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Home > Grants > Diversity Leadership Fellows Program > Recipients

Diversity Leadership Fellows Program
Meet the Recipients

The goal of the Diversity Leadership Fellows program, ultimately, is to increase the diversity participation of SPJ members within national committees and on the national board of directors. The following people were selected to receive Diversity Leadership Grants to attend the Excellence in Journalism 2014 Conference in Nashville.

Athima Chansanchai

Currently a news reporter writing daily blog posts and feature stories for the Microsoft News Center, Athima Chansanchai is the current treasurer for the SPJ Western Washington Pro Chapter and incoming vice president. She was the on-site coordinator for the 2013 chapter awards gala and organized the Halloween "Don't Be Afraid of the Interview" event and the "Writing Fast and Well" continuing education session in the spring.

She is also working on her first book, "100 Things To Do in Seattle Before You Die" — due for publication in spring 2015.

She was a daily contributor to‘s Tech-Sci blogs for nearly two years, writing about consumer tech and editing posts on all the section’s blogs and wire content. She did so as founder/president of Tima Media, after almost 10 years as a reporter and editor at the Seattle P-I and The Baltimore Sun. She’s also been a columnist for “DigiGirl.” She also worked at The Village Voice.

She began her career in journalism more than nearly 20 years ago at Florida Trend magazine, before receiving a master’s degree in Communications/Journalism at Stanford University.

In addition to serving on the SPJ Western Washington chapter board, she has also served as National Secretary for the Asian American Journalists Association in 2011 (after serving nearly a decade as a national board member and chapter officer), and is also a member of the Online News Association.

Follow her on Twitter: @TimaMedia

Kay L. Colley

Kay L. Colley, Ph.D., is currently associate professor and chair in the department of communication at Texas Wesleyan University. She teaches journalism and public relations courses. Her more than 17 years in communication education also includes full-time faculty appointments at the University of Texas at Arlington in public relations, the University of North Texas in journalism and Blinn College in journalism. She has advised student newspapers at UNT and Blinn. She currently serves as student media director at Texas Wesleyan.

Her professional background includes stints in public relations, magazines, daily newspapers and weekly newspapers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a master’s of international journalism and a doctorate in higher education. She was recently named vice president for awards and recognition by the Fort Worth Professional Chapter of SPJ.

Georgia Dawkins

Georgia Dawkins has a passion for producing, and takes pride in leading her show team. Dawkins joined KSLA News 12 in Shreveport, La, in 2013 after two years at WBBH/WZVN in Fort Myers, FL. As the senior producer at Shreveport's number one station, Georgia produces the 6 p.m. broadcast and leads special projects like “KSLA News 12 On the Road.”

The Florida A&M alumna entered local news at WCTV in Tallahassee. She spent three summers at ABC in New York City. Dawkins was introduced to the award-winning news team in 2008 as a digital fellow, and was hired as a desk assistant working alongside Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and Chris Cuomo. She worked at Good Morning America and America This Morning through August 2010. Dawkins is the membership chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, and is a former member of the organization’s board of directors.

Khalil Garriott

Khalil Garriott is an award-winning digital sports journalist. He was the winner of a 2012 Dateline Awards Competition (Sports Website Category), given by the Washington, D.C. SPJ chapter. He’s also served as the judge for the online sports reporting category of SPJ’s National Mark of Excellence Awards.

Garriott previously served a one-year term as recording secretary on the board for the Washington, D.C. SPJ chapter. He also was selected to serve on a new alumni advisory council at Georgetown University. Additionally, he was selected to serve as a mentor in the inaugural Georgetown University Journalism Ambassador Program.

Most recently, Garriott worked as an editor with Yahoo Sports, focusing primarily on the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Previously, he worked as a senior editor and digital content editor at, online editor at the NFL Players Association and a sports producer/college basketball columnist for AOL Sports. He’s also worked as an Interactive Content Producer for, a reporter for Major League Soccer, a correspondent for the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, a sports columnist for Transatlantic Times and news editor of The Breeze, in addition to various freelance writing roles.

Garriott earned his master’s degree in journalism from Georgetown University and holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University. He’s also a proud graduate of the 2014 SPJ Scripps Leadership Institute. Garriott lives in Los Angeles, Calif., where he’s a member of the SPJ L.A. Pro chapter.

Amy Lieu

Amy Lieu is currently the Social Media and Community Editor at KCETLink-TV for their news show "SoCal Connected" in Los Angeles. She is also a freelance reporter for - Asian America and a local cable station in L.A. (El Segundo TV). She has worked for Marketplace and KPCC (an L.A. NPR affiliate). At KPCC, she wrote for several news blogs and produced online video projects. Lieu speaks conversational Spanish and three dialects of Chinese: Chiu-Chow, Cantonese, and Mandarin. She graduated cum laude from UCLA with a B.A in Communication Studies. She was born and raised in Los Angeles. In her spare time, she enjoys singing karaoke and trying different foods. She is a proud member of SPJ and has most recently attended SPJ’s Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in San Diego.

Ricardo Torres

Ricardo Torres is a producer for Newsradio 620 WTMJ and a reporter for the Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. In 2011, he graduated from Roosevelt University with a master's degree in journalism after having graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor's degree in journalism. As a student, Torres had internships with Wisconsin Public Radio, WGN Radio 720, and the Better Government Association. Recently, he has freelanced for Yes! Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine and the Wisconsin Reporter.

Torres loves his home city of Milwaukee. Every year the sports teams give the fans something to cheer for, in the summer there's no better place to be than Summerfest (the nation's largest music festival) and the city and state as a whole is filled with people who have great stories to tell. As a journalist, he says he couldn't ask for more.

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