Seven Students Selected for New York Times Student Journalism Institute

More than one-third of the 23 young journalists who will take part in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute Jan. 2-13, 2010, at the University of Arizona are from the UA School of Journalism.

Students were competitively selected by a panel of journalists at The New York Times from among a national pool of student members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The UA School of Journalism is one of only two sites nationally chosen to host the institute, and do so every other year.

Those chosen from the UA School of Journalism are undergraduates Veronica Cruz, Matthew Lewis, Amanda Portillo and Samantha Sais, graduate student Cecilia Ragland Perry, and May 2009 graduates Dalina Castellanos and Stephen Ceasar.

Castellanos worked on the news desk at the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., as a Chips Quinn scholar. She was one of the founding members of the NAHJ-UA chapter and a Journalism Student Advisory Council member.

While a student, she interned at the Tucson Citizen, took part in the yearly California Chicano News Media Association conference in Los Angeles and was a staffer for Border Beat, a UA School of Journalism news site covering the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ceasar has interned at Tucson Lifestyle Magazine, the Tucson Citizen and the Arizona Daily Star. He spent the summer and fall 2009 at the Star covering crime and the border. Ceasar received the Douglas D. Martin Award for Integrity and Courage in Journalism in spring 2009 for his work covering the border.

He also wrote for ArizonaNewsService.com and was a staff member of Border Beat.

Cruz was an apprentice for the Caliente section of the Arizona Daily Star, copy editor at the  Arizona Daily Wildcat and copy chief for El Independiente, a UA School of Journalism publication covering the city of South Tucson.

She received the El Independiente award last spring for her work on the publication.

Lewis has been an intern with the San Manuel Miner, the Arizona Summer Wildcat, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine and was an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star. He was a NASA intern for the Tucson Citizen and spent this fall as the metro desk intern at the Arizona Daliy Star. He and Samantha Sais served as mentors at the Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students. This past summer, Lewis served as the senior mentor to the students.

Perry began in the UA School of Journalism's graduate program in fall 2008. She is president of the Graduate Journalism Student Advisory Council, has apprenticed at the Arizona Daily Star and is a member of the UA's Student Media Board.

Portillo is vice president of the UA chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She interns at the Tucson Weekly, producing written stories and multimedia packages for its Web site. Portillo also participated in the NAHJ conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this summer as a member of the student project that covered the surrounding community and the convention.

Sais is the current president of the Journalism Student Advisory Council. She has held internships with Metromix.com through the Tucson Citizen and with the Tucson Weekly. She also served as a mentor at the Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students.

Students are selected based on an essay of up to 500 words, clips or portfolios of their work, and their experience in journalism. Graduates of the institute have interned or now work at some of the most prestigious news organizations in the United States, including the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Boston Globe and The New York Times, along with many other news organizations.

The New York Times Student Journalism Institute is offered twice a year, in conjunction with two organizations for news professionals. The January Institute alternates each year between Florida International University in Miami and the UA. A May Institute at Dillard University in New Orleans is operated in association with the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black College Communication Association.

Students work with veteran journalists from The New York Times, the Boston Globe and The Times Company's regional newspapers in a newsroom environment covering events in the cities where the institutes are held. Students have covered presidential speeches and campaign events, the funeral of a famous mobster, the challenges facing immigrants and dozens of other stories.

Other student participants in the 2010 institute are: Regina Garcia Cano, Kent State University; Jessica Flores, University of Southern California; Sierra Rodriguez Jiminez, Syracuse University; Jamie Klein, University of Nebraska; Marissa Lang, University of Maryland; Elvia Malagon, Indiana University; Amanda Martizez, University of California-Berkeley; Sara Martinez, Marquette University; Armando Montano, Grinnell College; Luciana Morales Mendoza, University of Texas Brownsville; Diego Robles, Ohio University; Salvador Rodriguez, Arizona State University; Margaret Teich, City University of New York; Laura Valerio, Pomona College; Cindy Von Quednow, California State University Northridge; and Daniel Woolfolk, Columbia University.

By Kate Harrison, UA School of Journalism December 15, 2009