SRIYA CHATTOPADHYAY, EDITOR
Sriya Chattopadhyay is the Editor of Fostering Families Today. A seasoned journalist, she has worked in media organizations across three continents – in India, the U.K., and the United States. In a career spanning over two decades, she has written more than 2,000 news and feature articles on a wide range of beats including higher education, business, healthcare, lifestyle, and civic issues. Originally from India, Sriya started her career in early 2000 when she joined The Times of India, the world’s largest selling English language newspaper, as a feature writer and copy editor. Over the next several years, she worked with different newspapers and magazines, steadily rising up the editorial ladder. This included stints as Deputy Editor with the U.S.-based Entrepreneur magazine’s Indian edition, and as Editor of the Dubai-headquartered Hotelier magazine. She has also worked in the B2B sector when she headed India editorial operations for Garavi Gujarat, a part of the Asian Media Group, Britain’s largest Asian publishing house.
Sriya has a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in Economics and Political Science. She completed her master’s degree in Media & Communication from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, when she took a short break from journalism to join grad school. Her academic work lies at the intersection of marginalization, diversity, and the role of mass communication. Her thesis uses a feminist lens to examine the role of colorism in matrimonial liaisons on discrete digital spaces. She has also published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. She is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC) as well as American Association of University Women (AAUW).
Sriya has taught undergraduate classes in communication studies for a number of years, first as a guest faculty in India, and later as an adjunct faculty at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
Always keen to help people, especially children, Sriya has worked as a volunteer librarian for three years at Crim Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ohio. She has also served at a day care center in Bowling Green, apart from spending four years as a volunteer with a non-profit organization (Global Connections) that helped international college students adjust to life in the U.S.
Sriya lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is an avid traveler and has been to six of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ – climbing the Great Wall of China, marveling at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and standing inside the Colosseum in Rome, among others.
VALARIE EDWARDS, ASSISTANT EDITOR
Valarie Edwards is the Assistant Editor for Fostering Families Today. Despite years of traveling around the world, Valarie still proudly calls the Bronx her hometown. She and her two sisters spent nearly a dozen years in foster care. After reunification, she eventually ended up in juvenile detention after running away from home. Inspired by her daughter’s volunteerism, Valarie is a volunteer CASA and believes strongly in mentoring youth in care. An alum of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Valarie has worked in print and broadcast. She began her broadcast career hosting Weekend Edition for the NPR affiliate in Santa Rosa, California, and later moved to Atlanta where she covered President Obama’s first election as well as state and national politics. Nominated for an Emmy and the recipient of numerous national and local awards, Valarie and her family now live in the Phoenix metro area.
KIM HANSEL, DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABILITY
Kim Phagan-Hansel is director of sustainability for Fostering Media Connections and was the editor of Fostering Families Today for 22 years. She is also the editor of two child welfare-related books, The Foster Parenting Toolbox and The Kinship Parenting Toolbox. She started her career as the special sections editor for the Longmont Daily Times-Call in Colorado and has been a freelance writer for the Wyoming Business Report and the Casper Star Tribune.
In 2014 she was honored with an Angels in Adoption award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. The same year, FFT received an Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Kim has a bachelor’s degree in English/Journalism from Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. Today she resides in Wyoming with her husband and two children. When not writing, editing and focusing on the important work of foster parents, she’s busy chauffeuring kids to after school activities and working with teens as a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader. She appreciates a good book, time with friends and family, and beautiful days spent in the mountains.
DEBORAH D. DENZEL, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Deborah D. Denzel is the Business Development Manager of Fostering Media Connections. She manages subscriptions and sponsorships for Fostering Families Today and The Imprint.
Deborah spent thirteen years in the Connecticut foster care system and aged out after graduating with her B.A. in Psychology from Bennett College. Deborah has her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and has dedicated her career to improving the child welfare system. She’s conducted numerous research studies on foster care at the University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan and Think of Us. Deborah also has direct service experience as a state foster care worker, foster parent recruiter and trainer and program manager.
Deborah currently lives in Los Angeles and in her spare time enjoys Crossfit, hiking, going on adventures and traveling. Before joining FMC, she completed her goal of visiting all 50 states by her 30th birthday.
SARAH ST. GELAIS, COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Sarah St. Gelais is the Florida-based Communications and Engagement Manager for Fostering Media Connections. She spent several years working directly with youth in foster care, and has a background in non-profit communications and marketing. Sarah holds a degree in Psychology from Stetson University.
JOHN KELLY, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
John Kelly is co-executive director overseeing editorial and fund development for FMC, Fostering Families Today’s parent company.
John is the founding editor of The Imprint, FMC’s daily news website covering the fields of child welfare, juvenile justice and other youth-related services. He has been reporting and editing coverage of youth services since 2001, and is passionate about connecting these fields to quality, independent journalism.
John joined FMC in 2013, and oversees development and planning of the website’s coverage. He also writes Youth Services Insider, a regular column that focuses on national issues and federal policy. He began his journalism career at Youth Today, where he started as an intern and over the course of ten years became managing editor.
John lives in Detroit with his wife Sarah, with whom he also runs a small trivia-writing business. He enjoys crosswords, live music and bicycling.
CHRISTIE RENICK, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Christie Renick (she/her/hers) is co-executive director overseeing finance and operations for FMC.
Christie’s background is in nonprofit management, marketing, writing and communications. She holds an MPA from the University of Southern California and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Idaho. She completed her undergraduate studies in sociology and writing at Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college located on the shore of Lake Superior.
Christie became interested in child welfare, and particularly in the experiences of transition-age youth in foster care, because of her mother’s experience as a foster youth aging out of the system in the 1970s. Christie joined the FMC team in 2013, serving as a reporter, then managing editor and later vice president overseeing FMC’s operations.