Voices has selected its 2019 staff for the upcoming AAJA National Convention in Atlanta, GA from July 31-August 4. These journalists will volunteer their time to mentor, edit and coach Voices student participants in the months prior to the convention, as well as alongside the students on site. The mission of Voices is to advance career development for AAJA student journalists, as well as develop leadership and management talent for mid-career professional journalists.


AAJA is proud to announce the staff for Voices 2019:



Maya Sugarman is a video editor for The Lily / Washington Post. She’s previously worked as a visual journalist for NPR station KPCC in Los Angeles, the Antelope Valley Press, Los Angeles Daily News, and Orange County Register. Maya went to UCLA and was a Voices student in Detroit in 2011.

Jessie Tseng is taking a break from media right now and is currently a senior product designer at Flatiron Health where she spends her time researching and designing products that increase the availability of effective cancer treatments and improve the survival and quality of life through clinical trials. Previously, she worked at the Washington Post. She is a proud Cal alumna and was a Voices student in Detroit in 2011.




Alyssa Jeong Perry is an audio reporter and producer. Currently, she is a reporter at KPCC on the health team. Previously she was a reporter and producer at KQED. She’s won two AAJA awards in 2016 and 2017 on US immigration. Alyssa is also a graduate of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.








Rong-Gong Lin II is a metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times, specializing in covering statewide earthquake safety issues and Northern California. He began his career as part of the Times’ Minority Educational Training Program, and has previously covered transportation, public health, and local government. More recently, he helped cover the San Bernardino shootings in 2015 and the wildfire in Paradise in 2018. He won the California Newspaper Publishers Assn.’s Freedom of Information Award and the University of Florida’s Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award, and was a finalist for the Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and the Knight Award for Public Service. A San Francisco area native, he graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004.






Ryan Menezes works on the Los Angeles Times Data Desk, where he analyzes data, writes stories, crafts visualizations and tackles various journalistic problems with the help of code. He’s used data to cover a variety of topics including demographics, money in politics, education, healthcare and public policy. A graduate of UCLA with a degree in statistics, he joined The Times in 2013.







Brian Nguyen is the associate managing editor at The Tylt, a new venture from Advance Publication’s in-house incubator, Alpha Group. He previously worked on the visuals team at the Chicago Tribune as a photographer and editor. 








Sameer Rao is an arts and entertainment reporter on The Baltimore Sun’s features desk. He joined The Sun in 2019 after nearly four years reporting for Colorlines, a racial justice-focused daily news site. In addition to arts topics, he has covered education, telecommunications policy, sports, politics, police and immigration. His freelance work includes stories for The Guardian, Stereogum, VICE’s Noisey and The Washington Post Express. Sameer began his career in Philadelphia, where he wrote for Philadelphia City Paper, WXPN’s The Key and the Public School Notebook. He previously served on the Asian American Journalists Association’s advisory and governing boards. Sameer grew up around Hartford, Connecticut and is a graduate of Haverford College.





Frank Shyong is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times writing about diversity and diaspora in Los Angeles. He grew up south of Nashville, Tennessee, and moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to study economics at UCLA. He’s written for the Orange County Register, the Taipei Times, and entertainment Weekly.  He joined The Times in 2012 and previously reported on the San Gabriel Valley, Chinese immigration to the Southland and the Asian American community.  







Maya Srikrishnan is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. She currently covers the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration issues, and previously wrote about education, housing and land use issues in San Diego County. Maya was raised in New York and studied history at the University of Texas in Austin. She has a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia’s Journalism School. Maya also served in the Peace Corps in Panama, where she trained Panamanian teachers for nearly three years. 






Kris Vera-Phillips is an Emmy Award-winning journalist at KPBS San Diego where she manages Evening Edition and Roundtable on San Diego’s PBS station. Beyond the newsroom, Kris serves as a governing board member for the Asian American Journalists Association, representing at-large members. Before public media, Kris produced news shows for CBS and NBC in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press Television-Radio Association. Beyond the newsroom, Kris taught American broadcast news classes at St. Petersburg State University in Russia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.   

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