

Read more about Illinois Public Act 102-055

Organizational Partners


Join our coalition by filling out this short form – ILMLC Free Membership Form

YontyFriesemColumbia College ChicagoGraduate Programs Director
Michael A.SpikesNorthwestern University & Media Literacy NowIllinois Chapter Leader
JamiRhueProvidence Englewood Charter SchoolTeacher-Librarian Media Specialist
Erica B.ThiemanIllinois State Board of EducationDirector of Standards & Instruction Department
KimberlyJohnsonIllinois State Board of EducationEnglish Language Arts Principal Consultant
TonyStreitNational Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)President
Mary JoMatousekAssociation of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE)Past-President
BryanAsburyIllinois Communication & Theater Association (ICTA)President
SanaJafriChicago Leanring ExchangeExecutive Director
KaraThorstensonChicago Public SchoolsDirector of Libraries and Instructional Technology
AnnaKimChicago Public SchoolsLibrary and Digital Media Specialist
SarahSteigerChicago Public SchoolsLibrary and Digital Media Manager
Mary EllenDaneelsDuPage County Regional Office of EdDirector of Illinois Civics Hub
IsabelleHansonKFVS-TVReporter/Multimedia Journalist, Anchor & Producer
MaariaMozaffarThe Law Office of Maaria MozaffarPrincipal Attorney
KathleenBeckmanFACETSDirector of Youth Programs
ChristinaPeiChicago Leanring ExchangeNetwork Manager
KristinZiemkeChicago Council on Global AffairsEmerging Leader
FeliciaUlwellingChicago Public SchoolsTeacher
AnthonyZoubekBHS U-46Speech and Drama Team, Sponsor and Coach
DebWillZion-Benton Township High SchoolLibrarian
ChristySemandeCanton USD #66District librarian
HeatherDanekMinooka HSEnglish Teacher
RitaBrambleVon SteubenLibrarian
Eric CurrieCurrieHitch ESLibrarian
Cathy S.RuszelO A Thorp Scholastic AcademyLibrary Teacher & Technology Teacher
KatieEwenWest Ridge ElementaryK-8 Library Teacher/ Librarian
MariaMorales-SalazarAcero, Torres Charter SchoolBilingual Educator
EyadZeidNumeratorSales Director
NatashaCaseyLincoln Land Community CollegeProfessor
DinaKhdairDePaul UniversityAlumni
SheridaMorrisonDePaul UniversityAdjunct Faculty
LaurenMorganCollege of DuPageDepartment Chair Professor
DeniseNacuDePaul UniversityDirector
SpencerBraytonWaubonsee Community CollegeDirector of Library Services
Anna M.WrightIllinois CollegeAssistant Professor
GraceChoiHandshakeUX Researcher
KatiePacigaColumbia College ChicagoAssociate Professor
RyanMcCartyNiles Township High School District 219Director of K8 Literacy


Yonty Friesem, Ph.D.

Yonty Friesem is director of the Media Education Lab and Associate Professor of civic media at Columbia College Chicago, where he founded two MA programs in Strategic Communication and Civic Media. Yonty’s work and research in civic media focus on the opportunities to improve social and emotional skills of students in formal and informal settings using media production as civic engagement. Apart from being an award-winning film producer, Yonty offers professional development for educators who want to drive social change in their community with their students using the power of digital media. Yonty’s publications in academic and professional journals include theory of empathic dialogs via media they call digital empathy, evaluation of various civic media programs, and explorations of implementing digital and media literacy in schools. Yonty received their Ph.D. in Education from the University of Rhode Island and MA in Leadership and Policy in Education from Tel-Aviv University.  

Contact: yfriesem@colum.edu

Michael A. Spikes

Michael A. Spikes has been teaching, writing about, and developing curriculum on the subject of News Media Literacy and media production for more than 15 years. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago. His research looks to connect cognitive, social, and learning environmental design theories to news media literacy pedagogy. Before joining Northwestern, Michael was a project manager for the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University where he led the build of its Digital Resource Center, an online repository of news literacy teaching and learning material. Michael also headed up a branch of the Center in the state of Illinois, where he developed teacher training materials and curriculum as part of a new Civics course mandate in the state. Michael continues his work with the center’s curriculum as a speaker, trainer, and consultant, most recently with the American Library Association. Michael has also held positions as a Media Studies instructor in both public and public charter schools in Washington DC, and was a member of the educational advisory team at the Newseum. He has also held roles as a media producer and editor for NPR, the PBS NewsHour, and the Kellogg School of Management. 

Contact: michael@michaelspikes.com