Meet the second class of students in our M.A. in Social Journalism degree program:
Joe Amditis is the coordinator of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. He writes a daily newsletter for New Jersey News Commons and manages a statewide community of community journalists using Reddit. Joe served with the New Jersey Army National Guard for seven years. Upon his return from a 2008 deployment to Iraq, Joe received his bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice in 2013 from Rutgers University. He is the co-founder and former director of operations at Muckgers Media LLC in New Brunswick, NJ, an online publishing platform for digital-age student journalists.
Allen Arthur graduated from Syracuse University, where he majored in drama and spent a semester at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. After realizing the theater world wasn’t for him after all, he became a certified Cicerone, the beer equivalent of a sommelier. Allen has been volunteering and writing about issues surrounding homelessness and is ready to adopt a new career in journalism.
Bettina Figl comes to us from a daily newspaper in Austria, where she is a reporter and editor. She also teaches journalism at the University of Vienna. She received a feminist award and a science award for her thesis in which she looked at how humor and power are related and why female journalists write or produce fewer humorous news pieces than men do. She has worked as a freelancer, reporting from various countries, and she recently completed a summer journalism course at the University of Oregon.
Sasha Fountain is a graduate of CUNY’s Hunter College with a degree in media studies. For the past year she has worked with Deans List Tour, a company that helps independent musicians gain exposure at various colleges in New York and across the country. She also was a member of the NYC Civic Corps, an Americorps program run by NYC Service, where she did social media and engagement work. She has also served as an intern blogger for ConcertMe, a crowdfunding site that assists independent musicians with booking gigs. She’s participated in two summer intensive journalism courses offered here, including Digital Intensive and Photojournalism Intensive.
Simon Galperin co-founded Muckgers, an independent hyperlocal journalism site, while he was a student at Rutgers. He’s currently working at Rutgers University on NJ Spark, a social justice journalism lab funded in part by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. This project brings students together with professional media makers to make media with, for, and on behalf of underserved communities.
Katelyn Gillum is a graduate of Murray State with a degree in English education. At Murray State, she participated in a study-abroad program in Belize and won the Donald B. Hunter Distinguished Service Award. She taught English for a year in rural Kentucky and then worked for an outdoor camp for kids, where she did social media, marketing, and other tasks. She served as the coordinator of a mentoring program called G.R.O.W, or Growing into Respected Outstanding Women, which paired female college students with middle school girls. Savvy on social media, she once won a contest for Toms that allowed her to go on trip to distribute their free shoes to people in need.
Sabrina Gordon has been a producer, editor and director on numerous award-winning, high-impact documentary film, television and web projects that tackle a broad range of issues. One of them is Documented, the story of a Pulitzer Prize-winning undocumented journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, and his quest for immigration reform. It had record viewership on CNN, with over a billion impressions on Twitter. Another is Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a film about manhood and gender politics in mainstream Hip-Hop. Named one of MSNBC’s Ten Most Important Black Films of the Decade, it’s used by schools and organizations throughout the US and abroad to discuss race, gender, and media literacy. Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, about a mother’s fight for asylum to protect her daughter from genital cutting, was screened at a Congressional hearing on asylum and women, and is part of an international campaign to end the practice.
Colin Pierre Larnerd Colin Pierre Larnerd graduated from SUNY College at Oneonta with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Religious Studies. He has taken many trips to Kolkata, India where he co-founded the Kolkata Children’s Project while working with families in lower class communities. He studied abroad at Yonsei University in Wonju, South Korea and upon graduation, taught English in Daejeon, South Korea for one year. He has initiated many community-based projects like Annual Yard Sales for Charity, NORML Club’s Garbage Cleanup, and the Kolkata Children’s Project Fundraisers.
Anna-Michelle Lavandier graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Central Florida. Upon graduation she served as the food and arts reporter for The Villages Daily Sun in Florida. She has also interned at a number of places, including the Orlando Business Journal, WESH 2 News, and the startup SocialNewsDesk, among others. A native of the New York/New Jersey area, she looks forward to returning home.
Gloria Medina is a graduate of SUNY College at Old Westbury with a degree in Mass Media and Communication/Journalism. She has 17 years of journalism experience, many of them at El Diario la Prensa, the oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper in New York City, as well as NY1 Noticias. Gloria is a native of Colombia and an active member of NAHJ.
Noa Radosh graduated from Tel Aviv University, where she majored in Middle Eastern studies and minored in psychology. She grew up in Mexico City and recently has been traveling and working in France. In school she worked as an intern for the Peres Center for Peace on a project called “Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Peace.” She also worked with Bedouins facing harsh living conditions in the West Bank, as part of a cooperative effort between Israeli and Palestinian students.
Philip Richardson Philip Richardson is the picture desk assistant and Lens blog producer at the New York Times. His wide ranging duties there include daily posts on the Lens blog, curating visual essays and posting to social platforms, among others. He is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in African and African American Studies. Before joining The Times, Philip worked with Lambda Legal Defense Fund as a community health educator, and most recently with Empire State Pride Agenda, where he helped coalesce New York City corporate sector support to legalizing marriage equality in New York State in 2011.
Nancy Spiccia is a graduate of Florida State University and is coming to CUNY from Atlanta, where she currently lives. After working in the field of accounting for several years, she changed course and became a Certified Health Coach. She regularly works with children and cancer patients, teaching them to grow organic food on an urban farm, where she serves as a Master Gardener volunteer. She has organized and directed an annual community health fair attended by thousands of high school students and their parents. She is a published author who has appeared on television and has built several successful businesses.
Ashley Smalls is a broadcast journalism graduate of Penn State University and is currently working as a social media editor at Forbes, where she helps drive traffic and build brand awareness. She has interned at NBCUniversal, WomansDay.com, Oxygen Network, and AccuWeather, among others.
Martika-Ornella Wilson is a Brooklyn College graduate with a major in anthropology and a minor in art history. Originally from Trinidad, she moved to New York when she was five years old. She is currently working as a receptionist at a music foundation and works as a tutor in writing/reading/English.