Chips Watch: The Latest Alumni News

Chipsters shine in their creative endeavors and at two of the annual journalism conventions, in addition to their newsroom successes. It’s all here, in the latest Chips Watch.

Vandana Sinha (Summer 1998), who joined the Washington Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter and ascended to the role of managing editor, is now the paper’s editor-in-chief. Peter Abrahams, WBJ publisher and market president, said, “We look forward to her energy and her great ideas and we’re thrilled to have her at the top of the masthead.”

Luella Brien

Luella Brien (Summer 2004) is general manager of The Bighorn County News in Hardin, Montana. Previously she was the publication’s editor. “We are confident Luella will continue the great job the News does for Bighorn readers and advertisers, and improve it,” said John Sullivan, president of Yellowstone Newspapers, owner of the News.

Bowdeya Tweh (Summer 2007) is The Wall Street Journal’s technology news editor and remains based in New York. Previously he was the Journal’s spot news editor.

Rick Rojas, center

Rick Rojas (Summer 2008) has been promoted to national correspondent at The New York Times, based in Atlanta and covering the South. In tweeting the announcement, Times’ national editor Marc Lacey called Rick “a Texan who writes like the wind and has more hustle than most.” Previously he was a New York-based reporter.

Hayley Sanchez (Summer 2016) has been hired as a general assignment reporter and producer at Colorado Public Radio. Previously she was a fellow at CPR.

Aneri Pattani (Summer 2017) is an investigative health reporter with Spotlight PA, a new investigative newsroom based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that is a collaboration of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Lancaster-based LNP Media Group. Previously she was a health reporter at the Inquirer.

Kristin Lam (Summer 2018), a reporting fellow at USA TODAY Network in Los Angeles, has been hired by the network as a breaking news reporter.

Kelsey Mo (Summer 2018) has been hired full time by The Arizona Republic and as an evening homepage producer. Previously she was on the publication’s digital team as a Pulliam Fellow.

Alexis Clark (Summer 2019) is a breaking news reporter at The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksburg, Tennessee, one of the two Gannett papers where she held her CQS internship this summer. She also interned at The Tennessean in Nashville.

New jobs
Wasim Ahmad (Summer 2003) is an assistant teaching professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University’s School of Communications in North Haven, Connecticut. Previously he was an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications while pursing his doctoral degree there.

Jonathan Capriel (Summer 2006) is a reporter for Washington Business Journal, covering Amazon’s second headquarters, in the D.C. area. Previously he was a staff writer for Tampa Bay Times in Florida.

Anthony Cave (Spring 2014) is an investigative reporter at KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Austin, Texas. Previously he was a reporting fellow at KERA, the NPR affiliate in Dallas.

Wilborn Nobles (Summer 2015) covers Baltimore County for The Baltimore Sun. Previously he was a reporter for the former Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

Andy Field

Gabriella Angotti-Jones (Summer 2016) will be a Metpro photographer at the Los Angeles Times starting this fall. Previously she was a New York-based freelance photographer.

Andy Tsubasa Field (Summer 2018) is a city government reporter at The Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota. Previously he was an intern at St. Louis Public Radio.

Temporary positions
Ibrahim Hirsi (Summer 2011) has a two-month position at MPR News in Minnesota, covering immigration and immigrant communities. This fall he will pursue his doctoral degree in American history, with a focus on immigration, at the University of Minnesota.

Riane Roldan (Summer 2019) is a reporter at the Austin American-Statesman this fall. She was a reporting intern this summer for The Texas Tribune.

Chipsters in two radio newsrooms were recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association’s 2019 Edward R. Murrow Awards. In Washington, D.C., Tiffany Arnold (Summer 2003), social media and digital engagement specialist at WTOP-FM, celebrated her newsroom’s win for overall excellence in the large market category. Also in the large market category, public radio station KJZZ-FM in Tempe, Arizona, won for its continuing coverage of the Arizona teacher strike. Mariana Dale (Spring 2015) was one of two senior field correspondents who led KJZZ’s reporting for the story.

Abbey White (Summer 2016) won the 2019 Excellence in Student Journalism Award from NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists for “The Real Story Of The YMCA That Inspired The Village People’s Gay Anthem,” published by Gothamist. Abbey is earning her master’s degree at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.


From left, Mariecar Mendoza and Kellie Hwang (Spring 2007) and Nicole Dungca (Summer 2007) and friends

Asian American Journalists Association, Atlanta, July 31-Aug. 3

  • Officer: Nicole Dungca (Summer 2007) was re-elected as secretary of the national board.
  • Speakers, panelists and moderators, and topics: LaSharah Bunting (Summer 1999), pitching proposals to a foundation; Frank Bi (Summer 2012), newsroom technology tools; Aneri Pattani (Summer 2017), wellness and avoiding journalism burnout.
  • Awards: AAJA recognized Frank Bi  with its Member of the Year Award and Emma Carew Grovum (Summer 2009) with its ELP Outstanding Leadership Award.

    AAJA Vice President for Journalism Programs Frank Bi was a “full-service convention programming chair,” even folding and organizing speaker name tents, a board colleague says.



    Tom Huang, assistant managing editor of The Dallas Morning News, says of two Chipsters, “Kristen Go (left) was my intern in 1997 and Irena Fischer-Hwang is my intern this summer. And I finally got them to meet!”


From left, Nolan McCaskill (Summer 2014), Bowdeya Tweh (Summer 2007), Danese Kenon (Fall 2000), Monica Herndon (Summer 2014)

National Association of Black Journalists, Miami, Aug. 7-11

Maya Jones

  •  NABJ 2019 Salute to Excellence journalism award winners: Maya Jones, associate editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated, colleague Lonnae O’Neal and the staff for “No Ceilings: How African American Female Athletes Use Community to Navigate Negative Images”; and former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Aneri Pattani for “Sex Ed and Young Black Women.
  •  Student multimedia projects: Mentors again this year included Danese Kenon and Monica Herndon (Summer 2014).
  • Scholarship: Zoe Jackson (Summer 2019), of Western Michigan University, received a $10,000 scholarship through NABJ from the Facebook Journalism Project.



From left, LaSharah Bunting (Summer 1999), Roshni Neslage (Summer 2011), Aaron Morrison (Summer 2008), Talia Buford (Summer 2004)

Halimah Abdullah (Summer 1996)









Creative endeavors  
Sarah Broom (Summer 2000) spoke with NPR’s “Weekend Edition” about her new debut memoir “The Yellow House” (Grove Atlantic), which examines themes around growing up in New Orleans East and experiencing the involuntary demolition of her childhood home following Hurricane Katrina.

Jordan Dresser (Summer 2006) produced “The Art of Home: A Wind River Story,” a documentary film that explores the work of Native American artists, from beadwork and painting to dancing, singing, drumming and storytelling. The film aired in two Wyoming communities in August, and Jordan says PBS will broadcast it in November.

Chicago’s American Indian Center is exhibiting the photographs of Adam Sings In The Timber (Summer 2006) through Sept. 13. The exhibition, “Reclaim: Indigenizing Colonized Spaces,” opened in July and features more than 25 portraits of Indigenous women reclaiming ancestral Native territory across the United States. Adam spoke with the Chicago Tribune about the exhibit, and Wyoming Public Radio interviewed him about the images, his approach to photographing the Crow Fair Powwow, and how he hopes to change how people see Native America.

William Camargo (Summer 2014), a photo-based artist and arts educator and advocate, is a commissioner for the Cultural and Heritage Commission in Anaheim, California. He is earning his M.F.A. at Claremont Graduate University.

Freelance photographers Tailyr Irvine and Salgu Wissmath (both Summer 2018) will display their work this month at Photoville NYC, a temporary photography village housed in shipping-container galleries in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The exhibit featuring Salgu’s work, “Parallax,” shows portraits of queer and trans people of color. Tailyr’s work is part of the EmergiCube program for emerging artists and focuses on Native America. She’s participating in a Sept. 22 panel: “A New Vision of the Indigenous Narrative.” Photoville NY runs Sept. 12-22. Tailyr is based in Montana and Florida, Salgu in Sacramento, California.

Other news
Pablo De La Hoya (Summer 2017) is a researcher at AJ+’s comedy show “Newsbroke” in Los Angeles. He has been an interim contributing editor at Boyle Heights Beat, a bilingual community news site.

Jenny Ung (Summer 2017) is pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Previously she was a fact check reporter at The Associated Press in Phoenix.

In memoriam
Jomay Steen (Summer 1997) of Faith, South Dakota, died July 10 at the Cheyenne River Health Center in Eagle Butte. She was 61. She “was a kind and caring person with a contagious laugh, a nearly perpetual smile and always a positive attitude,” says former Freedom Forum executive Jack Marsh. Jomay, who was also an alumna of the Freedom Forum’s former American Indian Journalism Institute on the University of South Dakota campus, “divided her career between teaching and journalism. We were privileged to have her as a faculty member and mentor at the annual Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop,” says Jack, who was executive editor of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls when Jomay was a CQS intern reporter and then a full-time reporter. Jomay “inspired us to be better people, more empathic, compassionate and understanding,” he says. Read more about Jomay’s life in Indian Country Today and the Rapid City Journal.

Amelia delights in little sister Penny.

Nancy Yang (Spring 2003) and her husband Branden Peterson welcomed Penelope Peterson on July 30 in Minneapolis. She joins big sister Amelia and big dog bother Mickey. Nancy is a digital producer at MPR News in Minnesota.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *