Adrian Gibbons (he/him) is a transgender mental health activist and an intern with Urban Health Media Project. He is a Boston University graduate with a bachelor's degree in film production.
Adrian shares his experience with UHMP:
Hermes Falcon (he/they) is a college freshman at Bradley University pursuing a B.A. in studies surrounding journalism and criminal psychology. In high school, Hermes wrote for The Harbinger and was a copy editor for said newspaper from 2020 until he graduated. Hermes hopes to become a proper advocate for mental health, the LGBTQ+ community, and the Hispanic community through his writing.
Pam Rentz (she/her) is a college junior at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University pursuing a B.A degree in journalism and a minor in African American studies. Pam is an editor for the university newspaper and an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). She hopes to work for a newspaper or a magazine after receiving her degree.
Davon Harris attends Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. He is a junior majoring in Mass Communication with a focus in Broadcast Journalism. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the Student Government Association at his university for the 2021-2022 academic school year. He has been a part of UHMP for about three years and was a summer intern in 2019.
Davon shares his experience with UHMP:
Jada Johnson, 18, is a 2020 graduate of Achievement Academy in Baltimore, Md. and a rising freshman at Baltimore City Community College. She is a youth advocate with the West Baltimore organization, No Boundaries Coalition, where she has been certified to register voters since 10th grade. She is a youth leader at the leadership development non-profit, HeartSmiles and on the youth advisory board at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg Center for Adolescent Health.
In May 2020, she was one of the published authors for the Baltimore Youth COVID-19 Diaries. In June 2020, she was one of the three Black women from Baltimore featured on Tiny Spark, the podcast of Nonprofit Quarterly. Also in June, Johnson was on a panel of high school journalists covering coronavirus at the Freedom Forum’s annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference.
Johnson is currently a UHMP intern and contributed to the site’s Corona(virus) Chronicles. In the fall of 2020, she will be taking general studies and plans to transfer to a four-year university to major in Law and Psychology and minor in Journalism.
Maia Spoto is a sophomore at Northwestern University where she majors in journalism and global health and edits stories for The Daily Northwestern.
Reporting on the intersections of health, politics, and social justice, she spent her freshman year digging into equity issues that face residents living in the Chicago area. Last spring, Maia uncovered that Chicago’s Native American COVID-19 mortality rate could stand at triple the rate of the city’s overall population — a statistic the city had otherwise kept under wraps. She also investigated how coronavirus mask regulations and poor interpretation infrastructure obstruct emergency care services for those who are deaf.
Maia is a passionate advocate for mental health services, food access, and education equity, among a myriad of other initiatives. At Urban Health Media Project, she’s excited to mentor students and help them share their stories. In her free time, Maia enjoys dancing, art and film.
Amora Campbell is a senior at Richard Wright Public Charter School with positions in various clubs, school activities, and extracurriculars in Washington, D.C. In ninth grade, Amora met Jayne O’Donnell, the founder of Urban Health Media Project. This meeting kickstarted her love of journalism and helped the future career woman with decision-making, writing skills, and a journalistic instinct.
In tenth grade, she attended Real World History, an after-school D.C. history class, for an internship at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. While there she became interested with African Diaspora books, which helped her realize her passion for history. Her favorite subject is, unsurprisingly, AP World History where she learned how much the past can influence the world in policy and education. Amora aspires to be a history teacher with a focus on international and inner city education because she hopes to make a change using different teaching styles.
Skye-Ali Johnson is a rising junior at Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts, a student reporter for Urban Health Media Project and an advocate for her Ward 7 & 8 community in D.C.
Heaven Pete is a rising senior at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Northwest D.C. She is a part of the Mass Media Academy and the Academy Health Sciences at Coolidge High School. Participating in two career academies may be a difficult task for some students, but Heaven has always remained top five in her class.
During her junior year, Heaven was introduced to journalism through the Mass Media Academy, and met Deborah Vazirani and Jayne O’Donnell, who welcomed her into the Urban Health Media Project (UHMP) family. UHMP has helped Heaven merge her two passions of solving health disparities within different communities and journalism. Since joining the UHMP, Heaven has presented during a mental health webinar hosted by Well Being Trust, worked with nationally recognized journalists, and had a number of opportunities combining her two favorite interests, health and journalism. Heaven plans to major in Public Health with a minor in journalism.
Nora Collins is a senior at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. She is looking to further her awareness about the social determinants of health. She is passionate about investigating the intersections of analytic, scientific discoveries with social justice, public policy, and journalism.
Nora has written for her school newspaper, The Wicket, as a staff writer for the last two years and started her own Health & Science column with the goal of getting her peers more engaged in their personal well-being. She will be the editor of the Sports & Health page next year and hopes to incorporate her experiences and discoveries from working with Urban Health Media Project.
Along with journalism, Nora is interested in social justice issues; she authored a 12-page research paper on the disparities in Maryland’s pretrial detention system, which highlighted the systemic inequalities which adversely affect people of color and minorities. Her interest in public policy came from attending a summer course on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Princeton University, where she led a presentation on genetic testing and consumer awareness. She will be interning with the FDA’s Oncology Center to continue investigating current consumer-minded regulatory standards.
Nora is also an active advocate for the special needs community. She has a twin brother who has special needs, and is passionate about increasing levels of community inclusion. She volunteers for Sports Plus and KEEN, which provide sports activities and social programs for children and young adults with mild-to-moderate autistic spectrum disorders and other disabilities, and she is a member of her school’s “Best Buddies” club. Nora works to extend this sense of inclusion through her work with UHMP, where she seeks to help students develop confidence in not only their own writing but also in their voices and ability to enact tangible change.
Isabel Fajardo, 17, is a freshman at Pomona College after graduating as valedictorian from Emerson Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. She has a variety of interests, particularly journalism, fashion and design, media and social justice.
Isabel has written for the NorthWest Current, a local D.C. newspaper, and is the founder and president of an ACLU club in which students discuss social justice issues with a mission of giving young people a chance to make themselves heard as activists. The inspiration for the club came from attending the 2017 ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute. Her interest in finance came from living in a gentrifying Latino neighborhood, a summer economic pre-college course at Brown University and research about the D.C. Latino community for Hola Cultura, a local nonprofit Latino cultural magazine. She has also worked with the New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) Mural Arts Project, helping to gather signatures on a petition for mural ordinance reform -- tying in nicely with the values of the ACLU.
Recently, she became the ambassador to the InLight Magazine chapter at her school, a multicultural magazine with a focus on unique student perspectives. One of her proudest achievements is being awarded the Critical Exposure Youth Leadership Award, a program for which she is a fellow. She most enjoys spending time with dear friends and family, as well as reading and baking.
Sierra Lewter is a sophomore at New York University and a young adult who is passionate about addressing issues that specifically impact minorities and people of color. Through her work with the Urban Health Media Project, she has been able to successfully research, write and publish articles addressing the systematic mistreatment of African American males, the existing inequalities in health facilities primarily used by people of color, and most notably, the code of silence in the African American community as it relates to domestic violence and sexual assault. In fact, she was invited to speak on Capitol Hill regarding this code of silence and how girls and women of color have largely been left out of the popular #MeToo movement. The code of silence prevails within the black community, leading to many issues of unaddressed mental illness and post-traumatic stress.
Sierra hopes to help students pursue their interests and dive into their passion. She has been a huge advocate for addressing issues of bullying and inclusiveness. To this end, she has started her own YouTube page: "The Girl with no Fame" where she plans on addressing issues including global inequities and problems related to young minorities including exclusion and self-esteem. She also blogs about finding one's place in a world that doesn't seem to validate or acknowledge the beauty and magic of young African American girls
Joshua Mitchell is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and minoring in photography, digital studies and environmental studies. He is attending UW-Madison on the Posse Leadership Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship awarded to leaders in their communities and schools. He has been a fellow in the Urban Health Media Project since its inception in 2017 and is now a paid intern. He has been published in USA TODAY, the Daily Cardinal, The Black Voice, and contributed to the Washington Informer and Hill Rag.
He has also traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Australia with the Global Scholars Foundation. At UW-Madison, he has been apart of the executive board for the Black Student Union. He is currently a graphic designer and writer for the university’s digital publication The Black Voice. He also writes for the school newspaper, Daily Cardinal focusing on crime and city news. Joshua has aspirations of becoming a photojournalist for National Geographic, where he hopes to explore the world and tell the stories of those who aren’t able to.
Reginal “Reggie” Payne is an intern and creative director at the Urban Health Media Project. Reggie is not only a journalist but also a student who performs in the visual arts using drawing, painting and photography and in the performing arts as a musician. He is a freshman at the University of the District of Columbia where he is majoring in music. He also fronts “A Band Called Lynx,” a trio of young, black DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) musicians that is not only a band but a “movement.” He is one of the founding members of UHMP and says he “gets his points across with creativity, logic and satirical humor.”