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Government & Politics

Emmy-Winning Journalist to Lead the Women & Politics Institute

Betsy Fischer Martin

American University School of Public Affairs has announced the appointment of Betsy Fischer Martin (SPA/BA '92, SOC/MA '95), an Emmy-winning journalist and the former longtime executive producer of “Meet the Press” as new executive director of the Women & Politics Institute.  

“We were looking for an entrepreneurial leader who is passionate about the empowerment and representation of women, and Betsy combines all of those attributes,” said Vicky Wilkins, dean of American University School of Public Affairs. "We are thrilled to have her back in the SPA community in this important leadership role.”

Ms. Fischer Martin spent 23 years at NBC News, including 11 years as the executive producer of “Meet the Press,” the longest running network show on U.S. television. For almost two decades, she worked closely with the late Tim Russert, producing his headline-making interviews and serving as his producer for NBC’s coverage of special events and four presidential elections. In 2013, she became the managing editor for NBC News Political Programming. She also served as the Washington contributing editor for MORE magazine, interviewing female political leaders about policy issues, women’s empowerment, and leadership. 

During the 2016 election cycle, Fischer Martin was a contributor to Bloomberg Politics where she co-hosted “Masters in Politics,” a political podcast featuring interviews with candidates and key strategists from both parties. Most recently, Fischer Martin served as SPA’s executive-in-residence, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, sharing her expertise in political journalism.

 “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be at the epicenter of a university that recognizes the importance of women’s political leadership and is dedicated to furthering academic research and empowering students and young women to engage in the political system," said Fischer Martin. "The fact that American University played such a significant role in shaping my career in political journalism makes returning to lead WPI all the more meaningful to me."

Founded in 2000, WPI is one of the nation’s leading centers for women's political leadership training and scholarly research. The Institute offers graduate and undergraduate certificates in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership, provides a training program for young women seeking to become involved in the political arena, and facilitates research to understand the challenges that women face in politics in the U.S..