Current Interns

Hermes Falcon

Hermes Falcon (he/they) is a rising sophomore at Bradley University with a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing. In high school, Hermes wrote for his school newspaper, The Harbinger, at Miami Lakes Educational Center and was a copy editor 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.

Hermes joined YMG as a student reporter in the fall of 2020 during our first virtual workshop on surviving trauma. An intern with YMG since November of 2020, Hermes has been a “jack-of-all-trades,” helping in every area of the organization, from writing stories to assisting in all manner of administrative areas. YMG’s most prolific TikTok creator, Hermes has helped the organization's Sozosei-funded TikTok account grow with his creative and thoughtful videos. Hermes also builds and coordinates our YMG newsletter!

Hermes' work:
Moving documentary spotlights the pivotal battle to declassify homosexuality as illness (published in The DC Line) 
LGBTQ myths debunked with science and facts (published in the Washington Blade)
Teaching students to tell the health and social justice stories of the unrepresented

Michelle Mairena

Michelle Mairena (any pronouns) is a rising sophomore at Stanford University, where she is a prospective History and Earth Systems double-major interested in community advocacy and combating climate disinformation.

During the past two election cycles, she has worked in promoting civic literacy among youth as a National Fellow for the non-partisan “When We All Vote.” Most recently, Michelle served as regional organizer with “Rhizome,” a non-profit she co-founded focused on mobilizing high school youth into civic action. This follows work to organize for voting legislation under the non-partisan organization Un-PAC, where she handled Un-PAC Florida’s early social media presence to rally students for the Freedom to Vote Act.

Uplifting young voices is what has drawn Michelle, the granddaughter and daughter of Nicaraguan journalists, to use reporting to center community voices. She has participated in journalism workshops by the Poynter Institute, NAHJ, and YMG. During her time at YMG’s fall 2020 workshop, she wrote a feature story on the third year anniversary of Florida’s Parkland shooting and how Parkland students mobilized under March For Our Lives. In 2018 and 2019, she also received C-SPAN honorable mentions for documentary entries — one about freedom of speech and the other about immigration. For her work in centering youth, Michelle was awarded the Junior League of Miami Uppaluri four-year scholarship.

At Stanford, Michelle is a student worker at the Latinx community center “El Centro,” where she promotes Central American visibility on campus. She is also a tutor in Stanford’s Hope House Scholars Program, where she co-teaches humanities courses at a women’s rehabilitation center in Redwood City, California.

Michelle rejoined YMG in summer 2022 as a content and programs intern.

Michelle's work:
Surviving trauma: Even years later, trauma from Parkland shooting translates to action

Aliya Kaufman-Daniel

Aliya Kaufman-Daniel (she/her) is a rising junior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with concentrations in finance and international business and a minor in Asian studies.

At Youthcast Media Group, Aliya works with the operations team to analyze and organize student and alumni data. In the future, she hopes to work at an investment firm and work with global investment portfolios.

Radiah Jamil

Radiah Jamil (she/her) is a freshman at St. John’s University with a major in journalism. Her journalism journey started in 2020 when she joined her high school newspaper, The Brooklyn Latineer, where she became the Managing Editor the following year. She extended The Latineer to produce multimedia journalism by founding a monthly broadcast production, as well as an ongoing social media series on Instagram. Radiah joined YMG in early 2021 and has participated in several YMG workshops and projects including America’s Promise Alliance partnership, the Sozosei summit for decriminalizing mental illness, and more.
Outside of YMG, Radiah has also received journalism training at the NBC Young Leaders In Journalism Program and the NYU Urban Journalism program. She likes to run, play sports, and read about a variety of interests she explores in her free time from health and wellness to business. She launched and ran her own startup, Mentalligence, after winning grants from two entrepreneurship competitions. Radiah hopes to continue juggling her time and pursuing a career in business, entrepreneurship, and media production.

Former Interns

Aileen Delgado

Aileen Delgado (she/her) is a freshman at the University of Central Florida and pursuing a B.A. in Human Communication with a focus on Interpersonal Communication. Throughout high school, she was a staff writer and copy editor for The Harbinger newspaper, a managing editor for the Alpha Omega yearbook, president and founder of her school's National English Honor Society, and a social media intern for PBS NewsHour's Extra. She is passionate about literature and creative writing. In April 2021, she won the "Arts for Life!" Award from the Florida-based Foundation for Excellence in Education in the creative writing category for one of her personal essays. As a young first-generation Cuban-American, Aileen is an advocate for accessible mental health and education resources for low-income immigrant communities. She plans to become a feature or editorial writer for an online publication, and to launch a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting homeless LGBTQ+ youth through support and local resources. At YMG, Aileen was an integral part of the content and programs and social media teams, writing pieces for our newsletters, and offering invaluable virtual support during our coverage of the Sozosei annual summit. Aileen's work: Together, Philly mom and son cope with mental health issues (published in The Philadelphia Tribune) The pandemic deepened Miami's housing affordability crisis for immigrant families (published in the Miami New Times) College Corner: OG YMG student aims to be major player in broadcast news — ‘It was what I have been put on Earth to do’

Jimae Hayes

Katelyn "Jimae" Hayes is a 2022 graduate of Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She majored in Communications and Media Studies with a minor in Studio Art. Jimae, a native of the D.C. area, has been a photographer since 2015, experimenting with a variety of media, such as video editing, graphic design and computer-generated imagery. Her art has appeared in the June 2021 fashion issue of Over Magazine Project: Full Bloom Vol. 32. Through her work, Jimae aims to tell stories about fashion, art, racial inequality and other global topics. Before coming to Youthcast Media Group, she gained marketing skills by managing social media accounts for different organizations, including the Baltimore Parks and People non-profit and the Goucher Women of Color Circle. Jimae helped with developing social engagement strategies, taking photos, covering a wide range of topics around mental health awareness, the LGBTQ+ community and more. She spends her free time with friends and family, who inspire a lot of her new work or are frequently the subject of it. Jimae's work: Children of the Ghetto TikTok on the death of Miles Hall TikTok on youth in the juvenile justice system

Yesenia Barrios

Yesenia Barrios (Yessi) is a graduate of City University of New York’s Baruch College where she double majored in Journalism and Digital Communications. While at Baruch, Yessi was a contributing writer for The Ticker, the student-run newspaper and a contributor to Dollars & Sense, a monthly student-run magazine where she brainstormed ideas with other members and assisted with story production. Her goal is to become an investigative reporter or feature writer, focusing on issues affecting Latino/immigrant communities and an advocate for mental health amongst Hispanic youth. Yessi immigrated from Mexico when she was nine years old and is a DACA recipient. She lives in New York City, and loves it, but would also like to travel to different parts of the world. Her hobbies include cycling, reading, baking, and trying new coffee shops.

Pam Rentz

Pamela Rentz is a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where she majors in Broadcast Journalism and African American Studies. She’s editor of the school newspaper, “The Famuan,” and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2021, she has had several articles published in her school's newspaper, on specifically focusing on gun violence and mass shootings in America. Rentz has joined a musical fraternity named Sigma Alpha Iota. She is a university ambassador for her school and regularly travels with student government and other university officials in recruitment efforts and hosts regular FAMU student engagement events. 
As an intern for YMG in summer 2021, she reported on problems affecting communities that are often neglected by the government and the news media. She is passionate about mental health issues and has a special interest in how those issues affect the Black and LGBTQ+ communities. 
Working with experienced journalists, including YMG’s founder and CEO Jayne O’Donnell, “I got to see my writing in print for the first time,’’ she says.
Rentz helped write an article in the Washington Blade focused on debunking myths about the LGBTQ community using science and facts, and contributed to a series of articles about youth advocacy efforts around mental health across the country, part of which was published in USA TODAY. In the process, she learned how to present data with charts and graphs.
Rentz also acted as a moderator for YMG’s “Therapy Thursday,” a monthly Instagram Live discussion about mental health issues which she says taught her a lot about interviewing live and on-screen. 
All in all, she calls her summer internship “an amazing time.’’
Pamela shares her experience with UHMP:

Davon Harris

Davon Harris attends Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. He is 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 was a part of YMG for about three years and was a summer intern in 2019.

Davon shares his experience with YMG: 

Jada Johnson

Jada Johnson, 18, is a 2020 graduate of Achievement Academy in Baltimore, Md. and a student 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 was a YMG intern and contributed to the site’s Corona(virus) Chronicles. In the fall of 2020, she took general studies and transferred to a four-year university to major in Law and Psychology and minor in Journalism.

Maia Spoto

Maia Spoto is a student 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. Spring of her freshman year, 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. When Maia interned for YMG, she mentored other students and helped them share their stories. In her free time, Maia enjoys dancing, art and film.

Amora Campbell

Amora Campbell is a student 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 Youthcast Media Group. 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.

Adrian Gibbons

Adrian Gibbons (he/him) is a transgender mental health advocate and now Assistant Editor at Content & Programs 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: 

Heaven Pete

Heaven Pete is a 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 helped Heaven merge her two passions of solving health disparities within different communities and journalism. When interning for UHMP, Heaven 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

Nora Collins is a student 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 two years and started her own Health & Science column with the goal of getting her peers more engaged in their personal well-being. She was the editor of the Sports & Health page and hoped 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 interned with the FDA’s Oncology Center and continued 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 was a member of her school’s “Best Buddies” club. Nora worked to extend this sense of inclusion while interning for UHMP, where she seeked to help students develop confidence in not only their own writing but also in their voices and ability to enact tangible change.

Isabel Fajardo

Isabel Fajardo, 17, is a student 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, is the founder and was the 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.

Isabel 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

Sierra Lewter is a student 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 addresses 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

Joshua Mitchell is a student 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 was a fellow in the Urban Health Media Project since its inception in 2017 and was 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.

Joshua 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 has worked in graphic design and writing for his university's digital publication The Black Voice. He has also written 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.


Reggie Payne

Reginal “Reggie” Payne was 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 student 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 was one of the founding members of UHMP and says he “gets his points across with creativity, logic and satirical humor.”