Knight CUNYJ Summer 2015 Fellows

Leah Johnson

Leah interned at the Wall Street Journal. She returned to Indiana University to complete her senior year. Leah has a double major — Journalism, and African American and African Diaspora Studies — with a certificate in political and civic engagement. Leah has reported on issues of race, class and identity as an intern for WPLN Public Radio, an NPR member station in Nashville, Tenn., and EL Gazette in London, England. She reports and produces for WFIU, an NPR member station in Bloomington, Ind. She is also a multimedia reporter for the Indiana Daily Student, president of the Indiana University chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and co-president of the award-winning online public radio station, American Student Radio. She hails from the one and only Indianapolis, Ind. Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Indiana University alum Raju Narisetti, who is senior vice president/strategy for News Corp.


Aaron Montes

Aaron interned at Voices of New York, where he reported on issues of importance to New York’s immigrant communities. He is completing his bachelor’s at the Univeristy of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He is a multimedia journalist who covers socio-economic and political stories on the U.S./Mexico border. He was city editor of, a bilingual online news magazine at UTEP, where he helped students develop stories and implement multimedia into story packages. As the senior correspondent, he also wrote on cultural and political issues. He worked as a photo editor and multimedia editor for The Prospector, UT El Paso’s daily newspaper. While at the paper, he covered a bomb threat, staying behind when everyone else was evacuating, to report for the next publication. He also covered and contributed multimedia of the demolition of a smokestack and city hall building. He participated in the Scripps Howard Semester in Washington program, Montes trained as a reporter under Charlie Ericksen for Hispanic Link News Service. He has reported political stories on immigration. He covered the State of the Union and congressional committee meetings at the Capitol. Aaron’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Frances Robles, correspondent for The New York Times.

Antoine Shelton

Antoine was a sports writer at his Knight CUNYJ internship with Sports World News, a component of  Claire Entertainment. He earned his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at Florida A&M University and graduated magna cum laude. During his time at FAMU, he was involved in many media outlets within the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. He served as a beat writer and correspondent for the campus newspaper, The Famuan. He also served as a multimedia journalist for the university’s TV station, News 20 at Five, where he was responsible for weekly package production. Antoine also was an intern for the university’s Sports Information Department. He learned the importance of collecting statistics, bookkeeping and player personal relationships during this internship. He also served as a videographer during the 2014 football season. He is a freelancer, producing online stories that focus on college basketball. He hails from Williamstown in southern New Jersey. He earned an Associate in Arts degree from Gloucester County College, where he majored in communications. Antoine’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Michael J. Feeney, multimedia journalist and president of New York Association of Black Journalists.

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly interned at NPR’s Latino USA. She is a young Diné (Navajo) woman who was born and raised in Manuelito, N.M. She is Haltsooi (Meadow People) born for Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House People). She is a senior majoring in mass communication and journalism with an emphasis on multimedia journalism and a minor in Native American studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M. Denetclaw served as an Intern-Reporter for the Navajo Times in 2012 where she covered community events in Window Rock, Arizona. She was also a First Year Fellow for Generation Justice (GJ), a nationally recognized multimedia projects that utilizes positive youth development to teach young people how to create media from a social justice frame. She was a multimedia intern for GJ, where she worked on videos, blogs and audio editing. She was also an intern and freelancer for National Native News (NNN), an international five-minute radio news program that covers Indian Country. As an intern and freelancer, she produced one-minute radio news pieces. Denetclaw serves as the Associated Students of UNM representative for the KUNM Radio Advisory Board and co-president of Generation Justice of UNM. After she graduates in May, she plans to pursue a master’s degree and then work for a Native media outlet as a reporter. Denetclaw’s ultimate goal is to write for Al Jazeera America and Mother Jones while continuing to contribute to NNN and GJ. Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Carmen Cusido, associate writer for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Latino Voices contributor for the Huffington Post.

Edwin Torres

Edwin interned at ProPublica. He is a photographer and writer concerned with telling stories of moral force that shed light on human issues. He graduated from Colby College with a degree in American Studies. His major helped foster his intellectual curiosity about history and current events. Edwin was born in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx. He developed a love for this vibrant community and is inspired to tell its stories. He is interested in exploring the complex interactions of histories, cultures, identities and representations that have shaped the experiences of people living in the United States. Torres uses the camera as a tool to communicate and meet others. The camera also helps him bring to light issues that have poor representation. Torres freelances as a photojournalist for the New York Times. He volunteers at the Bronx Documentary Center. His work has been published in the New York Times, Daily Mail, Global Post, Leica Blog and other publications. His Knight CUNYJ mentor was David Gonzalez, journalist and Lens Blog co-editor at The New York Times.

Kendall Alexander

Kendall was a radio/podcasting intern at Claire Entertainment. She is a multimedia journalist from the City of Brotherly love and Sisterly Affection — Philadelphia, Pa. She has enjoyed dabbling with the pen all her life. It was only recently that she discovered she could build a career out of it. A graduate of Hampton University, she spent her college years involved in the campus radio station, 88.1 FM WHOV, and as director of WHOV News TV9. Her journalism experience includes contributions to the quarterly publication The International Review of African American Art and weekly publication The Philadelphia Sunday Sun. She also contributed audio, video and online content for 900 AM WURD. When she isn’t writing, Kendall volunteers at local Girl Scout troops, food banks, and Habitat for Humanity. She is currently serving as social media manager for a non-profit dedicated to veteran affairs. A creative spirit at heart, Kendall enjoys working with her hands drawing and painting. She also travels, practices meditation, is a nature buff, and digs in the crates. Although she resides in Philly, she is a die-hard Steelers fan. Kendall’s favorite quote is “speak the truth even if your voice shakes.” Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Nikita Stewart, a reporter at The New York Times.

Manolo Morales

Manolo’s internship was with Harlem Focus, a product of the City College of New York and the Amsterdam News. He describes himself as curious, creative – and a little bit silly. He was born and raised in Queens, Jackson Heights. Raised by a single mother, Manolo was the first to attend and graduate from college. He hopes to set a good example for his teen sister and younger brother. Manolo graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Initially, he thought he would major in criminal justice and pursue a career in the law field. Instead, he majored in English and minored in journalism. He majored in English because he loves reading and exploring literature. Reading has opened his mind to new and creative ideas. He likes to wander off in someone else’s world, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Fydor Dostoevsky, which can be a bit creepy and melancholy. Like these authors, he wants to connect with people, but through journalism. While at John Jay, he joined the John Jay Sentinel school newspaper as a staff writer. He worked on a story with his classmates about questioning the NYPD use of an informant on campus. Manolo’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Yolanda Rodriguez, a reporter formerly at the Atlanta Journal Constitution who is now the assistant director of career services at the CUNY J-School.

Mozes Zarate

Mozes intrned at the Wall Street Journal. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism at the California State University, Chico. He discovered news writing at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, reporting for its bi-weekly student newspaper, The Connection. Since transferring to Chico State two years ago, Zarate has served as a staff writer, news editor then managing editor for The Orion, Chico State’s student newsroom. He received metro news experience while reporting for The Sacramento Bee as a Scripps Howard Foundation Summer 2014 intern. Zarate has also freelanced as a contributing writer for USA Today College. He is a member of the National Association for Hispanic Journalists and is Chips Quinn Scholar, part of a program that provides training to minority student journalists. Mozes is Mexican American and originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. His Knight CUNYJ mentor was Hugo Balta, senior director, multicultural content, at ESPN and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Evan Ortiz

Evan’s interned at Bloomberg Businessweek. He thinks that everyone has a need to feel connected and that being connected is the foundation that shapes our understanding of who we are. Evan once shied from this awareness, but it now guides the work he produces as a visual journalist. He picked up his first camera in high school. That’s when he discovered the potential of learning even more about other people through his viewfinder. Evan was a member of the 2014 New York Times Student Journalism Institute in New Orleans. At the Institute, Evan visually told the stories such as the graduation rates in the public school system, coastal erosion and the wedding culture. He has interned at the New York Times’ photography blog, Lens and was responsible for researching potential projects to be showcased and helped to organize and schedule content with Times Editors. This experience gave him an intensive and multi-faceted view of the field where stories are created and shared. His Knight CUNYJ mentor was Errol Louis, host of Time Warner Cable NY1’s Inside City Hall.

Rahimon Nasa

Rahimon interned at Voices of New York this summer. She honed her passion for storytelling at Syracuse University, where graduated in May 2015 with a degree in journalism and international relations. She focused her studies on South Asia and the Middle East, which are two regions she hopes to report from in the future. After four years of going to college in central New York, she was excited to return to the city that helped make her who she is. Although she considers herself a native New Yorker, she was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 4 years old. Her childhood in the city allowed her to grow up with constant exposure to different cultures, languages, ideas and challenges. Her upbringing has deeply shaped her writing and the topics that are of interest to her the most. This includes race, women, the South Asian diaspora, immigration, urban affairs and foreign policy. When Rahimon is not writing, she enjoys traveling, eating foods she can’t pronounce, quoting Drake lyrics, and thinking about moving to Istanbul. She thrives off pistachio baklava and the rush of turning in a story a right before deadline. Rahimon’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Nancy Ayala, freelance journalist formerly of USA Today, US Weekly and

Rebeca Ibarra

Rebeca interned at WNYC Radio. She traded her comfy Mexico City home for a tiny Brooklyn studio straight out of high school. She ventured into New York City on her own to study drama. After graduating, she worked as an actress, performing in everything from radio and TV commercials to avant-garde plays that forever changed her perception of storytelling. It was after working with a theater director who went on to become an Oscar-nominated documentarian that Rebeca realized her love of stories went beyond the stage and decided to go back to school for journalism. Rebeca is carrying on the family tradition. After a long career as a reporter, her grandfather founded a travel trade newspaper where her family has worked for over four decades. Although her abuelito had retired from hard-news reporting by the time she was born, she grew up listening to stories of his days as a Mexico City journalist who garnered a long list of enemies in high places; who would kiss his wife and children goodbye as if it were the last time, then leave for work everyday with a gun tucked in his waistband. She interned at the New York Daily News, where she hit the frigid winter streets in search of quotes. Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Octavio Blanco, online news editor at and vice president of the NYC chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Rio Fernandes

Rio’s internship was with the online foodie site, The Daily Meal. He is a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University. He grew up in Sammamish, Washington, a city 20 minutes east of Seattle. His father is Roger Fernandes, a Native American storyteller and artist and his mother is Patrica Lemus, an assistant Director for Social Services at King County. The two fostered an acute awareness into the importance of his Hispanic and Native American background that he continues to carry with him. Like many recent graduates, Rio still doesn’t have a place he calls “home.” He hasn’t stayed in Sammamish for more then a few weeks in the past couple years so he struggles to call it home. Pullman was his home, but now, as an alumni, he knows that he must leave the Palouse and venture out into the real world to find where he really belongs. An avid traveler, he is open to possibility of living anywhere and trying anything to further his career as and aspiring multimedia journalist. Attending Washington State University and its exemplary communications program allowed Rio to grow as a journalist across all platforms. He developed a passion in covering Native American news after working as a communications assistant for the WSU tribal office. Rio’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Ron Howell, reporter formerly at Newsday and currently a journalism educator at Brooklyn College.

Constanza Gallardo

Constanza interned at WNYC Radio. She was born and raised in Mexico City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Florida International University. She is a photographer. Constanza has also worked in radio, where she discovered another storytelling platform to showcase her audio and photography skills. Constanza sees radio and photography as providing an intimate connection between people. She wants to utilize her bilingual abilities to tell the stories of Latin Americans both inside and outside the U.S. Constanza has worked with CNN Mexico. She was a radio and production intern at WLRN-Miami Herald News and Radio Ambulante. During the summer of 2014’s influx of undocumented children, Constanza told the story of a young migrant mother escaping gang persecution in Honduras for WLRN. The story gave migrant mothers in South Florida a voice during this time period. She was a digital content intern at Discovery Latin America. She was also part of NPR’s Next Generation Project in Seattle in 2014; she helped manage the website and produced a non-narrative story in less than a week. In Egypt and Nicaragua, Constanza documented two non-governmental organization (NGO) programs. One focused on culture; the other on a medical brigade. Constanza’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Geraldine Cols Azócar, producer at MSNBC and president of the NYC chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Joshua Bolden

Joshua produced a 6 p.m. nightly newscast at his internship for WHCR 90.3 FM. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Memphis, where he majored in broadcast and multimedia. He is currently working on a second bachelor’s, in foreign language. He is a weekend news correspondent for Gospel-music station WBBP AM, and a radio personality for WUMR FM, the campus station. He is a videographer for V2Media and Social Media Coordinator for V-Rock Productions. Joshua has studied journalism abroad in Mainz, Germany. He also was a teaching assistant for several broadcasting courses at the University of Memphis and created, produced and co-anchored “The Conversation,” the first online video-magazine program at his university’s journalism department. He formerly interned at WHBQ-TV (MyFOXMemphis), and has reported for the university’s independently run student newspaper, The Daily Helmsman. He has also worked for FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” He is a former vice president of University of Memphis’ student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Joshua’s work has been featured in publications such as The Commercial Appeal and The Lamplighter. He has produced pieces for Grammy nominated artists. He was the recipient of the university’s NABJ Ida B. Welles award and his journalism department’s Emerging Journalist award. His Knight CUNYJ mentor was Chad Bernhard, adjunct faculty and radio coach at the CUNY J-School.

Nomin Ujiyediin

Nomin interned at NPR’s Latino USA. She is an aspiring storyteller based in New York and New Jersey. A recent graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, she has worked in a variety of fields, including publishing, politics, and teaching. At Rutgers, Nomin majored in economics and political science with a minor in women’s and gender studies. She was heavily in involved in progressive communities on campus. As vice president and treasurer of Llego, the LGBTQQIA People of Color Organization at Rutgers University, Nomin organized the largest student-run LGBTQ events at Rutgers and facilitated weekly discussions about race, sexuality, gender identity, and other social issues. She also served as programming chair of Asian Student Council, an umbrella organization for Asian cultural organizations at Rutgers. In the summer of 2014, Nomin worked as an editorial intern at the Feminist Press at the City University of New York, using Chicago Style to proofread a variety of materials, including the writing of Rick Moody and Mary Gaitskill. At the Feminist Press, Nomin also composed marketing materials, managed social media, and reviewed manuscripts. Nomin has written for The Daily Targum, the Rutgers University student newspaper. She has also freelanced for New Brunswick Today, a bilingual news website serving the city of New Brunswick, N.J. Nomin is a member of the Class of 2016 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Leezel Tanglao, senior multiplatform editor at CNNMoney.

Ellyce Ferguson

Ellyce interned at Starfish Media Group, Soledad O’Brien’s multiplatform production company. She returned to  Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she is on the dean’s honor roll, to complete her senior year. She is majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in political science. She has shot and produced news packages for Spotlight Network News Station and interned for the BET Honors Award Show, where some of her responsibilities included assisting the director with script revision. But it was when she was serving as a newsroom intern at Fox 5 DC in 2014 when she realized she loved working in a newsroom. Ellyce also has a passion for public service. She is involved with three mentoring and tutoring organizations — Reading Partners DC, KIPP DC and Big Sister Mentors of Detroit. She aspires to combine her writing, speaking and production abilities to prepare for a career in broadcast journalism, reporting and anchoring. Ellyce’s Knight CUNYJ mentor was Angela Hill, two-time Emmy award-winning producer and Scripps News national investigative journalist.

Malik Edwards

Malik was a multimedia/video intern at Claire Entertainment. As an innovator and visionary with a keen eye for detail, he takes pleasure in telling stories that engage his audience; whether it is through conversation, or through his filming. Malik earned his bachelor’s degree in broadcast and integrated media production from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. While studying there, he served as a video editor who developed media productions for campus organizations.  Inspired by his leadership, university students and faculty elected him to be the National Association of Black Journalists representative.  Malik facilitated and hosted events for guest speakers, encouraged student participation, and actively engaged in university media outlets such as Bear TV and school newspaper, The Spokesman. Malik interned with USA Today in the summer of 2014. His Knight CUNYJ mentor was Dan Reshef, CUNY J-School director of IT.

Samuel Temblador

Samuel was a reporting intern at the Mott Haven Herald in the Bronx. Born to Mexican parents and raised in South Los Angeles, Samuel never envisioned himself writing front-page articles for an award-winning college newspaper. The Daily Bruin was worlds away from the inner-city schoolyards where Samuel would daydream about writing like his Pulitzer Prize-winning idols: Junot Diaz and Hector Tobar. While working for the Daily Bruin at the University of California Los Angeles, Samuel covered the campus and localization beats for two years. His most challenging assignments saw him covering humanitarian student groups in Tijuana; it was during these assignments that Samuel developed an interest in bilingual reporting from a bicultural perspective. In the Summer of 2014, Samuel built upon his reporting skills while covering housing evictions and education for El Tecolote, a bilingual newspaper, in San Francisco. His Knight CUNYJ mentor was Wil Cruz, assignment manager at Time Warner Cable NY1 News.

Nyiesha Showers

Nyiesha was a social media intern at Claire Entertainment. She is majoring in Legal Communications at Howard University, where she returned to complete her senior year. She is a somewhat of media chameleon, with a broad background in communications and experience in advertising, public relations and journalism. Nyiesha is a native New Yorker and proud Brooklynite. She got her start in journalism writing for the Amsterdam News via Children’s PressLine. She then spent her teen years learning the ins and outs of broadcast, print and online journalism at an online teen publication, HarlemLIVE. She’s interned for a plethora of media organizations such as the Source Magazine and 100Reporters. She freelances for Parle Magazine, an urban entertainment publication where she pens reviews on the latest music, movies and fashion. Nyiesha also has experience with community development, education, entrepreneurship and marketing. On a more personal note, Nyiesha had been overweight and worked hard to lose more than 90 pounds. She used the energy she found from her renewed health to found a fitness and wellness organization. Called JUST MOVE IT INC., it is calls upon black women of all ethnic backgrounds to take control of their health. Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Sarah Glover, multimedia journalist and social media editor at NBC Owned Television Stations and president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Dakota Ross-Cabrera

Dakota was a writer and content development intern at Claire Entertainment. She is an American Studies major at Columbia University with plans to pursue a career in journalism. She grew up in Washington D.C., and spent Fall 2014 at Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires studying Political Science. She has previously interned for CNN’s New Day and Early Start, WUSA9, The Georgetown Dish and Admission Smarts. She has experience in content, booking, editorials, breaking news, social media, and marketing. Dakota is currently a Contributing Writer for USA Today College.  Additionally, Dakota has served as Public Relations Officer for Columbia College Student Council, has written for Columbia Spectator, and Thought Catalog. She received the DCCAP Arts Scholarship, Malin-Serle Scholarship at Columbia University, and was a finalist for the Posse Program before respectfully declining the offer so that she could attend Columbia University. Her Knight CUNYJ mentor was Ivette Davila Richards, associate producer at CBS News and vice president of broadcast for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.