Official Roster of Fellows

Biographies + Track Assignments

Investigative Storytellers

Lenn Almadin-Thornhill

I enjoy working as an assignment editor for Scripps’ Court TV programming, primarily planning and managing court cases that are broadcast. This role has allowed me to learn more about the U.S. legal system and enhance my passion for storytelling.

I also do news reporting for ABS-CBN News. This enables me to tell stories about Filipino communities in the United States and the Caribbean, where I worked as a news producer for five years.

P. Kenneth Burns

Paul is an award-winning reporter covering New Jersey for WHYYFM, the NPR member station in Philadelphia.

In 1999, his professional media career began shortly after high school as an intern and later news assistant for WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. He entered public media in 2012, and his coverage of the Freddie Gray police trials in Baltimore won a 2017 National Headliner Award.

During his career, he has been a producer, reporter, anchor and host.

A native Marylander, he has a bachelor’s in political science from Towson University and an associate degree from Anne Arundel Community College. He lives with his wife in Trenton, N.J.

Iridian Casarez

A year after graduating from Cal Poly Humboldt with a journalism degree in 2018, Iridian started work as a staff writer for the North Coast Journal, an alt-weekly based in Eureka. In 2021, North Coast Journal Inc. acquired the Ferndale Enterprise that covered the Eel River Valley of Humboldt County, giving her an opportunity to attempt beat reporting.

Iridian covers city council meetings for the city of Fortuna after working from home in two of her three years with the North Coast Journal. She is excited to resume working in-person and meeting other journalists at the Maynard 200 fellowship.

Born and raised in Southern California, Iridian enjoys her home on the North Coast. She identifies as Latina and Mexican-American.

Stefanos Chen

Stefanos is a real estate reporter based in New York City. He joined The New York Times in 2017 after five years with The Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter and multimedia producer.

Previously, he spent two years as a reporter and editor covering real estate for the Huffington Post and AOL. Born and raised in Queens, he is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Jessica Chou

Jessica, a supervising producer on the Insider Video Life team, manages production of Movies Insider, How Real Is It?, How Crime Works and more.

Previously, she wrote and produced at Refinery29 where she launched the Money Diaries series. She was a contributing author for the book “Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop,” published in October 2020.

Anthony Daquipa

Tony reports for Oakland Voices on issues affecting Oakland youth, paying particular attention to the public school system and the ongoing movement to privatize public education.

He first covered public education during the state takeover of Oakland Unified School District almost 20 years ago as a reporter for The Commemorator newspaper.

His writing is motivated more by a desire to document history than to attract clicks or likes. His work has been cited by The New York Times and in a recent complaint filed by the ACLU of Northern California against the Oakland Unified School District.

When not attending school board and PTA meetings, high school basketball games and community protests, he is a father, a musician, an officer in his public sector union and a karaoke diva.

Paresh Dave

Since 2017, Paresh has been a Bay Area-based tech reporter at Reuters covering Google and other tech news, including the industry’s application of artificial intelligence.

At the Los Angeles Times, he covered L.A. startups such as Snapchat, eSports, cybersecurity and the intersection of Hollywood and tech. He has written about the courts system, cybersecurity and sports business.

A graduate of USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, he spent nearly all of his time there managing Neon Tommy, the school’s student-run online news publication.

He studied in Auckland and spent a spring break reporting in Dublin and Belfast. A lifelong Californian, Dave (Duh-vay) is indeed his last name. Baseball and other sports have been a big part of his life. He has attended a game in all 30 Major League Baseball cities.

Emily Dugdale

Emily (she/her) is an award-winning audio journalist covering criminal justice for KPCC/LAist, L.A.’s NPR station. Born in Cali, Colombia, she has lived in and reported from cities across the globe such as Honolulu and Medellín but has spent the bulk of her career in California.

Emily drove across the Southland covering a range of stories as a general assignment reporter and worked on a joint investigation in 2021 with ProPublica into Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department school resource deputies in Antelope Valley.

Before moving back to L.A., she co-reported and produced the Offshore podcast from Honolulu Civil Beat in Hawaii.

As a Los Angeles Press Club board member, she is helping to reimagine its Foot in the Door Fellowship, which provides mentorship to emerging journalists from underserved backgrounds.

She is passionate about engaging people of all ages and backgrounds who have never seen journalism as a welcoming or safe industry. The work never ends.

Amber Ferguson

Amber is a senior video editor at The Washington Post, working with the Metro and Business desks to create enterprise and breaking news visual content.

As a multimedia journalist, she uses wide-ranging creative skills to engage audiences with fresh narratives across digital, print and social platforms.

Her reporting and filming won a 2022 Gracie Award in the Online Producer – Investigative category and a Webby Award nomination for her work on women caring for their paralyzed partners.

Amber started at The Post working overnights and regularly wrote about online culture, social media trends and viral video moments. Previously, she was associate politics video editor at HuffPost and covered the 2016 presidential election and 2015 Baltimore rioting.

In 2020, Amber was selected as an IWMF Gwen Ifill Fellow. She is a proud community college graduate and alumna of the University of Maryland where she studied History and minored in U.S. Latino/a Studies.

William J. Ford

Since August 2015, I’ve been a full-time staff writer at The Washington Informer covering suburban Prince George’s County, particularly county government, education and other topics.

I delved into Maryland state politics about four years ago when officials of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, aka Metro, asked D.C., Maryland and Virginia for $500 million annually toward its capital budget.

I’m one of five people at the Informer who received an award in May from the MDDC Press Association and one of four named as finalists in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Washington, D.C. chapter’s annual Dateline Awards in the Weekly Newspaper Division.

Previously, I worked as a correspondent for about two years with Diverse: Issues in Higher Education based in Fairfax, Va. I worked nearly 10 years as a reporter at The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.

Tekendra Parmar

Tekendra is a tech editor at Insider where he works with freelance reporters, contributors and columnists who cover the profound impact of the tech industry on businesses and society.

His reporting has appeared in Time, Fortune, The Nation and other publications. He was longlisted for a 2021 One World Media’s “Print Award” for his reporting on content moderation for Rest of World.

Alison Saldanha

Alison is a graphics reporter for The Seattle Times. Previously, she was data reporter for NPR’s California Newsroom investigations team, where she led investigation on the impact of wildfires across the nation.

The project won an Edward R. Murrow Award and was a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors award and the National Institute for Health Care Management Digital Media Award.

While at NPR, she also worked with The New York Times graphics department as a data administrator for its Pulitzer Prize-winning covid-tracking project, a news assistant for other special projects and field reporter for its Chicago bureau.

She shares a Sigma Award for a visual project on the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. Originally from India, her project tracking religious hate crimes across India won the Global Editors Network Data Journalism Award for a small newsroom in 2019.

She graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University after specializing in social justice and investigative reporting.

Romita Saluja

Romita Saluja is an independent journalist and writer in New Delhi, India. Her work primarily explores the themes of gender violence, human migration, development, and culture. Her writing has appeared in several publications including The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Undark Magazine, Ms Magazine, The Guardian, the BBC, The Telegraph, and others.

Most recently, she received fellowships and grants from Thomson Reuters Foundation, One World Media, and Population Reference Bureau to work on long form stories around the themes of gender, and modern slavery. Previously, she worked with the editorial teams of two Indian media organizations.

TaMaryn Waters

TaMaryn, a New Jersey native and award-winning reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat, began her career as a news assistant at the Democrat in 2003.

Within two years, she became a part-time reporter covering human interest and neighborhood stories and eventually was full-time. Her career also spans coverage of K-12/children, local government and nonprofits.

She now reports on business and economic development, including major projects reshaping Tallahassee’s skyline. A Florida A&M University alumna, she is passionate about storytelling and has several awards for coverage of homelessness, business developments, government-business connections and human-interest topics.

Her most recent awards are from the Florida Society of News Editors for coverage of a mass shooting at Florida State University library; Tallahassee’s Edison restaurant, investors and political roots; redevelopment of the Centre of Tallahassee mall, and discovery and adoption of an abandoned baby.”

Aallyah Wright

Aallyah is national rural issues reporter for Capital B news, a Blackled, nonprofit local and national news organization reporting for Black communities nationwide.

Previously, she covered rural affairs and led race and equity coverage for Stateline, news initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts. She was a weekly news co-host on WROX Radio (97.5 FM) in Clarksville, Mississippi, and covered K-12 education and local government for Mississippi Today.

As a member of the latter’s Delta bureau, she investigated the state’s teacher shortage, founded the Mississippi Delta Public Newsroom and launched a multimedia project called “Behind The Headlines: Cleveland Central” that won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Aallyah is a 2020 recipient of a Mississippi Humanities Council award that recognizes outstanding work by Mississippians in bringing insights of the humanities to public audiences.

She graduated from Delta State University with a bachelor’s in Journalism and minors in communication and theater.

Frontline Editors and Managers

Kristin Bender

Kristin is an award-winning, passionate, bilingual journalist with decades of experience in print, broadcast and education. She speaks Spanish, a skill she uses in covering breaking news.

Kristin also taught journalism for five years and founded her good news blog called AllNewsNoBlues. Her work has been featured in more than 500 newspapers, websites and magazines.

At KTVU Fox 2 in Oakland, Kristin is a versatile, fast and accurate news writer covering local, state, national and international stories for six daily newscasts.

She came to the station later in her career, but she was no stranger. Her father was a KTVU director while she was growing up. When bringing her to work, she pestered news folks with questions while looking over his shoulder in master control.

She spent many years working for newspapers owned by Bay Area News Group and 15 years as a reporter at the Oakland Tribune. She was also a breaking news staffer/supervisor covering Northern California at the Associated Press in San Francisco.

Kristin is easy to work with, diplomatic and often called upon by colleagues to help with writing and editing news stories. She has a bachelor’s from San Francisco State University.

Kristin lives in Danville with her husband, dog Lily and cat Tess. She is writing a book about her career.

Jasmine Brown

Jasmine is a senior producer in the race and culture unit at ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir. Her reporting covers a range of issues from social justice to climate change and has taken her to some of the world’s most remote places.

Before joining World News Tonight, Jasmine worked at Nightline and 20/20.

A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she was named as one of 19 Women Changing Journalism in 2019 by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Her work has been honored with two Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Gracie Award and multiple News & Documentary Emmy Award nominations.

She has a bachelor’s in American Culture and Drama from Vassar College and a master’s in Journalism from NYU.

Corinne Chin

Corinne is director of news talent for recruitment at the Associated Press, working to build and mentor a competitive, diverse and inclusive newsroom staff across the globe.

As a senior video journalist at The Seattle Times before joining the AP, Corinne founded and led the newsroom’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, growing the team from six to more than three dozen journalists in five years. She also worked previously at CNN as a senior video producer.

Corinne is a national Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker whose body of work has also been recognized by the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the Online News Association, the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and others.

Corinne has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and has attended the ASNE/NLA Emerging Leaders Institute, the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity, the Poynter Leadership Academy for Women and the IWMF’s Next Gen Safety Trainers fellowship program. She is co-director of Women and Non-Binary Voices, the Asian American Journalists Association’s affinity group, and a past president of AAJA Seattle.

Michael Cruz

Mike leads a three-person team as Arizona Editor at The Arizona Republic providing coverage of the state’s rural communities and issues that matter to their residents. Previously, he was criminal justice editor and a breaking news Editor.

He joined The Republic, part of the USA Today Network, in August 2018 and has led coverage of breaking news and crime, handling dozens of high-impact breaking news events.

Mike worked for 13 years as an editor and reporter with Southern California News Group. He was born and raised in Southern California and began his journalism career in 1994.

Brandon Harden

Brandon is senior leadership editor at Insider. The leadership team comprises four reporters who write about the lives of C-level executives, those in their orbit and the leadership experience.

Before Insider, he was a culture reporter and digital editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He often profiled folks who embody the grit and tenacity that characterizes Philadelphia’s cultural scene — muralists, choreographers, cellists, authors, poets, bookshop owners and radio hosts, among others.

In 2016, he became managing editor of Blavity where he managed 35 writers who launched investigations into code-switching, online dating, building wealth and other issues facing Black millennials.

A native of Houston, he graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012.

Alexandria Hasenstab

Alex is a breaking news editor for Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she worked as a reporter in TV news at KVAL in Eugene and North Coast News in Northern California.

She received a degree in journalism from Cal Poly Humboldt where she was on the volleyball team. She was born and raised in hot, dry Phoenix. She loves music, meeting new people and her cat Barnacle.

Bourree Lam

Bourree is deputy coverage chief of the Life & Work section at The Wall Street Journal where she has worked since 2019. Previously, she worked on innovative reporting projects and pioneering digital formats including launch of the Freakonomics Radio podcast in 2010, Inside Jobs digital series at The Atlantic and user-generated content series Money Diaries and Salary Stories at Refinery29.

At the Journal, her aim has been to reach new audiences by expanding personal finance coverage, email courses and explainer coverage of breaking financial news stories.

She grew up in Hong Kong and Toronto and now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Yuri Nagano

Yuri Nagano is West Coast editor for Bloomberg Industry Group based in Los Angeles. Previously, she was an editor, reporter and producer in digital/print and broadcast for news organizations including the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, The New York Times, a Financial Times-related publication, The Economist, KQED public radio in San Francisco and Public Radio International.

She started her career as a staff producer for Japan’s public broadcasting network NHK where she won awards for her TV programs. She has been a board member and leader for the Asian American Journalists Association on the chapter and national level since 2010.

She enjoys hiking, tennis and practicing yoga. Follow her on Twitter @yurinagano.

Ngoc Nguyen

Ngoc is partnerships and ethnic media editor for Kaiser Health News where she leads an initiative to develop and expand editorial collaborations with ethnic media.

Before joining KHN, she was environment editor for New America Media, a national nonprofit news service for ethnic media. She codirected a health and environment reporting fellowship program for California ethnic media journalists.

Ngoc is an award-winning journalist whose reporting has appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and on national public radio programs. Her investigative report on the health impact of wartime Agent Orange exposure among Vietnamese Americans won a 2014 national journalism award from the Asian American Journalists Association.

She has worked as an environment reporter for The Sacramento Bee and an assistant producer for Marketplace. She is on the advisory board of the Metcalf Institute, which fosters informed, inclusive public conversations about environmental issues by conducting science training for journalists and a variety of public programs.

She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and California State University, Northridge.

Patricia Ann Maureen Peart

Patricia is vice president of weekend booking with Fox News Media where she oversees guest bookings for weekend news shows, overnight, breaking news and special coverage. She is responsible for producing heritage month packages highlighting diverse communities.

Before joining Fox News in 2005, Patricia spent nine years at MSNBC. She had a variety of roles including editorial producer for Countdown with Keith Olbermann, booking producer with The Nachman Show and booker/researcher for daytime shows.

Patricia also spent two years with U.S. News & World Report and two years with PBS 13/WNET.

She has a bachelor’s from Molloy College where she originally intended to study nursing and a master’s from The New School for Social Research.

She is the middle of three children who emigrated to America from Jamaica in 1980, joining their mother who had emigrated earlier.

Beena Raghavendran

Beena specializes in crowdsourcing, community engagement and news accessibility. She works at The New York Times as an editor focusing on digital storytelling and training journalists. Beena was awarded a 2021 Online News Association MJ Bear Fellowship recognizing her efforts to engage with and make journalism accessible to communities with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Before joining the Times, she was an engagement reporter at ProPublica, where she crowdsourced in communities nationwide for local investigations, ran events and community meetups and trained reporters on engagement reporting.

She started her career as an education beat reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Beena has also led the Asian American Journalists Association’s young professionals network and was AAJA Minnesota chapter president.

In spring 2022, she was an adjunct lecturer in the engagement journalism program at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Joe Ruiz

Joe is a journalist, editor, former small-business owner and more. Raised in San Antonio, he isn’t afraid to regale you with stories of his home state.

As a senior editor for CNN Politics, he coordinates weekend coverage of politics, including major events and breaking news.

A proud and recent graduate of Texas State University, Joe has served multiple times on the board of directors of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He was its vice president from 2016 through 2018.

In his off-time, he enjoys movies, video games, basketball and baseball, and is a bit of a sneakerhead. He is also working (slowly) on a book based on love of his home state.

Brianna Tucker

Brianna is a deputy editor for 202 Newsletters at The Washington Post. She steers politics coverage for The Early 202, The Post’s flagship early morning political newsletter and The Climate 202 newsletter on climate news and policy.

Brianna started covering politics in 2017 at The Beat DC, a daily political newsletter for which she highlighted diverse leaders in Washington and policies that impact communities of color. She worked previously at Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan think tank where she edited and authored in-depth research on race, immigration, religion, politics and more.

Brianna began her journalism career as an editorial assistant at The Chronicle of Higher Education where she spearheaded coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and of mental health at the University of Virginia after the deadly Charlottesville rally and compiled the Gazette section.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Texas, Brianna has a bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Neeti Upadhye

Neeti Upadhye is an award-winning multimedia journalist with a decade of experience in everything from print to VR storytelling.

She is currently a Supervising Producer on the Video team at The Washington Post, where she serves as a crucial link between video operations in D.C. and Seoul.

Neeti is most passionate about covering social justice issues and her goal is to help make the future of news more inclusive.

Denise Watson

Denise is an award-winning journalist who has had the honor of writing about the famous and infamous, international stories and pieces reported from dwindling factory towns and beloved rural diners.

As features editor at The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press in Virginia, she wants to help others tell these stories.

Christina Yao Lee

Christina is an executive producer of enterprise journalism at Houston Public Media. She manages a team of beat reporters and oversees in-depth features, investigative reporting and special projects including limited-series podcasts and partner collaborations.

She is passionate about creating compelling, narrative-driven storytelling using data and documents to inform journalism. As EP, she is a key liaison with HPM’s partners in The Texas Newsroom (e.g., KERA, KUT, KSTX) and NPR to coordinate statewide and national news coverage.

She is also senior writer and producer of Medical Discovery News, the long-running science program, and was formerly a television journalist and fill-in anchor at KHOU (Houston/CBS), KCNC (Denver/CBS) and WTVT (Tampa Bay/FOX).

In her spare time, she’s learning to play Beat Saber in Oculus with her teen boys, hosts a podcast, teaches English, reads non-fiction, and tries new fare in her foodie town of Houston.

An RIAS Berlin Commission fellow, Cristina speaks fluent Mandarin.

Executive Leadership

Christine Brouwer

I am the executive broadcast producer at Good Morning America, where I am responsible for our First Hour content and work closely with the executive producer on many other aspects of show management.

I have been part of the ABC News family for 13 years, beginning in the London bureau before returning to the United States and working everywhere from the foreign desk to “World News Tonight,” where I spent years as a producer and later a senior producer working with Diane Sawyer and then David Muir.

I am originally from the Netherlands and moved to the U.S. for college, attending Yale University first as an undergrad and then as a graduate student in History. I hold master’s degrees in History and a master’s in Journalism from Columbia University. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two children.

Laura Janelle Downey

Laura is executive editor of WebMD’s magazine and its point-of-care products. She is also the company’s lifestyle features consumer team lead on the digital side.

Laura was a 2021 Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program fellow. Last February, she was honored as a Florida State University black alumna and cited in the spring 2022 issue of the alumni association’s VIRES Magazine for career achievements.

After receiving a bachelor’s from Florida State University and a master’s in Journalism at Florida A&M University, Laura landed in New York City as a reporter for People. She has been a fashion/entertainment editor, magazine journalism professor, managing editor of 944 Las Vegas and Vegas Rated magazines, as well as Atlanta Best Media’s eight publications and

She was senior executive editor at Modern Luxury before spending 18 months as a full-time freelance travel journalist.

Larry Graham

Larry is founder and executive director of The Diversity Pledge Institute which operates a free mentorship, training and career advancement program for journalists, with emphasis on people of color and members of the LGBTQ community.

He spent the majority of his career leading sports journalists in newsrooms across the country. He has worked at, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Kansas City Star, among others. Most recently, he was deputy director of local news transformation at the American Press Institute where he built the Table Stakes website.

Larry is on the board of directors for the APSE Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering diversity in sports departments. He’s also a NewStart fellowship recipient studying Media Solutions and Innovation at West Virginia University Reed College of Media.

Renée Haran

I live in Greensboro, a forested city wedged quaintly between the Appalachian mountains and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I lead teams in learning/information and digital content strategy, design and development in hi-tech Fortune 100 companies like Apple and Cisco. I also have STEAM roots in physics, neuroscience and music production/performance.

I am a graduate student in Johns Hopkins University’s science writing program pivoting to a career in science communication. As a gender-nonbinary Mexican with a chronic pain disability (she/her/they/them), I would want to write at the intersection of race, gender, disability/chronic illness, science, nature and art — or any combination of these topics. I’m working hard to get my first pieces published!

At home, I’m mommy-daddy in a tiny-but-mighty three-piece family and when I’m not working, I grow as much of our food as possible, architecting natural habitats on our one-acre urban plot.

In the last three years, I’ve begun hosting monarch butterflies in a slowly expanding way station filled with native milkweed varieties and other pollinator-friendly plants.

Miranda Kennedy

Miranda is planning and content supervisor at NPR’s Morning Edition and NPR’s Up First podcast. In 2017, she was launch supervisor of the latter, NPR’s first daily news podcast and its most successful and remunerative one to date.

She continues guiding the program and also programs Morning Edition, NPR’s flagship two-hour news magazine airing daily on public radio stations nationwide.

Miranda teaches international journalism at American University and, for a decade, taught longform narrative journalism and podcasting at the University of Maryland.

She is author of “Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India,” which she wrote after spending five years based in New Delhi as a public radio reporter. The book tackles issues of marriage and caste and is an up-close and personal look at how restricted women’s lives remain in India.

Victor Lim

Victor is director of growth marketing at Chicago Public Media. His core focus is audience development across all broadcast, podcast and digital properties.

His career has always been at the intersection of content and the business side to increase reach and deepen relationships with audiences. Before joining Chicago Public Media, Victor spent over a decade at Tribune Publishing Company where he was a key member in launching various digital products, including digital subscriptions for all the newspaper brands.

Victor has always been an advocate for diversity and representation. He is a co-facilitator for Chicago Public Media’s staff-led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and has helped with development and execution of the organization’s DEI action plan. He worked previously as a member of the Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign, building events in Chicago to help educate and make advancements for LGBTQ+ community.

Victor has an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.B.A. in Marketing from James Madison University.

Marla Jones-Newman

Marla is vice president, People and Culture, at Mother Jones. She brought a wealth of experience in shaping high-performing cultures, implementing robust professional development programs and employing best human capital practices to attract and retain talent.

Marla is committed to supporting, growing and advocating for our vital human resources initiatives. She is very passionate about people management, having worked in the field for approximately 20 years in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. She is an advocate for the Society of Human Resources.

Marla has a bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from Loyola University New Orleans . Raised in New Orleans, she resides in Denver with her husband of 22 years and 17-year-old daughter. She enjoys reading and volunteering.

Manuel McDonnell Smith

Manny is managing editor of the CBS newsroom in Philadelphia where he guides daily content and coverage for “Eyewitness News.”

He joined his hometown news team in January 2020, spearheading coverage through the COVID- 19 pandemic and conceptualizing “Justice and Understanding,” a franchise that tracked civil unrest and subsequent reconciliation efforts.

He held previous news assignment roles for NBC News’ New York bureau and the FOX News national desk. Beyond the newsroom, he’s active in supporting efforts of grassroots community to expand access to education and health in Philadelphia. He is also a convener around newsroom diversity + equity concerns and is Immediate past president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and advises the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

He lives in northwest Philadelphia with his wife and three children, also passionate advocates for community issues and concerns that seek to improve the City of Brotherly Love.

Ben Trefny

Ben has a master’s in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 2000 and got his start in public radio at NPR member station KLCC in Eugene.

After freelancing for many magazines and producing for regional and national commercial and public radio programs, he joined KALW public radio in San Francisco in 2004. As executive news editor and then news director, he helped the station win dozens of regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He has also taught hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW.

Ben is interim executive director of KALW Public Media and president of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is also a member of the Journalism and Media Ethics Council at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Ben has twin children in college, lives with his wife near San Francisco’s Ocean Beach and spends as much time as he can outdoors.

Marcus Vanderberg

Marcus is a senior NBA editor at ESPN where he manages an NBA reporting team. Before joining ESPN in July 2021, he spent nine years at Yahoo Sports in various roles including content programmer, MLB editor and NBA editor.

Marcus is West chairperson of Associated Press Sports Editors and previously was on the National Association of Black Journalists board of directors. When not working, he is a frequent visitor to Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Born and raised in Inglewood, California, he graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in Print Journalism. He lives in Santa Clarita, California, with his wife and 2-year-old son.

Jill Van Why

Jill is senior vice president of programming operations at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. She oversees all aspects of production and programming operations for FNC and FBN as well as the on-screen look of all eight Fox News media platforms. She joined the network in 2000 as a college associate.

Elevated to SVP in 2019, Van Why is a leader of the network’s Media Production Group, the creative team behind the on-screen presence of all Fox News Media platforms. She was instrumental in the department’s creation in 2017 and helped usher in a unifying look across Fox News brands. She is also responsible for leading the hair & makeup and fashion department.

Most recently, Van Why helped spearhead FNC’s cutting-edge graphics presence throughout the 2020 election season, delivering historic ratings for FNC and FBN. She contributed to FBN’s 2019 brand refresh that included updated graphics, logos and a new network tagline that drove a ratings increase of 30 percent.

In addition to spearheading the team responsible for the look of FOX Business, she also led the team in launching the looks for FOX Nation (2018) and Fox Weather (2021).

She has participated in several mentorship programs, guiding and advising staffers on the industry. On multiple occasions, Fox’s MPG team has collaborated with The Animation Project to mentor at-risk local youth in graphics and animation.

Van Why is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology and has a bachelor’s in science.

Stephanie Wu

Stephanie is editor-in-chief of Eater, a national food publication. Previously, she held editorial roles at Condé Nast Traveler, Mic, Travel + Leisure and Town & Country.

She is co-founder of, the longest-running digital publication dedicated to Asian American women.

She is author of The Roommates: True Tales of Friendship, Rivalry, Romance, and Disturbingly Close Quarters (Picador). She grew up in Taipei, and lives in New York City.

Media Entrepreneurship

Liz Alesse

Liz is vice president of ABC Audio where she had been director and executive producer of podcast programming. Previously, Liz worked in television news. She got her start in local and was hired by ABC News in 2015 to help lead the production team at “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” She then co-led the team covering the White House and Capitol Hill.

Quinton Arthur

A creative spirit at heart, Quinton is president and CEO of QRamone Media whose focus is helping individuals and organizations produce quality photo, video and written content. Since 2018, he has led digital media outreach as external affairs manager at the Chicago Urban League.

He also reports for the Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) Chronicle, The Lansing Journal, and Southland Journal newspapers.

In 2021, the National Urban League cited him as an emerging leader. This year, he became part of the inaugural cohort for 100 Black Men of America, Inc.’s Leadership Institute.

Quinton has a bachelor’s in English from Northern Illinois University and a master’s in Journalism from Roosevelt University.

He has a certificate in Content Strategy from Northwestern University, an editing certificate from Poynter Institute and experience in communications, public relations,and nonprofit marketing and consulting.

In spare time, he can be found volunteering, reading or enjoying nerd culture.

Angelica Cabral

Angelica was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated from Arizona State University in 2019. After spending time with The Californian in Salinas, she works as a local reporter for the East Bay Times in Walnut Creek.

Last year, she founded the website What’s Next, which published over 10 stories about alternatives to policing. In her free time, she enjoys embroidery, running and watching movies.

Arcynta Childs

Arcynta is a writer and publisher from Washington, D.C., and a proud graduate of D.C. public schools, Spelman College and New York University.

She worked as a journalist for publications including The Village Voice and Smithsonian magazine before founding Homegirl Media, a community-focused outlet featuring lives and stories of everyday Black women and girls.

Taking to heart the notion that we can create the media that we want to see, Homegirl Media focuses on sharing stories through the lens of sisterhood, showing care and celebrating the space between Black Girl Pain and Black Girl Magic.

Priya Clemens

Priya hosts KQED Newsroom, a long-running Northern California PBS television talk show featuring interviews with political leaders, authors, scientists, doctors, artists and others. The show has been honored with multiple Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

She is a veteran storyteller with more than 15 years of television news experience as an anchor, reporter and producer at CBS network news, NBC network news, MSNBC and local stations including KTVU, KQED, KOIN and WVTM. She has crisscrossed the country and globe to cover stories ranging from presidential politics to climate change to technological advancement.

Priya founded and ran Seasons Productions, a video production company based in San Francisco, and was public affairs director of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

She has a master’s in Broadcast Journalism from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, a bachelor’s in Anthropology from Westmont College and an International Baccalaureate from the International School of Brussels.

Nancy Flores

Nancy is an award-winning local journalist and editor and publisher of Austin Vida. She founded Cultura Media, Austin Vida’s umbrella organization, and was recently named one of “Austin’s Top Latina Entrepreneurs to Watch” by the digital news outlet Austonia.

Nancy grew up in the bordertown of Eagle Pass, Texas, and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She has specialized in writing about underrepresented Central Texas communities, most recently reporting for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360.

Her contributions to Austin’s Latino community recently earned her the Award of Excellence in Media Arts from the city’s Mexican American Cultural Center. In 2019, Remezcla listed her among the nation’s “Latino Columnists You Should Be Reading.”

Nancy graduated from St. Edward’s University with a bachelor’s in Communication and a minor in English Writing. She held a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) scholarship.

She is an alumna of the Hispanic Austin Leadership program, the Google News Startup Bootcamp program, the Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media program presented by the Poynter Institute and The Washington Post, and is part of the inaugural cohort of Tiny News Collective.

Melba Newsome

Melba is an award-winning freelance writer with feature credits in some of the most widely read regional and national publications. She launched the Coastal Plains Environmental Advocate on the Meta Bulletin platform in fall 2021.

Emilya “Eming” Piansay

Emilya “Eming” Piansay is a San Francisco native who began her journalism career at age 18 with New America Media where she interned with the youth division of YO! Youth Outlook as a multimedia reporter.

Eming later became editor-in-chief of YO! before transitioning into an education beat reporter.

She completed her bachelor’s in Journalism at San Francisco State and a master’s in Film Editing at Academy of Art University.

Using those skills, Eming worked in various Bay Area summer camps with young people to produce their short films.

In 2018, she co-founded Kwest On Media, an organization dedicated to promoting underrepresented voices in media. In the last five years, she has produced four podcasts under the Kwest On Media banner.

Shaneen Quarles

Shaneen, aka “Shaneenspeaks,” is an experienced and expert media professional who has appeared regularly on many national and local television stations. One of her major appearances was as presenter of the Milestone Award to Grammy Artist Carrie Underwood alongside Grammy-winning artist and actress Kelly Rowland at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

She graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s in concentrations of Journalism and Meteorology. She was the first Black female weather anchor in Augusta, Georgia.

When not on camera, she works for various companies branding, marketing, creating, scripting and executive producing digital commercials, modeling and social influencing to drive sales for clients.

Shaneen is constantly innovating as Black women seek more acknowledgment in media, fashion and other industries.

Mariela Santos-Muñiz

Mariela founded MSM Media LLC and also works as a freelance journalist and collaborative journalism database and newsletter coordinator at the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair University. Based in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, she is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Her work has appeared in The Daily Dot, Nylon, Culture Trip and elsewhere. Her reporting focus is Latinx people and U.S. and Puerto Rican communities.

A 2021 graduate of GNI Startups Boot Camp partnered by Google News Initiative and Lion Publishers, she is preparing to launch a news media venture focusing on Puerto Ricans on and off the island.

A 2019 IWMF Gwen Ifill fellow, she has a bachelor’s in Socio- Humanistic Studies from Universidad del Turabo and a master’s in International Relations and International Communications from Boston University.

Rasheed Shabazz

Rasheed is a multimedia storyteller, urban planner and historian. He is co-director of Oakland Voices, a program of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

Rasheed’s writing and photography has been published in East Bay Express, East Bay Times, Indybay, Oakland Local, The Oakland Post, San Francisco Bay View and The Final Call. He has hosted and produced news at KALX-FM and hosted the Black Hour podcast with the Peralta Colleges’ 9th Floor Radio. He recently co-hosted Community Visions, a podcast focused on race and urban planning.

After receiving a Associates Degree in Journalism at Laney College in Oakland, he transferred to UC Berkeley and received bachelor’s in African American Studies and Political Science. While there, he received an inaugural AP-Google Journalism and Technology Fellowship to launch a news website for Onyx Express, the student magazine.

After graduating, Rasheed received a year-long visiting scholar appointment to teach journalism and media literacy on University of California campuses. He recently completed a master’s of city and regional planning at Berkeley.

Corey Takahashi

Corey is a professor, online course designer, journalist and multimedia producer.

At Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, he teaches undergraduate and graduate students multimedia and multiplatform storytelling. He has launched several new classes and online courses at the school there.

Takahashi started his career in New York City as a founding editor at the music magazine, Blaze, and later was an editor for Vibe, where he was an international contributor when it won a National Magazine Award (NMA) for General Excellence. He worked on staff at Entertainment Weekly, Newsday and Public Radio International/New York Public Radio. A longtime cultural contributor to NPR he has also Takahashi has filed feature stories for Monocle, Quartz/Atlantic Media, CBC, BBC/PRI, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

At SXSW in Austin, he hosted the first-of-its-kind entrepreneurship panel, “New Bosses/New Voices: Diversity in Media Ownership.” He is co-creator of an upcoming conference in Miami focused on startups, Web3 and media’s future.

Michael Tennant

Michael is a founder, writer and movement builder dedicated to spreading tools of empathy and helping people find their purpose. Before founding Curiosity Lab in 2017, he spent 15 years becoming a media, advertising and nonprofit executive, and delivering award-winning marketing strategies for companies like MTV, Vice, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Sweetgreen and Oatly.

Michael created Actually Curious, the conversation card game that became a viral sensation in 2020 during the pandemic and the rise of the racial justice movement for helping people to build meaningful connections and tackle important topics facing the world.

He has channeled his business success and momentum into a sustained movement supporting BIPOC and other underrepresented communities through speaking, writing, leadership, mentorship, consulting, partnerships and talent-pipeline programs.

He is joining the Maynard Fellowship Media Entrepreneurship program to further fundraising efforts around a creative studio run by and dedicated to elevating voices of underestimated storytellers.

Lisa Tinsley

Lisa’s passion for news and media began in her early teenage years. Whether in the library or completing research in college, she has always enjoyed working in the news and media industries.

A graduate of Loyola Marymount and Florida State Universities, Lisa has worked as a news researcher and archivist for 25 years. She loves to share her research that will enrich the lives of others.

On June 1, 2017, Lisa launched KISA Public Radio, an online African American news and culture station highlighting public affairs and news in the arts, business, science, technology and sports. Listeners worldwide tune in daily to hear dynamic audio documentaries and interviews at

When not being program director of the radio station, Lisa may be found volunteering with food banks and Habitat for Humanity, traveling with family and friends and watching documentaries.

Find more information about the 2022 program of the Maynard 200 Fellowship.

For more information about the Maynard 200 Fellowship, please reach out to: Maynard 200 Director, Odette Alcazaren-Keeley at

Donate Support Maynard 200 Fellows

To sponsor a Maynard 200 Fellow, please reach out to Co-Executive Director, Martin Reynolds at or Membership Coordinator, Ava Macha at