SPJ 21 Journalism Conference • Sept. 2-4, 2021



About/Meet the Staff

Each year, the Society of Professional Journalists sponsors internships for more than a dozen bright, motivated and hard-working student journalists to staff The SPJ News, a news site that covers SPJ’s annual journalism conference. Student writers, editors, and photographers are invited to apply for these select positions.


Student Journalists

Grace Altenhofen (@AltenhofenGrace) is the Managing Editor of the Times-Delphic, the student newspaper of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

My passion for journalism began when I joined my high school newspaper staff, and flourished when I was a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit over student journalists’ rights.

I will be a junior at Drake in the fall, pursuing a double major in News and Strategic Political Communication with a minor in Law and Ethics, and I hope to continue my career as a journalist with a newspaper or news website after college. In my free time, you can find me reading, playing guitar, or bothering my cat Sammy.


Annie Bennett is a junior at Emerson College. She is passionate about using media for social justice and political reporting.

As an intern for the Borgen Project she was responsible for creating content for social media and other platforms. Bennett also produced, print, broadcast and multimedia pieces as an intern with DigBoston.

Bennett has travelled extensively and has visited over 20 countries. She is conversational in Spanish, Italian, Latin, Arabic and Chichewa, the dominant language of the Bantu-speaking people in Malawi.

Along with her travel and reporting, Bennett also plays for Emerson’s Quidditch team!.


Alexandra Bowman (@scripta_bene) is a political cartoonist and satirist, creating work with The Lincoln Project and environmental newsletter Our Daily Planet. As a rising senior at Georgetown University, she is double majoring in English and Art, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Student Trustee Council. She is a Contributing Writer to DC Metro Theater Arts, Washington, D.C.’s premier source of performing arts coverage.

Alex also founded The Hilltop Show, a student-run political comedy web series run by over 50 undergraduate and graduate student members from around the world and serves as its host and Lead Satirical Writer.


Hännah Foote is an Arizona native expecting to graduate from Arizona State University in May 2022 with degrees in print journalism, justice studies and cultural studies.

She has reported for The Guardian, Kaiser Health News, The State Press, PBS in Los Angeles, EIJ News, Herald/Review and the Downtown Devil.

Foote has also held multiple editor positions at her student newspaper and published a documentary on COVID-19 saliva testing in a partnership with PBS and The Biodesign Institute.

She was recently interviewed for BBC for her work towards diversity and inclusion in the newsroom, and has reporting picked up by Times Magazine, the Arizona Republic, KTAR, AZ Big Media, Daily Independent, and other national and local publications.

Hännah is currently a knowledge base and media enterprise researcher in a partnership with the Los Angeles Times, and interns with Zócalo Public Square, expanding their social media and illustration efforts.


Allison Hageman (@akhagema1) is a multimedia lifestyle journalist and journalism master’s student at Georgetown University. Her byline has appeared in District Fray Magazine, Alexandria Times, Capitol Standard, DCist, Delaware Today, and Out & About Magazine.

She is an ONA21 Student Newsroom member, an upcoming SPJ student chapter officer, and a volunteer proofreader/copy editor for Street Sense Media. She has been quoted in SPJ’s Quill and her work has been featured in 730DC.

At the University of Delaware, she was a journalism minor as well as assistant Mosaic editor for The Review, the university newspaper.


Brea Haller attends Indiana State University in Terre Haute, studying communications with an emphasis on journalism and public relations.

She has been the editor-in-chief for the student-run newspaper, the Indiana Statesman, for three semesters.

Haller interned with the Tribune Star this past summer as a reporter through the Hoosier State Press Association’s Eugene S. Pulliam fellowship. She covered live, breaking news for immediate publication on the paper’s digital and print platforms.

Haller is from Tell City, IN and graduates in May 2022.


Brooklyn Joyner is Junior at Loyola University of New Orleans majoring in Broadcast Journalism.

She writes for Loyola University’s school News Paper, The Maroon. She also is an anchor and reporter for Loyola University’s student-run news station, The Maroon Minute.

Joyner plans to work as a multimedia journalist after graduation in 2023.

She is a T. Howard Scholar and a Hearst Fellow. She interned at WDSU, the NBC-affiliate television station in New Orleans.

When Joyner is not working in a newsroom, she teaches ballet.


Sudiksha Kochi is a rising senior at George Mason University, majoring in communication with a double concentration in journalism and media production/criticism. She is also pursuing a minor in political communication.

She has previously produced work for PolitiFact and Voice of America and is currently a Universal Now summer intern at USA TODAY. She is also doing work for the investigations team at USA TODAY and will be joining the fact-checking team this fall.

She is author of the upcoming book, Unfiltered, which is about how to combat misinformation using journalism.

In and out of the newsroom, Kochi is full of life. She is positive, energetic, and loves a good challenge. Her bubbly personality and active spirit are what carry her to do highly ambitious and worthwhile things.


Danielle Layton recently ended a full-time position in Marketing Production for NBC News & MSNBC. She also works as a freelance journalist writing and producing for digital outlets.

Some of her work has been featured on TODAY.com and YR Media. She produced a story on the importance of checking in on your friends during the pandemic. The piece was featured on the TODAY Show with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager.

Layton is a New York native and a graduate of Pace University with degrees in English and Communication Studies. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at Regent University.


Chatwan Mongkol (@Chatwan_Mongkol) is a senior journalism major with a double major in advertising and integrated communications at Quinnipiac University. He is a news editor at his university’s student-run newspaper, the Quinnipiac Chronicle.

As a Southeast Asian country native, he is passionate to become an international correspondent reporting on the region’s politics upon graduation. In 2020, he reported on Thailand’s anti-establishment protests for Bangkok-based non-profit newsroom Prachatai English and Spain-based international online publication Transcontinental Times.

Besides journalism experience, he has a background of a content creator as he started his own blog and YouTube channel, Alien In Foreign, highlighting his experience traveling around the United States and the globe gaining thousands of followers.


Zaria Oates is a senior at the University of Oklahoma working in journalism with a focus in broadcast news.

She is a valued member of the Oklahoma Daily, the independent, student-produced newspaper at the university, with a circulation of 6,000. She is currently a Washington D.C. correspondent for Gaylord News, a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Her advisor describes Zaria as “the reporter to raise a hand to jump on a story when editors need someone.”

Along with SPJ, she is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Oklahoma College Broadcasters and an ICCAE scholar.


Ja’Colbi Rivers is a senior at Loyola University majoring in journalism with a concentration in broadcast and history.

He is the Executive Producer of the student newscast, the Maroon Minute.

Rivers hopes to one day anchor the Nightly News and become “America’s Most Trusted TV News Anchor.” He would also like to have his own show to put a spotlight on the injustices many people still face.

Rivers is from Laplace, Louisiana and graduates in May 2022.


Domonique Tolliver is a rising Sophomore majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and a Minor in Women’s Studies at Loyola New Orleans University.

She is the Worldview Editor for The Maroon newspaper, is responsible for writing and producing content for social media as an intern for Gambit Weekly and covered breaking news and efforts to rename school in New Orleans for The NOLA Messenger.

Dominique says she is a “born and bred” New Orleanian and is eager to start her career as a newspaper reporter after graduation in 2024.



Professional Staff

Bob Butler is a general assignment reporter at KCBS Radio in San Francisco and was a key member of the decorated Chauncey Bailey Project.

He has been honored for his work including a George Foster Peabody award and a national Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the housing crisis in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Bob is committed to mentoring the next generation of journalists, he served as the 20th President of the National Association of Black Journalists from 2013-2015… and is now the Broadcast Vice President for SAG-AFTRA, the performers union representing more than 160,000 actors, singers, dancers and broadcasters.


Matt Martinez covers health and wellness in Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service through Report For America, a program that seeks to strengthen local journalism by placing journalists in communities that have a greater need for issues based reporting.

He graduated from Marquette University in 2020. Over his four years at Marquette, Matt worked in various positions at the Marquette Wire. Most of his time there was spent on the investigative desk, covering issues such as housing, human trafficking and health care in the city.

Matt was a member of the former EIJ News at 2019 the SPJ conference in San Antonio.


Daysi Calavia-Robertson (@presspassdaysi) is a multimedia journalist and columnist at The Star-Ledger and NJ.com in New Jersey, where she covers communities of color. Before joining parent company NJ Advance Media, she worked as a business reporter at Newsday on Long Island, New York.

Calavia-Robertson’s work has appeared digitally and in print on South Florida’s The Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald, The Huffington Post and Spanish-language T.V. network Telemundo, among others.

She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mass Communications from Florida International University in her hometown, Miami, Florida.


Jessica Williams is the deputy investigative editor for the Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

For six years, she covered politics and government for The New Orleans Advocate. She has also covered education for the Times-Picayune and was a reporter for The Lens, a nonprofit news website.

While at the Lens, she collaborated on a project that examined the phenomena of forced mortgage payoffs in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a story that won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.


The SPJ News