WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) announced its Summer 2023 class of visiting fellows.

“IWF’s growing fellowship program has become a great asset to our organization as we continue to develop and advocate for policies that aren’t just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being,” said IWF Vice President for Policy Hadley Heath Manning. “Through our fellowship program, we elevate the voices of a diverse group of women experts, who in turn help us reach new audiences and achieve new victories for all women. This new cohort of visiting fellows will strengthen our work in areas including women’s rights, health care, homelessness, and education. We could not be more excited to welcome them to the IWF team.” 

IWF’s new class features women from a variety of backgrounds, including those who have worked in health care, protested the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, uncovered pre-eminent cultural and political stories, led federal and state campaigns, and founded key grassroots and nonprofit movements. 

Learn more about these women below:

Crystal Bayat is an Afghan social activist and human rights advocate known for her protests against the Taliban takeover. She was selected as one of the BBC 100 women 2021 all around the world and was awarded a full-ride scholarship for Masters of Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Crystal founded Crystal Bayat Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian foundation dedicated to protecting women’s rights in Afghanistan and the world. She continues her fight against the Taliban for a free Afghanistan and to ensure women’s rights in Afghanistan. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow. 

Caroline Downey is an education reporter at National Review. She is a former Publius Fellow with the Claremont Institute and an alumna of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation, which she represented in the 2019 televised debate against interns from the Cato Institute. Caroline is editor in chief of The Conservateur, a startup digital fashion and lifestyle magazine for women. Previously, she was a portfolio analyst at the Bank of New York Mellon. She holds degrees in Economics and Political Science from Boston College. Caroline joins IWF’s Education Freedom Center as a visiting fellow. 

Lyndsey Fifield has a broad range of experience in campaign and policy-focused communications and digital operations after more than a decade in Washington, D.C., spanning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Action Network, The Heritage Foundation, and Nikki Haley for President. She has led over 500 hours of marketing and brand building training sessions with policy focused figures and organization leads, focused on evading big tech censorship, building strong, trusted brands, and developing highly-engaged audiences. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow.

Marion Mass has worked as a pediatrician in suburban Philadelphia for 24 years, serving in the hospital, newborn unit, emergency room, primary care, and urgent care settings. Marion is the co-founder of the non-partisan Practicing Physicians Of America and a leader in the Free2care coalition, which consists of 8 million members, including 70,000 physicians. She is the first author of the Free2Care position paper on reducing cost and waste in American health care, and has organized and led two bipartisan symposiums at the Library of Congress regarding lowering healthcare cost and improving access, advising multiple lawmakers on how to do the same. Marion’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Real Clear Health, The Hill, the New York Post, and more. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow.

Elizabeth Grace Matthew is a freelance writer, an America’s Future Foundation Writing Fellowship Alumna, and a Young Voices Contributor. She writes about education, culture, politics, and religion. Her work has appeared in America Magazine, The Hill, Deseret News, Patheos, Law and Liberty, RealClearBooks&Culture, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and FemCatholic. Her broadcast media appearances include The Federalist Radio Hour, Good Morning Liberty, The Chris Spangle Show, and #TheFinal5. Elizabeth Grace holds a bachelor’s in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in English from Penn State, and a doctorate in Education from St. Joseph’s University. For over a decade, she worked in higher education as a professor and administrator. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow.

Mary Margaret Olohan is a senior reporter at The Daily Signal where she covers the pre-eminent cultural and political stories of the moment, including the protection of children’s innocence, the struggles of biological women to maintain the integrity of their sports and spaces, #METOO allegations against powerful politicians, the battle over abortion and the protection of the unborn, and the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on children, service members, businesses, and the livelihoods of every-day Americans. She has previously written for both The Daily Wire and The Daily Caller News Foundation, where she got her start in 2019 covering social issues and politics. She is a graduate of The Catholic University of America and proud to be the oldest daughter in an Irish Catholic family of eleven children. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow.

Michele Steeb is a senior fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and oversees the Foundation’s initiative to transform United States’ and Texas’ homelessness policy. She has spent her career in causes for the public good beginning with leadership roles in both federal and state senate campaigns. She served four years as the Vice President of Political Affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce and prior to that, founded two technology-focused companies. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow. 

Cheryl Todd is the owner of AZFirearmsAuctions.com, Pot Of Gold Estate Auctions, Executive Producer & Co-Host of Gun Freedom Radio and founder of the grassroots movement Polka Dots Are My Camo. Cheryl has 37 years of experience in business and holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, which allows her to bring a unique voice to business and the firearms industry. A wife of 37 years, mother, and grandmother, Cheryl speaks to the value of our 2nd Amendment Rights through the lens of self-protection and instilling those values in future generations. Hosting Gun Freedom Radio is an extension of her desire to educate, engage, and inform and make gun-related topics accessible and easy to understand by separating the facts from the hype. She joins IWF as a visiting fellow. 



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.