Meet the VOICES Class of 2013

AAJA is proud to announce the 13 college students selected from across the country for VOICES, a program held at AAJA’s national convention, August 21-24 at the Hilton New York. 

AAJA is proud to announce the 13 college students selected from across the country for VOICES, a program held at AAJA’s national convention, August 21-24 at the Hilton New York. VOICES is a training program for future journalists that offers students a rare opportunity to build their skills and develop their portfolios in the company of industry professionals from all over the world.

“AAJA is dedicated to helping the next generation of journalists progress in their education and careers,” said AAJA President Paul Cheung. “VOICES gives college students a glimpse of what being a professional journalist is all about. We’re excited to welcome this group of promising future journalists to our national convention in New York.”


Yumi Araki Columbia University New York New York
Ben Bartenstein Macalester College Waldo Wisconsin
Tercius Bufete Cal State Chico Los Angeles California
Stephen Jiwanmall Columbia University Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Davey Kim UCLA Duarte California
Dipti Kumar Stony Brook University Stony Brook New York
Matthew Lee UCLA West Hollywood California
Shako Liu USC Los Angeles California
Dana Macalanda University of Oregon Gresham Oregon
Michelle Pham Bates College Lewiston Maine
Mega Sugianto CSUF Fullerton California
Courtland Thomas Columbia University Stuart Florida
Frances Wang USC Los Angeles California


Since 1990, VOICES has been giving aspiring journalists the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in covering the convention and AAPI community. As technology has evolved, so has the way people consume news. VOICES has adapted to these changes by reformatting the program into a convergence newsroom. For the last several years, VOICES has provided a “mojo” (mobile journalism) training program for students. They participate in pre-convention training with interactive online courses in interviewing, multimedia, and visual and audio techniques.

“VOICES is one of AAJA’s signature convention programs,” said Marian Liu, VOICES program director. “Each year, the students wow me with their skills and this year is no exception. Students in this year’s group have worked everywhere from Kenya to Japan, with internships from the BBC to ONA.”

Help support the VOICES program by donating to AAJA today. Read the testimonials below to learn how VOICES has helped to impact the careers of its alumni.



VOICES Alumni Testimonials:


Name: Candice Nguyen

Voices year and role: Detroit 2010, student participant

Current position: Reporter/Fill-in Anchor San Diego 6 News

How did AAJA Voices shape your path? Before Voices, I was a news writer and had little experience being on-air and meeting hard deadlines. Voices helped build my confidence and confirmed journalism was the career I had to pursue.

What can you do today that you wouldn’t be able to do without having been in Voices? To this day, I am able to contact journalists around the country, because I met them through AAJA Voices. The program opened an entire community to me that provides a great amount support. Voices is also helping me help others. Fellow Voicers call me for advice, and I am always more than happy to help. A few months back, I helped one girl from my year land a freelance job at my news station.


Name: Kyle Kim

Voices year and role: Detroit 2010, multimedia

Current position: GlobalPost’s Deputy Social Media and News Desk Editor

How did AAJA Voices shape your path? I wouldn’t be working for GP if it had not been for Voices. The combination of hard work and respect I earned with the Voices editors eventually led me to a part-time job for GlobalPost. The program helped me get my foot in the ever-revolving journalism door.

What can you do today that you wouldn’t be able to do without having been in Voices? Networking used to intimidate me, but now it’s something I look forward to. One of the big things I appreciated about Voices was how they teach the importance of being able to fearlessly interact with news bigwigs and professionals.

Any other thoughts on why people should support Voices? If you support Voices, you’re investing in the future of journalism and news leaders.


Name: Emma Carew Grovum

Voices year and role: Miami 2007, print and radio reporter

Current position: Data journalist at The Chronicle of Philanthropy

How did AAJA Voices shape your path? Voices exposed me to a larger network of AAJA-ers and the convention experience. Although I was primarily assigned as a print reporter, the time I spent with the radio staff led to mentorships and friendships that have endured over the past six years. I haven’t missed an AAJA convention since, and have stepped up to give back to AAJA in a variety of positions, ranging from chapter president to programming committee.

What can you do today that you wouldn’t be able to do without having been in Voices? I have a strong sense of what makes a mentor and how to shape my own career, largely owing to a lasting relationship with NPR’s Doug Mitchell. I’m also not sure I would have taken the plunge to commit financially to attending the convention in 2008 and beyond without the sneak peek I had from Voices. The little bit of the convention I was allowed out to see made me hungrier for more.


Name: Tracy Jan

Voices year and role: Boston 1997

Current position: Political reporter, The Boston Globe, Washington Bureau

How did AAJA Voices shape your path? Through Voices, AAJA has provided me invaluable mentors and lifelong friends, both as a student first working on the project and in subsequent years in editing roles as a professional. I got my first daily newspaper internship through my Voices editor, Jonathan Gaw, at the Star Tribune. I will always be grateful to Voices and AAJA for setting me on my professional path.

What can you do today that you wouldn’t be able to do without having been in Voices? As a professional, working on Voices as an assignment editor has given me opportunities to develop editing and management skills that I otherwise would not have experienced. The hardest part is staying in the zone between motivating young reporters to excel and maintaining their voice and ownership over their stories. That week, as well as the months leading up to the convention, is always a chance for me to grow as a journalist because I’m thrust into a role I have not had since editing my college newspaper. It helps me understand, to a small degree, the pressures my own editors are under every day.

Any other thoughts on why people should support Voices? With all the downer news out there about the state of media today, there are still young people considering the important work of journalism as a career. We should do everything we can to foster the next generation, including providing training, a support network of peers and professionals, and their first internships or jobs. Also the editing roles give working journalists a unique opportunity to get hands-on professional development.