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SPJ to host 24 student journalists for 2021 Student Leadership Institute


Karyn Nishimura Sneath, SPJ Director of Education, 317-920-4791, ksneath@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is hosting a learning laboratory designed to help collegiate student journalists build their skills and confidence for leading and contributing to a team.

The Student Leadership Institute will arm participants with information to understand and apply the SPJ Code of Ethics and make even the best student members of SPJ more credible, ethical and values-based leaders.

Twenty-four student journalists have been selected to take part in the weekend institute to be held July 16-18 at Jameson Camp in Indianapolis. The SLI was created with the support of the Scripps Howard Foundation. Participants were chosen by a committee of journalism educators and professional journalists.

"The candidates for the SLI class for 2021 are strong and already accomplished,” said Katerina Spaskova, member of the SPJ Journalism Education Committee and SLI selection committee. “The future is bright for journalism if we have these leaders in the newsroom and in SPJ."

"At more than 110 years old, SPJ is more than a figurehead of objectivity, free speech and ethics. It also provides real-time, required tools for journalists — critical resources in this era of acrimony against journalism from our top leaders and their followers,” said Yvette Walker, chair of SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee. “We're happy to support our up-and-coming leaders in SPJ through the SLI."

The interactive nature of SLI will allow the small cohort of college students to learn leadership concepts and skill from expert facilitators. Attendees will be coached and mentored by young professional journalists who are leaders in SPJ and in their workplaces.

The students will also be given an opportunity to strengthening their skills at SPJ’s 2021 national conference, Sept. 2-4, allowing participants to choose whether they attend online or in-person in New Orleans.

This talented group of students represent universities from across the country. They work for student and professional outlets from different areas including in political cartooning, multimedia magazines, sports radio, print and digital news sources, social media, television and more. The exceptional students participating in the SLI are:

Helen Acevedo, from Florida International University, an intern for South Florida Media Network and writer for NEWSBREAK;
Finn Askin, from Marquette University in Wisconsin, a news reporter for the Marquette Wire, Marquette University’s official student media source, and a media producer for Burbs Entertainment, a Chicago-based pop culture blog;
Lauryn Bass, from Hampton University in Virginia, the studio executive producer for WHOV-TV and a podcast creator for Sugar-Honey Ice Tea with Laurie Be;
Anne Bennett, from Emerson College in Massachusetts, an intern with DigBoston and Urban Media Arts (Malden Access Television) and a past political correspondent for Good Morning Emerson;
Camille Birdsong, from Hampton University in Virginia, the social media team lead for HerCampus and a reporter for WHOV-TV;
Alexandra Bowman, from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the 2019 SPJ Mark of Excellence Award national winner in political cartooning and the official political cartoonist for the Lincoln Project;
Katy Beth Boyers, from Samford University in Alabama, the editor-in-chief of The Samford Crimson and an executive producer, reporter and anchor for Samford News Network;
Anthony Cabral, from University of Maryland, a staff writer for The Campus Trainer and College Park Here & Now;
Micah Caldwell, from Morgan State University in Maryland, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Council of Negro Women – Morgan State University Section;
Jenna Duke, from Community College of Denver, the editor-in-chief of the journalism magazine at Community College of Denver and an SPJ Student Trustee Council member.
Jaela Harris, from Miles College in Alabama, the president of the Communication Club and a member of the United Negro College Fund Pre-Alumni Student Council;
Mackenzie Hawkins, from Yale University in Connecticut, the editor-in-chief and president of the Yale Daily News, and helps run an after-school journalism program for public high school students in New Haven;
Grant Johnson, from James Madison University in Virginia, a copy editor for James Madison University’s The Breeze and in the JMU National Society of Leadership and Success;
Laken Kincaid, from John Carroll University in Ohio, a staff reporter for The Carroll News and the marketing director for John Carroll's chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project;
Loretta McGraw, from Iowa State University, a student ambassador for Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a reporter for The Iowa State Daily;
Luis Joel Méndez González, from University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo, a student representative for the National Association of Hispanic Journalist Board of Directors and the founder of A Cuentagotas, the first independent news multimedia magazine on campus;
Cinthia Naranjo, from Iowa State University, an executive producer, producer, social media co-director and anchor for Iowa State University Greenlee School TV and the test kitchen creator for Cardinal Eats;
Kyra O’Connor, from Elon University in North Carolina, a reporter, copy editor and enterprise story coordinator for Elon News Network and an SPJ Student Trustee Council member;
Aaliyah Pasols, from Florida International University, the assistant editor and interim editor-in-chief of Think Magazine;
Tino Pattigno, from Hofstra University in New York, an SPJ Region 1 student representative and radio broadcast producer for 88.7 FM WRHU Diversity in Sports Special;
Maddie Pukite, from University of New Mexico, a beat reporter for The Daily Lobo and an SPJ chapter member;
Kinsley Rolph, from Chapman University in California, a New England Student Leadership College Facilitator and an instructor for AccessClass with AccessHumboldt;
Brandon Wheeldon, from Metropolitan State University of Denver, in the MSU Denver Veteran and Military Services and a firefighter and first responder;
Julia Woock, from Southwestern College in California, the editor-in-chief of The Southwestern College Sun and an SPJ Student Trustee Council member.

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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