Don Smith - Department Head
Don Smith, a native of Washington, D.C., retired after 23 years in the Navy as a Senior Chief Photographer’s Mate and Mass Communications Specialist. During his military career, he served in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Medusa. Mr. Smith has been assigned to a wide variety of positions throughout his career to include Graphic’s Leading Petty Officer, Lead Instructor for Periscope Photography and DINFOS’ Digital Multimedia Course, Career Counselor, Periscope Photography Officer, Assistant Public Affairs Officer and Public Affairs Officer. He has also served as the Academic Director for the Multimedia Department, and the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge to the Director of Training. He holds numerous job specialty classifications; he is a certified Master Training Specialist and a DINFOS Master Instructor.
Giselle Allen is a Visual Information Management and Combat Camera Leadership Course instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department. A native of Queens, N.Y., she retired after 21 years of service from the U.S. Army as a Visual Information Operations Chief. During her military career, she served in support of Operation Sea Signal, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Allen held various positions to include Photo Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC), Lead Basic Still Photography instructor, Public Affairs NCOIC, Drill Instructor, and Training Development Chief. She has an Associate of Applied Science in Administrative/Management Studies, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with Thomas Edison State University.
Mr. Gary Arasin is a contract instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department at the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Md. Gary is a retired Air Force officer with 26 years of service, which began as munitions maintenance specialist before cross-training into public affairs. Commissioned in 2001, he served in a wide spectrum of assignments prior to his final assignment as the active duty officer assigned to National Guard Bureau public affairs. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from University of Pittsburgh and master of science management in public relations from University of Maryland, University College.
Lt. Cmdr. Katie Cerezo is an instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department. She was commissioned in 2003 via the NROTC program, and served six years as a Surface Warfare Officer before re-designating to Public Affairs in 2009. As a PAO, her assignments include deployments aboard the USS Harry S. Truman and USS Bataan, and three years with the Navy News Desk at the Pentagon. Her most recent assignment was as the lead PAO aboard the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. She has a Master's in Liberal Arts from St. John's Graduate Institute, and a Master's in National Defense and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Capt. Katie Cousins is a Public Affairs Qualification Course instructor at the Defense Information School. She entered the Air Force in 2010 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her Air Force experience includes serving as the Deputy Chief of Public Affairs for the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, California and the Chief of Public Affairs for the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Following wing-level public affairs assignments, she served as the Commander, Detachment 2, 336th Training Squadron at Fort Meade, leading approximately 1,500 enlisted active duty, reserve, and national guard broadcasters and photojournalists in technical training. Captain Cousins earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Area Studies from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and a Master's Degree in International Relations and Conflict Resolution from American Military University.
Maj. Jean Duggan is a Public Affairs Qualification Course instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department at the Defense Information School. Prior to her arrival, she was the deputy director of the U.S. Air Force Center for Strategic Leadership Communication at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, from 2014-2018. She oversaw communication education, academic curricula and the professional development of joint, international and U.S. government officers, enlisted personnel and civilians. Duggan commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2001, and throughout her career served in positions at the flight, squadron, wing, major command, joint and international command levels. Her deployments include Afghanistan, Turkey and Cuba.
Steven Eden served more than 25 years as an armor officer in the United States Army in a variety of operational billets, including command of a battalion. Along the way he earned his master's degree in History at the University of Wisconsin, taught at West Point, and attended the Army War College. His service also included five years with NATO and the British Army, as well as tours in Europe, Central America, and Afghanistan. After retiring from the Army, he joined the faculty at DINFOS as an instructor with the Public Affairs Leadership Department. Mr. Eden is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the University of Wisconsin.
Doug Holl retired from the Navy as a chief petty officer in July 2006 after 21 years of service. Some of his previous assignments included tours at the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Pacific Command, Naval Media Center, and tours aboard USS John F. Kennedy and as a PAO for USS Wasp. Before retiring from the Navy, he also was a Public Affairs Qualifying Course instructor at the Defense Information School from 2002-2005. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Maryland, where he was selected as the outstanding public relations graduate for his class, and a master's degree in communication from the University of Oklahoma.
Laura Pingree-Holloway, a Public Affairs Qualification Course instructor since 2008 and master instructor since 2010, has nearly 20 years of experience in the public affairs field. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve, she was the editor of the Marine Corps Reserve's nationally-distributed magazine, the Continental Marine; morning radio personality on American Forces Network in Okinawa, Japan; public affairs chief at the Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City, Mo.; and the Marine Corps plans and training chief at the Division of Public Affairs, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon. As a civilian, she was a graphic designer for a Las Vegas sign company; the assistant art director for Las Vegas Weekly; editor of Marine Corps Base Quantico's weekly newspaper, the Sentry; and, most recently, a strategic communication specialist for Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs at the Pentagon, where she specialized in Department of Defense Web policy. She has a bachelor of arts in Law and Society from The Pennsylvania State University, and she is a 1995 Defense Information School graduate of the Basic Journalist and Basic Broadcaster courses, and a 1996 graduate of the Editors Course.
Major Stacy Hopwood is an instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department. She earned a BA in Economics from Centre College, an MPA from Oklahoma University and an MPS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from Georgetown University. She was commissioned in 2002 and served in both the Air Defense Artillery and Adjutant General branch where she held multiple positions including platoon leader, executive officer, operations officer and commander twice. In 2011, she voluntarily transitioned to public affairs where she was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). As a Screaming Eagle, she served as the public affairs officer for both the 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, as well as the Division deputy PAO. Her deployments include Iraq, Afghanistan, and Liberia.
Laura D. Johnston is faculty lead for the Joint Senior Public Affairs Course and the Joint Senior Enlisted Public Affairs Course, and adjunct instructor to the Public Affairs Qualification Course. Prior to joining DINFOS in 2008, Ms. Johnston served as Conference Group Director at the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis Md. From 1992-2005, she was Corporate Communications Director at KCI Technologies, Inc., and served on the engineering firm's board of directors; she also served on the Public Relations Committee of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) in Washington, D.C; and chaired the Public Relations Committee of ACEC/Maryland. From 1984-89, Ms. Johnston served as associate editor of the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and Naval History magazines and wrote articles for various military publications. She is a 2011 Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, where she earned a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. She also holds a BS in Journalism from the University of Colorado. In 1989, Ms. Johnston became the first civilian journalist to graduate from U.S. Army Airborne School. She currently serves on AFCEA's Homeland Security Committee.
Fran Kelty, a public affairs qualification course instructor, retired as an Air Force broadcaster in August 2010 after 22 years of service. Her assignments included tours at Armed Forces Radio Television Service outlets in Lajes Field, the Azores Portugal; Yokota Air Base, Japan; Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea; and, Heidelberg, Germany. She taught Broadcast Video Skills for the Defense Information School’s Basic Broadcaster Course from 1996 to 2000. She returned to the Defense Information School in 2004 as a Basic Writing and Announcing Skills Instructor for the Basic Combat Correspondents Course until she retired in 2010. After retiring from the Air Force she worked in media relations for Northrop Grumman Technical Services. Kelty has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Maryland University College and a master's degree in communication from the University of Oklahoma.
Ernest Lehmann joined the U.S. Defense Information School faculty in March 2007 as part of an MPRI/L-3 Communications team hired to design a senior-level public affairs program. His courses focus on post-conflict media relations, civil-military cooperation, and working with inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. Lehmann spent seven years working in conflict and post-conflict environments. From 2002 to 2004 he served as chief of the UN Public Information Section in Guatemala, where he led teams that implemented the UN's national communication strategy during the verification phase of the Guatemalan peace accords. From 1998 to 2002 he served with the UN Mission to Bosnia Herzegovina, the UN's largest police-reform operation, and was chief spokesperson for the mission from 2001. From 1994 to 1998 he worked in the UN peacekeeping and public information departments in Angola, Liberia, and at UN Headquarters in New York. Prior to the UN he worked with the U.S. Information Agency during the World's Fair in Seville, Spain. Lehmann earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in 2005 and has a bachelor's degree in economics and Spanish literature from the University of Vermont. He was raised in Verona, Italy, and speaks four languages. Lehmann was named a Team Leader of the MPRI/L-3 Communications contract with the Defense Information School in November 2008.
Chief Warrant Officer Barry Lane currently serves at the U.S. Coast Guard liaison to the Defense Information School. He was previously assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters as the public affairs program manager, where he oversaw training, policy development, workforce management, standardization, and assessment of the Coast Guard’s entire public affairs enterprise.
Prior to headquarters, he was a liaison at the Coast Guard Motion Picture & Television Office (MOPIC). He was the project officer for more than 75 television and feature film projects that included Deadliest Catch, Coast Guard Alaska, NCIS, CSI, Hawaii Five-O, and The Adjustment Bureau. Prior to MOPIC, he was the assistant public affairs officer for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District (Alaska). During his tenure in Alaska, he was the spokesperson for notable cases such as the sinking of the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger and the grounding of the cruise ship Empress of the North. In 2011, he was named Federal Employee of the Year by the California On Location Awards for his work with the entertainment industry. He holds a master’s degree in Communication from the University of Oklahoma.
Lieutenant Commander Amber Lewis is an instructor at the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Maryland. Prior to this assignment, she served as the liaison to the Defense Media Activity for the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information, managing editor for All Hands Magazine and Navy News Service at Defense Media Activity, a public affairs action officer, legal officer and Assistant Office in Charge of Navy Public Affairs Support Element-West. She has deployed as the PAO with Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG 1) on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Combined Task Group 176 on board USS Essex (LHD 2) and with Combined Task Force 176 on board USS Gettysburg (GC 64). She earned a BS in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and a MA in Communication from Northern Arizona University.
Prior to specializing in public affairs, Lewis served as a licensed officer in the Merchant Marine Ready Reserve program where she completed training with the Maritime Administration, the Merchant Marine Ready Reserve Fleet and two years on active duty for special work with the Maritime Domain Awareness program as an engagement and outreach officer. As a reservist, she also work for Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd., managing import container movement from the ports of Long Beach and Oakland.
Lt. Cmdr. Bashon Mann is an instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis, Tenn. His tours included Naval Special Warfare Center as the command public affairs officer, Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery, where he served aboard both USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort in response to the tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina respectively. Commander Mann also served aboard the USNS Mercy in the response to the 2008 earthquake in Haiti. He has served tours with the Navy Chief of Information Office, Navy International Programs Office and also served at ISAF-HQ in Kabul, Afghanistan. While a Navy Reservist, Commander Mann served as Senior Counsel for Susan Davis International and served as the Executive Producer for the dedication of the MLK Memorial on the National Mall.
Captain Jarrod Morris is a Public Affairs Qualification Course instructor. Prior to his arrival to the Defense Information School, Captain Morris served in the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, from 2014-2017. During this time, he deployed as the public affairs officer for Train, Advise, Assist Command-East, a NATO regional command in eastern Afghanistan; served as the public affairs officer for 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID; and most recently served as deputy division public affairs officer for 3rd ID. He has 17 years of active duty service as an enlisted soldier, chief warrant officer and commissioned officer. His education includes a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University, and Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy & Economics from the University of Washington.
Mr. Kelly P. Rowe is a Public Affairs Qualification Course Instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department. He has more than 25 years of military and civilian public affairs and broadcast experience. He retired from the Army in October 2005 after a 21-year career as a broadcast journalist. While on active duty, his assignments included Korea, Ft. Carson, Germany, Ft. Bragg, Ft. Meade, and Ft. Campbell. He served for five years as a DINFOS radio instructor from 1999-2004. Mr. Rowe is a graduate of the Basic Broadcasting Course, Broadcast Manager’s Course, Joint Public Affairs Supervisor Course, Instructor Training Course, and the University of Oklahoma’s Joint Course in Communication. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a Master of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Maryland University College and is currently pursuing his Master of Business Administration degree, also from the University of Maryland University College.
George Sengelaub is a retired Army officer with 32 years of service whose classes focus on the relationship between public affairs and information operations. He began his Army career as an infantryman with the 82D Airborne Division. After commissioning in 1981, he served as an Infantry officer, Armor Officer and Intelligence Officer. His assignments run the gamut from rifle squad leader to strategic planner in Army Warplans. Mr. Sengelaub's command time includes Company, and Special Operations Team B. He served as a Battalion XO in an MI BN. Mr. Sengelaub's travels have taken him to numerous tourist destinations including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. He earned a bachelor's degree from Cameron University, and is a graduate of Command and General Staff College. Mr. Sengelaub retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2006 from Army Warplans, G-35.
Will Skelton is a Public Affairs Qualification Course instructor who arrived at DINFOS in June 2012. He joined the Marine Corps in November 2003 and spent nearly nine years serving as a combat correspondent. He graduated the Basic Public Affairs Specialist - Writers Course at Fort George G. Meade in July 2004. Mr. Skelton holds an Associate in Applied Technology, Drafting and Design, a Bachelor of Science, Communication and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Communication from Walden University. He is also a graduate of the Military Motion Media Program from Syracuse University. Mr. Skelton has served in a variety of roles with in the PA field to include: Press Chief, Community Relations Chief, Television Anchor, Radio Host, Photographer and Reporter. He deployed for eight months to Fallujah, Iraq in 2006 as a combat correspondent assigned to 1st Marine Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. His last assignment before leaving the Marine Corps was as the Staff Non-commissioned Officer in Charge of MarinesT at Defense Media Activity, Fort Meade. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps at the rank of Staff Sergeant in August 2012.
Mrs. Lisa I. Slappy is an instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department teaching a variety of journalism, media relations, speech, communication planning and community relations courses. She retired from the U.S. Army after 23 years of service and has over 25 years of public affairs experience. During the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom she was hand-selected to work in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, where she developed talking points for senior Department of Defense officials. Before retiring from the U.S. Army, Master Sergeant Slappy was the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Public Affairs Department, Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Md. Additionally, she works as a faculty member at Anne Arundel Community College charged with teaching undergraduate courses in Public Speaking, English and Interpersonal Communication. She has a Master's degree in Public Relations and a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College. She also has a Master's degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. She has a Bachelor's degree in Communication, from UMUC and an Associate's degree in Business Administration from the University of Alaska. Her military courses of study include the Instructor Training Course, the Facilitator Training Course, the Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Training Course, the Combat Developer's Course, the Newspaper Editor's Course, the Basic Journalist Course, the Administrative Course and numerous other military courses.
Mr. Jon Spiers is a contract instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department at the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Md. Jon is a retired Navy lieutenant commander with 24 years of service, which began with a work as an enlisted cryptologist and included service as a surface warfare officer. He finished his military career as a Public Affairs Officer, serving with the Chief of Naval Personnel, Chief of Information, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command. He earned a bachelor of science degree in Mathematics from The Ohio State University, master of arts in Education from Trident University International, and a master of science in Mathematics Education from Towson University. He is an adjunct faculty member with Anne Arundel Community College and teaches mathematics.
Chief Mass Communication Specialist Lori Steenstra is a Maine native and currently assigned to the Public Affairs Leadership Department. A 22-year Navy veteran, she has completed various assignments as photographer/photojournalist, ALPO, QA &QC Supervisor, and as an public affairs officer while serving on multiple ships - USS Frank Cable (AS 40), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and most recently USS IWO JIMA (LHD-7). In addition, she has completed several shore assignments including the Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Information School, and America Forces – Vicenza; serving as photographer, photojournalism pnstructor, station manager, and most recently as a public affairs officer, before returning for her present assignment here at the Defense Information School. She holds a B. S. in Education and an A. S. in Management from the University of Maine. She has also earned her Master Training Specialist qualification, Enlisted Surface Warfare Qualification and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Qualification insignias.
Jim Thompson is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and began his Army career at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he completed Basic Training in June 1989. He graduated the Basic Journalism Course at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, in October 1989. Over the next 20 years he served in a variety of assignments, including service as a public affairs specialist with the 8th Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment during Operations Desert Shield and Storm; the non-commissioned officer in charge of the command information program for Fort Irwin and the National Training Center; the Public Affairs Officer for 7th Signal Brigade in Mannheim, Germany; a training developer for the Army Public Affairs Center,Fort Meade, Maryland; and as the Academic Director for the Public Affairs Leadership Department at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Maryland. He retired in 2009, and now serves as a contracted instructor for the Public Affairs Leadership Department.
Mr. Sebastian Warren is a Public Affairs Qualification Course instructor. He has 30 years of public affairs experience serving with U.S. Coast Guard and working for the Bureau of National Affairs, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, NASA Earth Science Division, U.S. Army Personnel Assessment and Integration Division, U.S. Army Environmental Command, U.S. Army Communication-Electronics Command. Mr. Warren served in several capacities as a researcher, journalist, public information officer and strategic communication planner. He has experience in military, medical, small business, government and nonprofit communication strategies.
Major Travis Dettmer, a Minnesota native, began his military career as a Quartermaster Officer and later Logistics before transitioning to Public Affairs in 2008. Prior to joining the DINFOS faculty he served in Camp Stanley, Korea; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Fort Knox, Ky. During this time Maj. Dettmer also completed two combat tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. He holds degrees from the United States Military Academy and Georgetown University.
Mr. Gary Arasin is a contract instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department at the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Md. Gary is a retired Air Force officer with 26 years of service, which began as munitions maintenance specialist before cross-training into public affairs. Commissioned in 2001, he served in a wide spectrum of assignments prior to his final assignment as the active duty officer assigned to National Guard Bureau public affairs. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from University of Pittsburgh and master of science management in public relations from University of Maryland, University College