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SPJ announces new Student Trustee Council


John Shertzer, SPJ Executive Director, 317-920-4780, jshertzer@spj.org
Ashlynn Neumeyer, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-361-4133, aneumeyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is proud to announce the members of its new Student Trustee Council, which will serve to strengthen the organization.

“I hope all SPJ members are as excited about the Student Trustee Council as I am,” SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall said. “We have a great group that is diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, geography and age, whose members will help SPJ celebrate and advocate for student journalism for years to come. With the formation of this group, we are not only giving emerging journalists a seat at the table but pledging to listen to and learn from them, so all students know that SPJ is here to help them, both as students and well into their careers.”

Members of the STC will provide feedback, insights and recommendations on improving the SPJ campus chapter and general student experience. They are ambassadors for the Society and help promote SPJ information and leadership development opportunities to their peers.

“Students have been core to our organization since our founding and the STC will be like giving the student voice a megaphone,” SPJ Executive Director John Shertzer says. “These young leaders will provide perspectives and insights that only they can, and that are extremely valuable for the future of SPJ and journalism in general.”

The Council is comprised of nine student members:

Remmy Bahati, Columbia University in New York City
Bahati is a multimedia journalist covering Brooklyn for New York City Lens and a graduate student at Columbia Journalism School. Prior to attending Columbia, she served as a U.S. correspondent for television stations in Africa. She also served as a political and investigative reporter for NBS Television in Uganda.

Alexandra Bowman, Georgetown University
Bowman is a political cartoonist, satirist, illustrator and writer from Washington, D.C. At 21 years old, she serves as the editorial political cartoonist for The Lincoln Project and environmental news platform Our Daily Planet. Alex is also the creator, host and creative director of “The Hilltop Show,” a political comedy webseries and talk show at Georgetown University.

Jenna Duke, Community College of Denver
Jenna Duke is a student at Community College of Denver and editor-in-chief of the Talon magazine. Her favorite role as editor is collaborating with her team and being able to catalyze student voices being heard.

Joseph Maronski, High Point University
Maronski is a sophomore journalism and political science double major with a minor in Italian studies at High Point University in North Carolina. He hopes to one day work as a press secretary or political analyst.

Stephany Matat, University of Florida
Matat is a University of Florida student pursuing a double major in journalism and political science with a minor in sociology. She is a political reporter at Fresh Take Florida, a news service with UF's College of Journalism and Communications, where her work has been published in outlets like the Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report and the Miami Herald. She previously worked as digital editor of the Independent Florida Alligator, one of the largest student newspapers in the country.

Kyra O’Connor, Elon University
O'Connor is a sophomore studying journalism and business at Elon University in North Carolina. As a reporter at Elon News Network, the university's student-run publication, O’Connor covers local government, the faculty union and the general campus community. At her university's SPJ chapter, she serves as the secretary-treasurer and works to support and create programming for student journalists.

Pepper Purpura, University of Oklahoma
Purpura is a journalism student at the University of Oklahoma focusing on broadcast. She anchors and produces news segments, works on crew and is an online team member at OU Nightly.

Benjamin Randall, Colorado State University
Randall is a senior journalism major at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. As a writer for the Center for Science Communication at CSU, a highly rated podcast host of “More About More” and a Fulbright Scholar within the storytelling program at Queen's University Belfast — Randall has no shortage of experience in the world of writing.

Julia Woock, Southwestern College
Woock is a trilingual Latina born in Tijuana, Mexico. She is double majoring in political science and journalism and is interested in pursuing political and investigative journalism. Woock is editor-in-chief of the Pacemaker Award-winning newspaper, The Southwestern College Sun, where she covers politics, immigration and indigenous civil rights. She is an Associated Collegiate Press 2020 National College Reporter of the Year finalist.

Overall, the STC exists to ensure that SPJ does all that it can to remain a significant and meaningful home for student journalists and is built intentionally to represent the rich diversity in the college journalism community. SPJ was founded by 10 students at DePauw University in 1909 and this initiative moves the organization forward while remembering its roots.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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