About Us

UM's School of Communication is located in Wolfson Building.

UM’s School of Communication is located in Wolfson Building.

The South Florida Travel Writers Group consists of undergraduate student travel journalists who are spending the semester reporting and writing about travel activities in South Florida, other areas of Florida, the U.S., and around the world.

We are journalism students and free-lance professional travel writers.

We are based within the Journalism and Media Management Department of the School of Communication, University of Miami.

School of Communication Courtyard.

School of Communication Courtyard.

Our course is an upper division undergraduate course, JMM 446 and JMM 646, “Travel Writing.” This site features our work. You can find additional work from our group at our partner Web site devoted to U.S. national parks, Our National Parks.

The site is supervised by Dr. Bruce Garrison, the course professor.

 

Members of our current writers group, Fall 2017, includes:

Erica Vazquez-Bacardi (elv14@miami.edu)is a second-year graduate student studying public relations at the University of Miami. From prior experience at a public relations firm, Erica has developed a passion for public relations and all that comes with it: event planning, writing, creating PR campaigns and strategies, and networking. Erica’s career goal once she graduates with her master’s degree is to find an in-house opportunity at a large corporate company such as Royal Caribbean and Bacardi USA.

Claudia Brown (cxb290@miami.edu) is a senior majoring in print journalism and minoring in English. She is interested in writing about local night life in different cities around the country.  Her Instagram blog focuses on best places to socialize if you’re going out alone.  She discusses both the general feel of the restaurant, bar, or club, the type of people who frequent the establishment and the level of safety and comfort an individual feels when attending.  Another aspect of her blog gives tips for young adults in today’s society of how to not feel uncomfortable alone without relying on technology.

Margarita Castillo (mxc1399@miami.edu) is a junior majoring in journalism and double minoring in cinema and Hispanic media. Though Texas is my home state, I was born in North Carolina and raised Ohio.  As a future Mexican-American leader in the media, I plan to represent and be a voice for the Latinx community in both entertainment and news. Another goal of her goals is to travel the world and be an advocate for the environment and underdeveloped countries. One of her dreams is to work with National Geographic as a writer and filmmaker. She is a member of UMTV and will join Ibis yearbook soon.

Shellie Frai (saf159@miami.edu) is a junior studying Journalism. While she was born and raised in Miami, she is Brazilian and Israeli and has a working proficiency in Hebrew and Spanish. Having family in the Middle East and South America allowed her to start traveling at a young age. Besides being a student, she is the arts and entertainment editor for The Miami Hurricane and fashion editor for DistractionShe has held internships at The Hollywood Reporter, Ocean Drive and Boca Raton. After graduation she hopes to continue to write about arts and culture, specifically in the fashion industry.

Michael Franca (mef135@miami.edu) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology. He hopes to pursue a career as a sports journalist. As a native of Miami, his favorite teams include the Heat, Dolphins, Marlins and Hurricanes. He also has a strong interest in international soccer. Michael turned this interest into a job writing for fosseposse.sbnation.com, an SB Nation blog covering English Premier League club Leicester City. He has worked as an intern for Sportsmanias as well as proplayerinsiders.com.

Noelia Graham (nmg84@miami.edu) was born and raised in Miami. She is currently majoring in journalism and minoring in marketing. One of her main goals is to be a foreign correspondent for a major new organization such as the BBC. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and drinking coffee by the sea.

 

 

Andrea Huete (andrea_belle_h@hotmail.com) is currently a senior majoring in journalism with minors in philosophy, public relations, theater and sports administration. Born in Los Angeles, Andrea has a love for the entertainment industry. Musical theater became a lifestyle and she began performing in shows such as “Rent,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” She grew a love of sports. Most of Andrea’s travels center on football, including the 2017 NFL Combine, 2017 NFL Draft and Hurricanes games at Hard Rock Stadium. She desires to work as a communication director for the NFL in the future.

Annalise Iraola (ari10@miami.edu) is a senior from Ann Arbor, Mich. She is majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in strategic communication. She has a passion for Miami nightlife, the environment and all living beings. She hopes to continue her career in journalism or marketing after graduating UM in spring 2018.

 

 

Yiyang Liu (yxl991@miami.edu) is a graduate student majoring in public relations. She was born in Beijing, China, and has been living there for more than 20 years. After four years’ study in philosophy, she wanted to try something different. With a passion for media and writing, she started a new major and a new life in Miami. She recently finished the summer 2017 study-abroad in London about global communication and wrote blogs about her travels (https://uminlondon.wordpress.com/author/liuyiyang/). She loves photography, travel and hopes to continue exploring the unknown world in the future.  

Sarah Lustgarten (sbl20@miami.edu) is in her junior year, double majoring in journalism and creative writing. Sarah was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, where her fourth-grade teacher instilled the idea of creative writing in her. Today, she is an avid and diligent writer, as well as a travel enthusiast. After spending time in Israel this past summer, Sarah has become inspired to write about places people don’t always have a chance to see. Sarah loves practicing Barre — an exercise she became certified to teach in 2015 — or taking pictures of her beloved Shetland sheepdog named Stella.

Kalema Meggs (k.meggs@miami.edu) is a 2nd year graduate student, studying public relations. With a strong passion for sports and the entertainment industry, Kalema was the sports and managing editor for the Barry University Buccaneer student newspaper, marketing & promotions intern for the Orange Bowl and BCS national championship games, competition announcer for the Florida Sports Foundation, and an interni with North 6th Agency. Kalema is currently senior manager/graduate assistant for the Public Relations Experience Program at UM. Born to Belizean parents, she is excited to study travel writing and looks forward sharing experiences growing up in a foreign family.

Edward Punales (exp154@miami.edu) is a senior studying journalism. A native of Miami, Edward has traveled to many parts of the United States, such as Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia. Edward’s major passion in life is to write about all the strange and wonderful things our world has to offer, something which can be easily achieved through travel writing. From features about foreign cultures to simpler articles about the best places to eat in a given city, the world of travel writing offers ample opportunity to educate readers on a variety of fascinating and eclectic subjects.

Rizelle Zabate (r.zabate@umiami.edu) is a graduate student studying public relations. Born and raised to Filipino parents in Miami, she continues to enjoy living in the diverse and eccentric city. With a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, Rizelle wants to pursue a career in healthcare communications. Her interest in traveling grew from meeting patients from all over the world while interning with the Miami Children’s Health Foundation and the Jackson Health Foundation. Rizelle’s favorite travels are to Manila and San Francisco. Rizelle also lives vicariously through the Food Network and the Travel Channel. 

Chu Zhang (cxz301@miami.edu) was born and raised in China. She is a master’s student majoring in public relations. After studying advertising at Michigan State University for bachelor’s degree, she found a passion for media and event planning. At Michigan State, she was the editor of a media platform called Humans of East Lansing. The experience triggered her interest in storytelling and off-line events. Chu has interned at Media & Marketing Department of Skylease Cargo in Miami during summer 2017.

 

Members of our writers group, Fall 2016, included:

amanda-alvarezAmanda Alvarez (a.alvarez49@umiami.edu) Born and raised in Miami. She is a junior studying journalism, minoring in theater and political science. She has a passion for sports, is a cheerleader and is involved in other extracurricular activities. Having never left Miami to live elsewhere has ignited a passion for travel. She is a communications intern in the Athletic Department and has published work on Hurricanesports.com. She interned in Cape Cod, Mass., as a sideline reporter for a baseball team in the Cape Cod League. She travels a lot to visit her brother who is a professional baseball player and also gets to travel with the university’s football and basketball teams.

clarissa-buchClarissa Buch (c.buch@umiami.edu) is a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in religious studies. She is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, Thrillist, Time Out Miami and The Miami Herald. She predominantly focuses on Miami’s fast-growing food and restaurant scene, covering topics such as openings, chef profiles, trends and other food-related news. When Clarissa is not writing, she can be found in a spin class, binge-watching a crime show or trying a new restaurant.

brittany-chandaniBrittany Chandani (bxc405@miami.edu) is a sophomore studying microbiology and broadcast journalism. Her passion for journalism began in high school, which she carried into an internship at The Miami Herald at 16. She began writing for business and arts and recently delved into writing health articles. She hopes to blend her multidisciplinary studies into a career as the next Dr. Sanjay Gupta. In the past three years, she has traveled to 10 different countries. She recently spent a month traveling from Barcelona to Naples. While in her hometown of Miami, she enjoys searching for the best açai bowl, early morning kickboxing classes and playing with her cat, Miu Miu.

jeanette-hamiltonJeanette Hamilton (j.hamilton13@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami, studying print journalism as a major and creative writing and motion pictures as minors. She is from Connecticut, but plans to move to Los Angeles after graduating to pursue a career in comedy television writing. Hamilton is a long-time fan of news satire, such as “The Daily Show” and “Last Week Tonight.” She began studying journalism in high school.

 

julie-haransJulie Harans (j.harans@umiami.edu) Born and raised in Baltimore, Julie is a senior at the University of Miami. She interned for Miami New Times and held various positions on student publications before becoming editor-in-chief of UM’s student-run newspaper, The Miami Hurricane. Julie has a passion for writing, especially about food and spent the summer as a social media intern for celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. In her free time, Julie enjoys cooking, reading and playing with her dog, Rocky. She hopes to eventually work for Bon Appetit magazine and fulfill her dream of eating for a living.

 stephanie-michalsStephanie Michals  (smichals55@miami.edu) is a 21-year-old senior at the University of Miami. The New Jersey native is a double major in print journalism and public relations. Her interests include animals, politics, writing, art and cooking. Stephanie has interned three years in a row at the Cannes Film Festival in the South of France and studied abroad in London in summer 2016. She has always had a passion for travel and experiencing new things.

 

taylorann-millerTaylorann Miller (txm180@miami.edu) was born and raised in New York and she now resides in Miami. She confesses that she has always been a beach girl at heart. Through her modeling career, she has been fortunate enough to combine her love of fashion, fitness and travel. Discovering beautiful new beaches and cities continually inspires her work. Now as a senior about to complete her major in communication with minors in both journalism and marketing, she hopes to continue motivating and inspiring her family, friends, and followers. She is passionate about what she does and shows it through her work. She keeps her writing real and lives off coffee, with an occasional glass of wine or two. 

jacob-rubinJacob Rubin (j.rubin11@umiami.edu) was born and raised in Miami. He is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in media management.  He was part of the staff at WVUM Sports for two years, calling various UM football, baseball and basketball games while also hosting numerous talk shows on weekend mornings. Jacob has a passion for different types of writing and hopes to become well-versed in travel writing. He likes to travel and try out new restaurants, bars and attend concerts.

katie-vidaurretaKaty Vidaurreta (kvidaurreta@miami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami studying public relations and minoring in journalism. Born and raised in Miami, she has a fascination with culture and traveling. She recently completed an internship at Telemundo working with its digital team. She had several articles and videos published on www.Telemundo.com in both English and Spanish. After graduation, she plans to continue working in digital content production.

 

alina-zerpaAlina Zerpa (a.zerpa1@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami double majoring in journalism and psychology. Born and raised to Hispanic parents in Miami, she speaks both English and Spanish. She loves to road trip and has recently ventured outside of the U.S., exploring Europe and the Caribbean. Alina is involved in many extra-curricular activities, including work as online editor for the student-run magazine, Distraction, and being the External Outreach Chair for Category 5, the spirit programming board. Alina has been working with UM Media Relations, learning about public relations and how to maintain the university’s social media. She likes photography and filling her journals.

 

Members of our Fall 2015 writers group included:

Marwan AleneziMarwan Alenezi (m.alenezi2@umiami.edu) was born in Kuwait and moved to Miami at 17. He is a senior studying journalism, minoring in motion pictures and psychology. Being raised in the Middle East, he has always savored traveling for both pleasure and education. His passion for travel and writing both stem from a deep appreciation and study of world cultures. As a contributing photographer and writer for The Miami Hurricane, his interest in travel media has surged. As an avid naturalist and amateur zoologist, he now focuses on documentary writing and production. He hopes to become a wildlife documentarian.

Vivian BragaVivian Braga (v.marquesbraga@umiami.edu) is a 20-year-old journalism and international relations student from Brazil. Passionate about writing, world affairs, politics and art, her interests include blogging, reading magazines and photography. She currently writes fashion articles for UM’s student magazine Distraction and is developing a blog. Having lived in Europe, South America and Africa and visited more than 30 countries, one of her goals in life is to keep traveling, learn new languages, get familiar with different cultures and enable herself to share these experiences with people through her writing.

Jordan CoyneJordan Coyne (j.coyne1@umiami.edu) Coyne is a senior studying journalism and international studies, on a pre law track. She serves as Ritual Chair for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, as well as the Fundraising Chair for Greek Week. This summer, Jordan worked as both a marketing intern for Associations Financial Services in Miami Beach and a waitress at Town Kitchen & Bar in Sunset. Jordan also works as a swim coach for Hurricane Aquatics. Jordan hopes to attend law school next year in the pursuit of a career advocating for human rights.

Chaira DigiallorenzoChaira Digiallorenzo (c.digiallorenzo@umiami.edu) was born in Philadelphia, but has spent most of her life on the move. She is a senior studying journalism with a minor in art history. She has worked for the Miami Rail magazine and also spent a summer interning with fashion house, Moschino, at its New York City headquarters. Chiara hopes for a career working for a luxury or high-fashion magazine, specifically in the travel section. When she was younger, she set a life goal of reaching 30 countries by age 30. Now 21, the goal still stands, with only eight countries left to go.

Emily EidelmanEmily Eidelman (e.eidelman@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami. Emily is majoring in print journalism, with minors in visual journalism and music business. She has always loved writing and is currently editor-in-chief of the Ibis yearbook. She also freelances for The Miami Hurricane and Distraction magazine. She is excited to try travel writing, for it’s something she has never done before. She spent the summer abroad in Prague and traveled every weekend for two months. Emily visited many amazing places and is excited to share stories from those places, along with cities she has visited in the U.S.

Asmae FahmyAsmae Fahmy (a.fahmy3@umiami.edu) is a junior majoring in journalism and psychology with a minor in creative writing. She currently works as managing editor of UMs Distraction magazine and as a copy editor for The Miami Hurricane. She’s passionate about all things related to words and travel. When she’s not camping out in the newspaper office or library, she can be found binge watching “Friends,” eating pad Thai, or practicing yoga—though definitely not in that order.

 

Andrea Fernandez-BravoAndrea Fernandez-Bravo (a.fernandezbravo@umiami.edu) is majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in political science. She was born in New Orleans, but grew up in Fort Lauderdale. Her parents have taken her around the United States and the world. From places like Rome, Mykonos, and Istanbul, she grew a passion for traveling, sharing her experiences with others. She plans to attend law school for either human rights or real estate and she knows her passion for law grew from traveling. Upon graduating, she will go to Spain  and then  to law school. And from there, she will plan another trip to see more of the world.

Stephanie FreireStephanie Freire (s.freire1@umiami.edu) is a senior at the UM majoring in public relations and minoring in broadcast journalism and marketing. From Miami, she was brought up traveling all over the Caribbean, South America and Europe. Freire recently interned with Fusion, a Univision and ABC joint venture. She worked closely with the marketing and public relations team and anchored for the network’s international Snapchat account. Freire enjoys snorkeling, spending time with her friends and family and searching for the best cafe con leche.

Maria HernandezMaria Hernandez  (mariahernandez25@gmail.com) is a junior majoring in journalism with a creative advertising minor. She was born in Santo Domingo, D.R. She has been passionate about writing and wanderlust since an early age. Her family has taken her all over the world. She has her own blog called Mahi Mimosa, used as a creative outlet to spread joy through unusual places or things encountered; one spot at a time. She’s also a contributing writer for Distraction and has interned for Venue Magazine and Young and Rubicam Damaris. Her goal is to travel the world and interact with different cultures.         

Marcus LimMarcus Lim (m.lim1@umiami.edu) was born in Singapore and is majoring in print journalism and minoring in public relations, interactive media and English literature. Before he came to Miami, he served in the Singapore Army as a sergeant in an Infantry unit. During his time in the army, he has traveled to many places, learned multiple languages and experienced numerous cultures. He has a love for writing and has reported for The Straits Times, Singapore’s highest-selling and most-read newspaper, in 2015. He is now looking for a career as a newspaper reporter.

Kit PilosofKit Pilosof (c.pilosof@umiami.edu) is majoring in print journalism with a double minor in public relations and creative writing. She was born in Toronto, but lived in London, England, from the age of 2 to 12, where she became passionate about writing, particularly in the field of fashion. She joined Distraction magazine in her freshman year and, currently in her third year, has become a fashion editors. She plans to study abroad in Australia for the spring 2015 and hopes to pursue fashion writing in either New York or Los Angeles when she graduates.

John RiouxJohn Rioux (j.rioux@umiami.edu) is a senior majoring in journalism and history at UM. Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Rioux enjoys the urban atmosphere. He chose to come to UM due to its strong School of Communication and South Florida’s beautiful weather. Rioux is passionate about sports and history. He aspires to one day become a lawyer.

 

Diana RodonDiana Rodon (d.rodon@umiami.edu) is studying journalism and English at the University of Miami. She is from Miami and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, where her passion for journalism was born. She has a particular love for travel writing, enhanced by her recent semester abroad in Canterbury, England, and her family’s penchant for long road trips. She is currently the assistant copy editor of Distraction magazine, previously having taken on that same role for Ibis yearbook in 2014.

Melissa-SotoMelissa Soto (m.soto10@umiami.edu) is a senior. Her major is journalism and minor is international studies. She is from Miami and attended Coral Gables Senior High School. Throughout her life, she spent a lot of time outdoors and involved in different sports. She danced and, after becoming bored with it, decided to become a competitive swimmer. She is not sure in which direction she wants her life to take her, but she believes she wants to do something with marine conservation through writing. Being a swimmer and studying in Australia, the ocean has become a prominent focus. She hopes, through writing, that she is able to conserve the oceans and, more importantly, educate people on the destruction happening daily to the world’s oceans.

Sharry TongSiyuan (Sharry) Tong (s.tong1@umiami.edu) is a senior from Hangzhou, China, a beautiful city close to Shanghai. She is majoring in journalism and has minors in political science, philosophy and economics. She is a girl passionate about life and loves traveling. As a student in School of Communication, writing and designing are her interests. She would like to work in media related area and continue to write or design after graduation.

 

Renee VesselinovitchRenee Vesselinovitch (r.vesselinovitch@umiami.edu) is a junior majoring in public relations with a photojournalism minor. Raised in Wilmette, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, she now lives in Coral Gables, Fla. Renee, having an eye for design and fashion, worked for LF Clothing for two years, promoting the brand through social media and organizing events. She now works for Modern Luxury, helping with photography, social media writing and event planning. Renee has visited many locales in and out of the U.S. Renee’s camera is always close at hand to capture a moment that words cannot. She has a thirst to discover all a new place has to offer. Her ultimate goal is being able to get to know a locale and report the most interesting things about it.

 

Members of our Fall 2014 writers group included:

Orianna CiriglianoOrianna Cirigliano (o.cirigliano@umiami.edu) is double majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. She was born in Caracas, but grew up in a small coastal town. Her passion for broadcasting and journalism was a result of watching their work. Her father used to own a TV station in Venezuela, but he sold it before government took it over. She wants to get back to her home country as soon as she finishes her master’s degree. Her goal is to be successful not only at work, but as a person. Her parents took her on trips because her father believed that what we experience and learn from travel is far better than what is learned from books.

Emily DabauEmily Dabau (e.dabau@umiami.edu) is a journalism and public relations major in the School of Communication at UM. She is the assistant editor of The Miami Hurricane and has previously interned at the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. Her work has also been featured in the School of Communication’s The Communique. In her free time she enjoys exploring the city, photography and traveling.

 

Kate GeldmacherKate Geldmacher (k.geldmacher@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami studying journalism and sociology. Originally from Charlottesville, Va., her family moved to Birmingham, Ala., while she was in college, making her feel as though she is in a constant state of vacation when she goes “home.” Her interests lie more in the legal side of journalism than reporting. She hopes to attend law school to study constitutional law and work with first amendment issues surrounding the media.

Chelsea HarringtonChelsea Harrington (c.harrington4@umiami.edu) is a 21-year-old journalism major minoring in political science at the University of Miami. Originally from Plymouth, Mass., she transferred to UM as a sophomore from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Currently working as an editorial intern at Ocean Drive Magazine, she aspires to work for a publication such as The New York Times or National Geographic. She has also published articles in The Old Colony Memorial in Massachusetts as well as Distraction magazine at UM. Chelsea is enamored with foreign cultures and customs and hopes to travel to as many countries as possible.

Yael HermanYael Herman (y.herman@umiami.edu) is a senior in the School of Communication at the University of Miami studying journalism and political science. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, she moved to Miami during her senior year of high school. Yael currently works as co-executive editor and lifestyles editor at Distraction magazine at UM. After graduation, she hopes to work as an editor of an art or fashion publication.

 

Gabe IbrahimGabe Ibrahim (g.ibrahim@umiami.edu) is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Miami. He is from Weston, Fla., and comes from a large (and loud) Cuban family. He’s traveled to the majority of states in the U.S., and has been to countries in North America and Europe, most notably Cuba. He is an anchor on UMTV’s Sportsdesk and has interned at The Miami Herald, 560 WQAM, 790 WAXY, Sirius XM radio, and WPLG-TV. Traveling is one of Gabriel’s chief interests, ranking behind watching his favorite teams win.

Valerie LopezValerie Lopez (valelopz9@gmail.com) is a Colombian-raised / Miami based photojournalist soon to graduate from University of Miami with a B.A. degree in journalism and a photography minor. She has worked as a freelancer for more than three years along with different firms in the creative industry. Valerie has a strong attachment to her cameras, journal and books, if you don’t find her shooting, she will be traveling or looking for her next adventure. 

 

Veronica LopezVeronica Lopez (v.lopez14@umiami.edu) is from Miami. She is studying journalism at the University of Miami and is involved in cultural organizations, her sorority, student media, and university fundraising. She has traveled to countries all over Europe and South America, but her favorite travels are the road trips she takes with friends within the U.S. She enjoys watching movies, eating sushi, and spending time with her loved ones.

 

Roxana MazaRoxana Maza (Roxymaza@aol.com) is a student at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology. She was born in Los Angeles, but was raised in Miami and speaks English and Spanish. She is of Peruvian descent from both parents. She has recently developed an interest in public relations and will be an intern at the firm Republica during the 2014 fall semester. She interned for Ocean Drive Magazine in 2014 and aims to move to New York City after graduation. She aspires to write about her world travels and she has already visited more than 12 countries and three major U.S. cities. She feels getting “lost in translation” is a great way to become immersed in foreign lands and culture. Her most memorable trip was being in Tokyo, in 2013.

Megan McCrinkMegan McCrink (m.mccrink@umiami.edu) is a junior iournalism and graphic design major at the University of Miami. Living in Miami her whole life, Megan has taken advantage of Miami’s ever-changing culture by working as an editorial intern for both Ocean Drive magazine and Thrillist.com. Megan currently works as executive editor of Distraction magazine and co-editorial coordinator for distractionmagazine.com at the University of Miami. In her spare time, Megan can’t sit still and enjoys traveling to new cities and countries as well as exploring Miami’s gastronomy and arts culture.

Stephanie MeadowsStephanie Meadows (s.meadows2@umiami.edu) is a senior in the School of Communication. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in sports administration. Originally from Boca Raton, she transferred to UM as a junior. Stephanie and her family are world travelers. Before transferring, she studied abroad in 2013, for two months in Leiden, Netherlands. Stephanie credits this experience as one of the best times of her life. She is currently a writer for The Odyssey and has previously interned in the Branding and Communications at Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. She aspires to write for a publication such as Rolling Stone.

Melissa OstroffMelissa Ostroff (m.ostroff@umiami.edu) is a junior at the University of Miami. Her major is journalism with a minor in advertising. Melissa is originally from Chicago, but she hopes to one day live in New York City or San Francisco. She would ideally like to work for either an online or print publication, or at an advertising and marketing firm. In her free time, Melissa enjoys such activities as photography, graphic design, and travel.

 

Jackie SaloJackie Salo (jackie.salo@gmail.com) is a senior studying print journalism at the University of Miami. Currently, she is an intern at The Miami Herald, where she covers Bay Harbor Islands. She is not new to covering to community news, having written also for Long Island’s daily newspaper, Newsday. When she graduates, Jackie hopes to be employed. 

 

 

Jamie ServidioJamie Servidio (j.servidio1@umiami.edu) is a junior at the University of Miami majoring in print journalism with a minor in history. She was most recently an intern at the Westerly Sun, a local newspaper in her hometown of Westerly, R.I., and a public relations intern at Patti Doyle Communications. Currently she works as the assistant art director for Distraction magazine and contributes to The Miami Hurricane. Jamie enjoys dancing with UM’s co-ed hip hop team, Kaos, and serves as public relations officer as well as a contributing choreographer. She hopes to be happily employed somewhere sunny.

Donatela VaccaDonatela Vacca (d.vacca@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and French. Originally from Buenos Aires, she moved to Miami as a freshman looking for a chance to explore new cultures and pursue her passion for writing and traveling. She has been to more than 10 countries including China, Germany, and Malaysia. She is fluent in Spanish, English, and French, and is learning Chinese. Donatella contributes to both The Miami Hurricane and Distraction magazine and is part of the staff for UMTV “Pulse.” After graduation, she hopes to find a job that will allow her to both write and explore the world.

Lexi WilliamsAlexis Williams (lexiwilliams.writes@gmail.com) is a junior studying journalism and public relations at the University of Miami. She currently serves as the managing editor for Distraction magazine and also interns remotely for a public relations firm in New York City. Her skills and interests in the communications field are widespread, but her true passion lies in lifestyle journalism. She hopes to land a career with a major publication, where she’ll work her way up to an influential editorial position. Williams is enjoying her last two years learning, writing, and living it up in sunny South Florida and wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 Members of our Fall 2013 writers group are listed below:

Anabell BernotAnabell Bernot (a.bernot@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami with a major in broadcast journalism and minors in public relations and theater. When she graduates in spring 2014, she plans on working at a public relations firm or agency in Miami. She has worked at Autism Speaks, Listen 305 Radio, and Cece Feinberg Fashion PR as a public relations intern. She has experience writing press releases and news articles. Her interests include volunteering at animal shelters, reading non-fiction, and singing.

Isabel BradorIsabel Brador (i.brador@umiami.edu) is a junior studying print journalism and history at the University of Miami. While she was born in the Dominican Republic she was raised in Miami and has fallen in love with Florida, particularly the beaches on Florida’s West Coast and the diverse culture of South Florida. She is a staff writer at the university’s student paper The Miami Hurricane, has worked as a blogger for the health company mindfulCITY, and has served as a press intern for the Good Government Initiative.  She loves writing about traveling, particularly about food and culture. She currently works at HistoryMiami as a curatorial intern and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Atlantic world history and become a museum curator.

Ingrid CastilloIngrid Castillo (i.castillo@umiami.edu) iis a senior at the University of Miami majoring in broadcast journalism and international studies. Originally born in Dominican Republic, Castillo was raised in Miami. During her teenage years, she went back to Dominican Republic where her interest for journalism grew. Once back in the United States, she dedicated herself to following her academic dreams of becoming a journalist. During her academic career, she has interned in a variety of news media,  such as Telemundo and UMTV. She hopes to have a career in television production. Her interests include reading, tasting new foods and spending time with her family.

Pablo ChaconPablo Chacon-Alvarez (p.chacon2@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami double majoring in creative writing and journalism. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, but moved to Miami when he was seven years old and he has been living there since. After graduation, he plans to devote himself full time to establishing a career in the music industry as an entertainer. He is the main vocalist and lyricist for the band Dinosaurs ‘N Disasters, their first EP “Life After Youth” was released in November 2010. With his band he has performed all over Miami, as well as Tallahassee, Atlanta and New York City. His first love was writing and his passion is music.

Morgan ColemanMorgan Coleman (morgantylercoleman@gmail.com) is a senior majoring in film and visual journalism. She works as a photography intern at the Miami New Times and as a contributing photographer and a staff music writer for The Miami Hurricane. Morgan was born in Valdosta, a small farm town in Southern Georgia. Her passion for photography, scuba diving and backpacking has lead her to a range of places including Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Laos, Panama and Costa Rica. In 2011, she worked with Actuality Media to film a short documentary about a small women’s medical clinic in Antigua, Guatemala. She also spent summer 2013 in Greece with the UM motion pictures program. After graduating, she hopes to become a news photographer and work with documentary production.

Nicky DiazNicky Diaz (a.diaz40@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and minoring in education and math. I currently work at The Miami Hurricane and I have written for the Miami New Times and The Miami Herald. I’ve had the opportunity of traveling to several countries, including Argentina, the Dominican Republic, France, Spain, Italy, England, Ireland, Aruba, Haiti, Jamaica and Portugal. Monte Carlo, Los Angeles and New York City are among my favorite destinations.

Karla DurangoKarla Durango (k.durango@umiami.edu) is a senior double majoring in editorial journalism and theater arts at the University of Miami. She was born in Cali, Colombia, but grew up in Miami. She has also had the opportunity to live in Spain. Karla is fluent in Spanish and English, and also proficient in French. She recently held an internship at a travel and tourism office in Barcelona, where she was responsible for translating travel guides into Spanish. She is currently interning at Ocean Drive magazine and it is her goal to one-day work as creative director for a high fashion magazine such as Vogue or Elle, but first is very focused on and passionate about learning new languages and discovering new cultures. She is aiming to spend a year and a half, before going to graduate school, in Paris and Florence, perfecting French and learning Italian.

Morgan GolumbukMorgan Golumbuk (morgan@customlogos.com) is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and theater and minoring in business. Originally from San Diego, Calif., she interned at Riviera Magazine there this past summer, where she built up her web writing portfolio. Her passion for traveling was jump-started last fall, when she studied abroad in Barcelona and had the opportunity to travel all over Europe, from the sunny beaches of Lisbon to the icy Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. She currently runs a personal travel blog (morgangolumbuk.wordpress.com) and hopes to return to Europe within the year.

Katie GuestKatherine Guest (keguest1@gmail.com) is an intern for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. A native Canadian, she now lives in Miami and is currently a senior at the University of Miami. She has free-lanced for Distraction magazine, The Miami Planet and Hurricane Sports magazine. She was the sports reporter for the Miami Varsity Women’s Rowing program last year as well as a member of the team for the past three years. She is studying photography, broadcast and news journalism with minors in marketing and political relations.

Margaux HerreraMargaux Herrera (m.herrera14@umiami.edu) is a senior studying English literature and journalism. Born and raised in Miami, Fla., she also lived in Paris, France, for half a year. She has been the Edge editor for The Miami Hurricane since her sophomore year, and has been a Miami Herald intern for two years. She is a content editor for LeakyCon, a pop culture fan conference. She also interned with the Miami New Times for a summer. When she is not writing (and sometimes when she is), Margaux is traveling as much as possible, or staying up late searching for cheap flights and planning her next adventure.

Rianna HidalgoRianna Hidalgo (riannahidalgo@gmail.com) is a senior majoring in journalism and theater. Born and raised in Seattle, she spent the first two decades of her life doing musical theater before realizing that writing and reporting was a hidden passion. Since that discovery, she has become a staff writer for The Miami Hurricane and a contributing writer for Distraction magazine and SheKnows.com. She has held internships at The Miami Herald as well as Real Change News in Seattle. Post-graduation, she hopes to pursue investigative journalism in the realm of human rights and social justice and is determined to travel all over the world in the process.

Andrea JacoboAndrea Jacobo (a.jacobo@umiami.edu) is a senior majoring in exercise physiology with a minor in journalism. She hopes to become a health journalist and inspire others through her writing to lead a healthy lifestyle. Her initiatives are global health and nutrition. Andrea worked as an intern for University of Miami’s THINK Program and Common Threads Miami; both programs taught kids in under-served communities about nutrition, physical activity, and how to prepare healthy meals. Growing up in Miami’s melting pot, she loves to fully immerse herself in other cultures. She had the opportunity to study abroad in China and Western Europe and she spent the past spring semester in Paris. She is a native Spanish speaker, proficient in French, and would like to continue learning more languages. After graduation, she hopes to pursue her master degree in global health in Europe.

Samantha LucciSamantha Lucci (s.lucci@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami double-majoring in journalism and international studies with a minor in history.  During her freshman year, she became involved with Distraction magazine and the Ibis yearbook as a freelance writer.  She has since been promoted to co-editor of the Ibis’s organizations section. Originally from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Samantha developed a passion for travel and writing at a young age while documenting her family vacations around the U.S. She has visited more than 30 states.  A service trip to Moshi, Tanzania, followed by a semester studying in Rome extended her travel experiences abroad. After graduation, Samantha plans to join the Peace Corps as a community development volunteer.

Stephanie ParraStephanie Parra (s.parra1@umiami.edu) is a senior majoring in political science and journalism with a minor in French. The first week of her freshman year, she joined The Miami Hurricane staff as a copy editor and reporter. Since then, she has worked on the staff as the copy chief and news editor. This year, she is the editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurricane. In late July 2011, she began interning for The Miami Herald. She covered a variety of topics including Key Biscayne politics, holiday happenings and random feature stories. After graduation, she plans on attending law school and graduate school.

Patrick RileyPatrick Riley (patrick.riley@hotmail.com) is a senior majoring in journalism and sport administration. Originally from Innsbruck, Austria, Patrick started writing for The Miami Hurricane as a contributing sportswriter his freshman year and became involved with Distraction magazine in his second semester at UM. As a sophomore, he covered the women’s basketball team for The Hurricane and, as a junior, he became the first sports editor for Distraction while covering the men’s basketball team for The Miami Hurricane. Patrick spent the following summer writing feature pieces and profiles for Inside Pitch Magazine and currently works as an online sports producer for The Miami Herald.

Mikayla VielotMikayla Vielot (m.vielot@umiami.edu) is a multimedia journalist, studying journalism and sport administration at the University of Miami. While Mikayla’s focus is reporting through print journalism, she can write, shoot and edit her own packages. With a strong passion for sports, Mikayla aspires to be a sports journalist, but also covers political news. While attending UM, Mikayla has interned and volunteered with the university’s Sport Information Department, WPRI/Fox Providence, PODER Magazine (a Spanish publication), NBATV, ESPNU, and the Orange Bowl Committee for the 2013 Orange Bowl and BCS National Championship games.  Currently a ESPNU Campus Connection reporter, Mikayla complies packages on Miami Hurricanes athletics and student life for the station’s YouTube channel and on-air broadcasts. She is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Association for Women in Sports Media, and Strong Women, Strong Girls, Inc.

 

 Members of our Fall 2012 writers group are listed below:

Mari Centeno-Ayala (m.centenoayala@umiami.edu) is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and theater. She is originally from Venezuela and has a passion for radio, television, entertainment arts, and travel. Her past experience in the industry includes interning for radio stations and record labels, entertainment reporting for a daily radio talk show, promotional work for radio stations, and on-air co-hosting for an Internet radio show. 

She also has experience in hosting and reporting on special events, modeling, and has made appearances in music videos. 

While at UM, Mari has been involved with UMTV and plans to continue being more involved in the campus media. She also plans to use her bi-cultural skills and experience to not only deliver newsworthy events but, most importantly, help others achieve their dreams.

Laurie Charles (l.charles@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami and is a double major in journalism and international studies. Laurie has always had a passion for writing, traveling, and learning about and experiencing other cultures. She has written for several publications, including The Miami New Times, The Miami Herald, CBSMiami.com, The Miami Hurricane and Distraction Magazine. During her junior year, Laurie studied abroad in Prague, where she had the opportunity to travel across Europe to Turkey, Spain, Germany, and Hungary, among others. After graduation, Laurie hopes to expand her travels, teach English abroad, and share her travel experiences through writing and photography.

Andres Correa (a.correa2@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and political science.  He was born and raised in Miami. In his time at UM, he has reported several stories published in The Miami Hurricane and has covered live events on Twitter for Miami.com.  He has a great amount of experience with travel as he has been to many states in the U.S., as well as several countries in South America and Europe. Overall, however, his favorite travel destination is Italy. His current plans for after graduation include going to graduate school in communication and eventually finding a career in the media.

Maleana Davis (m.davis9@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami where she is a double major in print journalism and sports administration. She was born and raised in Northern Virginia. Having a passion for writing and growing up around sports, she hopes to have a career as a sports reporter after graduating this coming spring. During the summer of 2012, she was a style writer intern for the pop-culture website, GlobalGrind, which helped further her interest in writing about fashion. She also had work published in The Miami Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, and UM School of Communication’s Communique.

Elizabeth de Armas (e.dearmas@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami, born and raised in the Sunshine State. Majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology, de Armas is the opinion editor of UM’s award-winning newspaper, The Miami Hurricane. She is also a contributing writer for the university’s yearbook, The Ibis, and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In the summer between her junior and senior year, de Armas interned for an online publication in Washington, D.C., Hispanic Link News Service. In Washington, she covered the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Capitol Hill, and various other political events. de Armas describes herself as  dedicated, tenacious and motivated. She plans on attending Columbia University for her Master’s degree in journalism and hopes to become a political or investigative reporter for The New York Times.

Rachel Janosec (r.janosec@umiami.edu) is a senior in the School of Communication at the University of Miami and is from New Jersey. She is majoring in print journalism and minoring in psychology. She has a passion for editing, writing, and everything fashion and hopes post graduation to write for a fashion magazine and to travel around Europe freelancing. A combination of fashion and travel writing would be an ideal job position for Rachel after graduate school in California.

 

Alexis Kanarek (a.kanarek@umiami.edu) is currently a senior at the University of Miami, majoring in print journalism and political science. Born in Texas and raised in Miami, Kanarek’s Mexican heritage allows her to naturally understand travel, culture, and diversity. As a first-generation American, Kanarek plans on utilizing her bilingual and bi-cultural skills to report on travel destinations and attractions throughout the semester. Since transferring from Boston University during her sophomore year, Kanarek has been published multiple times in The Miami Hurricane and has gained experience in her travels throughout Europe, South America, Central America, Asia, and Africa, as well as through her semester abroad in Barcelona. Her current plans include graduating this coming spring and attending law school next fall.

Bolton Lancaster (b.lancaster1@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and international studies. Originally from Seattle, he is currently the sports section editor for the Ibis Yearbook and has also had his work published by the Knight Center for International Media, The Miami Hurricane, and Distraction magazine. He has a passion for telling stories with words, photographs, and video. In addition to his interest in sports publications, he also likes to focus on stories that have an international scope. After school, he hopes to join a documentary production company and have the opportunity to travel and cover such stories.

Brandon Lumish (b.lumish@umiami.edu) is a senior journalism major and psychology and sports administration minor at the University of Miami. Lumish is born and raised in Miami. Lumish has a strong passion for travel and has been to more than 20 states throughout the United States and to Italy, Vatican City, Spain, and Quebec in Canada. Lumish has written articles about four different travel destinations he has visited. Lumish will be writing articles about each place he visits throughout the semester, hoping to spread the word about different travel destinations.

Chelsea Pillsbury (c.pillsbury1@umiami.edu) is a junior at the University of Miami majoring in public relations and political science. She has lived in Florida for her entire life but has done extensive traveling within the United States. She was previously the greek section editor for Ibis yearbook at UM and is currently the organization section editor. She has a passion for experiencing various cultures, learning about the history of the world, and sharing her journey with others. Next semester, she plans to go abroad, and after graduation she hopes to work for an international public relations firm.

Rob Pursell (r.pursell@umiami.edu) is a senior journalism major at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. He has written for The Miami Herald, the Miami Hurricane and other freelance work. He has traveled across both North and Central America and spent time living in Australia, Thailand, and New Zealand, and has written about his time there. After graduation, he plans to spend time living in Europe and Asia in order to further his global knowledge and improve his writing abilities. He hopes to document his travels working for an international publication.

Vanessa Ramos (v.ramos4@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and English and minoring in marketing. She was born and raised in Florida and has traveled across the United States and Europe. She has written for The Miami Hurricane and Ibis yearbook and has edited for Distraction magazine and UM’s undergraduate literary journal, Mangrove. In the spring of 2011, she interned as a writer for the travel website DavidsBeenHere.com. In the future she hopes to combine her love of storytelling and travel into a career.

Emma Reyes (e.reyes7@umiami.edu) suffered a tragic accident at the age of 2 that left her paralyzed from the waist down and with one semi-functional right arm. Her disability has been the catalyst of her personal and emotional growth. It has helped her define who she is as an individual and who she is yet to become. Reyes is currently enrolled at UM to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in print journalism and a minor in English. She volunteers her time as a committee member and manages social media via Facebook for The Miami Chapter of The Buoniconti Fund, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. She hopes to go in into the area of sports writing for an established news media. Reyes has written for The Miami Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Miami Planet website and Our National Parks website, which have given her the opportunity to become a better writer and reporter. She has not traveled much to date, but hopes within the next two years she can visit some of the historical places in the world. Her dream is to visit Paris, Ireland, and Greece.

Daniela Rodriguez (cdaniela8107@gmail.com) is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in international studies. She has had previous experience as an editorial intern for a luxury magazine, as a fashion intern at a men’s fashion magazine in New York, and as a production management intern at MTV. After graduation, Daniela hopes to land a position as a stylist assistant or as an editorial assistant at a major magazine. Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and raised in Miami, Daniela has a desire to visit the countries of the many different nationalities found in Miami. She hopes to do freelance work that would require traveling and being immersed in different cultures.

Brittany Weiner (b.weiner1@umiami.edu) is a senior at UM majoring in print journalism and art, with a minor in marketing.  She was born and raised in Marlboro, N.J. Brittany has been published in many on campus publications including Distraction Magazine and The Miami Hurricane, and is currently the Lifestyles editor of the Ibis yearbook.  For the past two summers, Brittany has held internships in New York City.  In the summer between her sophomore and junior years, she interned at Woman’s Day magazine, and this previous summer she was a Beauty editorial intern for Allure magazine.  She has interests in fashion, music, photography, and art, and is an aspiring fashion editor of a magazine.  After graduation, Brittany plans on looking for a job within either the fashion or magazine industries.

Laura Yepes (l.yepes1@umiami.edu) is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Portuguese. She has worked as a reporter for The Miami Hurricane, the university’s prize-winning student newspaper, and as the copy editor for the Ibis, the university’s student yearbook.  As a junior in 2012, Yepes studied abroad in Spain at the University of Granada. She focused on political science and traveled around Western Europe and Morocco, with stops in Tangier, Paris, London, and Lisbon. She had traveled previously to Colombia to visit family, and around the United States, but the study abroad experience reinforced her interest in meeting new people and learning about different cultures.After graduation she hopes to use her multilingual skills to write for international publications and to attend law school.

 

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