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Our Leadership

Matthew Nyquist

Matthew Nyquist

Founding Executive Director

Matthew Nyquist, known as the writer/director of The Gamer (2013), a post-production whiz in editing, sound, and vfx in films such Dare to Be Different (2017), The Art of Directing Series (2019), and upcoming release Picasso’s Christ. He was also a sound editor for The Cabin in the Woods (2011) and ABC network Christmas special Prep & Landing (2009). Although teaching is Matthew’s passion, he continues to work on LA-based projects remotely, where he previously worked for seven years. Matthew is currently in pre-production on a feature film he is writing and directing.

Nyquist is a close collaborator with the Emmy winning director and editor, Allan Holzman. He previously worked for Oscar-winning producer Fred Roos (The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, Lost in Translation, Star Wars) and Oscar winning sound designer Dane Davis (The Matrix, Cabin in the Woods).

Nyquist has an MFA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in film and television production and a BGS from The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

Matthew Nyquist

Maria Stover

Managing Director

Maria Stover is currently the chair and a professor in the Department of Mass Media at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, where she has taught since 2003.

Stover’s scholarly work focuses on women in politics in Eastern European countries and she is most known for her book, an edited collection called Media and Women in Politics: Perspectives from nations in Transitions .

Stover is an active leader at Washburn and has spearheaded several departmental initiatives focused on alumni, educating future students, and fundraising for the department through grant-writing and scholarship donor recognition and outreach.

Stover holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication and Media Arts from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois, an M.A. in Mass Communication and Media Arts, and a B.S. in journalism with a double minor in political science and history from the same institution.

Matthew Nyquist

Kristen Grimmer

Public Relations Director

Kristen Grimmer, Ph. D., is an assistant professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, where she has taught since 2016. She teaches public relations and media writing classes in the Department of Mass Media. Grimmer’s scholarly research is focused on what the media teaches young adults, particularly in areas of gender and sexuality. 

Grimmer has developed several departmental initiatives with chair Maria Stover that focus on alumni relations. These include the alumni email newsletter, scholarship donor recognition and outreach and the department’s annual keynote speaker and alumni networking event that takes place every spring. She also has written several grants with Maria Stover to secure funding for the department to improve students’ access to technology in the classrooms.

Grimmer holds a Ph.D. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, an MSJ from the same institution, and a Bachelor of Arts in mass media from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

Matthew Nyquist

Regina Cassell

Print Director

Regina Cassell is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mass Media and is also the Director of Student Media at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, where she has taught since 2003.

Cassell’s work at the university has included the Kaw Yearbook, the Mass Media Messenger – an alumni magazine, and the Washburn Review, the school newspaper that is published weekly. She has been a strong advocate for Washburn’s student publications that she believes teach valuable skills through hands-on experience. All three publications have won awards at the national and state level. You can email massmedia@washburn.edu to be added to the newsletter mailing list.

Cassell is also known for her work with alumni and her focus on continuing relationships between mass media graduates and the department. Cassell holds an MSJ from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kansas, and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Northwest Missouri State University.

Matthew Nyquist

Sam Finch

Content Director

Sam Finch is a lecturer in the Department of Mass Media at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, where he teaches film and video classes.

Previously, Finch lived in South Korea where he taught English as a second language for several years. Finch's experience living abroad lends him a unique perspective which he uses in his scholarly research on minority stereotypes in the media and he recently published a thesis titled, How Evaluations of Contact Affect Stereotypical Perceptions of Asian American Men.

Having worked as a videographer and post-production video editor, Finch brings his real-world skills and passion for filmmaking to the classroom every day where he teaches aspiring filmmakers video production, screenwriting, and video editing.

Finch holds a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Film Theory and Criticism from Central Michigan University.

Matthew Nyquist

Tracy Horacek

Office Coordinator

Tracy Horacek recently joined the Department of Mass Media at Washburn University as the administrative assistant.  

Horacek has several years of experience in running an office and her expertise in administration now keeps the department running smoothly. In addition, she brings a global perspective to her job, having lived in the Baden-Wurttemberg region of Germany for many years before moving to Topeka, Kansas. 

Matthew Nyquist

Jess Seidel

PR Manager

Jess Seidel is the Social Media and Event Promotions Student Assistant for the Department of Mass Media at Washburn University. She organizes and runs the social media pages for the WIFI Film Festival.

Seidel is screenwriter, having co-wrote for the feature film Never Fear the Night and the short film, For the Sins of Midnight. She is the writer and director for the 2023 short film, The Getaway, through the Washburn Filmmakers Association.

Seidel is President of the Washburn Filmmakers Association. She plans meetings and works as a liaison for guest speakers for the organization.

Student Associates of the WIFI Film Festival 

Kayshiona Acquaye

Braden Burcham

Emily Burd

Aja Carter

Rhyan Cropper

Isaac Deer

Connor Deffebaugh

Benjamin Doole

Morgan Edgett

Callie Holthaus

Hayden Kalp

Pamela Knoxsah

Abigail LaFever

Shalynn Long

Trevor McCollum

RJ Mitchell

Rina Miyano

Larissa Morgan

Shelby Munoz

Shiann Olberding

Kevon Owens

Miriam Paredes

Brooke Petersen

Jaycie Regnier

Jessica Seidel

Westen Smith

Caroline Spiller

Zachary Stephen

Calvin Steward

Katelyn Tryon

Cooper Ward

Olivia Watson

Ashley Williams

Hunter Wise

Alumni Associates of the WIFI Film Festival

Blake Hopper

Darria Dennison

Ethan Jackson

Leah Jamison

Francesca Kelley-Miller