Since the fall of 2014, City Limits has operated a paid training program for students who learn and apply the skills of investigative journalism as they report on issues affecting their own neighborhoods.
This year, with support from The Google News Initiative and The Pinkerton Foundation, the City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth (CLARIFY) launched its first email newsletter, where the work of our youth interns gets delivered straight to your inbox. You can keep subcribe to that newsletter, The CLARIFY Report, here.
Read on below to learn more about our current fall cohort, made up of 20 high school students from across five boroughs who are already learning the ins-and-outs of investigative reporting, data research, interview skills, media ethics, and more.
The Fall 2021 CLARIFY Team:
Grace Adesanya is a 17-year-old high school senior who likes to read sci-fi, mystery, and adventure books, as well as writing short stories and poetry. She enjoys napping with her black-and-white tuxedo cat, Oreo, an introverted and sarcastic cat like his owner. Adesanya enjoys watching animated shows, like Archer, or reading one of the Skullduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy while it’s raining. She admits to being a tad bit stubborn, but that’s because she always wants to question something for good reason. She does follow the rules. Adesanya tends to overthink, but it’s because she has a lot of ideas and questions going on in her brain.
Khushba Ahmed is a freshman at Hunter College. She is a first generation student, living in the Bronx. She comes from a small family with the desire of becoming a physician assistant. She enjoys learning about women, particularly gynecology. Aside from academic focus, she keeps herself entertained by coloring, playing badminton, and doing free writing. She hopes to learn about her community as well as improve her skills and be able to help out.
Filomena Baker is a senior at the High School of American Studies. She has cultivated a passion for protecting democratic tradition through many means possible, and believes journalism and freedom of speech is one of the most important aspects of our democracy. She loves to read, write, crochet clothing, and rollerblade. Wanting to explore other means using her love for writing she hopes to develop skills in reporting, and learn to think more critically about the news she consumes. She is a member of Girls Write Now, through which she learned about the CLARIFY program.
Amanda Chen is a senior attending School of the Future. During the year of 2020, her interest in journalism developed when she saw the power of reporters that she was in touch with who had used writing to create informative articles that had helped shine spotlights on the surge of anti-Asian hate issues. Through confronting the issues, she recognized that she works better behind the scenes, in roles such as writing and researching. She also loves reading nonfiction, specifically historical books to widen her perspectives; and she intends on majoring in media communication in college in the hope that it will provide her with the skills to push for greater goods not just in her community, but also the world as a whole.
Ankita Das is a 12th grader attending Baccalaureate School For Global Education. Her passion for journalism began from the Teens Transmitter Internship at Paley Center for Media, and her passion for activism is what motivated her to join City Limits. While not researching or writing, Das enjoys dancing, Indian classical, or painting.
Fatoumata Doumbouya is in 11th grade at Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School in the Bronx.
Rosalie Flores is a 16-year old rising junior attending the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem. She obtained interest in journalism through her AP lang course, teaching her the in-depth meaning behind various topics. This sparked her motive to speak on sensitive topics like racial and gender equality. She is passionate about improving her journalism skills, which would allow her to voice her passion for topics that need more attention. She loves listening to music, reading, and spending time with friends. She hopes to explore journalism and connect it with her favorite hobbies, as well as things that connect with her community.
Michelle Grullon is a high school senior. She recently discovered a fondness for writing and strives to share her work on new platforms. Being a part of minority groups, through both her race and sexuality, Grullon believes she has many interesting stories to share, of herself and others, with the world.
Jeshua Guerrero is a rising junior attending Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx. Guerrero is diligently working to achieve his goal of becoming a journalist after observing the injustice in his community and after following the guidance of his teacher. He looks forward to expressing his thoughts through journalism while avidly enjoying games, reading, and hanging out with friends. His involvement in his school’s journalism program further fuels these ambitions and he hopes to use all these opportunities to improve his future.
Natalia Lashley is currently a 16-year-old junior at The Chapin School. She is the president of her school’s book club, a varsity fencer, and a contributor to her school’s literary magazine. Journalism allows her to empower and represent underserved or neglected communities. Beyond journalism, her passions include photography, painting, and poetry. She is an avid reader, and her favorite author is Edith Wharton. She has a Goldendoodle named Big Fluffy and two siblings. In her spare time, she loves reading in Central Park, thrifting, and listening to music.
Cynthia Leung is a freshman at Brooklyn College. When she’s not pursuing her studies in journalism and classics, she’s working on her artistic craft as an actor and submitting self-tapes for her agent. Inspired by work done by other BIPOC organizers, she hopes to apply acquired journalism skills as a way to amplify meaningful grassroots work. Her love for organizing and the dramatic arts was what led to her interest in journalism. Both fields aim to captivate others and tell the truth through the art of storytelling. In her downtime, she enjoys daydreaming and journaling new ideas.
Lina Lin is a 16-year-old attending Manhattan Hunter Science with an interest in business and social issues. At her school, she is the president of Key Club, and outside of school, she is the founder of a nonprofit organization, content head at RoundPier, intern at the New York Public Library, and more. In her free time, she likes doing nonprofit work, volunteering, reading high-quality journalism, and hanging out with friends.
Josette Lombardi is currently a senior at The College of Staten Island High School for International Studies. From a young age she has always found an extreme passion for writing and expression through the arts. Paying attention to current events and making sure justice is given to innocent victims is what makes Josie an excellent journalist-in-training. Community outreach is something she finds very important is what motivated her most to join the CLARIFY program. With Josette’s love for her local community, she hopes to pursue a career in early childhood education. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, spending time with friends and family, going out in nature, and cooking.
Luke Macwan is a junior at College of Staten Island High School for International Studies. From Staten Island, Luke plans to pursue a career in writing and hopes that increasing his skills through learning new skills will be valuable. When he’s not studying, Luke enjoys playing video games, editing videos, eating at cool restaurants, and overall trying to enjoy life. Luke especially enjoys writing scripts, and hopes to write his own show one day.
Hazel Melendez is a Japanese-Puerto Rican 16-year-old junior currently enrolled in Fort Hamilton High School. She is part of several clubs, such as marine biology, American Sign Language, and film/culture club. She enjoys reading and creative writing, often stitching pieces of a story together, usually inspired by a song lyric or an encounter in her building with the senior residents. She enjoys riding the subway or Metro North, as well as long car rides. She is a May Gemini, with a moon in Aries, and rising in Cancer. She is also very interested in spirituality and all aspects that branch off of it.
Samama Moontaha is a current undergraduate freshman at Stony Brook University. Although she is majoring in Economics, she has always been interested in media and journalism. As editor-in-chief of the Bronx Science newspaper, director of the school’s TV broadcast, and lead intern at the Paley Center for Media, she has had the opportunity to embark on real issues and share what she has learned with those around her. Work in media has the profound ability of allowing you to strengthen your communication skills and naturally step out of your comfort zone, which is something Samama hopes to never lose hold of.
Marie Pontius is a 16-year old rising senior of High School for Public Service, located in the Prospect Lefferts area of Brooklyn. True to its name, Pontius spends most of her time volunteering in her local community — in special education classrooms, at urban farming organizations, in immigration advocacy projects, and working alongside local officials and young leaders like her to improve her community. When she is not exploring for the next best way to serve her local community, she is running track, indulging herself in psychological writings and rom-com novels and keeping herself occupied with career-based internships and mock court trials, as her longing goal is to become an environmental and civil lawyer.
John Powers is a 12th-grade student at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS), where he is a drama major. A fierce believer in the power of the performing arts, Powers performed with the National Children’s Chorus at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in venues throughout Italy, and has acted in productions inside and outside of school. Powers also had his self-written scene featured in the Gi60 #nextgen showcase in 2019. At PPAS, he is an active member of the school community. He is on the senior council and is chair of the fundraising committee. Powers is also a writer for the PPAS Voice school newspaper and is the social media coordinator for the PPAS Voice as well.
Sierra J. Williams is an 11th-grade IB student at Curtis High School in Staten Island. She developed an interest in journalism after taking an audio/visual and mass media and communications class, which showed her that journalism could be an extension of her curiosity, passion for the humanities, and love for writing and photography. Being raised in a multicultural environment, she was able to develop an empathetic, open-minded, and globally conscious lens on life. She believes journalism is a well of knowledge and beacon of truth, that focuses on informing the masses with integrity and humility. Driven by a love and thirst for creativity and knowledge, she spends most of her time studying anything that intrigues her, dabbling in the arts, writing poetry, diving into philosophy, and learning Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Erica Yang was born in China and has lived in Queens for about 11 years. She is currently a Junior at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College and is specifically interested in pursuing a career in computer science. She came to America at an early age, so she was able to have an easier time learning this language as well as fitting in.