Current Grad Students

Here are bios on some of our current M.A. students and why they chose the UA School of Journalism's graduate program.

Alexandra Cecelia Adamson

  • Program: Accelerated Masters (AMP)
  • Areas of interest: social media, blogging and fashion
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in Journalism, University of Arizona
  • Hometown: Salt Lake City
  • Background/goals: Born and raised in Utah, I love anything and everything that can be done outdoors. I love the mountains here in Tucson because they remind me of home. My goals in journalism are to become a fashion writer or editor for a fashion magazine. I am currently working on my master project focusing on fashion blogs. My plans after graduation are to pursue my goals until I have the opportunity to fulfill them. I expect to graduate from the AMP program Fall 2016.
  • Why UA? I chose the AMP because when I found out I would have the opportunity to graduate early from undergrad, I didn’t want to take a break from my education, so this program was perfect. I also wanted to continue learning more about journalism because I feel that although it’s considered a profession it’s more of a skill that needs to be constantly shaped and perfected.

Kendal Blust

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: international reporting, migration, borders, social justice, education, environment
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in English Literature with minors in Spanish and International Development
  • Hometown: Tucson
  • Background/goals: I am an Tucson native who studied English Literature and International Development as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University. After spending several years working in non-profit and as a teacher, I decided to return to school to focus on journalism. I hope to write and produce multimedia projects related to social justice, human rights and environmental issues both in the United States and abroad.
  • Why UA? I chose the University of Arizona School of Journalism because I knew I would be working with a faculty and staff that were experienced and passionate, and that I would be able to focus on international and border journalism. I also appreciate that is it not a combined journalism and communications program.

Elizabeth Eaton

  • Program: Accelerated Masters (AMP)
  • Areas of interest: food and science journalism 
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in Journalism with dual Spanish and Environmental Science minors
  • Hometown: Seattle
  • Background/goals: I have written internationally in Costa Rica and gastronomically for Edible Baja Arizona, and I hope to continue traveling, eating and writing for the rest of my life. I am currently an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, and will be at the Arizona Republic this summer as a Pulliam Fellow. For my Master’s Professional Project, I plan on connecting food and science and showcasing how what we eat, is in fact, very scientific. Expected graduation: Fall 2017
  • Why UA? I realized that there was more to journalism than I could learn by just completing my Bachelor’s, so I decided to enroll in the AMP. I want to be better prepared for the niche journalism fields that I want to write for when I graduate. 

Emily Ellis

  • Program: Dual M.A. in Journalism and Latin American Studies
  • Areas of interest: Human rights reporting, social justice, indigenous peoples’ rights
  • Undergrad degree: English Literature/Spanish Language
  • Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina
  • Background/goals:  I worked as an ESL teacher for several years after finishing up my undergrad education, and held jobs in Vietnam, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the United States. In 2014, I spent about a year interning for an independent human rights publication based in Guatemala. My experiences there made me decide to stop teaching and pursue a career in journalism. I hope to return to Central America as a more skilled and knowledgeable reporter upon the completion of my degree.
  • Why UA: The University of Arizona is one of the few universities in the country that could offer me the exact education I wanted: professional journalism skills combined with an intensive academic study of Latin American politics and history.

Hannah Gaber

  • Program: Dual Masters program in Journalism and Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENA)
  • Areas of interest: International relations, politics, cultural and human stories and travel
  • Undergrad degree: BFA, Photography, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Hometown: Tucson
  • Background/goals: My parents are archaeologists, and I grew up on and around their digs in the summers and living part time in the Mediterranean and Levant. I plan to graduate in May 2016 and hope to work in multimedia or documentary reporting internationally.
  • Why UA? I wanted to find a way to travel as part of my chosen career, and to do more with my photography degree, create more meaningful stories and knowledge. Journalism, and building my knowledge for myself about the regions and surrounding areas and cultures I had touched growing up seemed to address both of those desires.

Jennifer Hijazi

  • Program: Dual Masters program in Journalism and Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS)
  • Areas of Interest: Multimedia storytelling, culture, art, society, travel, international reporting
  • Undergrad degree: BFA Musical Theatre, BA Art History (University of Arizona)
  • Hometown: Tucson
  • Background/goals: I love telling people’s stories, and I want to tell as many of them as I can in new and exciting ways. I started my career as an actor and found my passion in journalism, multimedia specifically. I am an avid traveller and am currently working on an immersive journalism project focusing on physical and psychological borders in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Egypt. 
  • Why UA?: I knew I wanted to pursue journalism and reporting, so I moved from New York back to Tucson to pursue a higher degree closer to home. The UA School of Journalism has completely transformed my skill sets and introduced me to a veritable wealth of mentors and friends.

Mikayla Mace

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: Science communication, especially physics, astronomy, and the environment; Visuals, specifically infographics.
  • Undergrad degree: B.S. in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, minor in Astronomy from the University of Arizona
  • Hometown: Tucson
  • Background/goals: I believe that helping the public understand science is vital to a society that is so dependent on science and technology. I hope to someday research the intersection of science and society in my career or in a PhD program. As an undergrad, I created medical illustrations for a neuroscience company, MSDx Inc. I hope to continue doing work that blends art and science. I’d like to start a podcast, write books, and create visuals, such as infographics and videos. I’m also a teaching assistant at Steward Observatory and would love to teach a class on science and society one day.
  • Why UA? I took a science journalism class in my undergrad with Carol Schwalbe and fell in love with communicating science to the public.

Amada Martinez

  • Program: Accelerated Masters (AMP)
  • Areas of interest: Investigative journalism, radio, international reporting, community journalism
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in Journalism, Expect December 2017
  • Hometown: Tucson
  • Background/goals: My professional goal is to do investigative reporting for public radio or community focused journalism. Right now I am an intern at Arizona Public Media and was an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star in fall 2015. My work background is in home healthcare and one-on-one therapy with children who live with Autism, but right now I am focusing on my career as a journalist.
  • Why UA? The staff at the University of Arizona School of Journalism have supported me and encouraged me to attain my master's degree- without their encouragement I wouldn't have considered it an option. Also, the presence of the local NPR affiliate station being on campus encouraged me to stay and pursue a career in radio. This is also my hometown and through out my life I knew I wanted to come to the University of Arizona.

Tony Perkins

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: Broadcast journalism, sports journalism
  • Undergrad: B.A. Telecommunications, Indiana University, 1980.
  • Hometown: Chicago
  • Background: I joined the UA Journalism graduate program in September 2015, following a career in broadcast journalism that's spanned more than 30 years and two continents.  I specialized in covering legal issues and courts, and chronicled the Jeffery Dahmer serial killer trial for ABC Radio News in the 1990s. I also worked as a television news and sports journalist for more than 13 years, and reported on the University of Arizona's national basketball title game in 1997. A continuing interest in teaching college journalism led me to a position as TV news director and adjunct instructor at the Indiana University School of Journalism in 2007.  I then served as an anchor-producer for China Central Television’s English-language coverage of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games. I lived and worked in China for four years before returning to the U.S. as an international sports television correspondent.

Carson Lee Suggs

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: Journalism history and ethics, Arizona media history
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in English with Honors, University of Arizona
  • Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Goals: I hope to eventually start my own website covering the intersections of technology, politics, and the humanities. I hope also to return to literature by pursuing a Ph.D. in the near future.
  • Why UA? I chose the School of Journalism per the recommendation of a mentor of mine from the English Department. I knew I wanted to write for a living, but I needed to develop my skills further, and the School of Journalism has been an immeasurable help in that regard.

Bakina Wellars

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: Public opinion and digital media
  • Undergrad degree: Journalism, Institut Catholique de Kabgayi, Rwanda
  • Hometown: Muhanga (located in Southern Province, Rwanda)
  • Background/goals: Born and raised in Rwanda (an African country located in East Africa), my name is Bakina, Wellars, a graduate Fulbright student at the University of Arizona, school of Journalism since fall 2015.  I graduated from the Institut Catholique de Kabgayi – Rwanda. Prior and after my undergraduate graduation, I worked as a Journalist, secondary school teacher and tutorial Assistant. I am interested in the media’s capacity when it comes to shaping the public opinion (agenda setting) and digital media. After graduating, I plan to go back to my home country to resume my job at the Institut Catholique de Kabgayi where I worked as a tutorial Assistant at the faculty of Journalism and communication studies.
  • Why UA? Back in 2013, I attended the conference conducted by a professor from Ohio held in Rwanda. After his conference, I started dreaming about the international journalism which is one of the options available at the University of Arizona, School of Journalism. By coincidence, in the same year, while attending a conference at the University of Oregon, I met a guy who strongly recommend me to go to the University of Arizona, school of Journalism as I told him that I have a dream of pursuing my Master’s in International journalism. That is why the University of Arizona, school of journalism was my first choice in my Fulbright application.

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