NCDJ Staff

Kristin Gilger, Director

Kristin Gilger, Associate Dean, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Gilger helped bring the NCDJ to the Cronkite School and provides administrative oversight for the organization. As associate dean, she directs the school’s 50-plus part-time faculty members and oversees the school’s professional programs. She also serves as executive editor of the national News21 program, headquartered at the Cronkite School. She was director of Student Media at ASU from 2002-2007. She spent 21 years in various reporting and editing roles at newspapers across the country, including the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, La., the Salem Statesman Journal in Oregon and The Arizona Republic. She conducts training at newspapers and for newspaper associations nationally and internationally.

She can be reached at

Nicole Koester, Program Manager

Nicole Koester is an accomplished broadcast media professional with more than two decades of experience in education and execution of television production. She has worked as a television reporter, producer, satellite coordinator and production assistant in New York City, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Raleigh-Durham, Colorado Springs and Wilmington, N.C. She also teaches broadcast journalism as a faculty associate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. A graduate of The School of Media and Journalism at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she was a fellow with the International Radio and Television Society.

She can be reached at

Erica Block, Graduate Assistant

Erica Block Erica Block is a graduate student in the sports journalism program at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Media. She is particularly interested in covering baseball and representations of race and gender in sports media. Erica graduated from Colby College in 2010. Before moving to Phoenix to pursue her master’s degree, she was an editorial fellow at and worked for several tech startups in New York City.

She can be reached at

Jake Geller, Inaugural Director

Jake GellerJake Geller completed his Masters of Mass Communication with an emphasis in print journalism and public relations at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in May 2010.

Geller received his undergraduate degree from the Cronkite School in broadcasting in 2002 and worked professionally in television news writing and production before going back to school for his graduate degree. Among his positions were those of freelance assistant producer at KTVK-TV and video editor with the city of Phoenix.

Geller’s own disability has motivated his academic research, which focuses on how the media cover people with disabilities and disability issues. He has been active in the disability community and adaptive sports for people with disabilities. Geller is co-founder and head coach of the ASU Sailing Club and has led the club for the past four years. One of the club’s missions is to bring together people with and without disabilities to sail together on an even playing field.

Geller helped launch the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Cronkite School and continues to serve in an advisory role. He can be reached at

Cronkite student Annie Woods has a profile of Geller and his experience with muscular dystrophy.

Below is a video of Geller talking about the changes wrought by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the challenges he and others with disabilities still face.