Skip over navigation

The Princeton Summer Journalism Program Class of 2018

Magda Abdi is a senior at Hiawatha Collegiate High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has always had a passion for writing and telling stories and enjoys listening to music when she writes, especially if it fits the mood. She is obsessed with movies and pop culture, which she uses to her advantage to write short stories and fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she like to edit pictures and videos and post them online to tell stories in a visual form.

Ronell Austin, Jr. lives in Detroit, MI and is a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society. Last year, he had the opportunity to visit the Microsoft HQ in Seattle, WA as part of Tech Changemakers to discuss bridging the technological gap in many different communities – starting with his own – and was invited to speak with lawmakers in Washington D.C. about important issues, such as substance abuse in his community. Ronell is passionate about hearing a diverse range of stories about people’s struggles and tribulations, but is even more passionate about sharing them with elected officials, including the president. He sees journalism as one of the best outlets to tell stories that are not normally covered in mainstream media. He intends to one day open his own broadcasting company and build a staff with similar goals.

Delia Batdorff is a senior at Republic High School and lives in Madison, Tennessee. She and mother have lived in five different states from the Northeast to the Southwest. Through her travels, she has acquired a love of the of varying landscapes of America and hopes she can continue her travels into adulthood through journalism. After attending a week-long journalism camp in the summer of 2017, she founded The Republica, her school’s newspaper and is currently the editor. She writes a column that covers an important societal issue every month, ranging from bullying to male depression. Currently, she is conducting research as an intern at Belmont University in the Health Sciences Department. She is interested in journalism because it has the ability to inspire empathy and social movements within society.

Ngan Chiem is a senior at Pennsauken High School in Pennsauken, NJ, a small town in the Tobacco Pouch of New Jersey. She sometimes feels that she, like her town, wedged between the Philadelphias and New Yorks of the world with its unpronounceable name, has a near-Icarian ambition. Despite not being able to run for president (she was born in Vietnam), Ngan still wants to help steer the world toward a more informed, humane direction. She wants to be a pro-bono lawyer for immigrants or maybe a video journalist discovering soccer talent in small towns of the world. Who knows? Maybe one day, the law will change, and she can become president. Until then, she’s dividing her summertime between interning for Engineering Design Studio and riding her bike around the ol’ Tobacco Pouch, deep in thought in preparation for her possible presidency.

Nicole Chow lives in Bronx, NY and is a senior at Millennium Art Academy. She fell in love with documentary photography during classes at the International Center of Photography in 2016. She also took a short-documentary class with ReelWorks and began a production about her family’s multiple migratory movements. Beyond working with both digital and film cameras, Nicole also paints and draws. She has had multiple pieces exhibited through Arts Connection and has won several awards from Scholastic Art and Writing, including both Gold and Silver Keys. Most of her work revolves around her Venezuelan cultural background and her family. Nicole wishes to document the truth behind the crisis in her home country and to educate those with little idea about the corruption not only in her country, but across the globe.

Fernando Cienfuegos is a rising senior from Northview High School in Covina, CA. With the help of the school’s newly established partnership with PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs, Fernando discovered his passion for storytelling and journalism. His first story followed ongoing efforts to support DACA recipients and Dreamers in their transition from high school to higher education. Fernando also traveled to Washington D.C. with his peers to cover the March for Our Lives. Fernando’s stories have aired on PBS NewsHour and NewsHour Weekend, been published in local publications, and earned his a spot in the 2018 PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Academy. Fernando is also part of the Associated Student Body at Northview and works part-time after school.

Tammie Clark grew up on the Westside of Detroit, MI and is a senior at Communication and Media Arts High School, where she enjoys the study of English. She has entered several writing contests and appreciates the role of writing as a healing tool. She hopes to one day write books and for T.V. shows in her career, in addition to writing for the news.    

Emiliano Davalos lives in Chicago, IL and attends University of Illinois at Chicago College Preparatory School. He is a resilient, charismatic problem-solver who spends his free time building and renovating homes—including the one his family lives in!—with his family. Emiliano looks forward to showcasing stories of grit, determination, and resilience like his own through his work as a journalist.

Aleina Dume lives in Queens, New York and attends York Early College Academy. She spends her free time at the 96th Street New York Public Library with the amazing people of BridgeUP, a mentoring program. She spent the summer before her senior year learning about environmental journalism with InsideClimate News and trained for a 5K with the New York Road Runners. Aleina wants to be a journalist to merge her love of writing with her interest in social issues, activism, and education.

Jessica Fan lives in Oakland, CA and is a senior at Oakland Technical High School.

Raho Faraha lives in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, California and is senior at Willow Glen High School. She enjoys playing tennis and reading about new findings in science and history. In the future, she would like to double major in neuroscience/cognitive science and communications with a minor in linguistics or politics. She is interested in journalism because she would like to bring awareness to social issues that are often ignored or glossed over in today’s society.

Jennifer Garcia lives in Los Angeles, CA and is a senior at South Gate High School. She fell in love with the production of her school’s newspaper and online paper, which has propelled her to stay informed with current events. In her downtime, she enjoys listening to music and watching crime shows, such as Criminal Minds, or sitcoms like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. A proud member of a “baseball family,” she often enjoys attending games at Dodger Stadium, as well as attending her brothers’ games. After graduating high school, she plans to travel, visit family in Mexico with her grandparents, and living a life in her career in law.

Lauren Hernandez is a senior at Tarpon Springs High School in Palm Harbor, FL, where she is the Vice President of Key Club and secretary both of Mu Alpha Theta and UNICEF club.  When she is not in school or at work, she volunteers at a local hospital and animal shelters and fundraises for local charities. She took an interest in social issues from an early age and considers herself a feminist. She recently took part in a local journalism program at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. She believes journalism is essential in our world because it provides a voice to the voiceless.

Ikra Islam lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a senior at Midwood High School, where she participates in various school clubs, including debate, film club, and the Muslim Students Association (MSA), which she leads as President. Ikra has participated in various film competitions and was awarded second place with her team at the Citywide Graphic Arts competitions. Her film, Hijab, was also featured in the Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival. During her junior year, Ikra began writing for ARGUS, her school’s newspaper. Journalism allows her to combine her passions for politics and film, which she holds to pursue in the field of broadcasting journalism. Ikra will utilize journalism and digit media to shed light on many of the injustices that exist today. 

Devontae Jackson is from the west side of Dayton, OH and is a senior at David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center. He is passionate about drawing, building, and most of all, meteorology – so much so that he runs his own weather blog, The Greater Dayton Weather Post! Devontae spends his time outside of class as the student station manager for 89.5 WDPS-FM, jazz-format radio station owned by his school district for which he has won several awards. He hopes to one day become a broadcast meteorologist to forecast weather for the protection of life and property and for the greater good of the economy.

Jayda Jones lives in Brownsville, Pennsylvania and is a senior at Brownsville Area High School. Jayda lives by the Ghandi quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” At school, Jayda is involved in some 16 clubs and organizations and enjoys giving back to the people of her community. She is most active through the Students in Action team, through which she has built a park and amphitheater in the downtown area of Brownsville and is working to add a teen space to the local library. She realized she loved the art of writing back in middle school when she began writing her own poems and books. She wants to become a journalist because of her interest in social issues and activism, and her need to report on the stories that give America the truth.

Maliyah Lanier lives in Philadelphia, PA and is a senior at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is also an ambassador for her high school. She participates in her school’s work study program where she has completed internships with Comcast, Johnson and Johnson, and the Mayor’s Office of Philadelphia. While interning at the Mayor’s Office, she had the opportunity to be present at city press conferences and meet a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her hobbies include slam poetry and photography, both of which highlight her two main career interests in writing and documentation.  Her interest in journalism stems from a place of passion for storytelling, through which she intends to diversify the field with the voices of her community that are often silenced and disregarded.

Prettystar Lopez lives in Bronx, NY and is a senior at Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy 141. She is Vice President of her class and enjoys writing poetry, watching movies, taking college classes, playing softball, wrestling, and traveling. She loves hip-hop/rap, soul, R&B, and rock music and is currently learning to play acoustic guitar. In her free time, Prettystar likes to walk around her neighborhoods in The Bronx and Washington Heights, dance (although she is not good at it), and spend time with her 4-year-old Chihuahua, Chiquita Lopez. Prettystar intends to major in journalism, creative writing, or philosophy and later attend law school, as she aspires to be a human rights lawyer. Prettystar is interested in journalism because its values align with those of our political system: creating a democracy whose ideals can provide a safe haven for all people, no matter their race, religion, color, and political beliefs.

Christina Maldonado lives in Gallup, NM and is a senior at Gallup High School. She enjoys writing poetry and short stories, reading, playing tennis, and watching television shows, and intends to publish a novel or short story in the near future. She is interested in journalism, because it gives members of society the chance to give back to the world with just their words. Journalists report stories that are small and concealed, that have the power to inform, entertain, and introduce new topics. As a journalist, she sees herself one day becoming a political or feature writer because of her desire to tell the truth.

Auhjanae McGee lives in Detroit, Michigan and is a senior at Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights. A writing enthusiast, she has explored creative writing — sci-fi and fantasy, in particular — and poetry, in addition to writing for her school newspaper. She also finds solace in cooking for her family, which allows her to be both creative and methodical at the same time in order to perfect her recipes. Auhjanae is interested in the power of journalism to discover the truth, tell riveting stories, and raise awareness on overlooked issues. She aspires to be the editor-in-chief and founder of her own entertainment news publication, through which she will analyze the effects of arts and media – from films to TV to literature – on society. When she retires, she plans to open her own panda sanctuary and raise two cubs.

Jesse Mendoza lives in South Gate, CA and is a senior at South Gate High School. His hobbies include writing poetry, helping others, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. He began writing simple haikus in 9th grade, although he has recently branched out to other forms including spoken word. Jesse aspires to become an F.B.I. agent, and is interested in journalism as an academic study, where he can impact people for the better with his words. His knowledge, research, and dedication can help others be aware of what’s going on, which is also a noble deed.

Evelyn Moradian was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is a senior at Herbert Hoover High School. She began taking pictures at a young age and writing descriptions of the scenery and current events in her city. Her love of journalism was created in these early years. What my classmates saw as irrelevant and uninteresting, she saw as beautiful and mesmerizing. As she grew, her writing followed a political path. Now, after many internships and summers typing away about current events, she hopes to help humanity as a writer and leader. Journalism is her stepping stool to a future as both a politician and a journalist, one who informs and inspires.

Myrna Moreno is a senior at Betty H. Fairfax in Laveen, AZ. She enjoys painting, singing, writing, and taking pictures. The arts help her to relax, regroup, and process the many events that are happening around her. Her favorite hobby is photography: one picture can have many different meanings and stories behind it. You can express how you feel and let people see items or situations the way that you do. She also likes to write about current issues and how individuals can make an impact. Myrna dreams of one day being a journalist for the National Geographic.

Ryan Morillo lives in Miami, Florida and is a senior at G. Holmes Braddock High School, where he is completing the Cambridge Global Studies Program. He has assumed several leadership roles such as President of National English Honor Society, Student Government Treasurer, and Competition Director of his school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America. He also writes for his school newspaper, The Watchdog, and created a project called Bridging Borders, which helps many students in the ESOL program give back to their home countries and feel more comfortable speaking the English language. Outside of school, he enjoys writing short stories on multiple topics ranging from crime to mythology and researching Greek mythology. He is interested in a career in journalism, because it allows everyone to speak their minds and will help him elevate the voices of others who may not be able to speak out. Journalism does not discriminate against race or gender because it provides everyone with an outlet to speak their truth.

Emily Navarrete lives in Los Angeles, California and is a senior at Academia Avance Charter School. She aspires to become a neurologist and would like to specialize in behavior genetic neurobiology. She is very active within the neighborhoods that surround her, volunteering at events such as community clean-ups and AIDS walks to bring awareness to different issues. She appreciates the art of writing and its power as a tool to express and advocate for oneself. Her love of researching is driven by her curiosity and desire to be informed. Studying journalism is necessary and beneficial within the branches of neurology in order to truly allow the audience to become informed in an ethical way when reading studies or learning about findings within the field.

Annie Phun lives in Los Angeles, CA and is a senior at Gabrielino High School, where she is the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Tongva Times. She also works with the Los Angeles Times through their teen journalism program, High School Insider, as a member of the Student Advisory Board. Through this, she has been able to interview public figures, such as John Green, and cover events like the Radio Disney Music Awards. Although her main interest lies in journalism, Annie also loves creative writing and plans to publish a novel one day. She believes that storytelling is the key to connecting with others and hopes that her words will inspire those around her to share their stories as well.

Katheryn “Kat” Quijada-Polanco lives in East Oakland, CA and is a senior at Coliseum College Prep Academy. She finds writing, music, and photography to be creative outlets for self-expression. Kat sees journalism as one of the best ways to help communities by shedding light on issues that are often ignored or not covered in depth such as violence, poverty, and inequity—especially during an intense political time period like the one we are currently in. She intends to pursue a career in journalism, community organizing and advocacy. Her goal is to use the knowledge she gains to make Oakland a better place for longtime residents and their future generations.

Kayla Ricumstrict is a senior at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, where she has lived for most of her life. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, painting, drawing, and listening to music. She is also a member of her school’s book club and writes for the school newspaper. She finds it incredibly rewarding to be able to have a voice and inform fellow classmates about lesser-known issues and topics through journalism and feels proud to be a part of something so significant. Her dream career would be a psychiatrist, but she hope to be a journalist, as well. She plans to travel and learn about different cultures and languages, beginning with Arabic, which she is currently studying.

Aurora Rivera lives in Los Angeles, CA and is a senior at Academia Avance Charter School. She is a courageous and inquisitive athlete and Vice President of the Associated Student Body, who enjoys reading, networking, dancing, cracking jokes with her younger sister, and learning new perspectives – especially from the teachers and staff in her school. Aurora is an avid runner and has completed five marathons with Students Run L.A. She wants to become a journalist to write about sociopolitical issues that are relevant to her neighborhood and help her community become conscious of change. She sees journalism, not as an opportunity to tell people what they want to hear, but as a pathway to the truth.

Fatima Rivera Gomez is a senior at McFarland High School in her hometown of McFarland, CA, where she serves as the senior class Vice President. She is also involved in a number other clubs in and outside of school, such as Club Ed, California Scholarship Fund, AVID, Youth of Eden, and two soccer teams. She dreams of being a writer and journalist, but even more than that, serving as a voice for underrepresented youth.      

Adilene “Adi” Sandoval is a senior at Wahluke High School in Mattawa, WA. She is an athlete, Class President, Executive Associated Student Body Activities Director, and school-wide President at her school. She is particularly interested in the structure within leadership roles and the responsibilities that come with them. Adi is interested in journalism, because she appreciates the roles journalists play in America’s democracy. She looks forward to her roles in public service and to increasing her passion for journalism through writing and video production.

Zahrea Smith is from Dudley, NC, an extremely close-knit community where Pepsi is sold at all stores, tobacco is grown is all fields, and southern hospitality flourishes everywhere. She is a senior at Southern Wayne High School, where she is a dedicated member of the National Technical Honors Society, Future Teachers of America, National Honors Society, and Future Farmers of America. She deeply enjoys the arts: painting, drawing, sculpting, and animation and has been recognized in county fairs and shopping malls for her various artistic creations. Her interest in literature and journalism developed when her love for making up vacuous and illiterate stories for friends and family blossomed into an eminent passion for reading and idiomatic writing. In her spare time, she enjoys researching conspiracies, listening to music, and advocating for equal rights. She sees journalism as a way to inform people about the world's issues and encourage them to make the world a better place.

Anahi Soto is a senior at Proviso East High School in Maywood Illinois. Over her years in school, she has been elected to office in her school and become a musician, an engineer, and a poet. She expresses herself most fully through her music as a trombonist and her poetry and has won awards for her outstanding civic duty and excellence in science. Anahi wants to be a journalist to fight for the struggles of her people in the village of Maywood, who are reestablishing the means of being a resident in the community.

Julieta Soto was raised in San Diego and is a senior at San Diego High School of International Studies. She has taken advantage of several college access programs in pursuit of her education. Within her community, she tutors elementary school students at Barrio Logan College Institute and serves as an organizer for Barrio Youth Science, a committee that organizes and executes STEM-related events for Barrio Logan and other communities in San Diego. She is also an active member of her church and will soon be a catechism doctrine teacher for young children. She finds beauty in journalism’s ability to inform and impact on people. Julieta intends to major in English and travel to teach it as a second language, especially in Spanish-speaking communities before subsequently earning her master’s in journalism.

Matea Toolie is a senior at Hogarth Kingeekuk Memorial School in Savoonga, AK. She is an Alaskan Native introvert who adores reading, writing poems, being with canines and felines, and watching anime and shows/movies. While she is not yet sure what she will pursue as a career, she cherishes the thought of somehow helping others in the fields of education, journalism, or business and is encouraged by the support of her family. She plans to travel to Europe in the future, to visit the place where her grandfather’s family originated from.

Cristofer Emanuel Urías Sandoval lives in New Brunswick, NJ and is a senior at New Brunswick High School. Originally from Honduras, they moved to the U.S. in 2014 with no knowledge of the English language or experience with American culture. However, they experienced an awakening and discovered the power of words and language during an Intensive Literacy course in high school. Cristofer’s interest in journalism stems from their passion for harnessing language in many forms, their awareness of intersectionality, and their determination to use their platform to be vocal about the injustices happening in our communities and the rest of the world.

Mauricio Vazquez lives in Dallas, TX and is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. He is involved in multiple extracurricular activities including Student Council and Upward Bound, which have taught him leadership skills, responsibility, and how to work and participate in a group. His interest for writing began as a child when he grew bored of reading the same old fairy tales and wrote his own instead. His writing eventually extended to poetry and short stories, until he discovered journalism. He joined his middle school’s newspaper and it was there he found out that it was possible to make a career out of writing stories. He is interested in pursuing a career in journalism because he wants to be a source of information for engaged young people, an advocate for people whose voices often go unheard, and a role model to young Latinos interested in journalism.

Oswaldo Vazquez was born in Los Angeles, CA but was raised for half of his life in a small town in southern Mexico called Motul, where he developed his passion for journalism and soccer. He made the difficult decision to return to the U.S. without his family for high school and is now a senior at Los Angeles School of Global Studies. Oswaldo participates in various community events as a volunteer and is a member of several clubs. He has taken college courses at Los Angeles City College since his sophomore year for an additional academic challenge.  Journalism serves as the perfect medium for Oswaldo to express his opinions regarding American politics and connect them to everyday struggles in Los Angeles. Informing others and expressing his perspectives are what fulfill Oswaldo’s will to give back to his community.

Daniela Vivas Labrador is a senior at Freedom High School in Orlando, Florida. She was born in Venezuela but moved with her family to Florida in December of 2015. Despite the difficult transition, Daniela has exceeded expectations and emerged as a leader in her school and community. She serves on the executive board of the Spanish National Honor Society, is a member on the National Honor Society and the Student Government Association, and participates in AVID, in addition to working part-time at a local mall. Her interest in journalism was born from the need to tell stories, especially with a strong message, that inspire and create change in others’ lives.

Kendall Williams lives in Phenix City, AL and is a senior at Central High School. He enjoys playing basketball and playing the drums. Growing up in Alabama has instilled in him pride for the core values of love for the United States, religion, and family. He enjoys helping his community from doing simple tasks such as picking up trash on the riverfront to helping the United Way delegate funds to an organization to help the homeless. He is interested in journalism not just as a way of covering stories and reporting news through media but also because it allows him to use a variety of skills to produce liberating words that connect with a broader audience in many facets.