Hosts

Hillary Howard

Host Hillary Howard

Hillary Howard is an award-winning Radio and TV reporter who has worked in Washington for more than 20 years.

She has a Journalism degree from New York University, and has won several Emmys for writing, reporting and weathercasting, as well as Regional Murrow, SPJ and AP awards at WTOP. A story on a local environmental crisis earned her a finalist spot in the NY Film and TV festivals. She was also honored with a national Imagen Award for a story impacting the Hispanic community.

Hillary became the permanent host of the Washington D.C. edition of It's Academic in September, 2011, following the retirement of long-time quizmaster Mac McGarry. Her warmth, intellectual curiosity, and interest in young people made her an immediate hit with teachers, students and viewers.

In addition to her work in media communications, Hillary does volunteer work with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation -- an organization that provides support for the families of Firefighters killed in the line of duty.

She enjoys travel and athletics, and has rafted West Virginia’s New River, the Grand Canyon, Utah’s Green River and the Tatshenshini in SE Alaska.

Hillary, her husband and son live in Northern Virginia.

Dave Zahren

Host Dave Zahren

Dave Zahren is now in his 8th season as host of Baltimore's version of It's Academic, airing on WJZ-TV.

In addition to hosting It's Academic, Dave Zahren is the Senior Television Instructional Specialist with the Prince George's County, Maryland Public Schools' Office of Television Resources. Over the past twenty-five years, he has written, produced, and hosted award-winning science and public affairs programs including "Give Science a Hand"; "Science Bowl", and “Under the Microscope.”

Dave is a cum laude graduate with a B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh and has an M.A. degree in school administration and human relations from George Washington University. He spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, and in 1985, was selected as Maryland's Teacher in Space candidate. He was one of 100 teachers chosen from the 40,000 applicants nationwide to vie for a flight aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

Dave has received a number of awards, including the CINE Golden Eagle, for his work as a science teacher, a television host and producer, and a space educator. He continues to produce and host public television programs with the Office of Television and Web Resources in Prince George's County. In addition, he is in his 21st year as a weather forecaster at WJLA-ABC 7/News Channel 8, the ABC affiliate in Washington, DC.

Quizmaster Emeritus

Host Mac McGarry

Mac McGarry

Mac McGarry joined NBC as a staff announcer in 1950. Some of his first assignments included announcing the start of the Korean War and introducing President Truman from the White House. He has also hosted numerous talk shows over the years, including "In Our Town," the first weekly program in color.

As host of Washington’s It's Academic, Mac has challenged more than 20,000 contestants and asked more than 200,000 questions. He is known for his humor, wide-ranging knowledge, meticulous pronunciation and delivery, and his readiness to break into song every now and then.

A charter member of the NATAS Silver Circle, Mac was inducted into this prestigious group in 1987. Other honors include an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievement and several Mass Media Awards from the American Association of University Women.

Mac's concern for the people and organizations of the Washington community is demonstrated by his active participation as emcee for many charity and industry events each year.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., Mac grew up in New York City and is a graduate of Fordham University. He and his wife, Babette, live in Potomac, Md. They have four children.