Student/Alumni Kudos

April 8, 2019

More than 60 staffers from the Arizona Daily Wildcat, UATV and KAMP Student Radio signed a letter of concern and sent it to President Robert Robbins over the UA's plan to remove Arizona Student Media from the Park Student Union to make room for the UA Global Center. Marrissa Heffernan broke the story for the Wildcat, and Kathleen Kunz wrote a story for Tucson Weekly. KOLD-TV also ran a story. Wildcat Editor Jasmine Demers thanked Wildcat alums for their support on social media and said she received an official response from the provost on behalf of Robbins. "The gist of the response," Demers wrote, was: "They will not move us until an adequate space is found. They have expressed that finding this space is a priority. They said they welcome input from students and alumni as they continue the planning phase for the UA Global Center."

Marissa Heffernan, the Arizona Daily Star's NASA Space Grant intern, wrote several A1 centerpieces and other stories, including "New Banner-UMC tower to open, focuses on technology, patient comfort" (April 7), "University of Arizona archaeology program helps high schoolers link the past to the future" (April 5), "UA researchers studying effects of smartphones on personal relationships" (March 27) and "Teaching empathy in health care with the arts" (March 29).

Jordan Williams, the school's Bolles Fellow covering the state Legislature, wrote "Bill addresses political speech and the classroom" (April 5) for Arizona Sonora News.

Holland Scattergood of Arizona Sonora News wrote "Campus fashionistas and a $292 billion industry" (April 2).

Emmalee Mauldin, an intern at Arizona Public Media, published "SPHEREx Mission Will Look at the Universe With '3-D Glasses' - AZPM (March 25), "Endangered Black-Footed Ferret Count Falls Short of Agency Hopes ..." (April 5).

Jasmine Ann Demers, an apprentice arts reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, wrote the March 26 centerpiece story, "Amphi, Tucson high schools use theater to address tough issues," including gun violence and immigration, and "This weekend's Tucson Folk Festival is ladies night out" (April 4). Demers is editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

Rob Kleifield, an apprentice sports reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, published "Sweet-swinging senior Bianca Pagdanganan has Wildcats poised to repeat as national champs" (April 3).

Ashley Fredde, an apprentice reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, published "Summit gives Tucson youth a lesson in leadership, networking" (April 8) and "Court Night this week offers free Tucson sessions on legal issues" (March 25).

Dalal Radwan, a digital apprentice for the Arizona Daily Star, published "Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Corteo’ arrives in Tucson next week" (March 27).

Alex Muñoz, an apprentice sports reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, published "Arizona Wildcats hockey team rested, ready for start of ACHA playoffs in Texas" (March 22).

Students attended an all-clubs diversity discussion and mixer April 4 at No Anchovies. Pascal Albright (First Gen), Claudio Cerrillo (NPPA), Vivian Colter (NABJ), Ava Garcia (SPJ), and Ty Hudson and Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan (NAJA) spoke about their clubs, and students discussed cultural sensitivity in reporting with Marian Binder, director of counseling & psych services for Campus Health Service, and faculty. Photos

Alec White and Savannah Hughes landed digital and social media internships at FOX Sports Arizona this summer. They'll be welcomed by Saul Bookman ('17 B.A., '18 M.A.), social and digital media content manager for FSAZ in Phoenix. White is sports editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Hughes is an English tutor at UA and a 2016-17 member of the Eller College of Management Elite program.

Ava GarciaDalal Radwan and Pascal Albright represented the school's Society of Professional Journalists chapter at the SPJ Region 11 conference in Las Vegas.

Robby Leaño and incoming major Brody Dryden helped chronicle the UA women's basketball team's run to the WNIT championship at McKale Center. Leaño did the play-by-play for KAMP Student Radio as UA beat Northwestern for the title and beat TCU in the semifinal, and Dryden helped call the TCU game with Cindy Brunson of Pac-12 Networks.

Grad students and alums participated in the March 29 "Preserving the Voices of Arizona's Diverse Communities" at UA Main Library, including M.A. candidates Ava GarciaMatt Brockman and Ty Hudson — and reception panel members Frank Sotomayor ('66), Navajo Times Publisher Tom Arviso Jr. and Bobbie Jo Buel ('79). Go to for more info.

Victor Garcia Rodriguez helped cover the Arizona Wildcats hockey team's appearance at the ACHA National Tournament in Frisco, Texas. Arizona lost 7-2 to Liberty on March 23, but Rodriguez got a shoutout from the team for working "so hard ... plus 30 hours on the bus and a winner's attitude." Rodriguez is also a video producer at the Arizona Daily Wildcat's KAMP Student Radio. 

Andrew Paxton is helping produce the Sidney (Montana) Herald after its editor left last week. Paxton is assistant editor at the Green Valley News and Sun, also a Wick newspaper. The Herald ( is a twice-a-week daily near the North Dakota border.

Dylan Smith, editor of the Tucson Sentinel and a former J-school student, wrote a story on the Arizona Daily Star's decision to begin printing in Phoenix on May 21 and shutting down its aging press at the corner of Irvington and Park. The Star said the change will eliminate about 60 jobs in its Tucson printing and packaging operations. Read the Star's story.

J-school alums Michael Schwartz ('08) and Eitan Cramer ('12) and UA alum Danny Corrales, producers of ESPN's "The Jump," saw their NBA show receive a Sports Emmy nomination in the "Outstanding Studio Show — Daily" category. Other nominees are "The Dan Patrick Show (DIRECTV/NBCSN), "MLB Tonight" (MLB Network) and ESPN's "Outside The Lines" and "Pardon The Interruption." The awards ceremony is May 20 in New York. Read an earlier story by Justin Spears ('17) of the Arizona Daily Star.

Kyle Hansen ('16) covered the March 21 NCAA tournament game between Montana and Michigan in Des Moines, Iowa. Check out his followup story, and track his Twitter feed at

Sarah Kezele ('11) joined the USA Today Sports/SMG team as a video host from Phoenix

Kedi Xia ('13), an associate visiting scholar at the J-school, was admitted to the M.S. Data Journalism program at Columbia University in New York.

Rhonda Bodfield ('92), director of communications for Tucson Medical Center, is taking part in the April 20 Dancing with Our Stars, a fundraiser for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona (

March 18, 2019

Graduate students Ava Garcia and Kristan Obeng were awarded Pulliam Fellowships this summer at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. Garcia will be a reporter, and Obeng will work with the digital team.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat won three awards at the Associated Collegiate Press national college journalism convention in La Jolla, Calif.: second place each for best website and best weekly newspaper and fifth for best special edition. Editorial board members Nick TrujilloAriday SuedEddie CelayaJasmine Demers and Pascal Albright joined Student Media Adviser Brett Fera in celebrating the awards and taking a side trip to UCLA to visit with the Daily Bruin staff. See the awards at

Marissa Heffernan, a NASA Space Grant intern, wrote a front-page centerpiece for the Arizona Daily Star on March 5, "Researcher studies space dust, but stays grounded by mentoring Tucson youth."  Go to to see all of her work.

Megan McDonaldMonika Damron and Elizabeth Quinlan worked together on a story for Arizona Sonora News, "U of A rodeo team gallops on, spurred by new status."

Gabrielle Mix wrote a story for Arizona Sonora News, "Street, online harassment? Me too, many women say."

Julia McAlonan wrote and took photos for the Arizona Sonora News story, "Who wants a fat lip? Sorority women, have we got a special for you!"

Jasmine Demers, a features apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, had more articles published in Caliente: "We found you a live music weekend in Tucson on a budget" and "Passion is the theme of upcoming UA dance performance." She also wrote, "Feminism is the theme in Hawkinsdance premiere."

Dalal Radwan, a digital news apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, wrote a short brief about an event: "Second Annual Walk a Mile in a Refugee's Shoes."

Kathleen Kunz wrote the cover story for the March 7 Tucson Weekly, "Scam Alert: These six con jobs cost Arizonans millions of dollars every year."

Ian Green, a Tucson Weekly intern, did a piece on the "Rock the Bald" head-shaving event to defeat pediatric cancer. 

Briannon Wilfong, an intern at the Tucson Weekly, published several articles, including "Tentacles of Love" and "From volunteer to star: UA student to perform at Hip Hop Festival."

Jordan Williams, the school's Bolles Fellow covering the Legislature, saw her Arizona Sonora News story on "Defining ‘meat,’ Arizona livestock industry sizzles over selling plant-based ‘meat,’" published in the Daily Territorial on March 7. She also wrote, Ban on driving while ‘distracted’ advances in capitol, and "‘Milk’ joins House bill on labeling of ‘meat.’

Rob Kleifield, a sports apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published, "Host Arizona Wildcats shine at first day of Willie Williams Classic" and "Latvian-born hurdler Maksims Sincukovs found tougher competition, better coaching at the UA" and "Arizona's Ethan Marcus hopes to cap college career with his second NCAA golf championship." Others were "Arizona's Yu-Sang Hou never thought she'd play in college; then she won a national championship" and "'Neysia Howard — who is that?' UA freshman already making a name for herself" and "Wildcats 'have to work twice as hard' to repeat as national champs — starting Sunday."

Alex Munoz, a sports apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published, "Wildcats club hockey team will wrap home schedule with pair of games against rival ASU."

After UA's early exit at the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament, Arizona Daily Wildcat staffers Robby LeañoAlec WhiteAmy BaileyJack CooperZach Lazarus and Mark Lawson continued to provide coverage from Las Vegas, including a news conference with Larry Scott and other multimedia at

Alex Eschelman sat in on the show of Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear over spring break, along with commentator and former NBA player Doug Christie. "Great having @alexeschelman in studio today!" Napear tweeted. "She is on her way to a great career in the business! Bright future!"

Caitlin Schmidt ('14) of the Arizona Daily Star published the last story March 14 in her investigative series on Title IX, "Stopping sexual misconduct on campus," which saw her report on Baylor, Oregon and Utah, as well as UA. Click here to read the entire six-part series. "The deep dive into Title IX improvements and enforcement is believed to be one of the first of its kind," the Star said. Poynter featured Schmidt's series in its Sunshine Week coverage.

Mikayla Mace ('17 M.A.) accepted a job as a science writer for UA Communications after nearly two years as the science and higher education reporter for the Arizona Daily Star

Carmen Valencia, a recent alumna, anchored the 9 p.m. Fox 9 newscast for Yuma's KYMA-TV for a few weeks. See a clip at

Julia Leon ('18) is a digital content producer for KVOA-TV (NBC) in Tucson.

Ann Chihak Poff ('97) moved back to Tucson from Portland in October to become the administrative coordinator at Pima County Medical Society, where she edits and coordinates the website, newsletter and social media. She's also a teacher at Mindful Yoga.

Steve Hirsch ('77), an esteemed Arizona attorney who died in December 2016, was honored posthumously March 15 at the Arizona Region of the American Jewish Committee's annual Judge Learned Hand Award luncheon in Phoenix. Hand was a pioneering champion of free speech. Retired Prof. Jim Mitchell said on Facebook: "Steve was a valued member of the UA School of Journalism Advisory Council, a graduate of the program and the UA law school. Nobody gave more to his community and had such fun doing it. A truly wonderful man." 

Justin Sayers ('14), a reporter at the Louisville Courier Journal, won a national Top-10 award in breaking news in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest with colleague Jake Lourim. Their story, about a football player accused of rape days before a game, is at For all the APSE winners, go to

Author A.J. Flick ('83) spoke at two crime panels at the March 9-10 Tucson Festival of Books. Her novel, “Toxic Rage: A Tale of Murder in Tucson,” is based on the Brian Stidham murder trial that she covered for the Tucson Citizen in 2004.

Maggie Whiting ('02) works at Target headquarters in Minneapolis as a lead copywriter for brand design and packaging. Go to for a UA Alumni Q&A with Whiting.

Jackie Tran ('11), a staff writer and photographer at Tucson Foodie, saw his photo recently used on a downtown billboard.

Karen Cruz-Orduña, who studied at the J-school in 2016 through the National Student Exchange (NSE) program, accepted a job as a production assistant at CBS Los Angeles.

Feb. 26, 2019

Senior Marissa Heffernan, a NASA Space Grant intern at the Arizona Daily Star, saw her story, "UA program supporting school gardens now covers 19 campuses in Tucson," run as the A1 centerpiece on Feb. 25. She is also managing editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

Emmalee Mauldin, an intern at Arizona Public Media, published these stories for AZPM: "Asian lantern festival shines light on multiculturalism" (Feb. 26) and "Researchers warn of potenial health impacts of secondhand vapor for e-cigs" (Feb. 14). She also published a story for Arizona Sonora News, "‘Shooting stars’ and the quest to collect meteorites," on Feb. 8.

Grad student Alexis Richardson wrote the Feb. 20 cover story for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, "The harms of unprescribed Adderall."

Alexandra Sharon Pere, an intern for the Arizona Jewish Post, wrote a story, "Longtime camper draws on memories to make summers special at Camp J" in the Feb. 22 issue.

Bolles Fellow Jordan Nichelle Williams saw her first story as a legislative reporter for Arizona Sonora News, "Republicans introduce bills to lighten criminal sentencing," picked up by the Arizona Capitol Times and other state media outlets. Her ASN story, "Arizona livestock industry sizzles over selling plant-based meat" was picked up by the Arizona Daily Independent and other outlets. Read her other stories at

Gabrielle Mix published a story for Arizona Sonora News, "Hard-core work to get to the corps de ballet," on Feb. 20.

Grad student Monika Damron published a story for Arizona Sonora News, "Catch of the day and then some: A holistic U.A. exhibit on trawling for shrimp," on Feb. 14.

Arizona Daily Star apprentice Ashley Fredde, published several stories, including "UA expels fraternity" (Feb. 10) and "Free weekly legal defense clinics give convicted felons second chance" (Feb. 25). Fredde is also executive producer at the Arizona Daily Wildcat's UATV3.

Arizona Daily Star apprentice David Martinez saw some of his photos published Feb. 6, "Wounded soldier receives new home." Martinez teamed up with Star photographer Mike Christy ('11).

Amy Bailey, Nick Trujillo, Ana Beltran and Pascal Albright of the Arizona Daily Wildcat shared photo credits in a "Snow Day at UA" slideshow on Feb. 22, while Mike Christy ('11) contributed to an Arizona Daily Star slideshow with more images of snow around Tucson.

Grad student Kristan Obeng read to students at Booth-Fickett K-8 Math/Science Magnet School during last week's national African-American Read-In. Tucson Unified School District posted a photo on its website.

Arizona Republic reporter John D'Anna ('83), a member of the school's Journalism Advisory Council, talked to several classes on Feb. 6, including Mort Rosenblum's students (see photos). D'Anna detailed how he helped solve a 1931 mystery about a "miracle baby" found on a roadside, which ran as a 10-part series (

Brandon Mejia ('17) was promoted to the evening anchor for KSWT Channel 13, the CBS affiliate in Yuma.

Natalie D'Anna ('16) is an assistant sports media relations manager at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles ( She is the daughter of Arizona Republic reporter John D'Anna ('83).

Sarah Kezele ('11), a freelance broadcast reporter in the Phoenix area, was the in-game host for the UA baseball team's home opener on Feb. 15 at Hi Corbett Field.

April Warnecke ('00), a meteorologist for 3TV CBS 5 in Phoenix, interviewed UA athletic director Dave Heeke about the new Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center across from Arizona Stadium.

Lynne Olson ('69) published her eighth book, "Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler." The Random non-fiction book received positive reviews from Publisher's Weekly ( and Kirkus ( Olson is a member of the UA School of Journalism Hall of Fame ( and

David Dykes ('73), a freelance finance reporter and editor, highlighted the issues of journalism's changing business model to students at Nagpur University in India in late January. Content is still key, he said, adding: “Press in a community works as a watchdog and one must never underestimate the power of good journalism." Dykes, a longtime Greenville (S.C.) News journalist, joined other key alums in the mid-1990s to help dissuade administrators from eliminating the UA journalism program. Last year, he gave the school all of his files from that save-the-department campaign.

Feb. 2, 2019

The Arizona Daily Star apprentices for the spring 2019 semester are Ashley Fredde, David Martinez, Alex Munoz, Jasmine Demers, Rob Kleifield and Dalal Radwan.

Pascal Albright helped faculty and staff present a journalism workshop on Feb. 2 to 150 Phoenix-area high school juniors at Mesa Community College.

Master's student Jasmine Demers, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, saw her story on Tucson playwrights run as the cover package in the Jan. 23 Caliente. She also published a preview, "Invisible Theatre's 'Dancing Lesson' tackles the difficulty of connecting," on Jan. 29.

Dalal Radwan's first apprentice story for the Arizona Daily Star on an Asian lantern festival was published on Page 4 of today's Caliente. Radwan, who works on the digital desk, covered the event on Feb. 2 on Instagram and produced a video for the event.

Alex Munoz published his first story Jan. 26 as a sports apprentice for the Arizona Daily Star on the UA hockey team.

Rob Kleifield had his first apprentice sports story, "Arizona golfers David Laskin, Trevor Werbylo think Wildcats can make run at national title," published Jan. 27 in the Arizona Daily Star.

Marissa Heffernan, a NASA Space Grant intern for the Arizona Daily Star, had the A1 centerpiece in the Jan. 28 paper with a science story, "UA researchers seeking to create mosquito birth control to curb tropical diseases." To read all her work, go to

Jeremiah Morrow, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience, wrote a story on UA's "meat lab" for Tom Beal's science journalism class last semester. The Arizona Daily Star published it on the front of Sunday's Home & Life page.

Griffin Riley and other students are enjoying the new smart whiteboard in the Reading Room. It works with a smartphone to save screen shots to students' phones and creates a digital archive, says Prof. Michael McKisson, who secured funding for the board through an Online News Association grant.

Courtney Talak ('18) is a staff photographer and reporter for the Longview (Washington) Daily News. See her first photo assignment of 2019, the first baby born in PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center.

Courtney Rice ('18) is a social media intern with the Arizona Diamondbacks and a Live Social Contributor with the NHL.  

Danyelle Khmara ('17) received a lot of positive feedback from readers for this Jan. 25 Good Samaritan tale, "Tucson man helps save woman with CPR he learned from TV's 'The Office' " in the Arizona Daily Star.

Christianna Silva ('17) has started a new LGBTQ newsletter in New York. Click here to check out a Q&A between J-school student Jesse Tellez of the Arizona Daily Wildcat and Silva. 

Malena Larson ('16) is a freelance production assistant for Fox Business Network. She works on two shows: "Mornings with Maria" and "Varney & Co."

Rogelio "Roy" Olivas ('85), news editor at the Yuma Sun, was named manager of the year by the newspaper. Olivas, a former Tucson Citizen journalist, showed off his award with Andrew Koleski ('18), another J-school grad and a Sun copy editor.

Photojournalist Rebecca Noble ('17) joined the Jackson Hole (Wyoming) News & Guide as a multimedia intern ( She also became an associate member of American Reportage for 2019.

Justin Spears ('17) of the Arizona Daily Star wrote a story about three UA alums who produce ESPN's "The Jump" basketball show: Danny Corrales (below) and J-school grads Michael Schwartz ('08) and Eitan Cramer ('12).

Poynter says "Today" show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie ('93) "was criticized from all sides" following her interview with Nicholas Sandmann, the high school student who stood face-to-face with a Native American elder in Washington, D.C. "When you’re getting criticized from both sides, there’s a decent chance you did a good job," Poynter's Tom Jones writes.

Jan. 11, 2019

The team of Ava Garcia and Rocky Baier and the duo of Phillip Bramwell and Erin Thomson each will receive $4,700 to work with the Arizona Daily Star on producing news apps for readers. The two teams and other students in Professor Michael McKisson's product development class gave their final pitches to the Arizona Daily Star on Dec. 10. Garcia's and Baier's winning proposal, "Tu Salud Tucson," aims to be a healthcare app in English and Spanish to help people from the Latinx community. Bramwell's and Thomson's winning proposal, "AccessAbility," aims to be a hub for people with physical disabilities to find information on access, such as restaurants. Click here to see all the students' product pitches.

Broadcast students produced two "Arizona Cat's Eye" episodes last month. The first show featured anchors Lorren Walker and Alexis Whitaker; executive producer Walker; and staffers Jazz Ramos, Eileen Kerrigan, Sierra Burk, Morgan Buttafuoco and Sienna Leone. The second show featured anchors Hector Ponce and Sascha Fruehauf; executive producer Carsyn Currier; and staffers Olivia Jackson, Micheal Romero, Lori Lipson and Ashley Agbede.

Alex Eschelman interviewed UA basketball player Dylan Smith for Arizona Athletics after the Wildcats' overtime win over Utah on Jan. 5. See the video.

Winter grad Simon Asher became the first J-school student to earn his remote pilot license to fly a drone. Professor Michael McKisson also earned his recertification. The two have worked on drone videography projects together for Arizona Public Media. Go to for info on how to hire students for digital services.

Zac Ogden finished his fall internship at Tucson Local Media and the Tucson Weekly. One of his stories included "SaddleBrooke Ranch residents enjoying new community brewery."

Brianna Lewis wrapped up her internship at Tucson Local Media and the Tucson Weekly. One of her stories included "Traveling Witness: Why author Jesse Sensibar records death on the highway."

Chandler Donald finished his internship at Tucson Local Media and the Tucson Weekly. One of his stories included "Seeking Support: Nonprofit celebrates 20 years of supporting transgender folks and their families."

Micheal Romero wrapped up his fall internship at the Arizona Jewish Post. He wrote more than a dozen stories, including "Hadassah Southern Arizona fashion show will be celebration of diversity."

Tom Collins received a kidney from fellow 1998 J-school graduate Bryan Hance. The two are also Arizona Daily Wildcat alums. Click here to read 2002 grad Jeremy Duda's feature. 

Arizona Republic reporter John D'Anna ('83) wrote a 10-part series on the "Hatbox Baby," a 1931 Arizona Christmas mystery, and how he helped solve it. Read the first story, and watch David Wallace's accompanying documentary

Los Angeles Times copy editor Kristina Bui ('13) helped negotiate stronger hiring and diversity protections for staffers at the newspaper in a Dec. 20 agreement. Click here to read the story.

Michelle Floyd ('17), a former UA softball pitcher who is playing professionally in Italy, worked with production units at the Arizona Bowl in Tucson (CBS Sports Network) and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (ESPN). She's also working on her master's in strategic brand communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Student Media Director Brett Fera ('05) welcomed back Kyle Hansen ('16), who covered the Montana-UA men's basketball game at McKale Center in December. Kyle is the beat writer for the Missoulian and covered the UA team for the Arizona Daily Wildcat in 2015-16.

In memoriam
Yvonne Ervin, a 1984 J-school and Arizona Daily Wildcat alumna and founding director of the Tucson Jazz Society, died Dec. 26 after suffering a heart attack after liver transplant surgery. She was 59. She and her husband, Alan Hershowitz, regularly participated in homecoming events with the J-school and the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. This year, she and the Jazz Festival Foundation sponsored SBS’s Downtown Lecture Series. Read adjunct instructor Cathy Burch's obit on Ervin in the Arizona Daily Star.

Shelley Shelton
('04) has been in ICU at Banner University Medical Center with an autoimmune muscle disease since November. Shelley, an Arizona Daily Wildcat alumna, is a content specialist at Madden Media and a former Arizona Daily Star journalist. Her husband, Marcus Coltrin, and friends have set up an online campaign to pay for part of her medical bills.