Chips Watch: The Latest Alumni News

Chipsters land new jobs and promotions and stand out at the annual journalism conventions. It’s all here, in the latest Chips Watch.

Diane Lee (2010) has been promoted to multimedia and engagement editor at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Previously she was a multimedia producer.

Marina Villeneuve (2012) has been assigned to the Albany bureau of The Associated Press to cover New York state government. Previously she reported on state government and politics in Maine for AP.

New jobs
Leezel Tanglao (2003) is senior managing editor for membership and innovation at HuffPost. Leezel heads up membership initiatives and explores new formats, platforms and technology to increase audience engagement. Previously she worked for The Associated Press in audience development.

Khristopher Brooks (2006), right, is a MoneyWatch reporter covering economic disparities for CBS Interactive News in New York. Previously he was a town government reporter for Newsday. Brooks also reports that he has accepted an adjunct teaching position in the film and media studies department at Hunter College in Manhattan, to begin in spring.

Nicole Dungca (2007) joins The Washington Post in January as a reporter on the Investigative Unit’s long-term projects staff. For the last two and a half years, she has been a reporter for The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team.

Alejandra Matos (2010) is the audience development strategist for The New York Times’ Wirecutter newsletter, and will remain based in Austin, Texas. Previously she was Texas Newsletter editor for Hearst Newspapers.

Monica Herndon (2014) is a photographer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Previously she was a photographer for the Tampa Bay Times.

Julieta Martinelli (2017) is an associate producer for The Futuro Media Group in New York. She has been an Open Society Foundations’ 2018 Soros Justice Media Fellow, creating a multimedia series that explores how the incarceration of undocumented immigrants affects the lives of their children.

Asia Burns (2018) is a breaking news reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Previously she was a producer for WABE public radio in Atlanta.

Rishika Dugyala (2018) is a digital producer for Politico. She graduated from Northwestern University in June and was a summer intern at Thomson Reuters in New York.

Sara Ernst (2018) is a reporting fellow for New Hampshire Public Radio in Concord. Previously she was an intern for NPR’s education desk in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Zhou (2018) is scheduled to start this month as a public safety reporter at The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. Previously she was a Pulliam fellow at The Indianapolis Star.

Siandhara Bonnet (2019), left, is the arts and entertainment reporter at the El Dorado (Arkansas) News-Times. Previously she was an intern at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington.

Lorenzo Morotti (2019) is a reporter for the Marin Independent Journal in San Rafael, California. He graduated from San Francisco State University in May.

Héctor Arzate (2019) is completing a fellowship at Washingtonian magazine. Previously he was a summer intern at Education Week in Bethesda, Maryland.

Edward Moreno (2019) is a reporting fellow in Washington, D.C., for The Texas Tribune. He was a summer intern at The Arizona Republic and graduates in December from the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.

Leadership and professional development
Joe Ruiz (2006), a senior editor at CNN, was one of 30 journalists selected to participate in the Poynter Institute’s Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media in October.

Frank Shyong (2012), a metro columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is one of 21 journalists selected for Poynter’s Power of Diverse Voices: Minority Writers Workshop this month.

Juliana Kim (2019) is among the handful of college students selected for ProPublica’s Emerging Reporters Program for the current academic year. She and four other students are each receiving a stipend, mentorship by a ProPublica journalist and other benefits. Juliana attends Barnard College.

Francisco Vara-Orta
(2006), formerly of Education Week and now director of training for Investigative Reporters and Editors, and two EW colleagues won third place in this year’s Society for Features Journalism’s contest for their story “Hate in Schools,” in the diversity in digital features category.

Tonya Alanez speaking with students.

Tonya Alanez (2004), a reporter at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, gave the keynote speech at Fall Media Day at her alma mater, the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Hundreds of middle- and high-school students and their advisers attended the Nov. 6 event, which the Oregon Journalism Education Association co-sponsored. During her visit, Tonya also stopped by the studios of KLCC public radio and talked with Brian Bull about her career.

Marie De Jésus (2010), a photographer for the Houston Chronicle, presented a session on “Photographer as Author” at the National Press Photographers Association’s Women in Visual Journalism Conference in Dallas in October. Marie, who is NPPA’s national secretary, was also part of a panel discussion on empowerment and leadership.

Annual Conventions
National Native Media (Native American Journalists Association) Prior Lake, Minnesota, Sept. 15-18


  • NAJA awards: The staff of Osage News, with Editor Shannon Shaw Duty (2005), right, at the helm, won 12 awards for their journalism in 2018 in the Professional Division II category, including third place for general excellence and first place for best layout. Shannon received the following individual awards: news photo, first, second and third places; sports story, first place; and sports photo, third place. Benny won second place for excellence in beat reporting.


Kevin Abourezk (left) and Dalton Walker at NAJA.

In the Professional Division III category, Associated Press reporter Mary Hudetz (2007) took the top honors in three categories: print news story, print-online health coverage and excellence in beat reporting. Mary tied for third place for an online feature story. Sunnie Clahchischiligi (2006) won first place for a print sports story for the Navajo Times.

In the Professional Division I category, Dalton Walker (2005), a reporter at O’odham Action News, earned top honors in print-online for a feature photo and third place for a sports story.

The 2019 NAJA Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting went to Kevin Abourezk (1999), and a colleague at for their work exposing the sexual harassment allegations within the National Congress of American Indians.


Online News Association, New Orleans, Sept. 12-14

Excellence in Journalism (National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association), San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 5- 7

Abbey White, left, and Irena Fischer-Hwang

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, New Orleans, Aug. 31-Sept. 1

  • Speakers, panelists and moderators, and topics: Irena Fischer-Hwang (2018), “Author’sCafé” presenter; Francisco Vara-Orta, IRE Watchdog Bootcamp.
  • Student Journalism Training Project CONNECT: Irena Fischer-Hwang, student.
  • Awards: Abbey White (Summer 2016), winner of the 2019 Excellence in Student Journalism Award (see September’s Chips Watch).

Independent photographer Tailyr Irvine (Summer 2018) has been selected for the inaugural cohort of We, Women, a photo-based project by women, transgender and nonbinary artists featuring up to 20 projects in key states and a mobile national exhibition starting in late 2020. Tailyr’s project focuses on issues surrounding Native American identity.

Emma Carew Grovum (Summer 2009) offered to fund a limited number of student memberships in Investigative Reporters and Editors to journalists of color, and Zoë Jackson (2019) was a beneficiary of Emma’s generosity. Another networking perk: IRE’s director of training is Francisco Vara-Orta (2006).

Other news
Shelley Wong (Summer 2003) is assistant women’s basketball coach at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California. Previously she held a similar position at Pepperdine University in Malibu.

Caroline (Perez) Sheikhnia (2005), right, is a multimedia specialist in the college relations and marketing department at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. Previously she was a content editor and proofreader at Vitacost. For her second assignment in her new position, Caroline helped produce a video that tied for first place in the Association of Florida College’s Communications and Marketing Commission 2019 Awards of Excellence.

Kailey Fisicaro (2015) is an account coordinator based in Bend, Oregon, for Hubbell Communications. Previously she was an independent contractor and freelance writer.

Akeem Glaspie and Larysa Bernstein

Akeem Glaspie ( 2013) and Larysa Bernstein were married Aug. 1 at The Starlight in New Orleans. “We just love the city and wanted our wedding to be a New Orleans-style party. We kept it small, 10 total,…all immediate family,” Akeem says. He is a sports producer for The Indianapolis Star, and Larysa works for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. They live in Indianapolis.

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