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Maynard 200 National Journalism Fellowship Program
Maynard Institute for Journalism Education
Second Cohort: June + October 2019

Pilot 2, Week 1: June 25-27, 2019
USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Los Angeles, Calif.

Official Roster of Fellows
Biographies + Track Assignments

Advanced Leadership Track

Ernesto Aguilar
Aguilar was born in East Houston, and public media transformed his life. As a journalist, author and radio producer, he has written extensively on media and culture, and he has been a radio
station news director and program director. He works with a diversity of rural, tribal and other media outlets via the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, the nation’s oldest organization supporting hyperlocal radio. He also serves on the Stations and Producers Advisory Committee of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting and on the board of the Foundation of the Alliance for Community Media. He has a degree in journalism, with minors in sociology and women’s studies, and a management and leadership certification from the University of Houston.

Amanda Barrett
Barrett is director of the Nerve Center, the New York hub of the Associated Press global newsroom, a center for news coordination, client engagement and audience development. For two years, she has spearheaded editorial efforts to create a universal planning system allowing the AP to share its coverage plans with customers. She joined the AP in 2007 as a content coordinator in Interactives. She also served as deputy East editor, helping to oversee coverage of 10 northeastern states, and as New York City news editor, she directed coverage of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. In 2015, she moved to the Nerve Center as planning and administration manager focused on curating AP’s global enterprise report. Earlier, she worked in sports at The Roanoke (Va.) Times and the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, and in features and on the web at Newsday before becoming editor of

Maria Bastidas
Bastidas is director of content at Mundo Hispano Digital Network. As a digital media professional, she has headed the newsroom transformation from print media to a digital business. In the last five years, she has developed and managed creators and journalists in charge of news, digital videos, live broadcast and newly launched portals, with a focus on passion topics for Latinos (health, food, entertainment, personal finances). She has developed strategies for content creation, social media distribution and digital video production that have made Mundo Hispano the nation’s top independently owned, Spanish-language digital media company. She has been deeply involved in the Hispanic community since coming to the United States in 2000 after starting her career in news and TV production in her native Venezuela. She has a bachelor’s degree in social communication from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela. She lives in Duluth, Ga., with her husband, son and two daughters.

Jahna Berry
Berry is head of content operations at WIRED. Based in San Francisco, she helps the editor in chief oversee day-to-day operations across WIRED’s platforms and works with the senior leadership team to develop and implement strategies to help WIRED grow and evolve. Previously, she was director of product at Mother Jones, where she managed its award-winning 2016 digital redesign, a project that helped it win the Magazine of the Year award from the American Society of Magazine Editors. Before that, she was digital managing editor of the San Francisco Business Times. She has been a writer and editor at several publications, including the Arizona Republic, the Contra Costa Times (now East Bay Times) and The Recorder, a legal trade publication in San Francisco. Berry graduated from the University of Michigan.

Amy Chen
Chen is a founding editor on LinkedIn’s team of 50-plus editors who create content and cultivate conversations in 11 countries. Based in San Francisco, she is managing editor of the special projects division that transforms LinkedIn data into lists such as LinkedIn Top Companies, Top Startups and Top Voices. She helped launch a partnership with Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications to create two paid, 10-week fellowships on LinkedIn’s New York City editorial team for student journalists from underrepresented groups in media. Previously, She was a travel editor for and Budget Travel magazine. Recipient of scholarships from the National Press Club, Asian American Journalists Association and Knight Ridder Scholars program, Chen has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Penda Howell
Howell, a New Jersey native, is vice president of advertising, sales and partnerships at New York Amsterdam News. He is a board member and national advertising marketing chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the oldest professional trade organization for black-owned publications. Howell is enrolled in the MSDC Centers of Excellence Certificate Program Executive Leadership in Business at Rutgers University. He lives in Pennsylvania and enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Storytelling Track

Natasha S. Alford
Alford is deputy editor of the Grio and covers social issues, politics and culture. Previously, she was a general assignment reporter at WROC-TV in Rochester, N.Y. Her writing about Afro-LatinX identity has appeared in The New York Times and on, and she has contributed to The Breakfast Club on New York’s Power 105.1-FM and Cheddar TV. She has a bachelor’s in social studies from Harvard and a master’s from Northwestern.

Brittany Britto
Britto reports on higher education at the Houston Chronicle. Previously, she was a general assignment features blogger and reporter for The Baltimore Sun, where she wrote about arts, entertainment, local notables and culture. In 2018, she won four Society for Features Journalism’s Excellence-in-Features Awards — a tie for most in one year in recent SFJ history — for her diverse portfolio and noteworthy features on Baltimore’s distinct culture. The society named her a Penny Bender Fuchs Diversity. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in multiplatform journalism from the University of Maryland.

Aysha Khan
Khan, based in Boston, covers U.S. Muslim communities and millennial faith for Religion News Service. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, American Journalism Review and other publications, and on NBC News, ThinkProgress and VICE News. In 2018, she held an Emerging Journalist Fellowship with the Journalism & Women Symposium and was a judge for the prestigious Goldziher Prize for journalists covering Muslims in America. Her work has been honored by the Religion News Association and South Asian Journalists Association.

Ling Chia Ku
Ku is an anchor/reporter for KTSF-TV Channel 26, a virtual station in the Bay Area. She covers daily news and works on in-depth reports. As the station’s pioneer mobile journalist, she has covered important local and international news events, and has produced features and political events in Asia. In 2002, she worked for KPST-TV 66 as a reporter and backup anchor. Before moving to San Francisco in 2001, she worked in Taiwan for six years, primarily as a TV political reporter. After graduating with a B.S. in journalism from National Chengchi University in Taiwan, she started her media career at a radio station covering Taipei City Hall news.

D. Kevin McNeir
McNeir is an educator, vocalist/pianist, ordained elder in the Methodist Church and award-winning journalist who has worked for the Black Press for more than two decades. His career includes positions with The Grand Rapids Times, the Michigan Chronicle, N’DIGO Magapaper (Chicago), The Atlanta Voice, The Miami Times and The Washington Informer where he is now editor. He has worked as a managing editor or senior reporter for the Wednesday Journal, Emerge, National BlackMBA Magazine and Windy City Times. As senior editor in 2011, he led The Miami Times when the National Newspaper Publishers Association named it publication of the year. He began his career at IBM after earning a B.A. in English and marketing at the University of Michigan. Later, he focused on philosophy, theology and Christian ethics, completing master of divinity degrees at Candler School of Theology and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Dorany Pineda
Pineda is a Metpro reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She served a brief stint on City News Services’ police beat and was a general assignment reporter for Los Angeles Wave community newspapers. She has a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a journalism certificate from East Los Angeles College.

Media Entrepreneurship Track

Micaela Rodríguez
Rodríguez is a podcast producer at POLITICO, where she produces Pulse Check about policy and politics in the health sector and Nerdcast, a weekly roundtable focusing on campaigns, Congress and all things Trumpworld. Previously, she worked at NPR on the podcasts Invisibilia and What’s Good With Stretch and Bobbito and the newsmagazine Weekend Edition. A Next Generation Radio alum, she worked at WITF, the NPR member station in Harrisburg, Pa. She graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in women and gender studies.

Leroy Adams
Adams is co-founder of BLK GEN, a Beijing-born Edutainment[cq] brand striving to be a voice and resourceful platform for black’s socio-cultural-equality and progression. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The San Antonio Transplant, a digital magazine seeking to create opportunities for community impact and growth. He co-wrote a short documentary that exploring life in China as an artist, creative and black person. Adams has contributed to organizations such as Inkstone News, SupChina, City Magazine, Project Pengyou and Africa 2.0 on think pieces and creative projects. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Houston-Downtown and lived in Ethiopia as a Peace Corps member.

Stephanie Gancayco
Gancayco is a creative director, designer and event curator whose work is rooted in bridge-building, healing and community. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Hella Pinay, a media platform seeking to create positive representation of the diversity and complexity of Filipina women and to facilitate dialogue between Pinays in the Philippines and throughout the diaspora. Born and raised in the Bay Area and based in Oakland, she is part of UNDSCVRD SF, a nonprofit venture designed to jump-start economic activity and public awareness of the SOMA Pilipinas cultural district in San Francisco, and part of Barkada Worldwide, a record label and podcast focusing on future sounds and styles of the Philippines.

Hélène Biandudi Hofer
Hofer is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and host and producer of Need to Know, the award-winning PBS weekly news magazine on WXXI-TV in Rochester, N.Y. She founded and owns HBH Enterprises LLC, a media group that produces SOLUTIONS-based news, documentary and human-interest content about issues and stories often untold. She worked for CBS News President Susan Zirinsky at the primetime show 48 Hours Mystery and contributed to documentary specials for the network, including those on the first inauguration of President Barack Obama, the death of Michael Jackson and the CBS/VOGUE program “The Making of Fashion’s Night Out.” She has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from New York University.

Maxie Jackson III
Jackson has 25-plus years of management and programming experience in radio, television and live events. He is principal for MaxWorx Media, which specializes in analysis, innovation and cultivation, and executive director of Pacifica radio. He has served on national committees involved in public radio funding, technology, recruitment and programming and is architect of a research methodology used to redefine diversity benchmarks in public broadcasting. As president and CEO of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, he created and co-developed its operations-cultivation tool designed to create optimal community media institutions. He has a B.A. in communications broadcast management from Morehouse and an M.A. in telecommunications management from Michigan State

Carol J. Kelly
Kelly, born in Jamaica, moved to the United States after high school. She considers herself bicultural, seeing through the lens of a Caribbean native, a U.S. citizen and longtime New Yorker. A freelance writer and editor, and social entrepreneur, she has created a website and the “Gone Girls” blog for her Migrant Mothers Project about those who leave children with relatives in search of work abroad. She is working on a memoir on the experience of being left in Jamaica when her mother migrated to England. She also works in the Department of Student Affairs at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She has extensive experience as a copy editor, news editor and staff writer at companies including The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal. She was on an editing team that helped the Journal win a Pulitzer Prize for 9/11 coverage. She has contributed travel essays to “Venturing in Italy: Travels in Puglia, Land between Two Seas” and “Wandering in Cuba: Revolution and Beyond.” She has a bachelor’s in media communications and English from Hunter College, has completed MBA courses in marketing at Baruch College and takes classes at CUNY Graduate Center.

Frederick Lowe
Lowe is founder and editor of The NorthStar News & Analysis, an online newspaper based in Chicago and publishing comprehensive news stories and issues relevant to African-American and black men in the diaspora. He was a police, general assignment and investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune for six years, a general assignment reporter and business writer for the Philadelphia Daily News for eight years and a business writer for the Chicago Sun-Times for eight years. He has worked as a freelance journalist, writer and editor for several publications, including SourceMedia, a publisher of trade magazines; Cardline, an online daily covering the payments industry; the weekly ATM and Debit News; and He founded the Chicago Educator, the Chicago Public Schools weekly newspaper.

Issa Mansaray
Mansaray is founder and CEO of The AfricaPaper[cq], a publication of the Africa Institute for International Reporting that defends and supports immigrants and minority journalists in underserved U.S. communities and post-conflict countries. Born in Sierra Leone, he has traveled throughout Africa, Europe and the United States reporting on business, politics, development, human rights, gun violence and press freedom. His work has appeared on the BBC and in New African magazine, the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, IPI World Press Freedom Review and The WorldPaper[cq]. A former Kiplinger Fellow in Public Affairs Journalism, Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism Fellow and Tow-Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism Fellow, Mansaray he researches ideas to support and sustain community news outlets. He has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Webster University and a master’s from Columbia Journalism School.

Rajendran Pottayil
Pottayil is an editor with years of print and online experience. He is working on, a site devoted to covering advances in research and making them interesting and accessible. He started in journalism as a copy editor and became part of the team behind, India’s first and best-known news portal. He has interviewed a variety of researchers and thinkers, including Nobel laureates and Fields Medal winners. He has a bachelor’s degree in zoology/animal biology from the University of Mumbai, and master’s degrees in journalism from New York University and in behavioral neuroscience from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He teaches psychology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Jodi Rave Spotted Bear
Spotted Bear is founder and executive director of the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit media organization located on the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. The IMFA publishes news at She returned to her ancestral homeland on the Northern Plains after earning a journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and working for the mainstream press for nearly 15 years. She was a 2003 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has received journalism awards from mainstream, military and university press organizations as well as the Native American Journalists Association.

Isabelle Thenor-Louis
Thenor-Louis created Black Diamonds, an online platform for black millennials to speak candidly about health issues affecting their generation and communities. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, with honors and focusing on cultural anthropology, from Brown University. During her college career, she wrote for The Brown Daily Herald; worked as a DJ for WBRU 95.5, an internet station; and interned with BET News. In the fall, she plans to begin a dual master’s and medical degree program at SUNY Upstate Medical University.