Meet the Staff of 2015

Nick_highresNick Cimarusti is an editor for Locale, a lifestyle magazine covering Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. He graduated in May 2015 from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an emphasis on reporting on LGBTQ issues, social justice and tech. Nick previously interned for The Advocate and worked for the Daily Trojan at the University of Southern California while studying English and Spanish.



Varad_highresVarad Diwate is a senior in journalism and political science at Iowa State University. He is interested in reporting on politics and how different facets of society intersect with politics. Varad has been a features editor and reporter for Ethos magazine as well as a state legislature reporter for the Iowa State Daily. He has also worked as a features reporter at the Indian Express and as an intern at KHOI community radio in Ames, Iowa.



Thomas_highresThomas Jones is a 2015 graduate of Oklahoma State University. His major was in journalism and broadcasting. He interned for KTUL Tulsa’s Channel 8 News and TulsaKids Magazine. He also worked for his college radio, newspaper and news station companies.




Kaitlyn_highresKaitlyn Klein is a 2015 graduate of the University of Kansas. She is grateful for the chance to learn more about the LGBT community and NLGJA through this project and hopes it will make her a better advocate and ally both in the newsroom and out. She will begin working for the Des Moines Register Design Studio in September as a wire copy editor.




Jordan_highresJordan Lalata is an undergraduate journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has worked as a promotions assistant for radio stations in San Diego and the Bay Area, which has sparked an interest in marketing and broadcast media. Jordan, who video blogs his life to share his trajectory of graduating college, is a staff writer at Xpress Magazine.




Spencer_highresSpencer Macnaughton is a multimedia journalist with a focus on video production and editing. He graduated from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in May 2015. Since graduating, he has worked on an upcoming PBS documentary about defense attorneys for terrorists. He has also shot red carpet events and wrote aggregated news stories for uInterview, and he produced a short documentary for Vox Media about crystal meth addiction in the African American gay community. In the fall, Spencer will begin an internship at ABC as a production assistant on Nightline.



David_highresDavid Ok is a 2015 graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. His focus is in digital news design, including Web, mobile and tablet design, as well as in data visualization. He recently began working with media consulting firm Garcia Media as a digital designer.




Raji_highresRaji Ramanathan is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, where she studied Integrative Biology. Raji’s interest in broadcast journalism stemmed from her work as an Emma L. Bowen Foundation Intern for NBC Bay Area. For the past four years, she was their news and investigative intern. Raji’s longterm career goal is to become a long-form news producer. In her spare time, Raji loves exploring places, dabbling in photography, and trying new food.



Austin_highresAustin Rutland is a junior at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. He is pursuing a double major in journalism and advertising, along with a minor in American Sign Language studies. Austin hopes to enter a career as a journalistic or creative writer, and he is particularly interested in LGBT and social issues.




Linda_highresLinda Sankat is a junior at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. She majors in English and minors in Spanish, theatre, and professional writing and presentation media. She thoughtfully pieces words together in effort to promote human rights, social justice, and intercultural understanding. Her work has been featured in the Harvard Educational Review and the Huffington Post.



Rob_highresRob Smith is an openly gay Iraq war veteran, journalist and author of the Amazon #1 bestseller “Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Army,” which received the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award for LGBT nonfiction and was nominated for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for memoir. As an on-camera political and social commentator, he has been featured on Huffpost Live and Arise Television, and as a writer and journalist his work has been published by outlets including, The Advocate, The Huffington Post,, The New York Post, and Metro Weekly. In 2015, he received the Excellence in Blogging award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He has a M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.


Jaden_highresJaden Urbi is an advertising student at Iowa State University with a strong interest in social justice issues and bringing underrepresented groups to the mainstream media. She is an editor in chief for StreakU Iowa State, a digital media platform dedicated to creating a university-wide media network. She has hosted a weekly radio show for 88.5 KURE Ames Alternative and worked as a public information intern for Youth and Shelter Services, a communications intern for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, a reporter for the Iowa State Daily and a feature and content writer for Ethos Magazine.