Chips Watch: The Latest Alumni News

Nolan McCaskill, as shown on TV interviewing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Three CQS alums have hit the national campaign trail to report on the 2020 presidential elections and campaign finance. Read about it here in the latest Chips Watch. 

New political-reporting jobs and promotions

Three CQS alums may become familiar faces and bylines on the 2020 presidential campaign trail:

    • Brian Slodysko (Summer 2008) has moved to the Washington, D.C., bureau of The Associated Press to cover campaign finance and the election. Previously he was AP state capitol correspondent in Indianapolis.
    • Juana Summers Markland (Summer 2009) joined

      Juana Summers (AP photo/Susan Walsh)

      AP’s Washington, D.C., bureau last fall as a political reporter assigned to cover the midterm and 2020 elections. Previously she was a senior writer at CNN, covering federal agencies and ethical issues in politics.

    • Nolan McCaskill (Summer 2014) has been promoted to national political reporter at Politico, covering the 2020 presidential campaign full time. Previously he reported on Congress and wrote a morning newsletter for Politico.

More new jobs and promotions

Edgar Sandoval (Summer 1999) is a stringer-reporter for The New York Times. Previously he was a staff reporter at the New York Daily News.

Zuri Berry (Summer 2006) is senior managing editor for WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington, D.C. Previously he was managing editor for news and digital at WFAE, the NPR affiliate in Charlotte, N.C.

Francisco Vara-Orta (Summer 2006) is a trainer for Investigate Reporters and Editors. Previously he was a staff reporter and data specialist at Chalkbeat.

Aaron Morrison (Summer 2008) is a senior reporter at The Appeal in Brooklyn, N.Y. Previously he was a senior staff writer at Mic.

Roshni Oommen Neslage (Summer 2011) is a communications officer with Knight Foundation in Miami. Previously she was a communications assistant at The Miami Foundation.

Andy Mai (Summer 2014) has a temporary, full-time news position at WNYC, the NPR affiliate in New York. Previously he was a staff reporter at the New York Daily News.

Shondiin Silversmith (Spring 2015) is a reporter for The Arizona Republic, covering Arizona’s 20-plus Native American nations. She writes, “I am so ready for this opportunity and I look forward to giving a voice to Arizona’s Indigenous communities. I don’t know how to express how much this means to me.” Previously she was a homepage producer at the paper.

Kelsey Mo (Summer 2018) has moved from a temporary reporting position to the digital production-homepage team as a Pulliam Fellow at The Arizona Republic, her CQS internship newspaper. She is preparing to graduate from Arizona State University in May.


Andy Tsubasa Field (Summer 2018) is a news intern at St. Louis Public Radio in Missouri. Previously he was a reporting intern at The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Cameron Teague Robinson (Summer 2015), the University of Missouri men’s basketball beat reporter for the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, won first place from Missouri Associated Press Media Editors in the sports feature writing category, division II newspapers, for “Visit with Cuonzo Martin Helps Illinois Teen Through Battle with Lymphoma.”

Professional development

Stephanie Toone (Summer 2005), sponsorship content creator for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been named a member of The Poynter Institute’s 2019 Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Stephanie is one of 30 women selected to participate in the weeklong March academy, designed to enhance participants’ leadership skills and cultivate their careers in digital media news organizations.

In the news

Kainaz Amaria (Summer 2007), visuals editor for Vox Media, was interviewed by NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” about the unaddressed culture of sexual harassment in the photojournalism industry.

William Camargo (Summer 2014) was profiled in issue 16 of Amadeus magazine, which includes training his lens on the Chicanx community in his childhood home of Anaheim, Calif., following a tense time in 2012. Read the preview. William is a visual artist and M.F.A candidate at Claremont Graduate University.

Tailyr Irvine (Summer 2018), right, a photographer at the Tampa Bay Times, shared with CBC Radio her views on how indigenous people are portrayed in photographs.

Cool stuff

Pablo De La Hoya (Summer 2017), a Los Angeles freelancer, has produced a short documentary film “Caminos de Boyle Heights” that is an official selection of the 2019 Irvine International Film Festival in California, to be shown publicly on March 24 in Costa Mesa. The film explores the complexities around the gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood. The film was Pablo’s master’s thesis for the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Julieta Martinelli (left), Matthew Charles and Naomi Tharpe

Julieta Martinelli (Summer 2017) did not attend the State of the Union Address in February, but her journalism shined a spotlight on three people who did. Matthew Charles, the first person released from prison under the First Step Act, was a guest of President Trump at the address, and Albertina Contreras Teletor and her daughter Yakelin Garcia Contreras, separated at the southern border last spring, were the guests of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. Julie says she landed the first media interviews with Charles and Yakelin last year while reporting for WPLN/Nashville Public Radio. On SOTU day in Washington, D.C., Julie had lunch with Charles and was among those at Merkley’s office who helped Yakelin celebrate her 12th birthday. Julie is a Soros Justice Media Fellow based in Atlanta.

Other news

Jessy Diamba (Summer 2018) is a communications intern for the Motion Picture Association of America. Previously he was a production assistant at NBC 5 DFW in Forth Worth, Texas.


Kim and Sam Carlson

Kim (Wallace) Carlson  (Summer 2007), director of engagement for the Kauffman Foundation, and Sam Carlson, web content manager for the American Public Works Association, were married on Oct. 20 at Tom’s Town Distilling Co. in Kansas City, Mo. “We just booked our delayed honeymoon,” to Switzerland and Italy in April, Kim writes. “We took a ‘mini moon’ to Seattle right after the wedding … we could not fathom planning both a wedding AND an international trip at the same time.” Kim and Sam met in 2006 in journalism school at the University of Kansas. (Photo: Peter Yankowsky, One Tree Studios)

Nicole Santa Cruz and Robb Wilson

Nicole Santa Cruz (Spring 2009) and Robb Wilson were married at Arizona Mountain Inn & Cabins in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Sept. 15. Friends introduced them at the Coachella music and arts festival in Indio, Calif., in 2012. Nicole covers crime and writes the Homicide Report blog for the Los Angeles Times. Robb is director of operations and maintenance for sPower, a solar energy company. They live in Los Angeles and will visit South Africa in June for their honeymoon. (Photo: Courtney Larson/Inloveness Photography)

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