Staff

Dennis Prager

President

Dennis Prager is a best-selling author and popular radio talk show host. One of America's respected and oft-quoted thinkers, he appears regularly on Fox News and CNN. A highly sought-after speaker, he has lectured all over the world including Europe, Asia, Israel and Australia. His NY Times best-selling books include Think a Second Time, Happiness is a Serious Problem, Still the Best Hope: Why American Values Must Triumph and his most recent, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.

Mr. Prager also writes a nationally syndicated weekly column that is published in newspapers across the country and on the Internet. His writings have also appeared in major national and international publications including, Commentary, National Review, The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Prager was a Fellow at Columbia University's School of International Affairs, where he did graduate work at the Middle East and Russian Institutes. He has taught Russian and Jewish history at Brooklyn College, and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Delegation to the Vienna Review Conference on the Helsinki Accords. He holds an honorary doctorate of law from Pepperdine University.

In 2011, Mr. Prager co-founded Prager University with Allen Estrin. Through the sophisticated use of digital media, Prager University articulates the Judeo-Christian values on which America is founded: free speech, free enterprise, a moral foreign policy, and the rational case for God's existence. The project serves as an effective counter to the Leftist indoctrination imposed by schools and universities. It does this via short, five-minute videos with clear, concise, fact-based presentations, featuring credible, and often well-known thinkers. These include Arthur Brooks, Walter Williams, George Will, Christina Hoff Sommers, Bret Stephens and many more.

In 2016 PragerU videos garnered over 225 million views.  60% of the PragerU audience is under 34 years old.    

Allen Estrin

Executive Director

Co-Founder of Prager University, Allen Estrin is also the Executive Producer of The Dennis Prager Show. He has had a varied career in film, television and academia. His writing credits include multiple episodes of Emmy-Award winning TV Shows such as "The Practice," "Boston Public" and "Touched by an Angel." In addition, he has written film history (The Hollywood Professionals, Volume 6: Capra, Cukor and Brown, AS Barnes), educational and corporate videos, and directed the highly-praised documentary, "Israel in a Time of Terror," 2002. His first novel, Heaven's Witness (2004) was named one of the best mysteries of the year by The Weekly Standard. He also teaches screenwriting at the American Film Institute.

Marissa Streit

Chief Executive Officer

A Los Angeles native, Marissa moved to Israel at a young age, where she completed her primary education and served in military intelligence unit 8200 of the Israeli Defense Force. She returned to Los Angeles to earn her bachelor's degree in Business and Economics from UCLA, and her master’s degree in Education and Non-Profit Management from American Jewish University. Over the next decade, she gained valuable experience both as an educator, a school administrator, and the director of a philanthropic institute.

An innovative leader in the conservative movement, Marissa joined PragerU in 2011. Under her dynamic leadership, PragerU has grown quickly into one of the most respected, go-to resources for conservative ideas. Her experience in business, education, social media, and the non-profit sector has enabled PragerU to more than double its audience each year, making it the fastest growing conservative organization in the world.

Craig Strazzeri

Chief Marketing Officer

Craig earned both his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and his master’s degree in Public Policy from California State University Northridge. With over seven years of nonprofit management experience, he has honed his expertise in digital marketing, social media and online fundraising. He joined PragerU in 2015 to lead the organization’s branding, marketing and overall growth efforts. Leading a talented digital marketing team, Craig has more than doubled the size of PragerU’s online audience in only a few short years.  Working closely with PragerU’s CEO, he has made PragerU the go-to source for conservative ideas.

Layne Thrasher

Chief Financial Officer

Layne comes to PragerU with 20 years of experience in Finance, HR and Strategy roles with a strong focus on scaling firms. His responsibilities includes overseeing the Accounting/Finance functions of the organization, including ensuring GAAP compliance with annual audit/tax needs, banking/treasury and insurance functions, and managing the human resources function as PragerU continues to grow. His diverse background includes time spent at venture-funded technology startups, including most recently 4-years as VP, Finance & Operations at Harvey/HomeHero, which raised $23M in investor funds. Prior to that, Layne was deeply involved in the media/advertising world, including 6-years at Sensis Agency, a 9-time Inc. 5000 firm where he served as VP, Finance/Administration.

Bub Kuns

Chief Content Officer

Bub is a writer, producer, performer, and creative director with over 3 decades of experience in the creative video industry. Prior to joining PragerU, he was Executive Creative Officer at VeracityColab, a video agency in Southern California, and worked on all types of video content for outstanding brands like, Intuit, simplehuman, Adobe, AT&T, Epson, experian, box, ebay, and many others. He’s passionate about PragerU’s mission because truth, hope, and reason matter.

Mike Lavery

Vice President of Marketing

Mike Lavery comes to PragerU after serving more than 15 years in both print and digital media. He is an experienced leader in the rapidly expanding digital sphere where his areas of expertise include marketing, publicity, SEO, social media and content creation. During his time as Director of Content at an Inc.500 company, Mike's direction and creative input helped grow online brands such as Survival Life, Bill of Rights, Absolute Rights and Gun Carrier into industry leaders. Excelling in fact-based reporting of important issues and topics related to political science, economics and constitutional rights, Mike is dedicated to giving voice to conservative ideals through online education and social media channels, something he is relishing doing at PragerU!

Laurie Dorr

Director of Donor Relations

Laurie Dorr started as a call screener for the Dennis Prager Show which led to volunteering with Prager University. Her many talents are utilized in various ways to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes at Prager University. If you've been to one of Dennis Prager's appearances in Los Angeles, you've probably seen her at the Information table, chatting with guests and making sure they find what they need. Laurie has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Cerritos College. She is married and has two grown children (both of whom were home-schooled) and a baby grandson. When not involved in all things Prager University she can be found indulging her love of learning, looking through the lens of a camera, or singing.

David Prager

Director of Development

Prior to entering the workforce, David Prager studied International Affairs and History at The George Washington University and Yeshiva University.

Concurrent with his position as Director of Development for Prager University, he is also VP of Business Development for GrowItSmart, a lead generation and recruiting firm he co-founded in 2009 in New York after working on Wall Street with Morgan Stanley.

During college, David co-Founded Friday Night Lights, a Jewish outreach program at the George Washington University. During and after his college years, he has been involved - in both a professional and volunteer capacity - in fundraising for both established and newer non-profit organizations.

Derek Rowden

Regional Development Director, Texas

As the Regional Development Director in Texas, Derek is helping to grow the base of support in Texas which he believes will lead the charge for advancing the PragerU mission.

Prior to joining PragerU, Derek was a senior account executive for Townhall Media and has also served on church staffs in a pastoral capacity with a special focus on the Millennial generation. He has a statistics degree from The University of Texas at Dallas as well as a theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Derek and his wife Natasha live in Watauga, Texas where they are raising 3 boys. Natasha homeschools the boys, and the family is actively involved in youth sports and in their church.

John Cataldo

Development Coordinator

John is the Development Coordinator at PragerU. He focuses mainly on fundraising, donor relations, and event coordination. Prior to PragerU, John studied political science at Boston College before transfering to the American University of Paris where he received a degree in International Comparative Politics. While in France, John interned for former President Nicolas Sarkozy, and worked alongside him during the 2016 French Primary Elections. In addition, John also founded Young Conservatives Abroad in an effort to provide conservatives students a platform for their ideas. After living several years abroad, John came to fully appreciate what an exceptional country the United States is, and what a privilege it is to be an American. It is for this reason John is dedicated to promoting both conservative and American values.

Lucy Werner

Director of Donor Clubs

As Director of Donor Clubs for PragerU, Lucy manages donor relations and coordinates the Benefactors Club and the Micah Club. A native of Los Angeles, Lucy spent her college years in New York City, earning double bachelor's degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She then earned her Master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida with a focus on English for Speakers of Other Languages ('ESOL'). As the mother of three, Lucy's passion for PragerU stems from her desire to raise children with an understanding of America's unique place in human history.

Devon Mirsky

PragerForce National Director

Devon Mirsky was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned her Master's Degree in Political Science from California State University, Northridge. Before joining PragerU, Devon got her start in politics working for Meg Whitman's 2010 gubernatorial campaign and Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. She then moved into the world of grassroots activism on college campuses, working first for the Leadership Institute in Utah and Idaho, and then joining Turning Point USA as California Field Director and Pacific West Regional Director.

Chris Powell

Vice President of Production

After graduating from Soundmasters Recording Institute, Chris has worked in post production for the television and film industries for 20 years. Specializing in all aspects of post audio production, he has worked on over 500 episodes of television, and over a dozen major motion pictures.

Through working in many different studios, Chris has become adept at trouble shooting technical issues, both hardware and software related. Since working on Prager U videos from it's inception, he now also handles the uploading and maintenance of content to the web.

Aryeh Leifert

Communications

Aryeh learned the fine art of proofreading from his late father, Robert Leifert, a true connoisseur of typos and grammatical mistakes. A graduate of Brandeis University, Aryeh lives in Jerusalem, Israel where he works as a licensed tour guide -- www.walkingisrael.com. He is also the creator of Virtual Israel Touring, a unique way for students of all ages to visit Biblical sites around Israel without leaving their classroom or home -- www.walkingisrael.com/virtual.html

Rachel Ochoa

Communications Coordinator

Rachel was born and raised in Southern California (with the exception of a brief stay in New Hampshire) and earned a Bachelor's in English from CSUF (summa cum laude).  As one who was homeschooled herself, she has a passion for serving the homeschool community.  She has taught homeschoolers in a wide range of subjects including English, Math and the arts as well as SAT preparation.

Outside of PragerU she enjoys singing, reading, and doing all things creative.

Will Witt

Social Media Influencer

Will Witt, a Colorado native, attended the University of Colorado Boulder for two years before he dropped out, a decision he made based on the relentless indoctrination the universities in America constantly push. Before working for PragerU, he worked with other nonprofits to help spread the values of freedom and conservatism across America. Will Witt now creates online content for PragerU and helps inspire young people worldwide to fight for the values they believe in.

Dan Banas

Social Media Manager

As Social Media Manager at PragerU, Dan is responsible for all of PragerU’s social media operations, including on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Daily duties of the Social Media Manager include creating content, monitoring analytics, maximizing reach and engagement on each platform, and finding new social media opportunities for PragerU. The Social Media Manager works closely with the Director of Communications and CMO to ensure that PragerU’s social media operations are advancing PragerU’s larger digital content and marketing goals.

Tyler Goldstein

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Tyler is originally from Arizona. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BS in Finance and quickly moved out to California to start a career in marketing. Before joining the team at PragerU, Tyler gained experience working on the marketing operations of many different types of organizations, including small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Tyler now works on digital marketing for PragerU, helping to spread conservative ideas through our concise, fact-based, and reasonable videos.

Alexander Jimenez

Visual Designer

Alex Jimenez joined PragerU in 2017 as the Head Visual Designer.

He grew up in Southern California, attending both UCLA and FIDM. Prior to joining PragerU he worked as an independent designer, servicing clients in Orange County and Los Angeles. He also worked in advertising for major movie studios, including campaigns for Disney Pixar and DreamWorks. According to an anonymous source, Finding Dory's commercial success was due entirely to his expert file preparation. Such reports are yet to be verified.

A proud member of Theta Chi Fraternity and advocate of individual liberty, Alex also volunteers as California's Digital Marketing Coordinator for Article V Convention of States and co-produces a weekly webcast called True American. His many activities are made possible by the world’s biggest coffee addiction.

Alex’s chief objectives at PragerU are to procure a functioning coffee maker, encourage tie-wearing, and create beautiful, engaging graphics that promote ‘cool conservatism’ – in no particular order.

Michael Franke

Graphic Designer

Michael Franke joined the PragerU team after graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Marketing and Graphic Design. Previously, he worked for the top nightlife promoter in San Diego as a photographer and led the media team at a major local church. Despite the fact that he attended a liberal college and worked in the predominantly far left music industry, he grew in his conservative beliefs. Now Michael works to communicate those beliefs to help others.

Megan McDonald

Graphic Designer

Born and raised in Southern California, Megan graduated from California State University, Channel Islands with a degree in Digital Media. She began her career designing and making videos for the Marketing Department at her university, as well as a video internship at NBC.

Megan has been a fan of Dennis Prager for since childhood, so it’s no surprise she is creating digital content for PragerU.

Karina Lopez

Production Assistant

Karina first became involved with PragerU as a member of their student ambassador program, PragerFORCE, in 2016. Through her involvement with the organization, she landed a summer internship with PragerU in 2017 and was hired as a part-time Production Assistant at the end of that summer.

In addition to her work with PragerU, Karina is a Political Science major at Santa Monica College. She encourages all students to get involved with this incredible organization by texting PragerFORCE to 64600!