T-Squared: Meet the Tribune’s 2023 summer fellows
Tribune fellows boost our journalism while gaining valuable experience in all aspects of the operation of a modern news organization.
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“Journalism saved me.”
That’s what University of Missouri-Columbia student Noah Alcala Bach wrote in his application to be one of more than a dozen summer fellows at The Texas Tribune this year.
“As I struggled academically in high school, I began to think I’d spend the rest of my life waiting tables and scrubbing pans,” he wrote. “But when I got an opportunity to try my hand at journalism during my senior year of high school covering housing policy and gentrification in San Antonio, I quickly fell in love with it and the value of my work.”
He wasn’t alone in describing journalism as a calling, a chance to do something to improve communities, empower the marginalized and hold the government to account.
Our fellows come from across Texas and from seven states across the country, from large urban campuses to small historically Black colleges and universities, from relatively little experience to jumpstarting their second careers. They recognize the challenges the industry faces, and they want to tackle them head on.
“I am concerned by the growing lack of trust in journalists and journalism,” University of Texas-El Paso student Brandy Ruiz wrote. “I hope to change this and make journalism more human. I want to be able to learn how to best serve communities on a state level and better understand how information can be shared.”
Generous donors have supported the Tribune’s fellowship program, establishing named fellowships such as the Tobin Endowment Fellowships and the Dallas Press Club Foundation Fellowships, as well as Martin Taylor's support of the Tribune HBCU Fellowships. We are grateful for their support and confident in these talented young journalism professionals. (See recent work by Tribune fellows here.)
The Tribune is happy to foster these early-career journalists, and we hope you will join us in extending a warm Texas welcome.
Our 2023 summer fellows:
Olivia Alafriz will be a reporting fellow based in Washington, D.C. Previously, Olivia interned with CNN’s KFile team, doing investigative reporting on political candidates and elected officials across the country. She grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and Vienna, Austria, before moving to Washington, D.C. to study journalism and political science at American University.
Noah Alcala Bach will be an Austin-based reporting fellow. Before arriving at the Tribune, Noah was an intern in Brussels at Politico EU, a reporter for the Columbia Missourian, an intern at the San Antonio Current and a contributing correspondent for the San Antonio Express-News. He studies journalism and political science at the University of Missouri and looks forward to bringing knowledge from both those fields to cover his home state.
Marketing and communications fellow Kayla Bennett is a recent graduate of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where she studied journalism and political science. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and will be based in Austin this summer. She previously served as editor-in-chief of Thread Magazine, Ohio University’s largest culture and fashion magazine, and managing editor of The Post, the university’s independent student-run newspaper. She was a summer 2022 marketing and communications intern with the National Fisheries Institute in Washington, D.C., and a 2022 White House Correspondents scholar.
Anna Colletto is a 2023 Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Innovation Fellow working with the Tribune’s digital product team. She is a junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying journalism and political science. Previously, Anna worked as the editor-in-chief of The Maneater, MU’s student newspaper, a Student Press Freedom Day co-chair for the Student Press Law Center and a digital intern at Cincinnati Magazine.
Dallas Press Club Foundation Fellow Greta Díaz González Vázquez is returning to the Tribune for a second summer to work with our multimedia team. She recently graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, where she also earned a certificate in narrative journalism. Greta worked as a journalist in Mexico for six years, freelancing and doing multimedia journalism for a public radio station. Her reporting is focused on gender violence in Mexico and science. Greta’s work has earned state and national awards in her home country, including the National Award for Science Journalism and the National Faces of Discrimination Award. Greta believes empathy is a fundamental ingredient for storytelling.
Rachel James will be an audience engagement fellow. She will be helping to engage audiences in our politics and policy coverage across platforms, including by packaging Tribune stories for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; contributing to our daily newsletters; helping produce live discussions for our readers; and pitching and editing short-form videos or other original content for social readers. Rachel was born in Detroit and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended North Carolina A&T State University, an HBCU, and her previous internships involved creating social content and videography for small businesses.
Brandy Ruiz also will be an audience engagement fellow. Previously, she launched and created the TikTok account and posts for nonprofit news outlet El Paso Matters, reported on everything border culture in English and Spanish for Minero Magazine, participated in the 2021 National Association of Hispanic Journalists Student Project, interned at NOWCastSA, and talked about identity in a story for Dallas public radio station KERA and the University of Texas at El Paso’s Borderzine. Born in San Diego, Brandy will graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso in May with a degree in multimedia journalism and a minor in political science and marketing. When she’s not watching social media for newsrooms, you’ll likely find her scrolling through TikTok.
Rebecca Schneid will be an Austin-based reporting fellow. She is a Duke University graduate, born and raised in South Florida. She studied English, journalism and gender studies and worked as a writer for the 9th Street Journal and Form Magazine, photo editor at the Duke Chronicle and DJ at WXDU-FM radio station on campus. She has previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, Durham’s alt-weekly Indy Week, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Elle and The Guardian. She also writes poetry, for which she’s won an Academy of American Poets University Prize.
Events fellow Jacarious Stanley is a graduate of Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, and he is studying for a teaching certificate at Huston-Tillotson University, an Austin HBCU. In his free time, he can be seen playing at venues around town as he loves to emerge himself in the vast music culture the city has to offer.
Ethan Thomas will be a copy editing fellow based in Austin. Ethan was a staff photographer and reporter for the University of Texas at El Paso’s bilingual publication, Minero Magazine, covering topics such as business and politics. He was secretary of the university’s National Association of Hispanic Journalists chapter. Ethan was born and raised in El Paso and will graduate summa cum laude from UTEP in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism. When there are no deadlines approaching, Ethan can be found playing music, taking photos or at karaoke.
Joe Timmerman will be an Austin-based photography fellow. Joe is a recent graduate of Ohio University, where he earned degrees in visual communication and journalism. Previously, Joe interned at the Cincinnati Enquirer and worked as a contract photojournalist and writer for The Columbus Dispatch and EcoWatch. A native of Cincinnati, Joe is most drawn to in-depth, collaborative storytelling that uplifts communities and shines light on important issues.
Francisco Uranga will be an Austin-based reporting fellow. He is a student in the bilingual journalism program at the Craig Newmark Journalism School at the City University of New York. Uranga previously worked as an economics reporter for El País in Spain and studied at the El País School of Journalism. He was the editor and co-founder of Visión Desarrollista, a digital magazine focused on economic development in Argentina, and has hosted a radio program on current affairs, including foreign policy and economics, at a university station in Argentina. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Buenos Aires.
Susie Webb will be a data visuals fellow based in Austin. A senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is studying journalism, global studies and data science. She has worked as the data editor and city and state editor for The Daily Tar Heel, where she’s helped build the paper’s online multimedia presence. Previously, she was a metro news reporter for The Charlotte Observer and the editor of Potomac Local News. Susie is from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and loves to hike and rock climb.
Disclosure: Facebook, Huston-Tillotson University, Politico, University of Texas at El Paso and University of North Texas have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
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