Public Knowledge Welcomes New Development Director, Policy Staff To Bolster Broadband Expertise and Advocacy Efforts

Public Knowledge moves to expand both development opportunities and broadband policy expertise.

Public Knowledge is pleased to announce several additions to our staff to enhance the organization’s development opportunities and expand our broadband expertise.

First, Public Knowledge welcomes Stephen Bennett, Director of Development and External Affairs, to the team. Mr. Bennett will champion the organization’s issues with potential donors and lead fundraising and engagement work. Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Mr. Bennett served as a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Institute for Palestine Studies-USA. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and his master’s degree from Illinois State University, where he won the Cavanagh Award for Best Thesis in Global History.

Public Knowledge also welcomes Alisa Valentin, Broadband Policy Director, to the team. Dr. Valentin will focus on ensuring all consumers have access to affordable, reliable, and open broadband. Prior to joining Public Knowledge, she served as the Senior Director of Technology and Telecommunications Policy at the National Urban League and previously worked as the Special Advisor to Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. Dr. Valentin received her Ph.D. in Communications from Howard University, her M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, and her B.S. in Telecommunications from the University of Florida.

Additionally, Public Knowledge welcomes Nat Purser, Government Affairs Policy Advocate, and Lauren Harriman, Fellow, to the team to strengthen our technology policy advocacy efforts across multiple issues as well as broadband policy.

Ms. Purser will focus on broadband affordability, net neutrality, and platform accountability. Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Ms. Purser served as a Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Fellow on Capitol Hill. She previously worked on competition, content moderation, and net neutrality policy at Yelp and in the Michigan legislature. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Georgia.

Ms. Harriman joins Public Knowledge as a Fellow in the PKTrains program. She will provide general advocacy support with an emphasis on broadband policy. She also serves as a Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Communications and Technology Law Clinic at Georgetown Law. Ms. Harriman is admitted to practice law in California, in the District of Columbia, and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional. She received her B.S. from Santa Clara University in engineering physics and earned her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law with a certificate in Intellectual Property and Technology Law.

The following may be attributed to Public Knowledge President and CEO Chris Lewis:

“The addition of Stephen Bennett to Public Knowledge is an important step forward for our organization’s growth and maturation. Stephen is an experienced nonprofit leader who will serve as our first Director of Development and External Affairs. As the world of tech, telecommunications, and internet policy continues to grow with new innovations, Public Knowledge must continue to grow to address the comprehensive issues and overlapping public interest values that innovation demands. Stephen will work to ensure Public Knowledge continues to have the resources to bring its expert policy analysis to protect all our rights in the digital age.

“We are excited to welcome Alisa Valentin back to Public Knowledge. An alumni of our PKTrains program, Alisa has carved out her own reputation as an expert policy leader over the last five years at the FCC and the National Urban League. She brings experiences as an academic, a trusted voice among policymakers, and a bold advocate for those who are left out from the benefits and power of the digital era. Alisa will now take a leadership role in Public Knowledge’s broadband policy agenda at a time when policymakers will determine if there will be long-term policies and protections to ensure all Americans are connected to an affordable, reliable, and open internet.

“We’re also excited to add Nat Purser to our Government Affairs team. Nat brings advocacy experience from outside government, and political knowledge and savvy from her time as a Fellow on Capitol Hill and working with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. I am confident that she will boost our relationships among policymakers and connect both Public Knowledge’s analysis and allied public interest voices before congressional offices.

“Finally, we are proud to continue the PKTrains program by welcoming Lauren Harriman as Fellow. Lauren will work as a Fellow on our staff, learning from our policy experts and advocates and bolstering our depth of our policy work as she completes her LL.M. program at Georgetown University Law Center. Her passion for tech policy and experience as a Clinic Teaching Fellow give her a great foundation for a career in the public interest sector. Public Knowledge remains committed to growing a more diverse field of policy experts and advocates through our PKTrains program, which has introduced more than 20 successful policy leaders into all areas of the field since 2013.”

You may view our staff page for more information on all new hires.

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at or 405-249-9435.