President McKay Announces Senior Executive Staff

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY


For Immediate Release

November 25th, 2020

STATE COLLEGE, PA – Today, UPUA President Zachary McKay formally announced the appointment of the following individuals to Senior Executive Staff roles within the Executive Office of the President, some of which have been made up to this point:

  • Michael Mitole – Chief of Staff
  • Jacob Klipstein – Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
  • Kristin Gjelaj – Director of Executive Communications
  • Emily Zimbler – Press Secretary
  • Victoria Cacciotti – Deputy Press Secretary
  • Ashley Hayford – Director of Speechwriting
  • Anan Hussein – Deputy Director of Speechwriting

Michael Mitole, Appointee for Chief of Staff

Michael Mitole is a sophomore studying Finance and Economics. Currently, Michael works with the Nittany Lions Consulting Group, is a selected speaker for TEDxPSU, and has membership in numerous leadership organizations including the Sapphire Leadership Program and Presidential Leadership Academy. After graduation, Mitole intends to work as a management consultant. 

Jacob Klipstein, Appointee for Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy 

Jacob Klipstein has served as an At-Large Representative in the UPUA’s General Assembly since Spring 2018, and the Chairman of the Committee on Student Life during the 14th Assembly. Klipstein serves as the President of the Penn State College Democrats, and has a strong background in issues related to student life, civic engagement, and justice. In his role as At-Large Representative, Klipstein helped bring about the University’s first free distribution of STI testing through University Health Services and the Student Initiated Fee, promoted transparency through policies against undue donor influence in academic settings, advocated the raising of Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, and supported the State College Spikes Minor League Baseball team through the #SaveOurSpikes campaign. Klipstein is a senior studying History, Jewish Studies and Political Science in the College of the Liberal Arts is pursuing a certificate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and intends to graduate in Spring 2021. After graduating, he hopes to continue a career in public service.

Kristin Gjelaj, Appointee for Director of Executive Communications

Kristin Gjelaj is a senior studying Digital/Print Journalism and Spanish, with a certificate in Sports Journalism. Before being appointed Director of Executive Communications, Gjelaj served as the UPUA Press Secretary for the 14th Assembly. As the Press Secretary, Gjelaj wrote press releases, promoted events and legislation and advanced the organization’s brand to increase awareness of the UPUA across student media outlets. Outside of the UPUA, Gjelaj is the Current Events Editor for VALLEY magazine, an Anchor for CommRadio, a member of the John Curley Center and a Content Creator for THON’s Public Relations Committee. After graduation, Gjelaj hopes to be an investigative journalist, challenging politics and government. 

Emily Zimbler, Appointee for Press Secretary

Emily Zimbler is a junior studying Public Relations with minors in French and Political Science. In addition to serving as Press Secretary, Zimbler serves on the executive board of Her Campus at PSU, member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, and as a member of Penn State International Affairs and Debate Association. Zimbler has backgrounds in communications and political affairs from past internships, such as working for a US Representative on Capitol Hill. After graduation, Zimbler hopes to work in media relations or public affairs in Washington DC. 

Victoria Cacciotti, Appointee for Deputy Press Secretary

Victoria Cacciotti is a junior studying Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Sport Studies and Political Science. Cacciotti also has a certificate in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Before being appointed as Deputy Press Secretary, Cacciotti worked for C-NET as a play-by-play commentator. After graduation, Cacciotti hopes to be a professional journalist.   

Ashley Hayford, Appointee for Director of Speechwriting

Ashley Hayford is a junior studying Digital/Print Journalism, with a minor in Political Science and certificate in Organizational Communications. Currently, Hayford is a Columnist for The Daily Collegian, an Account Associate for Happy Valley Communications, the Public Relations Chair for Penn State Lyrical Line and a Committee Member for THON’s Operations Committee. While she was a news reporter for The Daily Collegian, she covered politics, “cops/courts/crime,” and student government. After graduation, Hayford hopes to be a communications director for a politician or a lobbyist.

Anan Hussein, Appointee for Deputy Director of Speechwriting

Anan Hussein is a junior studying Broadcast Journalism, with minors in Digital Media Trends & Analytics and Theatre. Hussein has extensive multimedia experience through her involvements in 46Live, CommRadio and College Magazine, where she has gained experience in writing, editing, social media and production. After graduation, Hussein hopes to be a journalist. 

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