Announcing the Catalyst Class of 2018

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is proud to announce the following fellows who will be participating in Catalyst: Elevating Media Founders of Color entrepreneurship program taking place from November 8-10, 2018 at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York in New York City.

Catalyst is a three-day boot camp for founders of color who want to learn how to fund and launch their own media products. Our fellows are passionate about media and journalism and aspire to take their side hustles to the next level. The program includes workshops, speaker panels, and one-on-one mentoring sessions where fellows will learn how to:

  • Create a compelling pitch deck.
  • Get best practices on how to bring your product to market, measure the right metrics, and make your product financially sustainable.
  • Find out how venture capitalists evaluate founders and their startups.
  • Understand how the foundation grant-making process works.
  • Join a growing community of media investors, advisors, and founders of color.
  • Hear from other media startup founders about their own journeys.

Click here to find out more about this year’s program, co-directors, coaches and guest speakers.

Please join AAJA in welcoming the Catalyst Class of 2018!




Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh is the founder of an all-inclusive media platform known as Muslim, which sets out to create a community for Muslim American youth through the use of digital media.






Pete Camarillo is a media relations specialist for Business Wire based in LA. He enjoys serving as a media resource for journalists and publishers throughout the West Coast. On his own, Pete is also a freelance sports writer and columnist for, and various other digital publishers.  He is also the co-host of the weekly studio NFL podcast, “Touchdowns and Tangents” which is available on all major podcast distributors. Pete graduated with a BA in journalism and minor in Communications Studies from CSUN in 2015. He’s always been passionate about sports and media and has work experience in editing, TV advertising, marketing, the NBA and public relations. Pete Is endlessly curious about new business models for journalism and he wants to use his unique background to find solutions. 




Melina Mae Castorillo is a senior at the University of Southern California studying Communication and Psychology. Her passions lie at the intersection of technology, storytelling, media literacy and education equity. She is currently developing a multimedia platform and art collective that investigates the complexities of Asian American identities and enacts liminal spaces to provoke civic participation. 






Noël Duan is a Silicon Valley native, New York City dog mom, rescuer of over 50 homeless dogs, and the founder of Argos & Artemis (, a media and e-commerce company for celebrating very good dogs and the very good humans they see in us. She was on the founding teams at Miss Vogue Australia, Yahoo Beauty, and Quartzy (’s lifestyle vertical), and has launched several products and campaigns for Revlon, Inc. and Estée Lauder Companies. She has written for The Awl, The Atlantic, ELLE, The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Jezebel, Racked, Fashionista, and other more. She is on the Council for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and serves as co-chair of the Global Fund for Women Vanguard Advisory Council. Noël earned her bachelor’s degree in sociocultural anthropology and art history from Columbia University and her master’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Oxford.




Rahul Fernandes has been on both sides of the aisle in the newsroom. First as a journalist with The Indian Express (Pune) and The Times of India (Mumbai), and then as a product manager at Network18 (Mumbai) and Hindustan Times (New Delhi). He currently works on the News Feed team at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, where he is focused on initiatives related news quality and credibility. He holds an MBA from MICA, Ahmedabad. He consumes news via print, radio and TV every day.     





Annie Kuo comes to Catalyst to develop a new media brand about health issues facing the Asian American community. In Seattle, she is a freelance journalist and marketing communications professional in the health care sector. She is a frequent spokesperson, support group leader, and Advocacy Day trainer for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. In addition to her role as RESOLVE Ambassador, Annie is on the Men’s Health Campaign Council at UW Medicine. She holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) from Northwestern University, where she was editor-in-chief of Medill’s IMC journal. In her free time, Annie leads her daughter’s Daisy Girl Scout troop, manages public relations for the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, and loves to cheer on her hometown Houston Rockets. 




Gabrielle Leow is a senior studying film at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. With a passion towards championing diversity and inclusion in media representation, she has dedicated her work towards supporting young, independent, and diverse creatives. Most recently, she interned for the LA Film Festival and is currently the Co-Chair for USC’s 2019 Asian Pacific Film Festival. In her current passion project with her partner Melina Mae Castorillo, the pair are building a multimedia platform and print zine that will utilize art to enact liminal spaces surrounding the complexities of the Asian American identity. 





Lycia Ortega Maddocks is an enrolled member of the Quechan Indian Nation and grew up on the sunny Ft. Yuma Indian Reservation. Lycia’s passion for knowledge around her indigenous culture and community led to her co-founding the nonprofit organization, Kwatsan Media, Inc. She currently serves as board president and Marketing and Public Relations lead, and helps further the organization’s mission to leverage media and technology to promote Quechan culture and traditions. She also leads the organization in orchestrating grassroots community efforts and initiatives such as anti-bullying campaigns, Diabetes awareness for prevention and care, encouraging voting and involvement in the tribe’s government, and most importantly, supporting and promoting educational excellence.




Artemis Moshtaghian is a News Editor and Producer at CNN covering major breaking news events around the world, including politics and elections, immigration, natural disasters, environmental and tech news. With a background in international affairs in the Middle East, she played a significant role in team coverage of the attempted coup d’é·tat in Turkey, and protests and unrest in Iran. She covered the 2016 U.S. presidential election with CNN’s Political Unit and provided key insight into the early days of President Trump’s immigration travel ban. Artemis is currently based out of CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology. Follow her on Twitter @ArtemisChats.





Rayner Ramirez is an award-winning Producer, Executive Producer, Director, Director of Photography and Writer of television news and documentaries. He is the co-founder of Tilt Shift Media, a multi-media production company that produces content and digital products. Tilt Shift is currently producing a documentary about the Harlem Children’s Zone. For almost two decades, Rayner has produced for NBC News, Dateline NBC, ABC News and CBS News. He has traveled to five continents, two dozen countries and 47 states to cover stories for the Networks. In 2013, Rayner helped launch the digital and cable channel Fusion, then an ABC-Univision Joint Venture where he was the Executive Producer of the digital channel’s  Investigative Unit that produced documentaries for Fusion’s website and cable channel. His last documentary for Fusion produced 2 years ago is still the channel’s most-watched show. Rayner is also an adjunct professor at NYU’s Graduate School for Journalism and reports for CUNY TV’s Asian American Life.




Anna Ruth Ramos is a journalism grad, local reporter, and a film & pop-culture aficionado. As an Asian-American woman and a Filipina immigrant having grown up with very few role models found in the American media landscape of the mid2000s–she often talks and writes about the power of representation in media. Anna’s philosophy as a writer is to bring focus to the unheard voices of marginalized communities in media (especially Asian women, women of color, LGBTQ+ and the intersection of these identities). She is passionate about many things but her writing is notably about her love for pop culture (specifically Film & TV), advocacy of women’s rights & the importance of the visibility and proper representation of marginalized and underrepresented women of color in media (re: intersectional feminism). She recently founded and launched this summer.




Karen Yin is the founder of Conscious Style Guide, an online language resource that helps writers and editors stay on top of conscious language. Winner of the 2017 ACES Robinson Prize for furthering the craft of professional editing, Karen is also the force behind Editors of Color, tools for diversifying your staff and sources, and AP vs. Chicago, a humorous language blog for anyone who “gives a dollar sign, ampersand, exclamation point, and pound sign about style.”





Nicole Zhu is a developer, writer, and podcast host based in New York. She is an engineer on the Chorus team at Vox Media where she works on the company’s digital publishing platform. She also co-hosts Sweet and Sour, a show that covers the intersections of Asian American identity with culture, work, and lifestyle.”

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