Meet our 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.

Matt Brockman

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: Style, international journalism, journalism history
  • Undergrad: B.A. Philosophy, University of Arizona, 2010
  • Hometown: Thompson, North Dakota
  • Background/goals: I served as a human intelligence collector in the U.S. Army from 2010 to 2017. I did two deployments to Afghanistan and one short tour in Korea. Both public and governmental understanding of both regions is lacking, and my goal is to understand why that is.
  • Why UA: I watched an episode of Futurama and thought it would be awesome to see the sun setting over the Rincon Mountains from the city.

Katelyn (Katie) Caldwell

  • Program: Journalism MA
  • Areas of interest: Social media, broadcast.
  • Undergrad degree: University of Arizona Accelerated Master's Program (AMP student). Expected to graduate with bachelor's degree in May 2018 & with master's May 2019.
  • Hometown: Seattle, Washington.
  • Background/goals: Daily Wildcat News Reporter, Daily Wildcat Arts & Life Reporter, intern at KVOA. 
  • Why UA: I continued to pursue my master's degree at UA because I wanted the opportunity to graduate in 5 years. I love the journalism program here at UA and have continued to receive endless support from all the amazing faculty and staff.

Dalal Radwan

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: international reporting; investigative reporting; freedom of the press; Middle East, Palestinian cause 
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. English Language and Literature, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
  • Hometown: Nabi Ilyas, West Bank, Palestine
  • Background/goals: I worked for about 3.5 years at the Office of International Development and External Affairs in my home university. During my time there, I processed and facilitated communications between my office, departments and centers across campus and institutions locally and internationally. I also worked on co-coordinating the Arabic for the non-native speakers program where An-Najah hosts international students and individuals interested in learning Arabic. In addition, I worked on event management, as well as Arabic and English translation. And now that I am making this shift in my life and realizing how misinformed some people are about Palestine, I want to take this opportunity and acquaint myself with the skills and techniques that can help me be another voice for Palestine. I want to explore new areas in life, learn about “the others” and establish myself in a career where I can meet people from different walks of life and share their stories with the world.
  • Why UA: I chose UA for the excellent reputation of the journalism school and the amazing staff and facilities available. And luckily, I got an offer, through my Fulbright scholarship, to be another wildcat!

Jasmine Demers

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: International reporting, human rights reporting, journalism ethics, freedom of the press
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in Communication from California State University San Marcos
  • Hometown: Tucson, AZ
  • Background/goals: I dabbled in journalism in high school and always had this innate curiosity and love for writing. It wasn't until I got to college that I really decided to pursue a career in journalism, and by my senior year, I was the Managing Editor for the school paper. Journalism is such a powerful tool and can have such a powerful influence over society. Using the skills I learn through my program, I want to become a journalist who is capable of giving people a voice, acting as a government watchdog and creating social change. 
  • Why UA: The U of A has been my second home for as long as I can remember. Wildcat Pride has been a long standing tradition in my family, so it felt only natural to return. I also knew how great the journalism program was and how many opportunities and support there would be for someone looking to enter the field. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

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.

Dominika Heusinkveld

  • Program: Dual Degree in Journalism and Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences
  • Areas of interest: Communicating science to the public, especially environmental and health issues
  • Undergrad degree: BS in biology, Emory University; also MD from Vanderbilt University and MPH from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • Hometown: Tucson, AZ
  • Background/goals: I've worked for 15 years as a physician and public health professional. I am interested in science journalism, science communication, and how science information travels through media channels.
  • Why UA: The dual degree program with SWES and the faculty members interested in science communication--Carol Schwalbe and Susan Swanberg.It was the perfect combination for me.

April Lanuza

  • Program: Dual M.A. in Journalism and Latin American Studies
  • Areas of interest: International Reporting, Multimedia, Travel, Food, Immigration, Documentary
  • Undergrad degree: Telecommunications, University of Florida
  • Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Background/goals:  As a first-generation child, I have always been curious about what the Hispanic-American experience has been like for other kids with similar backgrounds. I grew up in a bubble surrounded by other Caribbeans, and after spending time studying and backpacking in South America, I finally witnessed the diversity and culture Latin America has to offer, outside of what I grew up with. I realized all I really want to do is travel and share the stories of Hispanics with the world. 
  •  Why UA: Location and opportunities. I was skeptical of moving to a "boring" state, having come from the land of theme parks, beaches, and Miami, but after visiting the school and meeting faculty to discuss courses, I realized this was the perfect place. The program offers classes across the border and faculty with experience in my area of interest that can give me EXACTLY what I have been looking for since finishing undergrad.

David Martinez

  • Program: M.A. in Journalism
  • Areas of interest: Multimedia reporting, videography, photography, documentaries
  • Undergrad degree: Psychology/English, University of Arizona
  • Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
  • Background/goals: My previously career field was in academic and market research. Currently, I work in post-production at Arizona Public Media. My goals are to develop skills in journalism and produce multimedia content that tells engaging stories. I hope to have a career that allows me to travel and explore the world.
  • Why UA: Having attended the University of Arizona for my undergraduate degree, I know this program has a great faculty that can help me achieve my career goals.

Ashley Mikelonis

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of Interest: Broadcast Journalism, Sports Journalism, Television/Film, Media Studies
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in Communication Arts, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Hometown: Pittsburgh
  • Background/goals: Sports have always been a huge passion of mine, and I would love to have the chance to write about them. I also have a strong interest in television and film, and I would like to eventually write and produce my own television show in the future. After I receive my Master’s I plan to work in the journalism field before returning to school to pursue a Ph.D. in Media Studies.
  • Why UA: I really wanted to leave my hometown and see what else was out there. The UA School of Journalism offers a diverse program as well as an experienced faculty and staff that are willing to help in any way they can. I also appreciate the small class sizes.

Natalia V. Navarro

  • Program: Accelerated Master’s Program in Journalism
  • Areas of interest: International reporting, migration, education, arts, radio and print/online reporting
  • Undergrad degree: B.A. in journalism and economics from the University of Arizona 
  • Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
  • Background/goals:  My interest in social justice and storytelling lead me to journalism in my undergraduate studies. As my passion for journalism grew, I chose to extend my stay at the UA to further hone my reporting skills. I have reported at three major local news organizations as an intern and have now moved on to freelance reporting. After graduation with my master’s, I hope to report for a major daily news organization such as NPR and to one day work as a foreign correspondent. 
  • Why UA: The University of Arizona School of Journalism offers incredible professional track opportunities and mentorship from experienced faculty.

Kristan "Krissy" Obeng

  • Program: M.A. in Journalism
  • Areas of interest: Data journalism, investigative reporting and multimedia
  • Undergrad degree: Journalism and Media Studies
  • Hometown: I moved around a lot. I lived in Las Vegas for nearly 13 years, but I’m from the Midwest.
  • Background/Goals: In a time when so many people distrust the media, data journalism seems to be a good way to build the public’s trust. I hope to report on issues that affect communities and give voice to people who wouldn’t normally have one. My main goal is to gain data journalism and multimedia skills.
  • Why UA: The opportunities I have already received from the University of Arizona made it worth going to school out of state. I love that the school only focuses on journalism, including specialized reporting classes I couldn’t get in Nevada. Additionally, when I decided to go to graduate school, I knew I wanted to be challenged to be my best, and I think U of A does that.

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.

Chris Stidley

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Areas of interest: science and environmental writing, data journalism, ethics
  • Degrees: B.A., mathematics, Grinnell College; M.S., statistics, University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., statistics, University of New Mexico
  • Hometown: Tucson (after growing up in the Midwest and working in New Mexico)
  • Background/goals: After a career as a faculty statistician, I am turning to writing. I appreciate journalism’s rigorous methods and its role as a guardian of democracy. As a statistician, I strive for the careful conduct of scientific studies and am a guardian, but of the scientific method. I plan to write about science and the environment.
  • Why UA: I initially looked to the UA journalism program simply as an avenue to develop my writing skills. However, the courses have broadened my perspective about methods of communication and about the role of journalism in our society. The UA School of Journalism also has extremely supportive faculty.

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.

Lauren Trench

  • Program: Journalism M.A.
  • Area of Interest: Journalism, Multimedia, Photojournalism, International
  • Undergrad degree: Digital Art & Design
  • Hometown: Broadalbin, New York
  • Background/goals: My background and current occupation revolve around photography, which has always been my first love. My goals, in the broadest of explanations, are to learn about people, experience cultures, travel as much as possible, and document the real, the beautiful, and the important stuff.
  • Why UA: I had never been to Arizona before I packed all my things and moved out here for grad school. It was a surprise to me, how much I’d love it at the UofA. The faculty has been nothing but helpful, the campus is gorgeous, the classes are small, and it’s close to outdoor recreation. There are times in life where you find yourself going through the motions, without experiencing what it is you’re doing—like work or school or even just driving on the interstate. Since arriving at the UofA, this has become even more obvious to me, as I find myself living in the here and now, as opposed to going through the motions. The experience here is one you want to be present for.

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