JCal, AAJA and CalMatters’ Program for California High School Students, Selects 22 Students for 2024 Cohort

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and CalMatters are thrilled to announce the 2024 cohort of JCal, a program for California high school students to be immersed in the state’s news ecosystem.

The second cohort of this program will meet in the CalMatters newsroom in Sacramento from June 17 to June 21. With guidance from 11 mentors, 22 students will gain first hand experience in the newsroom reporting on projects focused on the theme of California’s Next Workforce. 

“AAJA is proud to be partnering with CalMatters again for this program’s second year. Last year’s cohort produced incredible work on the impact of climate change and drought on California’s communities, many of which were published by local news outlets. We’re thankful for the AAJA members and local newsrooms who supported JCal students, and we are excited for a second year of developing and training aspiring California journalists,” said AAJA Executive Director Naomi Tacuyan Underwood.

“We are excited to continue working with AAJA to help nurture the careers of these talented young journalists,” said CalMatters Editor in Chief Kristen Go. “They help make their communities richer by the stories they tell. Watching their excitement and partnership with their mentors is inspiring and energizing.”

AAJA is proud to accept the following students to JCaL 2024:
Raiden Dea – Alameda (Albany High School)
Ava DeJesus – Hawthorne (Da Vinci Connect)
Viviana Delsid – Sanger (Sanger High School)
Maya Desai – Newport Coast (Sage Hill School)
Kayla Garcia – Victorville (University Preparatory School)
Zara Hai – Belmont (Carlmont High School)
Madiha Haideri – Turlock (John H. Pitman High School)
Jiaying Hou – Chino Hills (San Bernardino)
Suriyah Lynn Jones – Fresno (Sunnyside High School)
Esteban Ledesma Lara – Fresno (Sunnyside High School)
Kayleigh Luna – Atascadero (Atascadero High School)
Victoria Matz – Woodland Hills (El Camino Real Charter High School)
Amaya Mosley – Oxnard (Rio Mesa High School)
Sophie Nguyen – Granite Bay (Granite Bay High School)
Abigail JinJu Pace – Sherman Oaks (Notre Dame High School)
Lucy Ramirez – Oxnard (Rio Mesa High School)
Sarah Ochoa Rodriguez – Plumas Lake (Natomas Charter)
Stephanie Olvido – Roseville (St. Francis Catholic High School)
Sienna Rodriguez – Granite Bay (Granite Bay High School)
Brina Sastyangkul – Long Beach (Millikan High School)
Zoe Truong – San Diego (Canyon Crest Academy)
Gabriel Worley  Atascadero (Atascadero High School) 
Vanessa Arredondo, Daily Reporter, Reckon
Jennifer Cortez, Education Reporter, The Desert Sun
Andrew Fortin-Caldera, Freelance Journalist
Jeff Gottlieb, Freelance Writer
Jessica Hilo, Senior Manager, NBC News and MSNBC Digital
Iris Kwok, Environment Reporter, Berkeleyside
Ryan Loyola, News Assistant, ABC7 Los Angeles
Yiwen Lu, Technology Reporting Fellow, The New York Times
Mary McCarron, Former TV Journalist
Seema Mehta, Political Reporter, Los Angeles Times
James Salanga, Reporter, KAZU 


Media Contacts:

Felicia Chanco, Director of Special Initiatives, AAJA

Email: feliciac@aaja.org 

Michael Lozano, Youth Journalism Initiative Manager, CalMatters

Email: michael@calmatters.org 

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