The City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth (CLARIFY), in partnership with NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), is working with two dozen talented high school and early college students from across the five boroughs.

Since 2014, City Limits has operated a paid training program for New York City youth who learn and apply the skills of investigative journalism as they report on issues affecting their own neighborhoods.

The City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth (CLARIFY), in partnership with NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), is currently working with two dozen talented high school and college students from across the five boroughs. The program, led by instructor and editor Abigail Savitch Lew, runs for six weeks at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Interns will be trained in the essential tenets of reporting and news writing, including research, interviewing, investigative techniques, media ethics, story structure, photojournalism and more.

Read on below to learn more about our current cohort. To keep up with their work, subscribe to The CLARIFY Report newsletter.

Our Summer 2023 Youth Reporters

Alana Allen is a “16 going on 17” year old attending St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx. From a young age, Alana was exposed to the art of dancing and learned various styles of dance. Dance gave her a sense of calm and became her passion. Unfortunately, this beloved activity came to an end in 2020 due to the pandemic, leaving Alana without her place of peace. Still, Alana found a way towards serenity by writing and reading stories. Using a pen to write, she now makes her fingers dance.

 Sangeeta Chakraborty is a 16-year-old rising senior at Townsend Harris High School. She has had a passion for the arts and humanities since elementary school, where she was inspired by her family and teachers and discovered a love for creative writing. After the pandemic, she developed an interest in journalism when she realized she wanted to use writing to shine a light on important issues that were not being properly addressed in the media. In her spare time, Sangeeta can be found painting and drawing, or volunteering at her local Queens Library. 

Fatoumata Conde, preferably Fatou, is 17 years old. While she is still deciding on a specific career, she is interested in using psychology and art to elevate her community emotionally.  “Sometimes the greatest enemy of our lives is our mind,” she says. She is especially concerned with the ways immigrant families and certain religion /ethnic groups reinforce the message that it is weak to cry. She wants to tell her people that it’s okay to cry, to feel, and that they cannot be strong forever. They need to be gentle to themselves, especially in a society that treats certain groups as inferior. Her passion for this message grows out of her own personal experiences. She also wants to use graphic art to help people open different doors of expression and get in tune with their emotions.  

Kayla Hall is an incoming college freshman interning at City Limits. She was born and raised in The Bronx. She is interested in creative writing, animals, and exploring different cultures so that she can incorporate them into her writing. She also enjoys fantasy novels and dystopian storylines. She became interested in journalism after she took a class that reviewed articles that showed current advancements in science. This class led her to her newfound fascination with science journalism. She plans on majoring in biology to carry on this interest.

Soleil Hendy is an 18-year-old future undergraduate attending Lehman College with a deep passion for writing. Above all else, Soleil enjoys getting to learn about lives that are different from her own and then being able to faithfully recreate and put that life onto a page. She’s lived in the Bronx her whole life, with her mother and sister and most recently, her two dogs. She has a love for all things Sanrio, adores anime, and has a penchant for playing video games.

Zion Irvine is a 17-year-old rising freshman at the City College of New York who is planning to major in creative writing. He has always had an interest in literature and is looking forward to exploring journalism this summer. In addition to writing, he enjoys film, television and music.

Hamna Kanwal is a poet, writer, and summer intern for City Limits. She volunteers at a community center where she participated in many fundraisers, food banks, donation collection events, and blood drives, all of which sparked her interest in worldwide issues and built her passion for raising awareness. She now wants to be a journalist and report on international affairs while also finding ways to help those in need. Along with her passion for international issues comes her passion for writing. If she isn’t writing she is probably reading, watching fantasy shows/movies, or just crocheting. 

Teron Lewis is a 23-year-old aspiring journalist currently working with City Limits’ CLARIFY. Teron comes from the retail and sales sector. Some of his hobbies are graphic design, 3D & 2D, and animation. He is hoping to improve his journalistic style and research skills.

Ilana Livshits is a freshman at Cornell University planning on majoring in computational biology and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. Drawing from her interest in women’s rights, she plans on exploring how gender influences societal interactions, misconceptions, and politics. She knows she’ll be able to combine deep involvement in women’s and LGBTQ+ rights advocacy groups (hopefully in DC!) with stem cell research and advancement. At City Limits, she’ll be able to highlight some of the world’s injustices while enjoying her favorite things: meeting new people, reading, and the “snap!” of her film camera.

Maleea Mcphatter is a 17-year-old undergraduate at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. As an English major, she enjoys reading, writing, and traveling in her free time. Whether she’s exploring the world around her or getting lost in a great book, Maleea knows that life holds many tales to learn from.

Shanyll Nunez is one of many interns at City Limits for the CLARIFY program hoping to learn more about different possibilities for her career. She is a rising junior at Millennium High School with interests in photography, volleyball and volunteering. Shanyll also enjoys hearing about other people’s experiences in order to learn from them and strive for self improvement.

 Jillian Peprah-Frimpong is a political science major and computer science minor at Wellesley College who is interested in journalism and public policy. She is interested in politics and the social impact of new technologies and also curious about data-driven storytelling. She has written for the features section of her college newspaper, blogged for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and in 2018, she founded an online literary magazine. As a CLARIFY intern, Jillian will be reporting on climate, health and heat inequity in New York City.

Robert Vanterpool is a Bronx native and a rising senior at the University at Buffalo who is studying English and Media Studies. Robert discovered his interest in journalism after joining his middle school’s newspaper club, where he co-ran a music column. Robert hopes to incorporate his love for film and music in his writing and bring awareness to innovative artists. As a CLARIFY intern, Robert wants to enhance his skills by writing investigative pieces about heat inequity, food deserts, and the lack of adequate housing.