Staff Spring 2011

Mehroz Baig
Mehroz Baig

Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, Baig moved to northern California with her family when she was ten.

Baig attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she studied Spanish and religion. At Wellesley, Baig served as vice president of Wellesley College TV and worked as a staff writer for the International Relations Council Journal and for Wellesley College News.

After graduating, Baig joined the County of Sonoma’s Economic Development Board and Human Services Department in Santa Rosa, CA. Her work included research on local workforce trends and coordinating local youth initiatives. During this time, Baig also volunteered at KRCB Television in Rohnert Park, CA, where she served as assistant producer during the 2008 election and 2010 primary.

Baig is currently pursuing dual degrees at Columbia University in the Graduate School of Journalism and the School of International and Public Affairs. Email Mehroz, or follow her on Twitter.

Michelle Bialeck
Michelle Bialeck was born and raised in Miami, Florida.  Since graduating from Barnard College, Michelle has spent time coordinating a non-profit, after-school program in the South Bronx and teaching English in New York and Madrid. Michelle has published several articles as a freelance writer. She is currently a student at The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
Email Michelle.

KitamaKitama Cahill-Jackson was the Associate Producer on the Emmy-Award winning documentary ‘Pete Seeger: The Power of Song,’ a documentary about his grandfather’s life as a musician and activist. He is a documentary filmmaker who has worked on 35 documentaries and lifestyle programs for PBS, HBO, Travel Channel, History Channel and HGTV over the past 10 years. He holds a BA in documentary production from Hampshire College, and is currently pursuing an MS in Digital Media from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Email Kitama, or follow him on Twitter.

Olivia Damavandi

Olivia Damavandi comes to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism School from Malibu, California, where she was born and raised. Originally wanting to study marine biology, Damavandi completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaii and majored in English after realizing her lifelong passion for writing. After graduating in 2007, Damavandi joined Malibu Times Magazine as a contributor and copy editor. A few months later, she became a staff writer at the The Malibu Times newspaper, where she wrote front-page articles on major local and state news, politics and business stories, in addition to writing the weekly paper’s sports, people, crime and
obituary sections. Within a year, Damavandi was promoted to assistant editor of The Malibu Times. She also began the newspaper’s first monthly fashion column, “Olivia’s Closet,” which she now writes from New York CIty. Her articles were also picked up by Capitol Weekly, The Newspaper of California State Government and Politics. Damavandi’s pursuit of higher education brought her to Columbia University, where she is working on a Master of Science in Journalism with a concentration in broadcast. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa, and aims to report on both national and foreign affairs. In the meantime, Damavandi is enjoying living in New York City and paving her career path in print, broadcast and digital journalism. Her other interests include history, philosophy, classical music and
surfing. Email Olivia, or follow her on Twitter.

Alexander Eriksen

Ethan FroogetEthan Frogget comes to New York City from his small hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico, at 7,000 ft above sea level and with only 18,000 people.  Frogget received a B.A. in Journalism and Technical Communication from Colorado State University where he worked as technical director and graphics producer for the campus news station.  He interned at KMGH ABC 7 in Denver as a video editor, and for CSU Creative Services.  Frogget has worked as a video production and multimedia freelancer since 2001, enjoys photography, traveling and any time he can spend with his wife. Email Ethan, or follow him on Twitter.

Sana Gulzar

Sana Taskeen Gulzar is a television journalist from Pakistan. She is interested in covering crime & terrorism, education, politics and international affairs. Sana recently moved to New York as a student in Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Sana is also a Fulbright Scholar. Born and bred in Pakistan this is the first time that she is living away from her country yet feels right at home in the cultural capital of the world. Before coming to the US, Sana worked for three years as producer, current affairs at Dawn News Television, which was the first English Language news channel in Pakistan. Sana loves walking around the city, discovering different cuisines and aspires to travel around the world. After the completion of her degree Sana wants to go back to Pakistan and work as a documentary filmmaker. Email Sana, or follow her on Twitter.

Clara Martinez Turco

Clara Martinez Turco was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She completed undergraduate studies in journalism at Universidad Monteavila in 2006 and has masters degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Before moving to New York City, she worked as a reporter and editor at El Universal in Venezuela. Her main interest is education reporting. Email Clara, or follow her on Twitter.

Manuel Rueda

Manuel Rueda A multimedia journalist with two and a half years experience as a foreign correspondent Manuel Rueda is currently taking a Journalism Masters at Columbia University.For the Bronx Ink, he writes on immigrant cultures, politics, local development schemes andsometimes sports.  Before coming to New York, Manuel lived in Bogota, Colombia where he covered everything related to that country’s armed conflict, from economic issues to indigenous refugees. A native of Venezuela, Manuel speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese. Email Manuel, or follow him on Twitter.

Camilo Smith

Camilo Smith has worked as a freelance writer for three years. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago RedEye,, Source magazine and Latina.  Previous to coming to the Journalism School he was a copy editor for the L.A. Times and Newsday, and spent over a year freelancing in Mexico City. Email Camilo, or follow him on Twitter.

Shlomo Sprung

Shlomo Sprung is from Woodmere, New York and graduated in 2010 from Queens College. He was an editor and writer for QC’s student newspaper The Knight News for three years and previously reported sports in Israel for the Jerusalem Post.Email Shlomo, or follow him on Twitter.

Yitting Sun

Yiting Sun is from Tianjin, China. She graduated from Tianjin Foreign Studies University with a B.A. in English. While in college, she interned at Tianjin Morning Post and the New York Times Shanghai Bureau. Right after college, she spent a year at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center doing graduate work on American studies. Email Yiting, or follow her on Twitter.


Linda Thrasybule
Linda Thrasybule, a native New Yorker, was born in Manhattan and raised in Queens. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism at St. John’s University. She has lived in every borough except Staten Island. She has no intention of moving to Staten Island, but if someone offers to buy her a house in that area, she might reconsider.Email Linda, or follow her on Twitter.

Umar Muhammad

Umar Muhammad is reporter for the Bronx Ink. Umar was an anchor at Pakistan Television in Islamabad before joining the Bronx Ink team. Email Umar, or follow him on Twitter.

April Warren

April J. Warren was born and raised on Long Island.  Her interest in journalism sparked in middle school when she became editor in chief of the school paper, and continued at Stony Brook University where she became the editor in chief of the twice-weekly campus publication, The Statesman.

April’s career has included internships at Newsday, CBS and The Southampton Press. She also traveled to China on a journalism study abroad program where she witnessed the aftermath of the 2009 Urumqi riots. At 23, she is now a graduate student at the Columbia School of Journalism and continues to freelance for Newsday where she covers a range of topics, including crime, court arraignments, heroin in schools and various features pieces.  When not reporting, April can be found listening to her favorite band, The Beatles – she is partial to Sgt. Pepper ’s – or enjoying her favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally.Email April, or follow her on Twitter.

Semhar Woldeyesus

Semhar Woldeyesus is a multimedia journalist currently based in New York City. Her primary interests are foreign policy and arts reporting. For five years, Woldeyesus hosted and produced a weekly current affairs program on CKLN 88.1 FM in Toronto. Her career highlights include covering the Gaza food crisis, rising tuition costs, G20 protests and interviewing Malalai Joya, the youngest female elected to the Afghan parliament. Prior to entering journalism, Semhar worked as a project coordinator for several nonprofit organizations. In 2008, she channeled her passion for media arts into helping establish a radio journalism program for inner-city youth. Before moving to New York, she graduated with honors from the University of Toronto, where she received a bachelor’s degree and majored in international studies and health studies. Recently, Semhar was awarded a scholarship from Columbia University and is currently pursuing an M.S. degree at The Graduate School of Journalism. Email Semhar, or follow her on Twitter.