Student Leaders Selected for JCamp 2017


Media Contact:

Kathy Chow, Executive Director, AAJA


Phone: 415-346-2051 ext. 106


San Francisco, CA – The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) selected 42 high school students from across the country to participate in its signature student program, JCamp.

The annual program, which celebrates its 17th anniversary in 2017, will take place July 22 – 27 and will be hosted by Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia, PA. JCamp is a six-day multicultural journalism training program for freshmen, sophomores and juniors in high school who attend the camp at no cost thanks in large part to the support of donors such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other sponsors.

Students will receive hands-on training in writing, reporting, photography, broadcast and online media from professional journalists serving as faculty mentors. Among JCamp’s core values are the importance of diversity in the newsroom and in media coverage, as well as the value of cross-cultural communication skills, networking, media ethics and the fundamentals of leadership and collaboration.

Over 650 students have graduated from JCamp since 2001.

“This is a critical time for the news industry to reach the next generation of journalists and that generation must represent the diversity of this country. The JCamp program is a vital part of that outreach and one that the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple is proud to support,” said Arlene Morgan, assistant dean of external affairs. 

Arelis Hernandez, political reporter for The Washington Post and JCamp 2004 alumna, returns as the program’s director. “When people ask me what makes JCamp so special, I point them to our students,” said Hernandez. “In its 17th year in operation, JCamp alumni have gone off to stellar careers and become leaders within their own communities and fields, taking to heart the one-on-one instruction on fact-finding, the deep social questions we explore and the sense of duty we promote to tell the truth even when it hurts. At JCamp, our mission is not limited to creating the next generation of media professionals, but of building civic leaders who value the freedom of the press, diversity and critical thinking. In their applications, our 2017 class showed us these are the subjects they are thinking about as young people.” 

Neal Justin, TV critic for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, returns this year as JCamp’s associate director. The volunteer faculty members include Ben Bartenstein, reporter for Bloomberg News; Clea Benson, deputy editor for POLITICO Pro; Paul Cheung, Director of Visual Journalism for NBC News Digital; Cristela Guerra, reporter for The Boston Globe; Kyndell Harkness, news and sports photo editor for The Minneapolis Star Tribune; Caridad Hernandez, executive producer, investigations and special projects for CBS4 Miami; Timmy Huynh, photo editor for The Wall Street Journal; and Padma Rama, broadcast journalist for The Associated Press.


AAJA is proud to accept the following students to JCamp 2017:


Name School City
Nell Mari Barrios Linn-Mar High School Marion, IA
Hadassah Betapudi Evangelical Christian School Memphis, TN
Rafael Bitanga Kodiak High School Kodiak, AK
Meseret Carver Davis Senior High School Davis, CA
Andrew Cha Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Bethesda, MD
Claire Choi Sidwell Friends School Washington, D.C.
James Chang Horace Mann School Bronx, NY
Kaleb Clyde Winslow High School Winslow, AZ
Savannah Collins Mercy High School Baltimore, MD
Alyssa Dean George County High School Lucedale, MS
Melat Eskender Olentangy High School Lewis Center, OH
Josie Frazier Hugo High School Hugo, OK
Ian Ginther Leeton High School Leeton, MO
Kimberly Gonzalez Godinez Fundamental High School Santa Ana, CA
Karishma Gottfried Corvallis High School Corvalis, OR
Mehki Granby Science Leadership Academy Philadelphia, PA
Joseph Guzman Souhegan High School Amherst, NH
Leigh (Sho Sho) Ho Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
Hareena Houston Willmington Friends School Wilmington, DE
Aurora Jorell Bottineau High School Bottineau, ND
Zeynep Karadeniz Yonkers High School Yonkers, NY
Ian Krupkin Miami Beach Senior High School Miami Beach, FL
Nia Lartey Penn Wood High School Landsdowne, PA
Kainoa Lowman McClatchy High School Sacramento, CA
Michael Matlock Life Learning Academy San Francisco, CA
Miah Miller Jackson High School Jackson, OH
Ramona Park Santa Fe High School Santa Fe, NM
Sibani Ram Dubuque Senior High School Dubuque, IA
Sireesh Ramesh Chattahoochee High School Johns Creek, GA
Omar Rashad West Torrance High School Torrance, CA
Joytsana Sangroula Freedom High School South Riding, VA
Udani Satarasinghe McKinney High School McKinney, TX
Carter Schmidt Colman-Egan High School Colman, SD
Dante Silva Northville High School Northville, MI
Amanda Su Dougherty Valley High School San Ramon, CA
Gregory Svirnovskiy Marquette High School Chesterfield, MO
Alix Swann Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring, MD
Valerie Trapp Trinity Preparatory School Winter Park, FL
Kelly Trinh Prosper High School Prosper, TX
Katelyn Vue  North High School North St. Paul, MN
Lily Wickstrom Eldorado High School Albuquerque, NM
Matteo Wong Stuyvesant High School New York, NY



The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,700 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, along with the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) and the Association for LGBT Journalists (NLGJA). For more information about AAJA, visit