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FOIAFest to feature graduate who helped break Nassar sexual abuse story

  • Marisa Kwiatkowski

Posted on November 04, 2019

The second annual FOIAFest will feature Grand Valley graduate Marisa Kwiatkowski, who helped break the sports physician Larry Nassar sexual abuse story.

The November 5 event is part of Grand Valley's Big Data Month and will be held at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. It is being held in conjunction with the Big Data Ignite conference.

The FOIAFest portion, which runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., is free and open to the public. Organizer Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, assistant professor of multimedia journalism, said the program is crafted to help all members of the public, not just journalists, learn about public records and transparency.

Kwiatkowski, ’05, was part of an Indianapolis Star team that broke the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse story about Nassar, who is now in prison. Kwiatkowski will lead a session at 1:30 p.m. on effectively searching for public records.

Other sessions include discussion about the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

FOIAFest will also feature an all-day hackathon in which participants will find data (some not easily accessible) to help highlight solutions for universal access to clean drinking water. The effort ties into Grand Valley's Making Waves Initiative.

To obtain a ticket to FOIAFest, visit https://bigdataignite.org/register/. Click the link "Enter promo code" at the top of the list of ticket types. Enter the promo code " BDI2019FFWDH " and click the link "Apply." Then select ticket quantity "1" and click "Checkout."