About Our Fellows
#NextGenRadio | MPR News | Saint Paul, Minnesota | Sept. 2016
Leah Donnella is a news assistant on NPR’s Code Switch team, where she primarily blogs and assists with the Code Switch podcast production.
Donnella originally came to NPR in September 2015 as an intern for Code Switch. Prior to that, she was a summer intern at WHYY’s Public Media Commons, where she helped teach high school students the ins and outs of journalism and film-making. She spent a lot of time out in the hot Philly sun tracking down unsuspecting tourists for man-on-the-street interviews. Donnella also worked at the University of Pennsylvania for two years as the House Coordinator at Gregory College House, which is the University of Pennsylvania’s language and cinema-themed dorm.
Donnella graduated from Pomona College with a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies.
He began his job as the web editor about halfway into his internship with Alaska Public Media during his senior year at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Wesley graduated in the spring of 2016 with a B.A. in Journalism and Public Communications and an economics minor. He began working full-time at Alaska Public Media a week after graduation doing everything from web posting and copy editing to audio cutting and even reporting. While at UAA, Wesley was on the Media Board, overseeing the functions of both The Northern Light – the school paper – and 88.1 KRUA – the college radio station. He also wrote several articles for the office of UAA Advancement’s Green and Gold News about an economics course he attended in China.
An Alaskan since 2008, Wesley was born overseas in England and has lived in Germany, Australia, Maryland and Texas. He also has family in Montreal, Canada who he visits just about every year. His favorite topics are music, politics, economics and women’s issues.
I identify as a biracial American and share both Italian and African American heritage. I spent most of my childhood in the small town of Griffin, Georgia. I attended the University of North Georgia before transferring to Georgia State to finish my undergrad. While sports have long been my passion, I also enjoy alternative music, card collecting games, tactical RPGs, and petting all things cute and fluffy!
Elma majored in journalism at Ithaca College in New York, where she graduated in 2014. For the past year, she lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, reporting stories for RioOnWatch.org and Latin Correspondent. Elma contributed to the PBS NewsHour’s coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and was news editor for The Ithacan, her college newspaper. Elma grew up in Chula Vista where she was valedictorian of Southwest High School.
I grew up in New Hampshire’s backwoods. I ran competitively while studying English and Russian at Oberlin College, moving to Russia after graduation to teach English language at a university as a Fulbright Fellow. Back in the States, I joined Teach For America and spent two years on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It was there I realized my need to tell stories. I escaped to Montana for a gap year teaching toddlers to ski before diving into a graduate degree in environmental journalism at University of Montana and a career in journalism.
Hailing from Miami, Florida, Cai Thomas is a Fellow with American Public Media’s podcast, Historically Black, a joint venture with the Washington Post. Cai received her B.A in Communications and Film Studies from Boston College in 2016 where she was a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar and MLK Scholar. She has produced documentaries on race, sports, gender, and environmental issues in Boston, Brazil, Birmingham and beyond. Her most notable short doc Blake Bolden, which follows a professional black hockey player aired on New England Sports Network. An avid traveler, Cai enjoys connecting with different communities and telling their stories.