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(Top row, from left to right): Abene Clayton, Luis Hernandez, Mallory Newman, Muna Danish, Simon Campbell, Drew Costley; (bottom row from left to right): Kaitlin Benz, Francesca Fenzi, Nuria Marquez Martinez. Photo: Walker Dawson (’19).

The Student Leadership Committee, or the “TLC” as it is known in the hallways of the School, is back— with a fresh set of faces and voices— to continue a longstanding tradition of serving the needs and answering the questions of students in both years.

In simple terms, the TLC is a group of first- and second-year students who serve as a liaison between the school administration, faculty and the student body.

The student leadership committee plays an important role at the school. In addition to leading our affinity groups, they also foster a healthy dialogue on important school issues. We rely on them for their insights, candor and passion to try to create an optimal student experience at the School,” said Joanne Straley, senior director of student services.

The history of the TLC can be traced back to the late 2000s. Pam Gleason, then director of student affairs, created the committee in the wake of an economic crisis that had made job prospects bleak and stress levels high. Administrators saw the need to create a more formal avenue for student discussions about the media industry and where the students would fit beyond the courtyard of North Gate Hall.

At first, the committee was composed of students hand-picked by administrators and tasked with selecting a graduation speaker. But the size and scope of the committee expanded quickly after diversity group chairs were given roles and first-years began electing members to the committee as well, which made the group truly school-wide.

This year’s committee of 10 has started the first semester by hosting equity and inclusion discussions with the School community, bringing various affinity groups such as the Asian American Journalists’ Association (AAJA) to the forefront, and organizing stress-buster events with the administration to enable students to take a break from their hectic schedules. In addition, student in-boxes are buzzing with invitations to help select a graduation speaker, one of the many tasks the TLC aims to accomplish.

Within the TLC, Equity and Inclusion is an affinity group that many students gravitate to. When asked what the group hoped to do this year, chairs Nuria Marquez Martinez and Drew Costley (both ‘19) offered this:

“The role of Equity and Inclusion this year was really to be the conduit between students and faculty,” said Martinez.  “…Whether that means just being there for people to vent and talk through their issues, or finding a way to funnel certain issues to faculty and administration so that they get taken care of, we’re trying to be a place for students to feel like their problems are being addressed.”

The Class of 2019 will be electing members of their class to the TLC later this month, which will include co-leaders of affinity groups and class liaisons.

By Javaria Khan (‘19)

Current 2018-19 TLC members:

Abené Clayton: Abené is a Bay Area native pursuing longform video narrative at the J-School. Her ultimate career goal is to create longform investigative pieces for a news magazine show, like the PBS “Newshour”. Within the TLC, Abené is the co-chair for National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

Drew Costley: Drew is a Northern Virginia native, pursuing the photojournalism track at the J-School. Drew’s ultimate career goal is to start a worker owned and operated media cooperative. Within the TLC, Drew is one of the co-chairs of the Equity and Inclusion Committee.  

Francesca Fenzi: Francesca is originally from Prescott, Arizona. She is an audio producer, writer, and visual journalist, pursuing the audio track at the J-School. Within the TLC, she is one of the co-chairs of the Women in Media affinity group.  

Kaitlin Benz: Kaitlin is originally from Denver, Colorado. She is pursuing the audio track at the J-School. Her ultimate career goal is to work as a podcast producer for companies like Gimlet or the New York Times. Within the TLC, she is one of the co-chairs of National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association (NLGJA).

Karla Caraballo-Torres: Karla is a DC area native, pursuing longform video narrative at the J-School. Her ultimate career goal is to work as an executive producer or digital correspondent for a top digital news platform. Within the TLC, she is the co-chair of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

Luis Hernandez: Luis is originally from the projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. He is pursuing the New Media track at the J-School and his ultimate career goal is to be a podcast producer. Within the TLC, he is one of the co-chairs of the NLGJA.

Mallory Newman: Mallory is originally from Southern California and a proud veteran. She is pursuing the New Media track at the J-School and her areas of interest include campaign finance reform, environmental journalism as well as human rights and equality. Within the TLC, she is one of the co-chairs of Women in Media.

Muna Danish: Muna is originally from Detroit, Michigan. She is pursuing the narrative track at the J-School and her ultimate career goal is to be a public radio reporter. Within the TLC, she is the co-chair of the Asian American Journalists’ Association (AAJA).

Nuria Marquez Martinez: Nuria is a Berkeley-based print and audio reporter. She is pursuing the narrative and audio track at the J-School. Within the TLC, she is one of the co-chairs of the Equity and Inclusion committee.

Simon Campbell: Simon is originally from London. He is pursuing the New Media track at the J-School and is passionate about a wide variety of topics especially those that explore the overlap between sports, politics and culture. Within the TLC, he is the At Large liaison.