Kurt Sampsel

Kurt Sampsel is Senior Program Manager for Disinformation and Community Engagement at PEN America. In this role, he supports community efforts to source and share information that’s trustworthy, nonpartisan, and actionable. Before joining PEN, he was a senior program manager at Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), where he led work to affirm and recognize outstanding public service by local election officials across the country. In his eight years with CTCL, he also managed projects related to election websites, cybersecurity training, and helping election departments effectively inform voters and defend against disinformation. Previously, Kurt developed his understanding of our civic and information ecosystems as a journalist and researcher. At Carnegie Mellon University, he authored a dissertation focused on debates over media content and free speech, tracing the role of activists and advocacy groups in the policymaking process of the Federal Communications Commission. During his graduate programs, he spent a decade teaching at the college level as an instructor of writing, literature, and media courses at Carnegie Mellon and Ohio University. Kurt holds a Ph.D. in the field of Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University.