Chips Watch: The Latest Alumni News

Highlights of the latest Chips Watch include a Pulitzer Prize win, lots of new jobs and promotions and many forms of expression linked to racial reckoning, diversity and inclusion. CQS alumni share their news.

Katie Oyan


Katie Oyan (1997, 2000) became Indian Country Today’s first managing editor in April through a partnership between the paper and The Associated Press, where she has worked for 14 years, 10 of them in her current position as West desk editor, based in Phoenix. Katie will serve in the new role for nine months. Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, said the partnership with AP will benefit all of journalism “because it will open a new avenue for stories about Indian Country to be shared with news organizations around the world.” Of Katie, he said, “She is talented and knows her craft. She will make us all better journalists.”

Andrew Villegas (2008) is the arts and regions editor at Colorado Public Radio. Previously he was the morning editor.

Nicole Chavez (2013) has been promoted from associate writer to writer at CNN Digital in Atlanta.

New jobs

Kellie Hwang (2007) is an engagement reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Previously she was a digital reporter for The Indianapolis Star.

Aaron Morrison (2008) is a race and ethnicity reporter for The Associated Press, based in New York. Previously he was a senior reporter at The Appeal in Brooklyn. He writes, “Ten years ago, I was an intern at The Associated Press. Now, I’m headed back there! It’s a dream come true!”

Elida Perez (2008) has returned to reporting the news from El Paso, Texas, this time for El Paso Matters. She has been a freelance writer for the publication since April. Elida has worked as a field agent for American Income Life Insurance Co. since leaving the El Paso Times, in 2018.

Juana Summers Markland (2009) has returned to NPR as a political reporter covering demographics and culture. Previously she was a political reporter for The Associated Press. Juana has covered politics since 2010 and covered Congress in her previous tenure at NPR.

Ibrahim Hirsi (Photo: Mukhtar M. Ibrahim)

Elvia Malagón (2010) is reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, covering social justice and the wage gap. Previously she was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

Ibrahim Hirsi (2011) is a full-time staff writer for the summer at Sahan Journal. He writes, “I’m…beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to continue telling the stories of our immigrant and refugee communities in Minnesota.” Ibrahim is pursuing his doctoral degree in American history, with a focus on immigration, at the University of Minnesota.

Kristin Lam (2018) is the accountability reporter for The Modesto (Calif.) Bee. Previously she was a breaking news reporter for the USA TODAY Network in Los Angeles.

Four CQS alumni have been named Report for America reporting fellows for 2020-2021:

  • Sara Ernst (2018) is reporting for KERA Public Media, covering health disparities related to income and other factors in the Houston area. Previously she was a reporting fellow for New Hampshire Public Radio.
  • Andy Tsubasa Field (2018) covers the Kansas legislature for The Associated Press. Previously he was a city government reporter at The Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota.
  • Supriya Sridhar (2018) is reporting for Oklahoma Watch, covering neighborhood blight in northeast Oklahoma City and the impact of covid-19 on low-income communities.
  • Zoë Jackson (2019) has returned to her CQS internship paper, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, after graduating from Western Michigan University in April. Check out Zoë’s essay for Vogue on starting a new job just after the city erupted in protest against the death of George Floyd while restrained by police.

Héctor Arzate (2019) is a producer for 1A at WAMU 88.5 in Washington, D.C. Previously he was a fellow at Washingtonian magazine.

Siandhara Bonnet (2019) is the Northern Hills beat reporter for the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. Previously she was a reporter for the El Dorado (Arkansas) News-Times.

Gabrielle Cooke (2019) is a multimedia journalist and reporter for WCIA-TV in Champaign, Ill. She graduated from Illinois State University in May.

Juliana Kim (2019) is a metro reporting fellow for The New York Times. She graduated from Barnard College in May.

Isabel Lohman (2019) has returned to her CQS internship newspaper, the Knoxville News Sentinel, to cover the children’s beat, exploring how East Tennessee takes care of its children from the perspectives of health, welfare, education and development. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri.


Margo Snipe (2019) is a summer intern at Tampa Bay Times, assigned to the politics team. Before heading to Florida, she participated in Politico’s Journalism Institute. Margo spent her final semester at Georgetown University this spring working as a news intern at CBS News in Washington, D.C.

Kyle Hopkins (Photo: Julia O’Malley/Alaska Public Media)


Kyle Hopkins (1999), special projects editor for the Anchorage Daily News, and his colleagues won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their series “Lawless,” which exposed sexual violence and the lack of police protection in Alaska’s indigenous communities. Kyle, who was the series’ lead reporter and writer, traced his interest in the topic partly to covering the 2018 disappearance of a 10-year-old girl whose body was later found in the tundra with evidence of sexual assault. Kyle reflects on the project and the prize in his interview with Alaska Public Media.

Roberto Roldan (2015) and a colleague at Virginia Public Media in Richmond won a 2020 Edward R. Murrow regional award in the investigative category for their story about editorial columns published under the names of local college presidents that were written by real estate developers. Roberto covers City Hall for the station, which took the top award for overall excellence in the Region 12 small market category in the awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Briana Sanchez (2018), a photographer for the El Paso Times, took the top honor in the AAA division photojournalism category from Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for coverage of a Christmas church service at a state jail. Briana also won third place for sports photography. The El Paso Times staff received multiple top awards for coverage of the 2019 mass shooting at a WalMart.


NICAR: Olivia Sanchez (left), Irena Fischer-Hwang and Anthony Cave

In what may have been the last in-person journalism convention this year before the coronavirus pandemic was declared, many Chipsters honed their data journalism skills at the conference of NICAR (National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting) and IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) in New Orleans in March. Presenters included Simone Weichselbaum (2001), of The Marshall Project, Francisco Vara-Orta (2006), IRE training director, Frank Bi (2012), of Vox Media, Marissa Evans (2012), of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and Anthony Cave (2014), formerly of KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas. Also attending were Adrian Garcia (2013), Shondiin Silversmith (2015) and 2019 alumnae Irena Fischer-Hwang, Juliana Kim and Olivia Sanchez. And Dalton Walker (2005) wrote for Indian Country Today about learning that a fellow attendee had tested positive for covid-19.


KF: Martin Reynolds and LaSharah Bunting


Martin Reynolds (1995), Maynard Institute co-executive director, was a panelist for a webinar in June from USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism on “Covering Unrest: When Journalists of Color Become the Target.” Maynard and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists also hosted the discussion with Annenberg.

LaSharah Bunting (1999), director of journalism for Knight Foundation, presented the inaugural webinar in Knight’s Informed & Engaged series, on how journalism can dismantle its system of racism. Maynard Institute Co-Executive Director Martin Reynolds (1995) directed the discussion among the three panelists. 

Cindy Carcamo (right) and Mary Kay Blake

Cindy Carcamo (1999), senior immigration reporter for the Los Angeles Times, was a judge of the 2019 Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards in the investigative category. Also serving as a judge was Mary Kay Blake, who once worked with the Chips Quinn Scholars program and more recently was senior vice president/development for the Newseum until her retirement.

Aaron Morrison (2008), a race and ethnicity reporter for The Associated Press, was among the panelists who discussed “From Freedom Riders to Black Lives Matter – Journalists and a Call to Action” with high school students as part of the Freedom Forum’s Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in June.

Juana Summers Markland (2009) of NPR Politics was among NPR’s Black hosts and correspondents who participated in reading President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on “Morning Edition” on June 19, in observance of Juneteenth.

Jordan Gass-Poore’ (2014), a New York-based independent multimedia journalist, spoke in May at the virtual summit of the Outlier Podcast Festival on how to bring a community together to make a podcast.

In the News

Angel Jennings

Angel Jennings (2005), a Los Angeles Times Metro reporter covering South Los Angeles, spoke with Nieman Journalism Lab in a Q&A feature about how she approaches stories involving trauma and racial injustice.

Khristopher Brooks (2006) was the subject of a profile published April 6 in Hunter College Journalism about juggling his duties as a MoneyWatch reporter for CBS Interactive News and an adjunct faculty member at the City University of New York college.

Marissa Evans (2012), housing and social issues reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was featured in Glamour on June 3 as one of eight Black women journalists discussing “Reporting While Black.”

William Camargo (2014), who recently earned his MFA degree from Claremont Graduate University, was featured in a June 10 Los Angeles Times story about making photographs and art during the pandemic. He is a commissioner of heritage and culture for Anaheim and a teaching artist fellow at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena.

Ayana (Stewart) Lage (2015) was listed  in June among E! News’ Black influencers and content creators on Instagram “whose inspiring voices you should be listening to.” Ayana, of Tampa, Fla., “is a lifestyle blogger who shares her musings on fashion, marriage and pregnancy loss awareness. Expecting a baby girl in August, Ayana owns Lage Creative Company, a marketing business and offers tips to aspiring content creators,” the publication writes.

Salgu Wismath (2019) discussed with NPR in June an ongoing personal project, Documenting Dysphoria, which combines photography portraits and interviews with people who are experiencing a disconnect between the gender they identify with and their assigned gender at birth. Salgu is a freelance photographer based in Sacramento, Calif.


Emma Carew Grovum (2009), a New York-based newsroom consultant and leadership coach, has been named a 2020 Above the Fold recipient by the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication Alumni Society Board. The award honors alumni under 40 who have made significant contributions to their field.

Documentary photos and film

Russel Daniels

Russel Daniels (Photo: Maurice Archuleta)

In his photo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Russel Daniels (2008), of Salt Lake City, Utah, explores the lives of the Genízaro people living in the northern New Mexico town of Abiquiu. Genízaro descend from Indigenous peoples who, as the Spanish Empire extended into the Southwest, bore the brunt of “a violent imperial frontier marked by deadly clashes, retaliatory raids, and a brutal trade in Native slaves,” according to the text in “The Genízaro Pueblo of Abiquiú.” The exhibit includes a podcast conversation between Russel and curator Cécile Ganteaume, and, in a personal essay in the Summer 2020 issue of American Indian magazine, Russel describes own complicated family history: “Diné (Navajo), Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Mormon settler and European heritage. I am descended from a Diné slave named Rose.” Russel writes, “I was able to photograph many of the community’s residents because I built trust with them by sharing my own vulnerability, my personal family story and my own trials and tribulations.”

The second sequential photo essay in NMAI’s “Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field” exhibition is by Tailyr Irvine (2018). She explores in her photos and personal essay how relationships and identities are affected by a policy that dictates how much “Native blood” is required to qualify as Indian. Ganteaume, the curator of “Developing Stories,” lends context to both Russel’s and Tailyr’s work in this article. The exhibition was to have opened in March in the museum buildings in Washington, D.C., and New York, but the pandemic forced its postponement until further notice.

A film by Shako Liu (2014), a video producer at NBC News, was a selection of the 2020 New York World Film Festival in the category of short documentary. “Living with the rarest of rare diseases” tells the story of a young man who was one of the only two patients in the world known to have the disease, which was named for him – Mitchell disease – after he died.


Mike Corpos (2003) will continue to serve as production chief for the Spartan Daily, San Jose State University’s student publication, after he enrolls in SJSU’s graduate program in mass communication this fall. The Spartan Daily was recognized in February as the best college newspaper in California by the California College Media Association.

Anthony Cave (2014), formerly an investigative reporter with KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, is heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for an expedited doctoral program with the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. He’ll teach an introductory class on TV reporting this fall.

Maritza Cruz (2018) has been accepted into the M.F.A. program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and plans to study film and television production.


High school sweethearts Héctor Arzate (2019) and Michelle Croda were married on June 20 in Rock Creek Park in the Washington, D.C., area, with family members attending via Zoom, due to the pandemic. The couple plan to hold a marriage celebration next year in California. Héctor is a producer for 1A at WAMU 88.5; Michelle is a student at Georgetown University School of Medicine.





Kalaisha Totty (2019) and Andrew Keller of San Pedro, Calif., welcomed Magnolia Bea Totty-Keller on March 26. “Having a baby at the height of a pandemic was strange and challenging,” Kalaisha says. “It’s still challenging, as I self-isolated my entire pregnancy due to prenatal depression. But even though all my plans post partum were cancelled and we live in a constant state of uncertainty, every morning I wake up to see her face and I’m certain bringing life into the world was the best choice I ever made.” Kalaisha most recently worked as a production assistant for public radio KCRW’s Bodies podcast.





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