Knight CUNYJ Summer 2016 Fellows
Vianey is a bilingual multimedia journalist and social media producer from El Paso, Texas. She was born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. She began her journalism career writing for Tejano Tribune, El Paso Community College’s student newspaper, while participating in an early college high school initiative. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing in May 2015 from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where she worked for The Prospector, the student newspaper, and Borderzine: Reporting Across Fronteras, a bilingual online magazine during her studies. While at UTEP, she also interned as a social media and web producer at La Opinión de Los Ángeles, a Spanish-language newspaper in Southern California. She also served as a digital producer for the episode covering El Paso in the Ken Burns’ produced PBS documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee. After graduation, she interned with the Dallas Morning News and the Spanish-language publication Al Día Dallas as a multimedia reporter and social media and web producer. Her goal as a multimedia journalist is to improve inclusion and diversity in the newsroom and to produce fair coverage of underrepresented communities. Vianey is a member of National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She will intern this summer at the Mott Haven Herald, a community publication covering Mott Haven, Melrose and Port Morris in the Bronx.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas near the Mexico border. He graduated from Texas State University in San Marco, where he studied Journalism and International Studies. During his time there, he worked as a news reporter for his university radio station, KTSW 89.9 FM, and eventually became news director. At KTSW, he helped cover the 2014 Fort Hood shooting, Hillary Clinton’s visit to Austin and San Marcos news. He has participated in NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project in Seattle, where he produced a multimedia story about a Native American woman trying to revive a dying Native language. He has interned at Austin’s NPR affiliate station, KUT 90.5, and at a nonprofit news organization, VoiceBox Media, which focuses on solutions-based journalism. During his time with VoiceBox Media in 2015, he traveled to Baltimore and told stories focusing on local social activists. His freelance work includes producing pieces for KUT’s Texas Standard and Rio Grande Valley Public Radio. His works include Latino cultural and historical pieces. He’s covered the migrant crisis at the border and ventured out with Border Patrol agents near the Rio Grande. He wants to continue telling stories from the Rio Grande Valley but he also dreams of becoming an international correspondent to tell stories of the underserved from across the globe. He is interning this summer at NPR’s Latino USA, a production of the Futuro Media Group, an independent nonprofit organization that was founded by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa to produce multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience.
Paolo Uggetti was born in El Salvador and came to the United States when he was 9 years old. He graduated in May from the University of Southern California, where he was the sports editor of Annenberg Media, the university’s student-run digital news site. He covered USC Football, USC Basketball and LA Galaxy, the American professional soccer club. At USC, he was an editing producer of a weekly sports show and part of a weekly sports podcast. He also interned on the digital teams at Universal Sports and NBC LA, doing everything from content creation and management to social media. He has also been published in national sports publications such as The Cauldron and Sports Fan Journal. He is a member of National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Online News Association. His true passion as a journalist is producing feature stories, whether done through web, video or audio. His goal is to become a feature writer, in sports or otherwise. Nothing excites him more than discovering the unexplored angles of a story, a subject, a person or an event. He is interning this summer at the sports department of The Wall Street Journal, a business-focused daily publication produced by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corp.
Sophia Alvarez Boyd graduated in May from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Spanish. After a semester of reporting on student government and politics for the Marquette Wire, the university’s multimedia website, she was promoted to assistant opinions editor earlier this year. She has interned at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, a hyperlocal online publication covering low-income neighborhoods. There most of her stories focused on the south side of Milwaukee, an area with a majority Hispanic population. Sophia‘s recent project was an investigative piece about the mental health of Latina adolescents. Traveling has been an important experience in Sophia’s journey toward journalism. After a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, her immersion in the Spanish language and culture inspired her to embrace her own Hispanic identity. When she returned, she interned at the Latin American Division of Voice of America in Washington D.C. There, she learned how to utilize her bilingual skills with journalism after writing stories and news briefs for VOA’s website. Sophia is passionate about reporting cultural, socioeconomic and political issues that are relevant to the growing Hispanic population. She hopes to help her community through her articles and raise awareness about these issues. Sophia is also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Her internship this summer is with NPR’s Latino USA, an independent nonprofit organization that was founded by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa to produce multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience.
Reece was born and raised in Westchester County, N.Y., and graduated this May from University at Albany, SUNY with a bachelor’s in Journalism. Reece has interned and freelanced for Times Union, which covers New York’s Capital Region. He also was a four-year walk-on player on the UAlbany men’s basketball team, which won consecutive America East Conference Championships from 2012-2015. During his senior year, he was selected as a captain. He also served as the vice president of Angelic Voices of Praise (AVP), a Christian student group that sings, dances, mimes and shares spoken-word poetry all over New York State. He is passionate about preserving culture through writing and wants to work for The New Yorker someday. Among his favorite writers are: Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Junod, and Zora Neale Hurston (whom he hopes to one day name his daughter after). Reece will be interning this summer at the New York Daily News, the nation’s oldest tabloid-format publication.
Senait Gebregiorgis was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May. Along with journalism, Senait’s specializations are in African American Studies and Political Science. She was also the publicity chair for the university’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Senait has written for her school newspaper, The Daily Illini, and was also an on-air personality for WPGU 107.1, Champaign’s alternative radio station. Senait was a Resident Advisor for three years, where she mentored students and helped foster an inclusive community in dormitories. She has also interned at WCIA Channel 3 News (CBS) and Illinois Public Media WILL (PBS/NPR). Senait has a passion for storytelling and continues to seek ways to immerse herself in the changing digital-media world. She has traveled to various cities and has committed her time to volunteering and giving back to communities, which include: Istanbul, Catalina Island in California, Selma in Alabama and New Orleans. Senait wants to continue to travel the world and visit places where she can document stories about different cultures. Senait aspires to be a voice for the many underserved communities and wants to change the world with her use of media/storytelling. Her internship this summer is with Harlem Focus, a publication in collaboration with the Amsterdam News and the City College of New York with an eye on community, culture, art, food and life in and around Harlem.
Christina Cardona was born and raised in Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y., and considers herself a news junkie. She discovered her love of storytelling when she was in the second grade. Christina is earning her bachelor’s degree at Queens College of the City University of New York and is a Media Studies major and Journalism minor. She is the executive editor of her school newspaper, The Knight News, and a blogger on their official blog site, QC Voices. She has also interned for the Queens Chronicle, a local newspaper, where she wrote articles about various community-related issues. She has a soft spot for Queens newspapers because that is her hometown and she believes it is important to be up to date with the local news. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. As a journalist, she wants to help people. She wants to shed light on topics that aren’t talked about as much and get to know different people and their lifestyles. She wants to be exposed to the struggles and life of different religions, cultures, races and genders. She believes that understanding different cultures is key to helping and writing about them. Her goal is to be an editor for a renowned newspaper or magazine. She is interning this summer at Time Warner Cable NY1 News, a 24-hour cable news network covering the five boroughs of New York City.
Miesha Miller is a rising senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She hails from Kansas City, Mo., where she began her broadcasting career began at age 15 on a teen talk radio show called “Generation Rap” at Carter Broadcast Group’s 103.3 FM. She witnessed the positive impact the show had on viewers in metropolitan communities, and this is how her passion for storytelling, community engagement and service evolved. Through Generation Rap, Miesha developed professional etiquette and networking skills. She also worked for Kansas City’s Department of Civics and Community Engagement, Kansas City Public Television station. She has interned with various companies including: Russell Simmons’ GlobalGrind.com, CNN, NBC-Washington and Voices of America. In addition to her media internships, Miesha has also been a multi-media journalist for WHUT’s “Spotlight Network” where she won the WHUT 2013-2014 Reporter of the Year Award. Miesha has studied and worked abroad in London and has traveled to more than 15 cities and countries. She’s won several awards, such as the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Scholarship, the 2016 Dow Jones News Fund scholarship and the 2016 Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting competition. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and her reporting interests are international affairs and politics. Miller plans in the future to run her own network. This summer, Miesha is interning with Thomson Reuters, a multinational multimedia news and information corporation.
Clifford Michel was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is a rising senior at CUNY’s College of Staten Island. He is majoring in Communications and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the college’s bi-weekly student publication, The Banner. He has also interned at the Gotham Gazette and POLITICO New York. At the Gotham Gazette, he interviewed and collected information on candidates running for seats in the State Assembly and the State Senate. At POLITICO New York, he covered a myriad of topics surrounding city politics including Staten Island’s heated district attorney race last year, City Council hearings and protests. Clifford participated in the 2016 New York Times Student Journalism Institute. He is interested in labor issues that go beyond the standard coverage of unions, such as inequality in the workplace. He is fascinated with finding new ways to engage audiences with state and local politics. After graduating from college in May 2017, Clifford plans to pursue a master’s degree in Journalism. His goal is to report on New York City policy and politics in a way that is more grounded in the needs of city residents. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and this summer will intern at ProPublica,an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
Mia Chism is a native Oklahoman. She is a rising senior at University of Oklahoma, majoring in Print Journalism with a minor in Psychology. She is a member of OU’s national co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and a student recruiter through Diversity Enrichment Programs. Mia is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the American Copy Editors Society and her school’s Magazine Interest Group. She currently works as the copy manager for her college’s student-run newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily. Mia previously copy edited for Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s webzine, Oklahoma Routes. In May 2015, she attended the New York Times Student Journalism Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and she worked as one of two copy editors for the 16-page print publication and website. Mia was also the recipient of the 2015 Montaño Scholarship Award. In fall 2015, she helped start the first student-run Spanish newscast in the state of Oklahoma. She has also been actively involved with the Society of Environmental Journalists and National Press Photographers Association. Mia has a strong love of grammar, the AP Stylebook and silently correcting people’s grammar. As a journalist, she believes that everyone has a story and want to tell stories that make an impact on others’ lives. As a copy editor, she hopes to save any newsroom one grammatical correction at a time. Mia aspires to be a copy editor for a magazine or newspaper. Mia is interning with Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines, joining Oprah.com for the summer.
Kalen Goodluck is a photographer and journalist concerned with environmental and indigenous issues, as well as foreign policy and national security. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Bard College in Human Rights with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kalen’s love for storytelling stemmed from wanting to document his grandmother’s stories and increase his understanding of his own Native American heritage. This transformed into wanting to document his indigenous communities and beyond. He was an editor at his school’s student-run human rights journal called The Draft. Examples of Kalen’s work include coverage of the immense changes wrought by the Bakken oil boom on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, a former bounty hunter’s search for the missing and murdered in the oil fields of North Dakota, and food justice in the Hudson Valley. As a photojournalist, Kalen wants to pursue not only traditional news reporting, but also the photo-essay form of storytelling. He draws much inspiration from photographers such as Danny Lyon and Gilles Peress, impactful writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Zora Neale Hurston, and filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky and Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki. Kalen is a member of the Native American Journalist Association (NAJA) and is grateful for the mentorship, and friendship of Tristan Ahtone, journalist and Vice President of NAJA. Kalen’s tribal affiliations are Navajo (Diné), Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian. This summer, he is interning with The Nation, the country’s oldest weekly magazine, serving as a critical, independent voice in American journalism and a platform for investigative reporting and spirited debate on issues of import to the progressive community.
Jonathan Gomez is a recent graduate of Brooklyn College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism. During his time there, he was the managing editor of The Kingsman and staff writer for the Brooklyn News Service. As an online news outlet specific to the school’s journalism program, the Brooklyn News Service allowed him to develop in-depth stories on topics like gentrification and immigration. In addition to his work in school, he recently interned with CityLimits.org, an investigative journalism news outlet. His experience as a journalist goes beyond writing, as he created photography series titled: This Is My NYC, documenting the daily grind of the people of New York City. With parents of Dominican and Ecuadorian ethnicity, Jonathan wants to use journalism to develop stories that are vital to the Latino communities across New York City, which is why he became a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Although he is very interested in issues that pertain to the Latino community, Jonathan has a vested interest in developing stories on a variety of topics that often don’t get enough coverage. He would eventually like to own a publication, where he can work with a cohort of journalists who are interested in compelling investigate stories and features. He believes that journalism is not a career for those unwilling to learn, and he will excel because he intends on always being a student. This summer, Jonathan is interning with The Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system.
Charlie Perry is a six-time award-winning student journalist from Topeka, Kan. He attends the University of Kansas and is earning his bachelor’s degree in News and Information. Charlie graduated from Haskell Indian Nations University, where he earned an associate’s degree in Media Communications. He is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and belongs to the thunder clan. Charlie began his adventure into storytelling with Haskell’s student newspaper, “The Indian Leader.” A year later, Charlie was voted editor-in-chief of the publication. He and his news team took home 17 awards at the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) that year. Charlie covers Native American athletes nationwide for NDNsports.com as a contributing writer. He is also a field reporter for the KUJH Rock Chalk Sports Report on KUJH TV. Charlie participated in the NAJA Native Voices program, where he reported on cultural appropriation at sporting events. He has also interned for WOW! Channel 6 News, learning the ins and outs of a professional newscast. He interned last summer with Vision Maker Media. He traveled to California and produced and directed his first documentary, Saint: The Canonization of Junipero Serra. Charlie’s main focus as a journalist is to tell stories that will help others. This summer, Charlie is interning with the Queens Courier at its digital publication, QNS.com, which provides the latest in Queens news and events, powered by the journalists at the award-winning Queens Courier, Courier Sun, Ridgewood Times, Times Newsweekly, BORO and LIC Magazines.
Brittney Bennett was raised in the small town of Colcord, Okla. She is a registered member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. She was named a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholar and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma in 2015. During her time in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was a Native Voices participant in 2014. The experience helped her grow and gain confidence within the industry while increasing coverage of Indian Country. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led Brittney to contributing writer positions at Indian Country Today Media Network and The Oklahoma Daily. She most recently completed an internship with the Cherokee Phoenix, the nation’s oldest Native American newspaper. While interning, Brittney wrote print pieces, shot and edited video, captured her own images and was the host and editor for the Cherokee Phoenix Radio Show. Her coverage was just as diverse, from Cherokee Nation elections and committee meetings to traditional games, food and clothing. She hopes to continue to bring mainstream audiences to issues within Indian Country and has set a goal to establish more understanding between tribes and the public through her work. Brittney is interning this summer with USA Today, a multiplatform news and information media company owned by the Gannet Co.
Arriel Vinson is a rising senior at Indiana University Bloomington. She is majoring in Journalism and has a minor in Apparel Merchandising. She is the Treasurer of the university’s National Association of Black Journalists Chapter, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and a member of the Black Student Union. Since her sophomore year, she has been involved with the campus newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. She writes for the campus section of the newspaper, mostly covering events on campus and black student organizations. Last summer, she interned for the Indianapolis Recorder, an African-American weekly in Indianapolis. At the publication, she got the opportunity to cover everything from religion to education in Indianapolis’ black community. She has also reported for 812 Magazine, another university publication. As a journalist, she wants to shed light on the issues in the black community. She also wants to give African Americans and other minorities a positive narrative in the media. Her goal as a journalist is to become a reporter for an African American magazine and eventually run a magazine that serves college-aged African American women. She also plans to create and maintain a blog that focuses on diversity in the fashion industry. This summer, Arriel is interning with Voices of New York, a publication whose audience includes mainstream and immigrant journalists, advocacy groups, city and government agencies, students and individuals seeking a broader perspective on the news.
Alex Ayala is a photographer who was born and raised in the Bronx. A product of SUNY Plattsburgh, he discovered his love for photography while taking an introductory photography class his freshman year. He wants to turn his passion into something that makes a difference. Alex first started to use his photography skills outside class at his college independent newspaper, Cardinal Points. During his time there, Alex moved up the ranks to become photo editor and won honorable mention from New York Press Association in Photography and placed fifth in the competition for the Associated Collegiate Press in General News Photography. He later became the photo editor for the award winning student magazine, DoNorth, in which he received the cover photo for his Battle of Plattsburgh coverage and took photos of NHL Hall of Famer Mike Richter as well as Ira Glass. Along with his love of photography, Alex writes and shoots video. Alex has covered stories on second- and third-generation Americans, produced sport profiles on international students on the Plattsburgh State sports teams and focused on homelessness in Plattsburgh, N.Y. He is a former vice president of the Plattsburgh State Association of Black Journalists. When he’s not covering stories, Alex likes to read, play video games and play baseball. Alex wants to cover stories dealing with foreign policy and societal issues. This summer, he is interning with Voices of New York, a publication whose audience includes mainstream and immigrant journalists, advocacy groups, city and government agencies, students and individuals seeking a broader perspective on the news.
Karnkamol “Kiki” Intarasuwan
Kiki Intarasuwan was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and moved to Florida when she was 12 years old. She graduated cum laude from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. During her time at the university, she interned at Ginnungagap Filmwerks as a video editor. She also worked for FIU Student Media as a videographer. Kiki joined the National Association of Black Journalists during her senior year at FIU. Her senior project “Liberty Square Rising” involved changing the media’s narrative of gun violence and poverty in Liberty Square Housing Project. She was the project’s web producer and videographer. She worked to tell the residents’ stories and help preserve the predominantly black community’s history before its inevitable raze and redevelopment. After graduation, Kiki became the digital coordinator for The Miami Times, a newspaper that serves South Florida’s African American community. Now, she also worked for WSVN-TV, a FOX-affiliated television station in Miami, as a Chyron Operator. She is passionate about the intersectionality between race, gender, sexuality, and ability. She wants to start the conversation of anti-blackness in her community because Asian American racial politics cannot be discussed without dissecting anti-blackness. Using what she knows about storytelling and multimedia, she wants to tell the stories of people whose voices have been marginalized and silenced. Her internship this summer is with Democracy Now!
Haddy Badjie is a multimedia journalist originally from Banjul, The Gambia. She received her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and minored in Political Science. During her time there, she reported and anchored for the campus news station, competed on the speech and debate team and served as a student fellow for NPR affiliate station WKU Public Radio. In the summer of 2014, Haddy worked as a production intern for Starfish Media Group. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbians and Gay Journalists Association. Haddy is using her love for journalism to pursue a career in documentary storytelling alongside radio reporting. Through her work, she aims to highlight social issues across the globe. In addition to journalism, Haddy is an internationally recognized collegiate public speaker. She was declared word champion in informative speaking at the International Forensics Association annual tournament in Paris, France. Haddy plans to give back to young people in her hometown, by building a school for young at-risk children in the next ten years. When she’s not hard at work, Haddy is a devout foodie with an ultimate goal of perfecting her eggs benedict. This summer, Haddy is interning at WNYC, New York’s flagship public radio station.
Nicole Acevedo left San Juan, Puerto Rico, to attend the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She graduated this May with bachelor’s in Broadcast and Digital Journalism along with a minor in Religion. Nicole has interned at MSNBC’s The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart in New York City, where she helped pitch, write and research stories. During her time there, she also collaborated with digital producers to handle the show’s social media accounts and website. Nicole has also worked alongside reporters at CNY Central in Syracuse, N.Y., and used to run a bilingual talk show, Hora Latina, on her college radio. She has also published multimedia stories for NBC News Latino and msnbc.com. As a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Nicole received the NAHJ María Elena Salinas Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. With her reporting, Nicole has shined a light on issues regarding the financial crisis in Puerto Rico. She was the only student to join other professional journalists for the May 2015 Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Seminar at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism to discuss the news coverage surrounding Puerto Rico’s financial crisis. Nicole wants to become an investigative journalist and eventually help establish a 24-hour news network in her home country Puerto Rico. This summer, Nicole is interning with Starfish Media Group, a production and distribution company founded by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien that focuses on real stories, authentic characters and rich storytelling told across a broad range of content formats and media platforms.
Jessica Mejia cannot not imagine her life without writing. Originally from New York City, she moved around the world as a military child and found her solace in writing. She began her writing journey when she received her first journal at the age of 9 and began documenting everything that happened around her. Yearning to forge a career in journalism, Jessica attended Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Ga., and graduated in May 2014 with a bachelor’s in English-Creative Writing. She joined the campus newspaper, The Profile, her sophomore year and by senior year had risen through the ranks to become co-editor-in-chief. While there, she was also a finalist in the college’s Annual Writers’ Festival and took writing workshops with Nick Flynn and Cristina Garcia. In May 2015, she traveled to South Africa for an environmental and travel writing internship with Africa Media, where she wrote about wildlife animals and poaching — a topic that at the time was wholly unfamiliar to her. She has also written for her local newspaper, The Columbia Star, where she has covered everything from Greek cooking to a Paul McCartney concert. Her goal is to help people share their stories with the world through her writing. She is a member of the National Association for Hispanic Journalists and wants to pursue her master’s degree at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Jessica is interning this summer with Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines, joining Dr. Oz The Good Life.