Kristy Nyp, CJE, Manhattan High School
Student Leadership Instructor
Nyp advises yearbook, video production, newspaper and online news for Manhattan High School. Her publications have won multiple All-Kansas and All-American awards in her eight years since at MHS. At the 2018 JEA/NSPA National Fall Conference The Mentor, MHS’s weekly newspaper, earned ninth place in the Best In Show contest. Nyp is the current president of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. Before becoming an adviser in 2005, she spent 15 years working in the media industry. Her hobbies are running, proofreading everything she reads (especially social media posts and public signs) and consuming stories in the form of books, movies, articles, videos and any other form they come in.
Cary Conover, Andover High School
Cary Conover teaches photojournalism, broadcast, digital media design and yearbook classes at Andover High School, where he has been since 2011. Before that, Cary spent ten years in New York City working as a freelance photographer. He shot for The New York Times and The Village Voice (among many other publications) before returning to Kansas to teach full time. In 2021 Cary earned his MFA in photography through Savannah College of Art and Design, and had a large exhibition of photographs on display at CityArts Gallery in downtown Wichita. He continues to do freelance photography in the Wichita area, and works to stay active with his studio art practice. A 1996 graduate of K-State, Cary has taught at the Flint Hills Publications Workshop nearly every summer since 1998.
Brendan Praeger, Wabaunsee High School
Graphic Design Instructor
Brendan Praeger has advised the weekly newspaper and podcast at Wabaunsee High School for more than a decade. He previously advised at Manhattan High School. He also serves as a KSPA board member and works as a contributing writer for the Manhattan Mercury.
Nick Homburg, Kansas State University
Drone Photography Instructor
Hello, my name is Nick Homburg,
I am originally from Idaho where I spent 30 plus years working as a documentary photographer, film maker, and entrepreneur. I have four daughters, and seven grandchildren; six of which are girls, the one grandson of course is spoiled rotten.
I currently work as a professor of practice for the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kansas State University. At K-State I teach photography, video and audio production, and drone journalism. It has been said I get to play with all the cool toys, and I must say they are right. As fun as photography, video and audio are, the drones take all of this to new heights.
Emily McMillan, Kansas State Athletics
Social Media Essentials Instructor
Emily McMillan is the Director of Creative Services – Social Media at K-State Athletics. McMillan’s primary responsibilities include assisting with storytelling, brand building, and fan engagement through K-State’s digital and print platforms. She has seen growth in followers and engagement across K-State’s 34 social accounts, garnering billions of impressions this season. McMillan brings 10 years of experience to Manhattan following time with the Big 12 Conference, Missouri State, and the University of Evansville. McMillan earned numerous awards for her designs and publications from CSC (College Sports Communicators) and was named to CSC’s 30 Under 30 in 2022.
Joanna Chadwick, Derby High School
Writing and Reporting Instructor
Joanna Chadwick, who is in her seventh year as the journalism adviser at Derby High School in Derby, Kansas, spent 20 years working at the Wichita Eagle as a high school sportswriter. Chadwick was named the 2016 Oscar Stauffer award winner, which is given to the best high school sportswriter in Kansas by the Kansas State High School Activities Association. She has also won awards from the wrestling coaches association, tennis coaches association, athletic directors association, was recently named a Journalism Education Association Rising Star and interned at Sports Illustrated. Chadwick writes for VYPE magazine’s website, ksvype.com, and has written six stories as part of KSHSAA’s 50 for 50 coverage of Title IX’s 50th anniversary. She also wrote for KSHSAA’s book on the history of high school football in Kansas.
Andrew Smith, Kansas State University
Andrew Smith is the News Director of KKSU-TV and a journalism professor at Kansas State University. Smith came to KSU after a 25-year Emmy-Award winning career as a sports journalist around the country, including 16 years as Sports Director at WLUK-TV in Green Bay, WI, covering the Green Bay Packers beat with numerous pieces of special Packers programming. Smith also worked in Salt Lake City, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada on his journey as a sports journalist.
Barb Tholen, Lawrence High School
Advising Student Media Instructor
For 10 years, Barbara Tholen was a newspaper reporter, and she loves to share her experiences from her writing days with students. These days, she’s exactly where she wants to be: advising newspaper, yearbook and online publications at Lawrence High School. Her students have won or been Pacemaker finalists seven times in the past six years. Tholen is a JEA Rising Star and KSPA Sunflower Award recipient as well as a Kansas Master Teacher. She’s also the president-elect of KSPA.