With summer upon us, it’s a moment of transitions for our volunteer program, one of the cornerstones of our mission. We’re so excited to introduce to you the five outstanding women who will serve as our 2014-2015 volunteers.
First, meet Jenn Ruckel, our station’s newest newsie. Our volunteer reporter, Jenn arrived at KNOM in mid-June. She has quickly immersed herself within our community and has hit the ground running in her job, gathering and reporting the stories of our region. Originally from Hicksville, New York, Jenn majored in English at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she graduated earlier this year. Jenn says she’s “humbly and hopefully looking forward to all I have to learn from the people I meet and this place that has welcomed me.”
Caitlin Whyte arrived at KNOM in late July. A native of Rochester, New York, Caitlin graduated in 2011 from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh; with a bachelor’s degree in audio and radio production and broadcast management — and recent work in both television and radio in New York City — her background is a perfect fit for work at KNOM, where she’ll serve as a producer. She’ll create radio “spots” (or PSAs) with a special focus on education and our Western Alaskan region.
Kristin Leffler (pictured at top) hails from New Hampshire and, like Jenn and Caitlin, has ties to New York state: she studied journalism at Ithaca College, where her media work gravitated towards issues of social justice, education, and disability rights. Kristin graduated in 2014. To KNOM, Kristin brings a “passion for using media to make a difference” — with a record of achievement to match. Earlier this year, she won a College Television Emmy for a documentary she created in school (entitled Following Flame). In our region, she hopes to apply her passion to find “powerful stories that show the strength and resilience of the human spirit.”
Courtney Cousins, who grew up in Colorado and Ohio, graduated earlier this year from Baltimore, Maryland’s Loyola University. Her majors were English and writing, but it’s clear that Courtney didn’t pursue these interests within the classroom alone; she worked all four years for Loyola’s student newspaper, The Greyhound, eventually becoming the paper’s managing editor. With a diligent, research-minded sensibility and a love for communications, Courtney will work at KNOM as a volunteer producer, creating new community-focused and inspirational radio spots — a unique part of KNOM’s programming that goes back to our earliest days.
Finally, we’ve just welcomed Arizona native Francesca Fenzi as part of our news team. She’s a 2012 graduate of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s in creative writing and fine arts. Francesca comes to our mission with experience both within new cultures — such as a study-abroad term in Chile — and, especially, within radio journalism. Most recently, she’s been working in the Los Angeles area as a production assistant for the popular NPR program All Things Considered. At KNOM, Francesca now works alongside Jenn and news director Matthew Smith to craft our daily newscasts.
Thank you for making our volunteer program possible. To follow the 2014-15 class throughout their service year, explore their blog posts.