About Us

We are the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism graduate cohort of 2010. We are aspiring journalists, experienced journalists, techies, grammarians, artists, broadcasters, writers, mothers, daughters and sons. Our passions encompass the globe, the political spectrum and the human condition.

Like the subjects of this site, we, too, are dreamers.

Students

Christy Little Christy Little, Producer

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in theater from ASU in 1999, Christy joined the U.S. Air Force as a radio and television broadcaster. Her multimedia journalism experience spans the world. Among her many adventures, she was a disc jockey for a morning radio show for the troops in Germany and anchored/produced the military's daily Freedom Journal Iraq newscast in Baghdad. She received Department of Defense-wide recognition as the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Broadcast Journalist of the Year in 2005. Her most recent accomplishments include winning Thomas Jefferson awards, the highest honors for military journalism, for both television news and feature reporting in 2007. She came to the Cronkite School after returning from her deployment and separating from the service.

 

Lauren GilgerLauren Gilger, Producer

After spending four years in the Bronx and six months in Paris to earn her undergraduate degree in visual arts, French and Catholic studies at Fordham University, Lauren Gilger turned around and threw herself into the master's program at the Cronkite School. In other words, after learning to love the arts, Lauren decided to learn the art of storytelling--in multiple formats, media and languages. Lauren spent much of her undergraduate career as an intern at various national and international media companies, including CBSNews.com, ABCNews.com and CNN--and quickly realized there is more to journalism than paper and ink. Now, she is excited to pursue new avenues of media and to help shape the future of an industry that she thinks is far from dying.

Jennifer Gaie HellumJennifer Gaie Hellum,
Assistant Producer

Jennifer Gaie Hellum received her undergraduate degree in advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and studied Spanish in Seville, Spain. In her first career, she worked in media planning at agencies in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles for clients such as 7UP, Hallmark and Subaru. She began her second career as a stay-at-home mom while living in Manhattan, where she developed a love of photography. Her husband’s job took the family from New York to Chicago, St. Louis and eventually Phoenix. The experience of living in cities across the United States has enriched her life and continues to inform her perspective as a journalist. 

Heather Billings Heather Billings,
Web Designer

Heather Billings is a self-professed geek, a trait which began developing when she built her first Web site at age 13. She majored in mass communication and journalism with emphases in digital media and print journalism at California State University, Fresno. Her dual options mean she’s just as picky about AP style as HTML validity. She spent two years as multimedia editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run paper. During that time, The Collegian won an Associated Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker and was an Online Pacemaker runner-up. The Collegian's Web site also consistently placed among top regional student publications in Associated Collegiate Press and Society of Professional Journalists competitions.

 

Elizabeth SmithLiz Smith,
Copy Editor

After a 10-year career as a writer and editor for national and regional magazines, Liz Smith came to ASU to pursue her mid-career master’s degree with an emphasis on digital media entrepreneurship. In addition to her role as faculty adjunct teaching Introduction to Editing at ASU, she continues to consult for regional, national and international magazines through her business, The Editress, L.L.C. Smith also owns her own hyperlocal online “newspaper” covering Scottsdale, TheWatchTree.com. She is excited to add the training she has received in online media and broadcasting through the multimedia bootcamp to her existing array of skills as a professional journalist.

Amanda KleimAmanda Keim,
Copy Editor

Amanda Keim is a full-time journalist, part-time graduate student and all-around media news junkie. A native Arizonan, she graduated from ASU with bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science in 2006. As an undergraduate, Amanda completed internships with The Associated Press in Phoenix and The East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Ariz., and served as editor-in-chief for campus newspaper The State Press. She's been a reporter at the Tribune since graduating, but returned to the Cronkite School to study online media and ensure she's prepared for whatever the future of journalism brings. Amanda hopes to continue her career in Minneapolis early next year.

Ashley SlaneyAshley Slaney,
Copy Editor

Ashley Slaney grew up in Eugene, Ore., and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego, studying romance languages and literature. She spent the past year working as an editorial assistant for the Competitor family of magazines.

Lisa RuhlLisa Ruhl,
Documentarian

Lisa Ruhl moved to Phoenix from Massachusetts to pursue her master’s degree in multimedia journalism at ASU. Her skills with online, broadcast and print reporting have grown immensely with the training from the Cronkite School. Her focus is on broadcast and international reporting.

Jennifer Matthews Jenny Matthews,
Historian

Jenny Matthews majored in history as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, but decided to take a different course with graduate school. She chose the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU to start her new life as an aspiring journalist. After nearly a semester, she's gained some great experience in broadcast, print and online journalism. Jenny was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will always think of it as home. She has an 18-month-old son who is an equal terror and joy, and whom she loves more than anything.

 

Grant MartinGrant Martin,
Historian

Grant Martin moved to Phoenix in August 2009 after spending two years teaching fourth grade in Richmond, Va. He graduated in 2006 from the College of William and Mary with degrees in English and elementary education. In addition to his teaching experience, Grant has also worked on Capitol Hill as an intern at a nonprofit; in Minneapolis as a substitute teacher; and in Charleston, S.C., as a member of the promotions staff of a radio station. He hopes to use the skills learned at ASU in a new career as a news reporter and writer.

Erin ReitmeyerErin Reitmayer,
Graphic Artist

Erynn Elizabeth Reitmayer has been writing since she learned to read. She studied English literature at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2008. With a passion for telling stories and an inquisitive nature, journalism seemed a natural career path. Erynn commenced studies in ASU's masters of journalism program in the fall of 2009, excited to learn the skills she will need to excel as a professional journalist. An avid music fan, Reitmayer dreams of one day writing for Rolling Stone Magazine. She presently writes an online music blog, Sticky Hot Honey Pot.

Spring EselgrothSpring Eselgroth,
Assistant Graphic Artist

Spring Eselgroth's experiences living in Mexico, India and Thailand and a desire to tell stories she felt could bring more understanding and tolerance to the world brought her to the Cronkite School to pursue a master’s degree in journalism. Spring received an undergraduate degree in art history from Central Connecticut State University and worked at the Museum of American Art in New Britain, Conn., experiences that give her a unique perspective on the world and the field of journalism. Having always been drawn to images and sound as well as language, Spring feels it's natural to focus on multimedia storytelling. She hopes to develop a Web site devoted to creating a broader global dialogue where citizen journalists from all over the world can submit content of value and listen to the stories and experiences of their fellow citizens.

 

Kelly Rogers Kelly Rogers,
Recipe Editor

After receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from The University of Texas at Austin in 2006, Kelly Rogers worked for Temple-Inland Inc., a Fortune 1000 company in Austin, Texas, as primary writer for its communications group. Rogers made the move to Phoenix and ASU to pursue a master's degree in mass communication, specializing in digital media. While working on her degree, she works as a teaching assistant for media literacy classes and contracts as marketing director for Body Stabilization Training Inc., a kinesiotherapy and physical therapy facility in Phoenix.  

Ioana LupuIoana Lupu,
Recipe Editor

Ioana entered the Cronkite School wanting to study new platforms for online media and improve her investigative reporting skills for online submissions and collaborations. Her dream job would include travel writing and freelance work for health, beauty and gourmet magazines. Some of her long-term goals are to publish several books and work as a broadcast reporter overseas. Ioana received her undergraduate degree in communication studies from Sonoma State University in California. She plans to move to San Francisco after completing her master's degree. In her spare time, Ioana likes to write poetry, read nonfiction novels, hike, travel and go wine tasting.  

Courtney GodfreyCourtney Godfrey

Performing has been a passion of Courtney's since childhood. With age, she gained affection for educating people on current issues and learned to love writing. Starting at age 18 and continuing through college, she interned at a variety of broadcast television stations in her home state of California. In 2008, she received her undergraduate degree in communication from the University of Arizona. She is currently pursuing her master's degree at ASU with a focus in broadcast journalism. As hard as it is to be away from her family in San Francisco, Courtney is determined to work her way back to her top-market hometown. Her hopes for the future include educating the masses on environmental issues and business news and inspiring people to take action in their communities.

 

Jennifer Johnson Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson originally hails from Missouri. She is currently a graduate assistant at the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. A lover of all things Europe, Jennifer spent the last year working for the European Union Parliament. She followed the International Trade Committee, the Delegation for Relations with Israel and the Delegation for Relations with the United States. Jennifer obtained a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication in 2006 from Fontbonne University in Clayton, Miss. In her life prior to the European Parliament, she freelanced for West Newsmagazine and the St. Louis Business Journal. She also spent a fascinating semester studying at the Danish School of Journalism in 2006. 

 

Rebecca McClayRebecca McClay

Rebecca McClay has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. She worked for The Gazette newspapers, first as a community reporter covering local politics and features. She then moved to business reporting, covering financial news throughout Maryland and focusing on how green initiatives affect business. She previously interned for The Baltimore Sun.

Alyssa NewcombAlyssa Newcomb

Alyssa Newcomb brings her undergraduate experience from ASU's business and communication departments to the Cronkite School. An Arizona native, Alyssa graduated from Tempe's Corona del Sol High School in 2006. Alyssa is focused on broadcast journalism at the Cronkite School and plans to pursue a career as a reporter after graduation.

Rebekah ZemanskyRebekah Zemansky

Rebekah Zemansky lived all over the country for the first five years of her life, spending time in cities including Seattle, Chicago and Fairbanks, Alaska. Then her family moved to Lawrence, Kan., where she ultimately earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in political science and international studies with focuses on Africa, the Middle East and, unofficially, micro-development. She moved to Phoenix in July for graduate school. Rebekah has loved travel and writing all her life. She jumps at any chance to combine the two, as she does on her blog, The Air Is Full of Spices. New sights, sounds, smells and sometimes tastes make great experiences, stories and photos. Journalism’s challenges have been exciting so far and Rebekah is really looking forward to trying out what she's learning.

About the Program

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

For the most part, candidates come to the program with limited or no professional experience. The course of study, which begins with a “boot camp” type of experience in basic journalism skills, is designed to prepare those without such training for careers in print, digital media and broadcasting. The program is designed so that each class moves through as a cohort, entering in the fall semester and attending full time for three semesters — excluding the summer, when many students will be doing internships. Read more.

(From the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication's official site.)

Professors

Dr. Leslie-Jean ThorntonLeslie-Jean Thornton, Ph.D.

Read Dr. Thornton's full bio here.

Dr. Bill SilcockBill Silcock, Ph.D.

Read Dr. Silcock's full bio here.

Steve DoigSteve Doig

Read Professor Doig's full bio here.