2018 Staff

The 2018 Chautauquan Daily Staff. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR


Sara Toth – Editor

This is Sara Toth’s first summer as editor of The Chautauquan Daily. Previously, she served for four years as the Daily’s assistant and then managing editor. A native of Pittsburgh(ish), she attended Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and worked for nearly four years as a reporter in the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Chance Brinkman-Sull – Assistant Editor

Chance interned at the Daily as a design editor in the summers of 2015 and 2016. After graduating from Ohio University in 2017 with a bachelor of science in visual communication, he interned as a designer for The Washington Post Express. He returned to Ohio University last August to pursue his masters in interactive design. Chance is thrilled to return to Chautauqua to serve as assistant editor of The Chautauquan Daily.

Dave Munch – Photo Editor

Dave Munch is the photo editor of The Chautauquan Daily and serves year-round as multimedia producer for Chautauqua Institution. A Cincinnati native, Munch graduated from Ohio University and has worked as a staff photographer for the Baltimore Sun Media Group and the Erie Times-News. Munch’s work has been featured in publications across the country. He lives in Westfield with his partner.

Copy Editors

Marley Parish – Copy Editor

This is Marley Parish’s second summer with the Daily. Last year, she served as a design editor and is returning as a copy editor. Parish is a senior majoring in English and minoring in political science and journalism in the public interest at Allegheny College. This year will be her second year serving as editor-in-chief of Allegheny’s student-run newspaper, The Campus.

Cat Hofacker – Copy Editor

This is Cat’s second year on the Daily’s copy desk. In addition to watching those pesky commas, she will be providing the occasional political feature story. A senior at Ohio University, she has worked at publications like The New Political, The Athens News and Ohio Today. Cat will graduate in December after completing a fall reporting internship in Washington, D.C. Email her at for conversation about politics and proper grammar.

Digital Editors

Joseph Cooke – Digital Editor

Joseph Cooke is a May 2018 graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. He’s had internships in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, Detroit and on Capitol Hill. He likes listening to almost all genres of music, working out and eating good food in his free time. You can follow him on Twitter.

Celia Hidalgo – Digital Editor

Celia Hidalgo works as a digital editor for The Chautauquan Daily. She is a recent graduate from Kent State University, where she earned a degree in digital media production, with a concentration in digital film and a minor in writing. She is originally from the small town of Owego, New York. Outside of maintaining the website and social media, Celia enjoys writing, reading and traveling as far as the world can take her.

Design Editors

Madeline Deabler – Design Editor

This is Madeline Deabler’s second year working as a design editor for The Daily. She is a junior at Wichita State University, double majoring in graphic design and journalism. She is going into her third year working as design editor for her student newspaper The Sunflower. Deabler also worked for a graphic design studio in Wichita doing animations and illustrations before returning to The Daily.

Sierra Hawthorne – Design Editor

Sierra Hawthorne is an Indianapolis native and a rising senior at Ball State University. She is studying magazine media journalism with a minor in graphic design and graphic arts technology. She is the owner of an online clothing business and has experience with realistic 3D graphics, layout, logo and ad design. Sierra has a passion for art and fashion and will be joining the Daily as a design editor this year.

Jeana Rayo – Design Editor

Jeana is a soon-to-be senior at Ohio University, studying publication and interactive design with a minor in marketing. This is her first summer with the Daily as design editor, and she intends to absorb the unique culture that Chautauqua and its people have to offer. Jeana considers herself an “old soul” and if given the chance to time travel, the 1970s would suit her fancy for her love of music, art and Gloria Steinem.


José Valle- Design Editor

José Valle is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in journalism with a concentration in editing and graphic design. He served as visual managing editor of UNC’s student paper, The Daily Tar Heel. He is excited to spend another summer in Chautauqua, during which he is most looking forward to bringing back his six-year “bowtie Wednesday” tradition to the grounds.



Abigail Dollins – Photographer

Abigail Dollins is a rising senior at Western Kentucky University. Abigail is a photojournalist whose greatest passion is creating a platform for people to tell their stories. Abigail has worked for the College Heights Herald and the Paducah Sun. When she’s not taking photos, Abigail enjoys playing guitar and spending time outdoors.

Brian Hayes – Photographer

Brian Hayes is a rising senior from Wichita State University. Yes, the Wichita State. He is a photojournalist with a passion for telling human stories through photos and videos. He is the photo editor for the student-run newspaper, The Sunflower. He is also a freelance photographer for several papers in Kansas. In his free time, he likes to teach and take photos. It’s basically all he knows.

Haldan Kirsch – Photographer

Haldan Kirsch is a staff photographer from Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania. He is currently earning a master’s degree in photography from Ohio University and plans to graduate in May 2019. Haldan also loves to travel. He lived in Rome for two and a half years and has visited 14 different countries.


Riley Robinson – Photographer

Riley Robinson is a photographer at the Daily and a rising sophomore studying journalism at Northeastern University. She discovered photography after a ballet-related knee injury, and has been passionate about arts reporting ever since. She also enjoys memoirs, road trips and adopting too many houseplants. This is her first season at Chautauqua.


Julie Ciotola – Interfaith Lecture previews, Sacred Song Services, Chautauqua Choir, Massey and Tallman Organs

Julie Ciotola is reporting on the Interfaith Lecture Series and Sacred Song Services. She is an Akron, Ohio, native and studies journalism and history at Ohio University. Next year, she will serve as editor-in-chief for Backdrop Magazine, a student-run campus publication. This is her first time at Chautauqua. Contact her at or on Twitter.

Donovan Conaway – Recreation (Sports Club, golf, tennis, sailing, annual road race, fitness center/pool, parks, beaches, softball), Boys’ and Girls’ Club

Donovan Conaway is from Maryland and is a rising senior at the illustrious Morgan State University, where he studies multimedia journalism. He will be reporting on recreation/Boys’ and Girls’ Club for the Daily. His goal for the summer is to learn how to swim. Donovan is a huge sports fan and idolizes Carmelo Anthony. For any sports talk, email him at

Georgia Davis – Opera (Chautauqua Opera Company, operalogues, Artsongs, Opera Guild), Children’s School, Meet the Filmmaker Series

Georgia Davis is a rising senior at Ohio University, where she studies journalism. Georgia covers the Chautauqua Opera Company and Children’s School for the Daily. Georgia is a cinephile, and her favorite movies of 2017 were The Big Sick and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Kirby Davis – Visual Arts (Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution galleries and exhibitions, School of Art, artists, lectures, VACI Partners), Chautauqua Bookstore, Smith Memorial Library

Kirby Davis covers visual arts for The Chautauquan Daily. The proud Clevelander is a rising senior and a journalism/American studies double major at Miami University in Ohio. When she’s not writing, Kirby is probably watching a movie, re-watching “Gilmore Girls” or brainstorming potential names for her future pet corgi.

Lexie Erdos – Dance (guest companies and School of Dance), Institution Administration, board of trustees, property owners association

Lexie Erdos is a rising senior at Wagner College, where she is pursuing a degree in English literature. Erdos will be covering the dance programs, the CPOA, the board of trustees and arts administration for the Daily. She is the current editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, The Wagnerian. She is an avid lover of animals, yoga and gardening. Upon graduation, she intends to continue her education in veterinary medicine.

John Ford – Features

John Ford is in his ninth year with the Daily. He reports on general news, does feature reporting and writes the weekly Chautauqua Conversations column. A wire service reporter for United Press International prior to embarking on a career as a foreign service officer with the Department of State, he currently writes a regular column on American politics and foreign relations for one of the two principal daily newspapers in Nassau, Bahamas.

Emma Francois – Literary Arts (Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, Writers’ Center, Alumni Association of the CLSC,Literary Arts Friends)

Emma Francois is the literary arts reporter and a returning Daily staffer. She attends Georgetown University, studying English, art history and studio art. When she isn’t laughing at her own jokes, she is the highest-pitched voice on the fashion and politics podcast, “Stripped.” Ask her about feminism in the Avengers, backyard birding and her love for bike baskets.

David Geary – Chautauqua Archives, features

David Geary has been a reporter and editor for more than 40 years. He retired in 2015 from The New York Times, where he was the late-night news editor. He also has worked for The Boston Globe and other newspapers. He currently freelances for the Times and for The Trace, a nonprofit journalism website focused on gun violence and gun policy in America. He lives in Westfield with his wife, Karin Henry.

Flora Junhua Deng – School of Music (Music School Festival Orchestra, Piano and Voice Programs), CLSC Young Readers

Flora Junhua Deng is covering the School of Music for The Chautauquan Daily this summer. She is a rising senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is studying journalism and music. A native of China, Flora is not a huge fan of coffee but likes tea. She is a cat person but also loves dogs.

Justin Kelly – Symphony( Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, CSO League, Community Band), Logan Chamber Music Series, Chautauqua Chamber Music, Pier Club

This is Justin’s first summer at Chautauqua, where he covers symphonic and chamber music. He grew up in Washington, D.C., attended Carnegie Mellon University and Manhattan School of Music, and now resides in Pittsburgh. Justin is a dedicated lover of live music, and he tries to attend as much of it as he possibly can.

Jamie Landers – Interfaith Lecture coverage, Mystic Heart program, Abrahamic Program for Young Adults

Jamie Landers is a rising sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix. She is excited to be spending her first summer in Chautauqua covering the Interfaith Lecture Series, Mystic Heart Meditation Program and the Abrahamic Program for Young Adults for The Chautauquan Daily. You can contact her at or on Twitter.

Casey McCarthy – Environmental Issues (sustainability, stormwater and shoreline management, Chautauqua Lake, Chautauqua Utility District), Bird, Tree and Garden Club

Casey McCarthy is a senior at Western Kentucky University majoring in journalism with minors in photojournalism and creative writing. Casey is covering the environment and Bird, Tree & Garden Club this summer for the Daily. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, watching movies and reading science fiction.

Maggie Prosser – Morning Lecture Coverage

Maggie Prosser will be covering the morning lecture series this summer for the Daily. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, she is a rising sophomore studying journalism in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. Outside of her studies, she serves as news editor at The New Political, an independent political publication at OU.

Matthew Steinberg – Development, Lincoln Series in Applied Ethics, special lectures and programs

Matthew Steinberg is a rising junior at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, studying communication arts, journalism and Spanish studies. He will be reporting for the development section of The Chautauquan Daily, but during his free time, he may be longboarding down NY 394, spending hard-earned money at TJ Maxx or even rewatching every film in the Marvel Universe. Feel free to chat with him sometime.

Mary Lee Talbot – Morning Worship Column, chaplain previews

Mary Lee Talbot writes the Morning Worship column for the Daily. She is a Presbyterian minister and preaches in Irving on the the Seneca Nation territory. She is the author of Chautauqua’s Heart, the first full history of the CLSC, which was founded 140 years ago. She serves on the school board at Chautauqua Lake Central School. She is a lifelong Chautauquan and lives with her dog, Max, at Chautauqua all year.

Deborah Trefts – Chautauqua Women’s Club, Contemporary Issues Form

Deb Trefts is a policy scientist with extensive U.S., Canadian and international experience in conservation policy and practice, especially the appraisal and resolution of complex ocean and freshwater-related problems from global to local. She also trains professionals and students in the art and science of deciphering and developing government policy. Deb is a lifelong Chautauquan.

Kevin Vestal – Theater (Chatauqua Theater Company, Friends of Chautauqua Theater), Family Entertainment Series

Kevin Vestal is from Westerville, Ohio, and is a rising senior at Miami University in Ohio, studying journalism and professional writing with a minor in theater. Last summer, he interned for The Florence Newspaper in Italy, and he is excited to cover Chautauqua Theater Company and the Family Entertainment Series for the Daily. An avid thespian, Kevin recently performed on stage in Tartuffe and also has an irrational fear of wrists.

Meg Viehe – Interfaith News Column

Meg Viehe is a retired teacher living in Newport Beach during the off-season. She is happiest when she and her husband, Rich, are surrounded by grandchildren and their parents, the extended Viehe clan and friends at Chautauqua. Her advice to her grandchildren and others: “Be nice to everyone at Chautauqua. You never know who will be part of your future family!”

Editorial Office

Cloey Olkowski- Office Manager 

Birkenstock enthusiast Cloey Olkowski is the office manager at the Daily this year. This will be Cloey’s second season at the Daily and 18th season at Chautauqua. A Buffalo, New York, native, she currently attends SUNY Oswego, where she is majoring in public relations and double minoring in graphic design and psychology. Last season she won second place in the Old First Night Run/Walk and hopes to place first this season.


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