The Princeton Summer Journalism Program Class of 2016
Aisha Tahir lives in Alexandria,VA, and is a senior at Annandale High School. She is an IB diploma candidate who plays field hockey and is the president of National Science Honor Society. She is interested in journalism because she feels that through words, she can raise awareness of the truth and in her voice, speak for those without one.
Alexess Sosa lives in Big Spring, TX, and is a senior at Big Spring High School. She is president of the Interact Club and National Honor Society, which allows her to volunteer in her community. She plays baritone saxophone in her school's top band, has been captain of her school’s color guard for two years, plays on the varsity volleyball team, and has multiple competitive writing titles from the University Interscholastic League's journalism competitions. She believes journalists help raise awareness around those who are oppressed and those who are oppressing others. She says journalism is a means to help others by giving them a voice.
Allison Scharmann lives in Southwick, MA, and is a senior at Southwick Regional School. She has a passion for all things political and theatrical and is an active member of her school's mock trial, model congress, debate, and drama clubs. When not onstage with "The Drama Studio" or "Wet Paint Theater", she can be found writing or working in a local doughnut shop. She is interested in journalism because she believes it is “one of the best defenses against ignorance,” and says great journalism has the potential to influence the world in a positive way.
Amanda Koym lives in Madisonville, TX, and is a senior at Madisonville High School. She is a member of her school’s Yearbook club, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Council and Family Career and Community Leaders of America. She also competes in the University Interscholastic League’s academic contests. She is interested in journalism because she finds the courage and honesty to report the good and bad events in the world intriguing.
Amy Kim lives in Valencia, CA and is a senior at Valencia High School. She is passionate about raising awareness around the social and economic consequences of fast fashion after watching a 2015 documentary called “The True Cost”. She runs her own website to promote a sustainable, eco-friendly closet by revamping old clothing. She says with an education system based on constricting rules and rote memorization, journalism is the only arena she feels free to “express beliefs into powerful words that can move people.”
Anahi Figueroa lives in Commerce City, CO, and is a senior at Adams City High School. She participates in her school's book club, the National Honors Society, and Inspire Colorado, a civic leadership group. She is also a member of her school's MCJROTC program and will serve as the Executive Battalion Commander for MCJROTC. She is interested in journalism because she feels it’s a way to “expose, inform, and reflect on problems that surround us while also providing a gateway to the truth.”
Angel Santana lives in Pennsauken, NJ, and is a senior at Pennsauken High School. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Latin Honor Society, Junior Classical League, Newspaper Club and Photography Club. He’s also been involved with Lifting Up Camden's Youth for the past three years. He is interested in journalism because he enjoys informative and entertaining articles and the power it holds to keep the world connected. He is eager to learn how journalists can become great storytellers.
Angela Loyola lives in Stony Point, NY, and is a senior at North Rockland High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Math and Science club. She is also on her school’s debate team which placed 1st and 4th in the county finals. She wants to pursue journalism and writing because she says she wants to “inspire people to think for themselves” by informing them about the world around them. She believes journalism should be about more than a form of advertising and should be about telling the truth.
Anterrica Brady lives in Panther Burn, MS, and is a senior at South Delta High School. She is a member of her high school band, secretary of the Future Farmers of America club and city’s local mentoring program Girls Achieving, Leading, and Succeeding (G.A.L.S.). She is also an active Student Council and Peer Counsel member. She's interested in journalism because of her passion for education and desire to engage and connect with others on a global level.
Aracely Chavez lives in Pacoima, CA, and is a senior at San Fernando High School’s Magnet program. She believes that knowledge is power and is interested in using journalism as a way to empower others: “I want to provide people … with credible, factual information to reduce their susceptibility of being manipulated.” She is an editor for her school newspaper and was selected as a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. She is not certain of her career path yet, but she is very passionate about learning and finds journalism to be one way to satiate her hunger for knowledge on politics and sociology.
Ashley Standafer lives in Hyden, KY, and is a senior at Leslie County High School. She is a member of Promising Appalachian Leaders In Service, and has a part-time job as a waitress at her town's cafe. She is also co-founder of the non-profit "Bluegrass United" and sits on the board of three charitable foundations. She is active online and created the "Don't Be Afraid of Your Shadow" campaign, a social media push to raise awareness of domestic violence. She also started another social media campaign called "Project Positive" to spread optimism online. She is interested in journalism because she believes it will allow her to bring truth and positivity to the media that she says is often clouded with false information.
Berenice Davila lives in Texas City, TX, and is a senior at Texas City High School. She is serving her second year as editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper and is an active member of her school’s National Forensics League, Mu Alpha Theta (Mathematics honor society), National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society chapters. She also competes in all journalism, speech and debate events of the University Interscholastic League program. She says she is passionate about journalism because it allows her “to see aspects of the world and people’s lives from perspectives that so few others have access to” and has power to give a voice to important and relevant matters such as immigration reform and gender equality.
Breonna Reese lives in Gary, IN, and attends 21st Century Charter School. She is vice president of the school's student ambassadors club, president of her senior class, and treasurer of the National Honor Society. She is interested in journalism because she says she enjoys telling stories and reporting important details. She enjoys this quote by Horace Greely, "Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you're at it.”
Davin Goulbourne lives in Paterson, NJ, and is a senior at the School of Education and Training at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex. He is a member of his school’s yearbook team, National Honors Society and the community service group, Interact. He also volunteers at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center and will be president of his school's Debate Team. He says he is interested in journalism because it gives people an outlet to express their thoughts and helps connect people by capturing readers through storytelling.
Elia Morelos lives in Pacoima, CA, and is a senior at San Fernando Magnet High School. She is a member of Upward Bound Pacoima, Student Government and Escalera. She's interested in journalism because she says it’s a way for her to inform and help her community. One way is through translating important news from English to Spanish. She believes journalism is “one step closer to dispelling the corruption that is so prominent around her and her neighbors.”
Hector Gutierrez lives in McFarland, CA, and is a senior at McFarland High School. He served as managing editor for his school’s Future Farmers of America newsletter, has been involved with Club Ed and served as school treasurer for two years. He also assists his dad at his tire shop and is interested in Catholicism, creative writing, human history, astronomy, and journalism. He is interested in journalism because it has allowed him to project his voice and plays a “pivotal role of providing us with reliable news.”
Jadelyn Flores lives in New Brunswick, NJ, and is a senior at New Brunswick High School. She is a Rutgers Future Scholar, an ambassador for Johnson & Johnson's Bridge to Employment program and member of the National Honor Society. She is on the varsity wrestling team and plays violin for the school orchestra. Jadelyn says she’s passionate about journalism because of the “power in words.”
Jamal Burns lives in Saint Louis, MO, and is a senior at Gateway STEM High school. He is captain of the debate team, president of his high school’s career and technical education SkillsUSA club, president and co-founder of the International Policy club, and an avid writer and public speaker. He is interested in journalism for its ability to create change and educate on a global level. He says journalism allows for information to be shared widely and has the power to “generate a profound change in our society.”
Jesus Lino lives in Los Angeles, CA, and is a senior at the Los Angeles School of Global Studies. He is involved in Students Together Organizing Peace (STOP), a club where he is active in raising awareness about violence and feeding the homeless in his community. He is also a member of his school’s cross country team. He is interested in journalism because he enjoys writing and sees it as a vehicle to learn more about his community and others who are different from him.
Kasandra Gonzalez lives in Roma, TX, and is a senior at Roma High School. She is Student Council Vice President, a member of her high school’s choir, and competes in the University Interscholastic League Journalism and Ready Writing contest. She enjoys writing, singing and reading. She is interested in journalism as a career because she says it “enhances communication among each and every one of us, helping us understand better the world we live in.”
Katie Marciniak lives in Chicago, IL, and is a senior at Gage Park High School. She enjoys working at her local community organization advocating for community needs and issues such as criminal justice reform, food justice, and youth employment. Her current project involves helping install the first Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Chicago’s Southwest side to commemorate King and his efforts in the Chicago Freedom Movement. She is passionate about journalism because she says it’s “a platform to share stories that need to be heard” and gives people a higher level of consciousness about the world around them.
Katie Okumu lives in Berea, KY, and is a senior at Berea Community High School. She is senior editor of her school's newspaper and Council president. She is involved in theatre, loves music, and volunteers at her church. She says she loves journalism because it allows for her to engage with others in civic dialogue and gain new perspectives.
Kay-Ann Henry lives in Miami Gardens, Florida and is a senior at Miami Carol City Senior High School. She is vice president of her school’s Key club, poetry club, and speech and debate team, and is very active in her community. She is interested in journalism because she enjoys writing and believes it to be the “best form of activism.”
Kieona Buchanan lives in Rolling Fork, MS, and is a senior at South Delta High School. She is involved in her school’s Student Council and Peer Counsel. She helps organize community service projects through her city's mentoring program, Girls Achieving, Leading, and Succeeding (G.A.L.S.) She also volunteers as a peer tutor at her school district's elementary school. She wants to pursue a journalism career because she is naturally inquisitive, enjoys writing, and believes a journalism career would allow her to travel and meet remarkable people.
Luis Ortiz lives in Chicago, IL, and is a senior at George Westinghouse College Prep. He is mostly interested in medicine, specifically neuroscience and anything related to brain biology and psychology. He is also interested in sharing information with the world, which is why he finds journalism interesting and fundamental.
Maria Gonzalez lives in Mattawa, WA, and is a senior at Wahluke High School. She is also a Running Start student, which allows her to take classes at Big Bend Community College towards an associate’s degree. She is a member of an academic support (TRIO-SSS) program at Big Bend part of the volleyball team, National Honors Society, a, member of Future Business Leaders of America and Key Club. She is interested in journalism because it provides a voice, informs the public, and brings awareness to local, national and global issues.
Meherina Khan lives in Katy, TX, and is a senior at Cinco Ranch High School. She is co-editor of her school’s news magazine, and co-captain of the Cinco Academic Decathlon team. She is also an active member in the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society chapters. She also participates in various interfaith projects and awareness marches in her community. She is interested in journalism because she believes it is important to share the “human story of compassion and resilience that keeps the world spinning.”
Michael Williams lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is a senior at Millennium Brooklyn High School. He is an avid member of his school's Drama Club and Student Government, and a representative on the Student Board of Directors at The Opportunity Network. He is an aspiring investigative journalist, “with a desire to dismantle systems of oppression and keep citizens informed at any cost.” He is working towards these goals through the critical analysis of societal issues on his website, TruFreedomBlog.com.
Miriam Garcia lives in San Fernando, CA, and is a senior at San Fernando Magnet High School. She is one of the senior editors of her school’s journalism club and is also involved in Student Government. She is interested in investigative journalism because she wants to inform her community of any corruption they may be victims of.
Mirna Rodriguez lives in Mission, TX, and is a senior at Veterans Memorial High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the University Interscholastic League's Spelling and Journalism team, Gear Up Leadership Conference, and Rio Grande Valley Lead Ambassadors. She is also interested in researching gender and racial barriers and giving back to her community. She says she wants to be a voice for minorities, and is currently working towards a career in journalism because she believes every moment has its own story waiting to be told.
Sarah Santiago lives in Philadelphia, PA, and is a senior at Esperanza Academy. She is an editor of her school newspaper and tutors underclassmen in essay writing. She is passionate about journalism because she sees it as a way to bring attention to her community and educate the public on current events and social issues.
Skye An lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School. She is the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, president of the Amnesty International Club, a cellist who has toured and performed with her school’s advanced orchestra in China, member of the Ruby Engineers Club, and a mentor to freshmen at her school. She is interested in journalism because news stories expose people to powerful lessons and journalism is a medium to educate, evoke debate, and generate response which presents more opportunities to learn, express oneself, and to be unafraid of the truth.
Talaya Robinson-Dancy lives in Dayton, OH, and is a senior at the Ponitz Career Technology Center. She loves to read, write poetry, and is slightly obsessed with nail design and African-American studies. She is the Vice President of The National Honor Society of Leadership and Success and is also a journalist for her community college newspaper, The Clarion. Talaya also has two part-time jobs — one as “Monea,” a radio talent on 89.5 F.M WDPS, and one as a cosmetic assistant at Walgreens. She is interested in journalism because she wants to travel the world and share the stories of those who would not have a voice otherwise.
Taylor Fetty lives in Hundred, WV, and is a senior at Hundred High School. She is editor of her school’s newspaper, member of the Future Farmers of America club and has been the watergirl for the school's football team since the seventh grade. She is interested in journalism because she believes writing is the best way to share information and says she “wants to make a difference in her country and American news.”
Tommie Robinson lives in Jonesboro, GA, and is a senior at Jonesboro High School. She is involved in cross country, track and field, and is a member of the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy. She is also a coordinate algebra tutor during the school year and summer. Her interests are writing, astronomy and journalism. She says she sees journalism as a “gateway to everlasting knowledge, experience, and adventure!”
Trapetas McGill lives in South West, PA, and is a senior at Hardy High Mastery Charter. She is captain of her school's debate team and editor of her school newspaper. She also started a voter registration drive after seeing how disenfranchised her local community is. She is interested in a career in journalism as a means to ensure “people of color’s voices are heard: loud and clear."
Xuan Truong lives in Springfield, MA, and is a senior at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy. She says he has a deadly love for literature and the pen and is an avid reader and writer. She has worked for her school's broadcasting station and local TV channel. She is interested in journalism because she says “it seeks out the truth, no matter how harsh, bitter, and nasty it is.”
Yahaira Torres Ledesma lives in Bronx, NY, and is a senior at Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School. She is passionate about soccer and writing and says both have helped her deal with challenges in her life. She says she is interested in how journalism can be used as a tool to bring awareness to issues around the world.