Rena Pederson, an award-winning journalist, is a faculty member at Southern Methodist University. She previously served as Director of Communications for the National Math and Science Initiative and as a Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications at the U.S. Department of State., serving as a senior speechwriter. She also received national recognition as Vice President and Editorial Page Editor at The Dallas Morning News for 16 years. Ms. Pederson was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board for nine years and is the author of three books; her book "What’s Next?" was featured on the Oprah Winfrey television show.
Rena Pederson, an award-winning journalist and author, teaches persuasive writing in the Southern Methodist University graduate program for liberal studies.
She previously served as Director of Communications for the non-profit National Math and Science Initiative, a major national education initiative.
Prior to that she was Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications for the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in Washington,D.C., serving as a senior speechwriter and communications manager. As part of those duties, Ms. Pederson served on the editorial board of the Counter Terrorism Communications Center at the Department of State, organized an international conference on attacks on the press, prepared Congressional testimony for Under Secretary Karen Hughes, and helped create the "America Is" book for distribution overseas.
She previously was Vice President and Editorial Page Editor at The Dallas Morning News, supervising the staff and content of the opinion pages for 16 years. Prior to joining The News, she was a reporter with United Press International (1970-72) and the Associated Press (1972). She also worked in the Washington bureau of the Houston Chronicle (1973).
Ms. Pederson graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin (Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism 1969). She also received a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York (Master of Science Degree in Journalism 1970).
In 1992, she was among the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing. Some of the other honors received by Ms. Pederson include the Dallas Press Club Katie Award for feature writing and editorial writing, the Austin Headliners "Star Reporter of the Year" Award and editorial writing award, the UPI Editors award for editorial writing and the APME award for editorial writing.
Ms. Pederson served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board for nine years was co-chair in 2003-2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, American Society of Newspaper Editors and is a past president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers (1996).
In Dallas, she has served on the board of The Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, SMU’s Tate Lecture Series, the Hart Global Leaders Forum, the Maguire Ethics Center, the Salvation Army, UpLift Charter Schools, and the Tower Center for Political Studies. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Dallas Assembly, and Highland Park United Methodist Church.
In 1987, Texas Monthly named Ms. Pederson as one of the most powerful women in Texas. She was also was recognized as a "pioneer for women" in Dallas in 1997 by the Women’s Issues Network, as a "Distinguished Alumni" honoree by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2002, and as one of the 100 women making a difference in the history of Dallas by the YWCA in 2008. She also has been honored by the Dallas Press Club as a "Living Legend" in 2012 and the Dallas Visiting Nurses Association "Legends and Leaders" honoree in 2013.
Ms. Pederson’s articles have been featured in national publications including The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, Ms., Glamour, The American Way, The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and Congressional Quarterly.
Her book "What’s Next?" was featured on the Oprah Winfrey television show in 2003. Ms. Pederson also was featured in the PBS Frontline documentary "She Says: Women in News" in 2001. Other television experience includes The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN, KERA-FM, and WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C.