The Washington Journalism and Media Conference

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Advance Team Staff

Nathaniel Aponte

NATHANIEL APONTE

Advance Team Member

Nathaniel Aponte is a rising sophomore at Christopher Newport University.  He plans to study Marketing and Graphic Design. Nathaniel enjoys spending time with friends, taking photos, and visiting D.C.’s restaurants and museums. He’s excited to work on the Advance Team and to meet all of the team members.

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Maija Robinson

MAIJA ROBINSON

Junior Faculty Advisor

Maija Robinson is a rising Junior at George Mason University and is majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.  Aside from classes, she is an intern for Mason’s Washington ScholarS Program. Maija also enjoys attending school events and spending time with others. She aims to enter the field of Public Relations upon graduating. Maija attended WJMC in the summer of 2019 and she is more than happy to be able to experience it again this summer!

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Jalen Thompson

JALEN THOMPSON

Junior Faculty Advisor

Jalen Thompson is a Music Composition Major at Colorado State University. He attended WJMC in 2019 and is ecstatic to come back.  He has worked as a communications intern at CSU, researching and writing articles for SOURCE, the universities online newspaper. Furthermore, he is active in social justice issues and hearing other’s perspectives on them. He also enjoys watching basketball and finding new music!

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Madalyn Godfrey

MADALYN GODFREY

Junior Faculty Advisor

Mady Godfrey is a rising sophomore at George Mason University within the Mason Honors College.  Coming from a small town in North Carolina, Godfrey is attending Mason to pursue a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in legal studies. Attending WJMC in the summer of 2019 as a rising Junior in high school, Godfrey remembers the positive impact the conference had left on her and looks forward to helping leave that same impact on the correspondents in their fun-filled week. Godfrey wishes for each correspondent to be able to leave the conference at the end of their week feeling inspired in their path of becoming future leaders of the world.

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Faculty Advisor Staff

Stephanie Strange

STEPHANIE STRANGE

Stephanie is the publications adviser at Steele High School in the northeast San Antonio, Texas area.  She advises the online newspaper, the weekly broadcast and the 328-page yearbook. She also teaches Journalism and Photojournalism. This is her fourth year teaching and she has fallen in love with her second career. Prior to beginning her teaching career, she was a missionary in China. She believes it’s a beautiful world out there and tries to bring that worldview into her teaching. She is passionate about showing others the importance of true journalism and believes that everyone has a story to tell that must be told with integrity, honesty and kindness. Outside of the classroom, Stephanie has been married for 22 years to her high school sweetheart who is a local pastor, and they have three daughters, one son-in-law and a rescue dog named Archie. She believes in transparency and isn’t afraid to admit when she doesn’t know something, to accept when she is wrong and to rejoice in the small victories of life.

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Advance Team Staff

Lukas Baines

LUKAS BAINES

Advance Team Member

Lukas Baines will be joining the advance team for 2022 and is looking forward to meeting and working with everyone.  He is a sophomore at GMU and is double majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering. He interned at Lockheed Martin and participated in Washington Workshops Congressional Seminar. He spends his free time reading or playing with his dog and currently works at REI’s bike shop but looks for every chance to get outdoors.

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Advance Team Staff

Soph Zelizer

SOPH ZELIZER

Advance Team Member

Soph Zelizer is an Advance Team member for 2022, and is very excited to be joining the team.  Soph is a George Mason alumna with a BA in Sociology and Global Affairs, and is currently a graduate student in the social work program at the University of Washington. They have spent the past few years conducting research on LGBT+ wellbeing in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as working on an oral history project with local intersectional activists. In their free time, they enjoy reading, baking with friends, and hiking.

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Hope Beelman

HOPE BEELMAN

Junior Faculty Advisor

Hope Beelman will be transferring to a four-year university in the fall to study journalism after earning her Associate of Arts at Illinois Valley Community College in early May 2022.  She attended WJMC in 2019 with like-minded individuals and shared her experience at the conference with future correspondents as a Youth Advisory Board member. On campus, Hope has created content for the admissions office social media team and her college’s award-winning student newspaper, IV Leader, as a staff writer and editor-in-chief. Additionally, she works on campus as a student worker in the financial aid office and recently began working as a Marketing Intern at Camp Aramoni. Hope is thrilled to return to WJMC as a JFA this summer.

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Advance Team Staff

Averi Fischer

AVERI FISCHER

Advance Team Member

Averi is an Admission Counselor in the Office of Admissions at George Mason University. She received her Bachelor’s in Communication at Texas A&M University, and is now pursing her Masters in Religious Studies at GMU. She is so excited for the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things at WJMC this summer. Averi loves sweet tea, fiction books, church, and playing board games.

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Aly Blair

ALY BLAIR

Junior Faculty Advisor

Aly Blair attended WJMC in 2017 which set her on the path to finding her voice as a practitioner of communication and telling stories of those she meets.  After graduating high school in 2019, she enrolled at Le Moyne College where she is in her third year working towards a B.A. in Communications and a double minor in Legal Studies and Psychology. Aly serves many roles on her campus, including campus tour guide, LCTV Work-Study, and a Staff Writer for The Dolphin, the campus newspaper. She has completed numerous internships across all mediums of the field and is a former college swimmer. Aly is excited to pay it forward bY serving as a JFA for WJMC 2022.