Meet the Reporters 2012

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Kamakshi Ayyar is an aspiring journalist from Mumbai, India and an M.S. candidate in the magazine concentration at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Ayyar graduated from Government Law College at Mumbai University in 2012 with a bachelor’s in law and served as assistant editor of the Government Law College Annual Magazine. In 2011, she interned in the editorial department of Business India. Ayyar speaks five languages: English, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, and a little French. After graduation, she hopes to return to India to write for an international publication. She reports on the elderly for The Midtown Gazette. Contact Ayyar with tips at kva2105@columbia.edu or tweet her @kamakshi138.
Qi Chen was born in China and lived in Australia, China again, and Cambridge, Massachusetts before settling in Toronto, Canada at age 14. He studied fine arts and writing at the University of Toronto, where he graduated in 2012. Now, he would rather report on art than create it. A student in the newspaper M.S. program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Chen reports on culture and immigration in New York City. His traveling made him realize the global need for reporters—to help people understand each other. He uses his language skills in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese to do just that. Chen hopes to become an international reporter. Contact him on Twitter at @qchenn or email qc2162@columbia.edu.
Anna Cooperberg is a magazine concentration student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has worked as the editor of Hoot, Columbia University’s undergraduate fashion magazine, and has interned at Vogue, ELLE, Teen Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. She received her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University in 2012, and spent one semester abroad in Milan, Italy. Cooperberg grew up in Durham, NC, and has dual citizenship with the United States and Mexico. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian. For The Midtown Gazette, she covers health and wellness. You can follow her at @annalcg on Twitter or email her at alc2181@columbia.edu.
Morgan Davis graduated from The George Washington University in 2010 with a double major in political science and journalism. Her interest in journalism began at an early age. She started her grade school’s newspaper by printing out copies on her home computer.   After college, she spent two years working for the Peace Corps in DC. Davis initially believed she would pursue a career in politics, but now sees journalism as an extension of that interest. Davis hopes to cover politics and international development on the community level. For the Midtown Gazette, Davis reports on LGBT issues and urban agriculture.  She can be reached via twitter @morgymdavis or emailed at mmd2195@columbia.edu.
Emmanuel Felton, a New Orleans native, is a newcomer to New York City and journalism. The 2010 Emory University graduate majored in finance and initially planned on a career in banking. After college, Felton did political campaign work and spent a year at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Felton cites his experience living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina as the main reason for his interest in telling peoples’ stories. He covers education, housing, and other social welfare issues for the Midtown Gazette. You can reach Felton at ecf2142@columbia.edu or on Twitter @emmanuelfelton.
Mei-Yu Liu is a reporter from Taiwan who graduated with a degree in English literature from National Taiwan University in 2009. She covered sports for Central News Agency in Taiwan before moving to the alternative weekly Pots in 2010, where she covered music, theatre, and social movements. Her reporting on indigenous rights movements prompted her to begin work with aboriginal tribes in eastern Taiwan. She speaks English, Chinese, Taiwanese, and some Spanish and Japanese. Liu is a magazine concentration student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and covers LGBT issues and gentrification in Chelsea for The Midtown Gazette. You can reach her at ml3406@columbia.edu or follow her on Twitter at @PiyawLiu.
Ashwaq Masoodi, a native of Kashmir, is pursuing a master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, with a concentration in magazine. During her first year of college, Masoodi found her voice as a writer, recounting painful childhood memories of violence at a Kashmiri writers’ workshop. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Baramulla Degree College and a certificate from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.  Later, she worked with a news agency “Press Trust of India” for two years, then moved to a national newspaper, “The Asian Age”. In May 2012, she received a Fulbright Fellowship and enrolled at Columbia. Her dream is to start her own magazine in Kashmir. She covers religion, interfaith dialogue and can be reached at am3860@columbia.edu or @ashwaqM on Twitter.
Gregory Moomjy is a graduate in historical musicology of Fordham University, who is studying magazine journalism at Columbia University. He was born with cerebral palsy, which affects his body movements and his speech. Moomjy aspires to a career as a classical music and opera critic for the New York Times. He covers classical music and the opera for The Midtown Gazette.  Moomjy is fluent in Spanish and is also interested in Russian culture. He said he finds it challenging to walk up to complete strangers, but his attitude is “You do what you need to do.” He can be emailed at grm2109@columbia.edu or found on Twitter via @gmoomjy.
N.G. Onuoha is in the M.S. program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism specializing in magazine journalism. Onuoha, a first generation Nigerian, grew up in the South Bronx. She attended CUNY City College originally intending to study pre-med. After completing a media studies class, a professor encouraged her to study journalism and join City College’s The Campus Newsmagazine. She later became the magazine’s Managing Editor. In June 2012, Onuoha graduated with a degree in English and Journalism. She aspires to work as a foreign reporter before settling in Africa to establish a media company and teach journalism at a university. Onuoha covers the homeless youth population for the Midtown Gazette. You can reach her at no2148@columbia.edu or follow her on Twitter at @NGoAfrica.
Stephanie Ott was born in Germany.  She came to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism as a magazine concentration student after receiving her bachelor’s in journalism from City University London.  She is drawn to journalism because of her interest in business and politics. She has done internships in Moscow and Berlin and wants to be a features writer. Understanding the importance of social media, she does still enjoy reading the New York Times and The Economist in print. She speaks English and German and has a good command of Russian and French. She covers business for The Midtown Gazette.  You can reach her at smo2123@columbia.edu or follow her on Twitter at @steffiott.
David Palacio is a magazine concentration student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a former captain in the United States Marine Corps.  Palacio, originally from Bedford, Texas, received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from Emory University in 2004.  Shortly after, he was commissioned in the Marine Corps.  Palacio was stationed at Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, California and completed multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.  He hopes to use his eight years of active duty experience as a conflict reporter.  Palacio covers socio-economic issues and the homeless for The Midtown Gazette.  Follow him on twitter at @DavidGPalacio or email him at dgp2106@columbia.edu.
Valerie Prassl covers immigration, culture and religion and joins the Midtown Gazette after three years at Profil, an Austrian political magazine where she wrote about Foreign Politics. She is a magazine concentration student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, Prassl worked for Ursache&Wirkung (Cause and Effect), a Buddhist magazine published in Austria. She also volunteered in the Vienna-based press office for the Muslim Jewish Conference. Prassl received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vienna and was inspired to become a journalist by her parents, who ran a media production company in Vienna. She hopes to write about politics for a major news organization. You can reach Valerie Prassl at: vp2276@columbia.edu or follow her on Twitter @leliaver.
Simone M. Scully, the Midtown Gazette’s photographer, was born in Minneapolis, Minn. and moved to Toulouse, France when she was 4 years old. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a bachelor’s in international relations in 2009. Scully then enrolled in Columbia University’s master in fine arts program (Theater Arts: Playwriting). For her master’s thesis play at Columbia, she worked with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire.  After interning at Bon Appetit and Conde Nast Traveler, Scully enrolled at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she is a full-time M.S student. She covers Manhattan’s theater district and the arts for The Midtown Gazette and can be reached at sms2249@columbia.edu.  Follow her @scullysimone
Claire Stern has spent her life in New York. She was born on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, grew up in Bronxville in Westchester County, received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Barnard College in 2012, and is now an M.S. candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Stern wrote for the Columbia Daily Spectator, Columbia University’s undergraduate student newspaper, for four years and was Arts & Entertainment Deputy Editor. She served in the editorial departments of US Weekly, Vogue.com, and Elle.com, and covers fashion for the Midtown Gazette. You can follow her on Twitter @claire_stern or email her at cs2612@columbia.edu.
Annie Zak is a reporter from Geneva, Ill. She graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. in 2011 with degrees in Spanish and creative writing, and was the editor of her college paper. In college, Zak took an internship at Galesburg’s daily newspaper, the Register-Mail, where she focused on investigating working conditions among Mexican immigrant workers in a nearby slaughterhouse. She also interned at Willamette Week, an alternative weekly newspaper in Portland, Ore., before enrolling in the M.S. program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, in the newspaper concentration. She is also a student in the graduate school’s Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. Zak reports on public housing and HIV/AIDS issues for the Midtown Gazette. Reach her by email at ajz2112@columbia.edu, phone at 630-945-7964, and Twitter @annie_zak.
 The Midtown Gazette’s editors are Karen Stabiner and Margaret Ramirez.
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