Meet the 2019 Staff

Alesia Bani is studying journalism with a concentration in international communication at Temple University. She is passionate about solutions journalism with a focus on social identities and their convergence with politics. On campus, Alesia works as an editor for The Temple News, a writer for WHIP Radio and director of public relations for The Temp TV. She hopes to highlight the voices of marginalized communities that have been historically overlooked by traditional media outlets. She recently wrote an op-ed on recasting sexual health curriculums as a solution to street harassment for The Philadelphia Inquirer. When she’s not writing to-do lists, you can find Alesia cuddling with her chihuahua, eating french fries, or watching historical dramas.

Kayla Brown is a senior at Sacramento State who is majoring in journalism. She is the social media manager, senior editor and a staff writer for Her Campus at Sacramento State, a student-run online news outlet. Kayla also has a background in broadcast journalism from her time in community college. Her main focuses in her writing are mental health and feminist issues, including topics such as abotion bans and sexual assault. She hopes to work as a social media manager for a female-run business or be a staff writer at a women’s empowerment magazine. Kayla’s portfolio is available at at, and she’s on Twitter @ksbrown1102.

Mackenzie Farkus is a senior majoring in journalism at Simmons University in Boston. She is interested in investigative and longform journalism, with her primary reporting topics being gender and sexuality, education, technology, sports, and public records requests. Mackenzie is editor in chief of the Simmons Voice, the student-run newspaper, and the head copy editor of MindScope, a student-run science magazine. She was previously an intern at MuckRock, a journalism nonprofit that focuses on investigative journalism and public records requests. While there, she uncovered FBI files into attacks on Shirley Chisholm. Mackenzie has lived in five states (Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Massachusetts) and loves reading, playing sports and watching comedies. You can find her on Twitter and on Instagram @MackenzieFarkus.

Adam Ferraz lives in Arden, N.C., and is a senior at Davidson College pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in film and media studies. On campus, he is the senior copy editor for his school newspaper, The Davidsonian, and works as a research assistant at the college library. He is particularly interested in LGBT issues and other social justice matters such as reproductive rights and the current immigration crisis. He spent a semester in Sweden, studying liberal arts at the Stockholm School of Economics. In his free time, Adam enjoys reading, art museums and indie music.

Irena Fischer-Hwang (she/they) is a features intern at The Dallas Morning News, where she writes local human interest stories and is co-producing a podcast on classical music. She received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University in spring 2019, and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 and 2012. In fall 2019, she will join the M.A. journalism program at Stanford University, where she will continue the data journalism work she started in 2018 with Stanford’s Big Local News team. Fischer-Hwang was a producer for the Stanford science podcast Goggles Optional from 2016 to 2018, and in 2018 she launched the science podcast The Informaticists with her doctoral advisor. She is a Chips Quinn 2019 Scholar and was a member of the Asian American Journalism Association’s 2018 Voices student program, where she wrote a story about Asian American coming out experiences. She is also a peer editor and writer for NPR Scicommer, and her work has appeared in KQED and the Smithsonian Online Magazine.

Ethan Knox is a senior at the State University of New York at Binghamton who is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and global studies. In his final semester, he will be studying abroad in London. As a freelance journalist for the SUNY Research Foundation, he writes profiles featuring student and faculty researchers. On campus, he is interning for Harpur Perspective, the magazine of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences. After graduating, he hopes to pursue a career in print journalism and travel. His recent interests include photography and podcasting. In his spare time, you can find him reading or writing fiction. Follow him on Twitter @knoxet17.

Ryan Killian Krause began his journey in an overwhelmingly suburban and homogenous town in the mid-Atlantic. Never quite feeling at home in these surroundings, he fled west as soon as he was able. He spent his undergraduate years at the University of California, Davis, where he excelled in the acquisition of life experience. After receiving his degree, Ryan set up shop in the liberal bubble that is San Francisco, working – naturally – for a tech company. Last year, in an effort to contribute his voice to the positive public discourse, he decided to return to his original passion for storytelling by pursuing a career as a journalist. He’s enrolled in a master’s program at New York University, where he’s specializing in long-form narrative journalism. He writes about society, culture and issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. His bylines have appeared in Bedford + Bowery, The Body, and L’OFFICIEL USA. Ryan’s other interests include lounging in parks, yoga, and napping at inappropriate times. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanKKrause and on Instagram @Krausehause.

Jonathan Lee is a senior at Davidson College in North Carolina, where he majors in Hispanic Studies and minors in English and is a senior reporter for the school paper. This summer, he solidified his interest in journalism while taking a class at NYU, where he focused on local feature writing and queer topics. He intends to write magazine and newspaper feature pieces and would love to pursue long-form journalism. He is passionate about travel, pop music, LBGTQ issues, and city planning and transportation. He also speaks fluent Spanish and looks forward to using this skill in his journalism practice, whether in the United States or abroad.

Andre Menchavez is a Filipinx queer activist using journalism as a tool to lift up communities of color. Andre works as a content creator and campus ambassador for GLAAD and was previously a junior editor for the organization. He also hosts an online series called “Q&A: Queer and Asian” for Queerspace Magazine. He is a junior at the University of Washington and is studying English and law.

Jeremiah Rhodes is a video producer and filmmaker whose work has focused on race and how it influences life in the American South. He is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is majoring in media and journalism with a concentration in photo and video journalism. Jeremiah is interested in how people of color and queer people find healing in a society that has co-opted the “self care” narrative. He also has an interest in examining climate change and how communities of color deal with an ever-changing planet. In summer 2019, Jeremiah was a video intern for NPR Music in Washington. After graduation, he plans to work as a video producer for a news publication while continuing to make films and pursue his passion for cinematography.

Meg Shutzer is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and multimedia journalist. Her short film “Knocking Down the Fences,” about the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, will premier in San Francisco in September. She teaches a video class at the San Quentin prison and is working on an investigative project about the juvenile justice system in Louisiana. Meg has a bachelor’s of arts from Harvard and is pursuing a master’s degree at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. When she isn’t chasing down a story, you can find her on a bicycle, riding to Los Angeles with the AIDS/LifeCycle.

The Mentors

Top row, from left: Frances Fernandes, Karen Hawkins, Jamal Jordan, John-Michael Murphy
Bottom row: David Ok, Caroline Que, Cai Thomas, Zach Wichter