Neeta Satam (Coordinator): Neeta Satam is a first year graduate student in photojournalism at the Missouri School of Journalism, who joined the program after participating in the 2012 Missouri Photo Workshop as a Jack and Dorothy Fields scholarship recipient. Before entering graduate school, Neeta worked eight years as an environmental scientist in the environmental consulting industry. Interested in documenting issues related to globalization and the environment, she has traveled extensively for the past three years photographing people and landscapes in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.
Taz Lombardo (Coordinator): Taz Lombardo is a first year photojournalism graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism. Prior to starting grad school, he studied professional photography at the University of Central Missouri, earning a Bachelor's degree in 2014. He made the decision to enter the MA program at the Journalism School after learning about the firing of the entire Chicago Sun-Times photography staff in the spring of 2013. Taz's ultimate goal is to assess photography's role in modern journalism and to preserve the integrity of photography as a profession.
Rita Reed (Director): Rita Reed has served as Director of the College Photographer of the Year competition for the past 13 years. She is a Professor on the photojournalism faculty at the Missouri School of Journalism. Prior to joining the University of Missouri faculty, Reed worked as a photojournalist for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Gazette in Cedar Rapids, IA. She is 1993 recipient of the NPPA/Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant and holds a MA in Journalism from the University of Missouri.
Jackie Bell (Moderator): Jackie Bell is an Associate Professor on the photojournalism faculty at the Missouri School of Journalism and a former assistant professor at the University of Montana. She has 15 years of combined experience as a staff photographer at The Tennessean, The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Arizona Daily Star and a chain of magazines in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has a master’s degree in photographic communication from Ohio University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
Joe Weiss (Moderator): Joe Weiss, the developer and founder of Soundslides, a multimedia authoring application for journalists, and frequent CPOY judge returns this year as the moderator of the multimedia division judging. Joe has worked as a photojournalist, multimedia reporter, designer, programmer, producer and editor in print and online media since 1996. Currently an independent interactive producer, he was formerly interactive producer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the Director of Photography at The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C., and a multimedia producer for MSNBC.com. His multimedia reports have garnered national and international recognition including an Online Journalism Award from the Online News Association, multiple POYi and BOP multimedia awards, and two Digital Edge awards from the NAA. For his development of Soundslides, he was awarded the J. Winton Lemen Award from the NPPA. Weiss frequently speaks at seminars and workshops about the integration of photojournalism, audio reportage and multimedia technology.
Brett Slaughter (Web Producer): Brett Slaughter is a 2005 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism photojournalism program in 2005. He is a self-taught web programmer, learning Internet technologies and programming during his time at the University of Missouri. Since graduating, he has recognized that his talents with technology outweigh his talents as a photojournalist, and as a result has given up photojournalism in favor of pursuing a career in information technology. He continues to devote a portion of his time to the continuing mission of the College Photographer of the Year program and is always seeking ways to use the web to enhance the contest experience for students worldwide.
Ryan Gibbons (Asst. Web Producer): Ryan Gibbons is a graduate of the photojournalism program at the University of Missouri. Ryan has been involved in the improvement of the user experience of the cpoy.org website since 2006. His professional interests range from user interface design to environmental and wildlife photography. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Ryan has worked at NPR in Washington, DC and he currently divides his time working as a photo editor and web designer in Southeast Asia and the United States. In his spare time, Ryan is an avid outdoorsman and scuba diver.