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NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists Announces the 2024 CONNECT Student Journalism Training Project Cohort

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WASHINGTON, DC (May 29, 2024) – Today, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists announced the 2024 CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project cohort.

The ten students selected for the annual CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project will cover the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists National Convention in Los Angeles from Sept. 5-8. The student participants are Alyssa Bickle, Theia Chatelle, Joe Destra, Drew Filipski, Jocelynn Landon, Amira McKee, Desmond Meagley, Chinanuekpele “Chinanu” Okoli, Herman Roberts and Hong Ta.

CONNECT is a multimedia journalism training program for college students and recent grads. It aims to serve students as an innovative leadership program for emerging journalists as well. The cohort of 10 students will attend the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists National Convention, produce portfolio-quality journalism, network with media professionals, and receive feedback on their resumes and career plans.

They will work with mentors to report, edit, photograph, design, and produce the news of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists National Convention and the host city while helping to ensure fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ+ issues at the event. Upon conclusion of the program, students’ reporting will be published on the CONNECT website and presented during a session at the convention.

About the Cohort:
Alyssa Bickle (she/her/hers) is a senior at Arizona State University studying journalism and mass communication and political science, with a minor in urban and metropolitan studies. She is currently an intern at The Copper Courier, where she plans on working upon graduation this May, after a short intermission to serve in the AmeriCorps NCCC Summer of Service. She is also an assistant research analyst for ASU’s Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research (CLAPR).

Theia Chatelle (she/her/hers) is a freelance journalist and graduate student at Yale. As an independent conflict reporter, she has traveled to twenty countries, writing for a variety of outlets including The Nation, Al Jazeera, and Haaretz. In her free time, she volunteers with the Rikers Debate Project, teaching debate classes to inmates held at New York City’s largest jail.

Joe Destra (he/him/his) is a recent graduate of Rowan University where he earned a Communications degree.

Drew Filipski (he/him/his) is a freelance writer, journalist and student at Ohio University pursuing a major in journalism as part of the Carr Van Anda Program (B.S.J.) and a minor in marketing. His work has appeared in Signal Tribune, The Buckeye Flame, INTO and Queerty.

Jocelynn Landon (she/her/hers) is a junior studying journalism at Cal State Bakersfield, and has held various roles on her campus newsroom, The Runner. She started as the Photo and Art Director, Features Editor, and is currently the Editor-In-Chief of Publications. 

Amira McKee (she/her/hers) is a junior at Columbia University majoring in Sociology. She serves as the Head of Investigations at the Columbia Daily Spectator. Beyond Columbia, Amira has interned at NBC Nightly News and ABC New York and will be joining The Current GA as a 2024 summer fellow through the Dow Jones News Fund. With a special interest in issues surrounding housing, land use, and labor, she hopes to pursue metro and investigative journalism.

Desmond Meagley (any/all) is pursuing an Associate of Arts at Laney College. Ze got hir start in journalism at the YR Media newsroom (formerly known as Youth Radio) in 2015, writing about public health, education, and gender until hir departure in 2019. Today, ze is a staff writer at the Peralta Community College District’s award winning student-run news publication, The Citizen. Hir work has also appeared in The SF Chronicle, The Daily Cal, Teen Vogue, KQED, KCBS and more.

Chinanuekpele “Chinanu” Okoli (he/him/his) is pursuing a degree in journalism at Boston University. Chinanu serves as Co-Programming Director and Campus News Editor at WTBU, where he started Melanin Matters, BU’s only Black news outlet. He also reports for the Cambridge Day, Daily Free Press, and BUTV and most recently interned at GBH News. His ultimate goals are to provide more authentic and fair news coverage of oppressed communities and promote more sustainable and healthy journalism practices.

Herman Roberts (he/him/his) is a recent graduate of the University of Idaho. During his time as a news reporter and opinion writer for the Argonaut, Roberts covered a variety of topics, from local politics to current events.

Hong Ta (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound where she received a B.A. in Politics and Government, as well as Spanish Literature, Language, and Culture. She has been a producer-in-residence at KING 5, participated in the KUOW RadioActive program, and is currently a communications coordinator at the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition. 

Applications for the 2025 cohort will open in spring 2025. More information about the CONNECT Student Journalism Training Project can be found on our website.


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