Meet grad students

Learn about the current cohorts of Reynolds School of Journalism students.

Current student cohorts

2019 cohort

Woman poses indoorsJenna DeLaurentis

Though she was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Jenna DeLaurentis has lived all over the world, including Brazil, Chile and Thailand. She graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in political science, double minoring in telecommunications and Italian. She says that half of her undergrad was spent studying abroad. At YSU, she worked in the marketing and communications department as their videographer and photographer. She has also interned for USAC Study Abroad while in Thailand. Currently, she’s a graduate assistant at the Reynolds School of Journalism as well as a video editor for USAC Study Abroad. Jenna is passionate about traveling and storytelling, especially through videography and photography. She hopes to combine her love for international relations and politics with her visual work. Jenna loves learning new languages and being outside as much as possible.

Student poses indoors.Ares Diler

Aras Diler is originally from Turkey, where he got his undergraduate degree in anthropology. He’s worked at CNN Turk, Association of the Visually Handicapped, as well as local news agencies in Turkey. His dream job is a hybrid between being an investigative journalist and a social media expert. Ares spends his free time playing soccer and table tennis as well as traveling. He hopes to use his graduate degree to study new media and find new solutions.

Student poses indoors.Temiloluwa Durojaiye

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Temiloluwa Durojaiye received his degree in petroleum & gas engineering from the University of Lagos. His work experience includes digital platforms such as PropertyPro.ng, a web-based platform for property rentals and sales, and Vertch Inc., a music sharing and distribution platform. He’s also worked for National Glory Magazine and Markova Creative Ltd., a digital advertising agency. Temiloluwa wants to leverage his degree into a career covering the NBA and college basketball. He enjoys watching basketball, playing video games, and Twitter-surfing.

Student poses indoors.Hugh Tomasello

Hugh Tomasello grew up in San Jose, California, before moving to Reno. An undergrad graduate of the Reynolds School, Hugh hopes his graduate degree will aid him in the sports world, and the storytelling that comes with it. He’s worked with the University of Nevada Athletics department for over three years, as well as interned with the Reno Aces. Hugh’s dream job is to do creative marketing and social media work for a professional football team. His youth spent in the Bay Area gave him a deep appreciation for the sports teams in the area. He also played the drums for eight years and tries to incorporate music in every part of his life.

Student poses outdoors.Issmar Ventura

Issmar Ventura was born in El Salvador but was raised in Washington D.C. He received his degree at George Mason University where she majored in communication and minored in criminology. He’s held internships at BBC News, Telemundo, Voice of America and Univision. Currently, he’s working as a digital journalist at KRNV News 4. Issmar hopes his graduate degree will not only help him rebrand himself in the professional world but also set up his own scholarship for first-generation minority journalism students. A lover of the outdoors, Issmar enjoys spending time with his family and friends and exploring new cities around the world.

Student poses indoors.Mushfique Wadud

Mushfique Wadud is from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and got his undergraduate degree in English from Stamford University Bangladesh. A reporter for nearly ten years, Mushfique has worked for several publications, including The Guardian, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Dhaka Tribune and Prothom Alo, Bangladesh’s largest circulated daily newspaper. He’s also worked as a communications officer for both the International NGO Solidarity Center AFL CIO and International NGO Winrock. A passionate reporter who strives to give voice to the voiceless, Mushfique hopes his time at the Reynolds School will educate him in multimedia storytelling techniques as well as new business models of newspaper ownership and alternative funding. He enjoys reading, writing, browsing Facebook and surfing in his spare time.

Student poses indoors.Leah Wigren

Leah Wigren was born in Minneapolis. She lived in New York City and Albuquerque before moving to Reno in 1998. No stranger to higher education, she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Thomas, a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College and a law degree from New York Law School. She’s currently a self-employed attorney, though she’s worked at the Covenant House and the Legal Aid Society in New York as well as the Nevada Supreme Court. Leah hopes her graduate degree from the Reynolds School will help her become an investigative journalist, either as a freelancer or employee. She enjoys being outside as much as possible and studying the legal and journalistic issues of the First Amendment.

Student poses indoors.Bree Zender

Currently Reno’s Morning Edition host, Bree Zender is from Deming, Washington, and has also lived in Montana and California. She holds a double major in journalism and theater from the University of Montana. She’s worked at multiple public radio stations, including Montana Public Radio and KCBX before starting at KUNR Public Radio in December 2017. Bree wants to use her experience her at the Reynolds School to find better, innovative ways to tell intimate stories. and hopes to host her own NPR show someday. When not working, she’s usually hiking, camping or hanging out with her cat, Pete and her boyfriend.

2018 cohort

Student poses outdoors.Robert “Nesta” Apiyo

Robert is from Kisumu, Kenya. He worked as a radio host in Nairobi under the nickname Prince Nesta, drawing inspiration from Bob Marley’s music. Recently, he has spent some time in Maryland, and found his connection to Reno through his uncle, who lives nearby and who also studied at UNR. Nesta previously studied at the United States International University in Nairobi, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in International Relations. During his time as a DJ, he worked for Easy FM, Q FM, USIU Radio, Nation FM and for BBC Radio as a Kenya’s Cultural Correspondent, doing a healthy mix of on-air broadcasting and content production. Nesta is passionate about finding adventure, and outside of work and school he loves listening to Reggae music and watching Arsenal soccer, as well as club and recreational sports. One day, he hopes to own his own digital media company. He plans to use his graduate degree to build his skill in leadership and innovation, perhaps someday leading to a place at the table formulating policy when he returns to Kenya.

Student poses indoors.Sarah Baker

Sarah is a Reno native with an eclectic travel history; she’s also lived in Columbus, Ohio, and Budapest, Hungary. She earned her undergraduate degree from UNR with a major in French and a minor in Journalism, after which she continued on to Ohio State University for her MFA in Creative Writing. Sarah has worked as a teaching assistant at Ohio State, and will be teaching at UNR during her graduate studies as well. She’s most passionate about foreign languages, books and writing, especially long form nonfiction. Her dream job is to do research-based nonfiction writing, using a global historical focus to help folks contextualize the present. She would love to do an in-depth study on modern Russian politics. Sarah hopes to use her graduate degree to get a job as a writer in the field, and will use her time at the Reynolds school to narrow this focus. In her free time, she likes to read, hike, kayak and knit.

Student poses outdoors.Cassidy Bowman

Cassidy is originally from Pahrump, Nevada and has also lived in Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Psychology and Journalism. Cassidy is passionate about journalism, politics, and communication, and has actively pursued these passions through her varied work at Wendoh Media, the City of Carson, and Clark County School District. Her dream job is to be a press secretary, and she hopes to use her graduate degree to help her get into a doctoral program for International Affairs. Outside of school and work, Cassidy loves to snowboard, hike and kayak, and works as a personal trainer.

Student poses outdoors.Laura Gattis

Laura was born in Monterey, California, and has spent time here in Reno, as well as in Wyoming at Grand Teton National Park. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at UNR, with a major in Journalism and a minor in Speech Communications, and during her time worked for the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. Laura has also worked for Grand Teton National Park in marketing, as well as at Northstar Ski Resort by Lake Tahoe. She’s especially passionate about hospitality marketing, community engagement, local politics, and how those intersect with environmental concerns and hopes one day to work as a marketing and sales director for a resort. When thinking about her time here at the Reynolds School, Laura hopes her studies will lead her towards a Ph.D. in Public Communications. In her free time, she enjoys skiing, backpacking, running, and music.

Student poses outdoors.Sarah Krutz

Sarah is originally from Reno and has also lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada. She earned her undergraduate degree with a dual major in Film and English Literature from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During her time in Southern Nevada, she worked for UNLV’s service program, planning volunteer events and alternative break trips for undergraduate students. She’s passionate about community engagement and compassionate issue education, as well as film and the relationship folks have with the media they consume. Sarah hopes to use her graduate studies to refine these interests and to make an impact in her community. Her dream job is in media criticism, and she hopes one day to work for NPR. Sarah spends her free time hanging out with her dog, backpacking, watching television, reading, and writing.

Student poses outdoors.Julia Moreno

Julia is a native Nevadan, who was born in Carson City and grew up in Reno. She moved to Illinois, where she lived for ten years, and attended Illinois State University. It was while working at the student newspaper, the Vidette, that she discovered her love of journalism. Missing the West, Julia relocated to the state of Washington for the final two years of her undergraduate career. There, she received her bachelor’s degree in Digital Journalism with honors from Central Washington University. Julia worked for a daily newspaper, The Daily Record, in Ellensburg, Washington while finishing up her last year of schooling. She also wrote for the student magazine, Pulse, and worked at an on-campus public relations office, The Publicity Center. Currently, she is a teaching assistant at the University of Nevada, Reno. Julia hopes the Reynold’s School of Journalism will help her refine her writing skills and eventually she would like to write about social justice issues. In her free time, Julia likes to read comic books, cook and spend time with her friends and family.

Student poses outdoors.Sudhiti Naskar

Sudhiti was born in Calcutta, India, and has worked from different parts of her country over the last few years. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Jadavpur University in Calcutta. After graduation, Sudhiti worked as a research fellow for the Global India Foundation, a think tank where she explored subjects like digital divide and how unrest in northeast India has affected education. Beginning in 2011, she worked as a writer for a variety of publications, including Caravan Magazine, the BBC and The National. Most recently, Sudhiti worked as project director for the Indian Council of Social Science Research, where she reported on sexual violence. She is passionate about social justice issues, and hopes to use her reporting to show the realities of these issues as best she can. Her dream job is to be a reporter and to make a difference in people’s lives. Sudhiti plans to use her time at the Reynolds School to acquire skills relevant to the modern media landscape and wants to apply these new skills to an in-depth study. In her free time, she enjoys music, reading, travel, swimming and running.

Student poses outdoors.Jim Scripps

Jim is originally from the San Francisco Bay area and has also spent time in Oregon and here in Nevada. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree as a dual major in Journalism and History at the University of Oregon. For the last 8 years, Jim worked in marketing and communications, and also as an instructor at Sierra Nevada College. Before that he worked for several newspapers as a reporter and editor. Outside of work and school, he’s passionate about his two kids, reading and writing, surfing, mountain biking and skateboarding. He also plays music. Jim’s dream job would be to teach and to write nonfiction. He hopes to use his graduate degree to find a deeper understanding of modern media and technology.

Student poses outdoors.Melody Stone

Melody was born in Las Vegas, where she lived for only three months before her family relocated to the Central Coast of California. Her parents are missionaries, and so growing up she also lived on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, in the Pacific Northwest, Mongolia, Barbados, Northern California, and in Malta. She then returned to California, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Humboldt State University. Since then, Melody has worked for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, as well as for a variety of daily newspapers, web and software companies, and coffee shops. These days, Melody is living her dream, working for the Reynolds School in marketing and communication. She hopes her time in this program will help her in her current role, and she is also considering teaching. In her free time, Melody enjoys a good cup of coffee, biking around town, and roller derby.

Student poses outdoors.Shevawn Von Tobel

Shevawn was born in Las Vegas and has lived in Reno for the last 13 years. She moved here for her undergraduate studies and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a dual major in Creative Writing and Anthropology. Shevawn spent the last several years working with Friends of Nevada Wilderness, a conservation nonprofit organization based in Reno and Las Vegas, as their Communication Manager. Currently, Shevawn is employed as a Graduate Assistant in the Programming and Marketing Department of the Joe Crowley Student Union on campus and serves on the board of the Nevada chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, assisting with communications and marketing needs. She’s passionate about public land issues and conservation; in her spare time, she enjoys backpacking, music, reading, and spending time with her husband and their dogs. Her dream job is to continue in the communications field, as a director for a larger conservation company and freelance writing in her spare time. Her goal is to grow awareness about public lands issues among the stakeholders – be they reporters, local government, or the public. Shevawn hopes to use her graduate degree to build her skills in storytelling and reporting, and to gain focus that will help her shape her career.

Student poses outdoors.Wednesday Walton

Wednesday is a native of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, and attended the University of Idaho in Moscow for her undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism. She’s passionate about sports; while in Idaho, she ran for the track team, and focused her studies on sports reporting. This interest eventually led to an internship with ESPN 1400, and work as a sports reporter for Idaho Public Radio with a show called “Wednesday on Wednesday.” In addition to this, Wednesday has a passion for animals and living a healthy lifestyle. She has two dogs and likes to spend her free time reading, working out, and cooking. Wednesday plans to use her graduate degree to deepen her knowledge of the field and to set herself ahead of the crowd. Her dream job is to continue in media relations for an athletic department at a university, or perhaps in sports reporting – she hopes to pursue a career path that will make women more respected in the world of sports.

2017 cohort

Student poses indoors.Anthony Ciaramella

Anthony is a native Nevadan, born and raised in Reno. He received his undergraduate degree in Journalism, with a minor in Spanish from UNR. He recently lived in Madrid, Spain for a year and a half, working as an English teacher at an elementary school. Anthony started his career working in marketing and strategic communications for a start-up company in Reno called Canine Cuties. He has also worked for the Northern Nevada Literacy Council, helping older adults to obtain their GED. Anthony has a passion for traveling, photography and outdoor activities, especially skiing. His dream job would be to become a journalism professor at a university. He wants to use his time at the Reynolds School to begin that process, to grow his understanding of strategic communications and to redefine his career goals. Anthony uses his free time going rock climbing, skiing and reading. His favorite book is Church of Spies.

Student poses indoors.Candice Vialpando

Candice hails from Johannesburg, South Africa and has also lived in Idaho. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Film and TV live performance at AFDA, the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance. Candice started her career creating training videos for a telecommunications company in South Africa and now works as a teaching assistant for a multimedia class at UNR. Candice has a strong passion for music, dancing, reading and writing. She hopes to become a public relations agent, a social media manager or work for a local radio station. Candice wants to use her time at the Reynolds School as a general learning experience, and to improve her writing skills to use them in public relations. During her free time, Candice enjoys spending time with her husband outdoors, watching movies and learning more about animals.

Student poses indoors.Katherine Roberti

Katie was born in Reno and grew up on a hay and cattle ranch in the Sierra Valley. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communication at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The summer of her junior year she studied in London. While earning her undergraduate degree Katie worked as an associate editor and graphic designer at the Brock Center for Agricultural Communication in San Luis Obispo. This past summer, she had the opportunity to intern for three different cattle breed associations: the American Hereford Association, the American Maine-Anjou Association, and the American Chianina Association. She has previously interned for the National Western Stock Show and the California Cattlemen’s Association. Katie is passionate about the agriculture industry, specifically about California agriculture and the beef industry. She wants to use her graduate education to be at the forefront of communications, as a successful spokeswoman for agriculture. During her free time, Katie enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, listening to “Red Dirt Country” music and exploring the world.

Student poses indoors.Ashley Nickole Andrews

Ashley was born in California and has lived in Reno for the last ten years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a degree in Marketing from the College of Business at UNR. Ashley works as an event and web presence manager for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Her passion is to use marketing and public relations principles to communicate research-based horticulture information. Her goal is to grow healthy, beautiful Nevada communities. Ashley will use her graduate degree to further her career in Cooperative Extension. During her free time, Ashley loves to garden, read and spend time with her family.

Student poses indoors.Mauricio Rojas Durand

Mauricio is originally from Lima, Peru but has spent time living and traveling around the world. He has lived in Vermont, has studied in Helsinki, Finland and stayed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He completed his undergraduate degree in Communications at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, in Lima. Mauricio’s career experience includes different areas of media and communications. He has worked as a communications assistant for an NGO related to regional cuisine and cooking in Peru. He was a logistic assistant and communicator in his hometown university, within the Faculty of General Studies. He recently worked as a marketing assistant for a financial company and now works as a project assistant at UNR. Mauricio has a strong passion for traveling, photography, movies and languages. He is bilingual in English and Spanish. He wants to become a travel journalist and work in marketing, project coordination and media strategies. He hopes to use his graduate degree to look into strategic communication and to redefine his career goals towards journalism and marketing. Mauricio spends his free time reading, walking, watching movies and traveling.

Student poses indoors.Ruben Kimmelman

Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ruben has spent time living in Washington, Colorado and Alaska. He completed his undergraduate degree in Marketing at the University of New Mexico. His passions involve reading, writing and music. Ruben is passionate about snowboarding, which led him to work as a snowboard instructor. He currently works as a teaching assistant for UNR. He plans to use his time at the Reynolds School to redefine his career goals towards journalistic writing. Ruben’s dream job would be to write features on social and political issues around the United States. Ruben spends his free time reading books, surfing the Internet and playing sports.

Student poses indoors.Nisha Sridharan

Nisha was born and grew up in Chennai, India. She received her undergraduate degree in Information Technology Engineering from the Anna University, in Chennai, India. Nisha started her career working as a reporter for India Express, as part of an internship at the newspaper. She has also worked as a content writer at Doodle Blue, an application development company in India. Nisha’s passions involve reading and writing and singing Indian classical music. Nisha’s dream is to work as an editor at a fashion magazine and ultimately to create such a magazine herself. Nisha would like to redefine her career goals throughout her time at the Reynolds School. During her free time, she loves reading novels, going shopping and exploring new cuisines.

Student poses indoors.Breanne Standingwater

Breanne was born in Southern California and grew up in Colorado. She earned her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She currently works in University Events for the University of Nevada, Reno doing events for the President’s office and Development and Alumni Relations. She has a lifelong passion for graphic design and visual communication. She plans to use the time at the Reynolds School to expand her visual design knowledge. During her free time, Breanne enjoys gardening, traveling, and meeting cats.