Contact: Clare Lefebure



WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2023) – Today, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists announced the 2023 CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project cohort.

The ten students selected for the annual CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project will cover the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists National Convention in Philadelphia from Sept. 7-10. The student participants are Annie Bennett, Zach Bradshaw, Grant Johnson, Gisselle Medina, Irene Adeline Milanez, Zackery Stehr, and Aaron Xuandi Wang.

CONNECT is a multimedia journalism training program for college students and recent grads. It aims to serve students as an innovative leadership program for emerging journalists as well. The cohort of 10 students will attend the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists National Convention, produce portfolio-quality journalism, network with media professionals, and receive feedback on their resumes and career plans. They will work with mentors to report, edit, photograph, design, and produce the news of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists National Convention and the host city while helping to ensure fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ+ issues at the event. Upon conclusion of the program, students’ reporting will be published on the CONNECT website and presented during a session at the convention.

About the Cohort:

Annie Bennett (she/they) is a student at Emerson College pursuing a degree in journalism with minors in Peace and Social Justice and Comedy: Writing and Performance. Bennett has interned for The Boston Globe and the It Gets Better Project. After graduation, Bennett will complete a year of service with AmeriCorps.

Zach Bradshaw (he/him) is a student at Arizona State University pursuing a degree in journalism. He is the News Director for Blaze Radio ASU. He also works at The Arizona Republic.

Ileana Garnand (they/them) is a multimedia journalist with a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs and a concentration in investigative journalism from American University. Garnand is currently a fellow at the Center for Public Integrity.

Grant Johnson (he/him) is a student at Ithaca College pursuing a degree in Television & Digital Media Production at the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Now at Ithaca, Johnson serves as host of “ICTV Reports,” a magazine news show covering Tompkins County, New York.

Gisselle Medina (they/them) is pursuing a Master’s degree at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Their work has been published in The Daily Californian, Greater Good Science Center, The Oaklandside, The Frisc, and more.

Irene Adeline Milanez (they/them) is a student at SJSU pursuing a journalism major and political science minor. Currently, they are the executive editor of The Spear, San Jose State’s entirely student-run sports publication; the news editor for The Spartan Daily, SJSU’s student-run newspaper; and content editor for Access Magazine, SJSU’s lifestyle publication. Additionally, they work as a photographer for the university’s marketing and communications department.

Zackery Stehr (he/him/they) is the Editor-in-Chief for Xpress Magazine. He is a journalism major and is minoring in labor studies. Stehr previously worked as a Campus Editor at Golden Gate Xpress at San Francisco State University and as a staff writer for Sac City Express, the student news outlet for Sacramento City College.

Aaron Xuandi Wang (he/him) is a student at Northwestern University studying history and political science. He is also a writer and researcher.

Applications for the 2024 cohort will open in spring 2024. More information about the CONNECT Student Journalism Training Project can be found on our website.