We were thrilled to bring you two days of illuminating and inclusive programming, featuring journalists and media professionals from newsrooms across the globe. The sessions covered everything from practical training on social media safety and fine-tuning your resume, to broader discussions on navigating outness in the workplace.


Here’s what we have in store:


Friday, February 25



Welcome & Introduction

Start your conference experience off on the right foot with this introduction to NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, our second annual Student Conference and the Pathable platform.


12:00 pm – 12:30 pm ET  


One-on-One Resume, Reel and Portfolio Critiques with Katie Barnes, Karen Hawkins and Femi Redwood

Sit down with an recruiter or veteran journalist to evaluate your resume and portfolio materials and learn how to improve them. Slots for this session are limited and pre-reserved. If you have been selected for a slot, we will be in touch with the time and your assigned reviewer. Please contact info@nlgja.org with any questions.


12:30 pm – 1:30 pm ET  


Lightning Round Sessions

Learn a series of essential skills during these twenty minute sessions, full of practical advice and tips!


1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET  


Putting Your Identity on Paper with Mathew Gonzales (California State University, Long Beach, Career Counselor)

Scholarships can help ease the sticker shock of college, but sometimes the application process can be tricky and emotionally taxing. How can we write personal statements that tell our stories without tokenizing ourselves and our identities? This session will walk students through the process of writing a personal statement or essay that will express your full self, highlight your strengths, and compel reviewers, while still respecting your personal boundaries.


1:10 pm – 1:30 pm ET  


Ask the Recruiter – Networking Tips! with Lauren O’Byrne (WarnerMedia, University Relations Manager)

Networking can be intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be! Learn how to make the most of networking opportunities in this speed session.


1:40 pm – 2:00 pm ET  


Scouting Out Scholarships with Kay Colley (Texas Wesleyan University, Professor of Mass Communication)

Get help navigating the scholarship application process from an industry pro! We’ll walk you through finding scholarships, writing personal statements, and more.


2:10 pm – 2:30 pm ET  


Is J School Right for You? with Maximo Patiño (CUNY Craig Newmark School of Journalism, Director of Admissions)

In this session covering J-School, students will learn what to expect when pursuing a higher degree in journalism. We’ll demystify the application process, review alternative career and education paths, and discuss whether attending J-School may be the right choice for you.


2:40 pm – 3:00 pm ET  


Internship & Job Fair

Searching for the next step in your career? Looking for a Summer or Fall internship? Introduce yourself to recruiters from top newsrooms, universities and journalism organizations and learn about their available internships and career opportunities. Exhibitors include USA Today Network, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.


3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET  


Sitting Down with Sam Sanders – a Keynote Conversation

NPR fan favorite Sam Sanders will sit down with one of our student members for a conversation about his experiences in journalism, his journey to the mic and speaking up about representation in newsrooms. Sanders will also answer questions from the audience, and you can submit your question here.


5:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET  


Open Networking Rooms

Build your community and connect with fellow students and early-career journalists in a series of networking breakout rooms.


6:00 pm – 7:00 pm ET  

Saturday, February 26



Afternoon Meetup

Kick off the day in one of our networking rooms!


Noon – 1:00 pm ET  


Social Media Self-Defense with Viktorya Vilk (PEN America, Program Director for Digital Safety and Free Expression) and Leigh Honeywell (Tall Poppy, CEO and Cofounder)

LGBTQ+ journalists, creators and activists are facing unprecedented amounts of harassment online. This session will equip you with practical self-defense tools and strategies to help you fight back and continue exercising your free expression rights.


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET  


Finding Your Way as a Freelancer with Neha Wadekar (Independent Multimedia Journalist), Boyoung Lim (Pulitzer Center, Senior Editor) and Anita Pouchard Serra (Photojournalist and Visual Storyteller)

Building a career as a freelancer can be intimidating. How do I set rates? How should I pitch editors? Where do I find grants? Join three Pulitzer Center grantees as they untangle these questions and more.


2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET  


Navigating Outness & Identity in the Newsroom with Katie Barnes (ESPN, Journalist) and Derrick Clifton (Freelance Writer and Journalist)

We hear recruiters say, “bring your whole self,” to work, but that can be easier said than done. As queer journalists, how can we stay true to ourselves in a newsroom that might be hostile to us? In this session, attendees will hear from established journalists about how they approach their work with authenticity and integrity.


3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET  


Inside an Investigative Story: A Q&A Keynote with Imara Jones

Close out the conference with a Q&A session featuring award-winning journalist and media platform founder Imara Jones. She’ll discuss the process of building her limited podcast series “Inside the Anti-Trans Hate Machine.” Submit your own questions for Imara here!


4:00 pm – 4:30 pm ET  
Open Networking Rooms

Connect with your peers and close out the conference with some new friends!


4:30 pm – 5:30 pm ET  

The schedule is subject to change. All times are Eastern Time.

Our Speakers

Katie Barnes, ESPN, Digital Features Writer | they/them/theirs

Katie Barnes (they/them/their) is a feature writer, covering culture, LGBTQ issues, women’s basketball, collegiate softball and women’s combat sports. Since joining ESPN in August 2015, Katie has written about transgender athletes, racial justice, and Hollywood stunt doubles, among other topics. Their ongoing coverage of transgender athletes in high school has earned them two GLAAD award nominations, and they are hard at work on a book. They were also an executive producer on the 30 for 30 short Mack Wrestles.

Katie holds a B.A. in History, Russian Studies, and American Studies from St. Olaf College, and an M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Miami University (OH). They were the 2017 NLGJA Journalist of the year.


Derrick Clifton, Freelance Writer | they/them/theirs

Derrick Clifton is a freelance writer on identity, culture and social issues. They’ve written for NBC News, VICE, Out, Them, Mic, Windy City Times, Chicago Reader and more. Clifton’s work has won awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, and the Chicago Headline Club (SPJ).

Kay Colley, Texas Wesleyan University, Professor of Mass Communication | she/her/hers

In her free time, Dr. Colley enjoys photography, gardening and beach holidays no matter what the season. She believes in the importance of industry and academic connections and has served on the boards of the Fort Worth Society of Professional Journalists and the Greater Fort Worth Public Relations Society of America. She has also served as Head of the Small Programs Interest Group for AEJMC and president of the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication for two years. She was named the Earl Brown Distinguished Faculty Member at Texas Wesleyan in 2011 and the Small Programs Interest Group national Teacher of the Year in 2011. She has also been named an Engaging Educator at Texas Wesleyan twice.

Prior to joining Texas Wesleyan University in 2008, Colley taught at institutions throughout Texas and advised student media for more than 20 years. She also spent four years in public relations and five years in newspapers, winning national awards for her writing and public relations campaigns.

Matthew Gonzales, California State University, Long Beach, Career Counselor | he/him/his

Mathew Gonzales is a Career Counselor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and is the Liaison to the College of Liberal Arts. Mathew is a double CSULB Alumni who completed a BA in Psychology and MS in Counseling. He is passionate about helping students with a variety of career development topics, including resume writing, interviewing, career planning and much more! Mathew can be described as a caring, enthusiastic, and student-centered professional who wants to see students achieve their career goals.


Karen Hawkins, Chicago Reader, Co-Publisher and Co-Editor in Chief | she/her/hers

Karen Hawkins is co-publisher and co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader, and founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women and the Feminist Media Foundation. She is an award-winning reporter and editor whose journalism background includes positions at The Associated Press, the Windy City Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She is also a longtime mentor and national board member for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. She is a frequent and enthusiastic speaker about newsroom diversity, LGBTQ+ issues, and feminism.

Leigh Honeywell, Tall Poppy, Co-founder and CEO | she/her/hers

Leigh Honeywell (she/her/hers) is the cofounder and CEO of Tall Poppy, where she helps companies protect their employees from online harassment. She was previously a Technology Fellow at the ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, and also worked at Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Symantec. Honeywell has a bachelor’s in computer science and equity studies from the University of Toronto.

Imara Jones, TransLash Media, Co-founder, Creator & Host | she/her/hers

Imara, whose work has won Emmy and Peabody Awards, is the creator of TransLash Media, a cross-platform journalism, personal storytelling and narrative project, which produces content to shift the current culture of hostility towards transgender people in the US. As part of her work at TransLash, Imara hosts the WEBBY-nominated, TransLash Podcast with Imara Jones as well as the investigative, limited series, The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality. In 2020 Imara was featured on the cover of Time Magazine as part of its New American Revolution special edition. In 2019 she chaired the first-ever UN High Level Meeting on Gender Diversity with over 600 participants. Imara’s work as a host, on-air news analyst, and writer focuses on the full-range of social justice and equity issues. Imara was also the first Journalist-in-Residence at WNYC’s The Greene Space where she hosted the monthly program Lives At Stake. Imara has been featured regularly in The Guardian, The Nation, MSNBC, CNBC, NPR, Mic, and Colorlines.

Imara has held economic policy posts in the Clinton White House and communications positions at Viacom. Imara holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Columbia. Imara is a 2021 Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow and a 2019 Soros Equality Fellow. She was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve on the New York City Commission on Gender Equity. She also serves on the boards of the Transgender Law Center, Anti-violence Project, GLSEN, the LGBTQ+ Museum, and the New Pride Agenda. Imara is also part of the Move to End Violence.


Boyoung Lim, Pulitzer Center, Senior Editor | she/her/hers

Boyoung Lim is a senior editor at the Pulitzer Center. Since starting her journalism career in her native South Korea, she has covered human rights violations, illicit financial flows, tax injustice, the medical device industry, and others. An international investigation of pseudo-scientific publications led by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), in which she took part, won several domestic journalism awards. She formerly worked as a reporter at the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ) – Newstapa. She is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).


Lauren O’Byrne, Warner Media, University Relations Manager | she/her/hers

Lauren O’Byrne is a University Relations Manager for WarnerMedia, based in Atlanta, GA. She is responsible for overseeing the recruiting of top talent across WarnerMedia’s news and sports portfolio. Her team’s focus areas include, CNN, HLN, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, NCAA Digital, NBA Digital and many more. Lauren has been at WarnerMedia for 8 years and moved into recruiting after spending 4+ years in the world of learning and development for what was then known as Turner.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Health Science from Kennesaw State University and is proof that you don’t have to stick to the career path that your degree dictates. She loves helping shape student’s futures and showing them a career that they may have never thought of in the past. Lauren believes WarnerMedia is the best place to work (slightly biased) and is passionate about recruiting the next generation of talent to THINK BIG and drive the evolution of the entertainment industry!


Maximo Patiño, Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY, Director of Admissions | he/him/his

Max Patiño joined the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s admissions team in July 2014 and most recently served as Associate Director of Multicultural Recruitment. Previously, he spent 14 years as director of recruitment and diversity at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a member of the Newmark J-School Diversity Committee and adviser to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) – Newmark J-School Chapter. He graduated with a dual B.A. in Advertising Creative and Spanish Literature and Culture from Syracuse University.


Anita Pouchard Serra, Photojournalist and Visual Storyteller | she/her/hers

Anita Pouchard Serra is a French-Argentinian photojournalist and visual storyteller, based in Buenos Aires and working in Latin America. She photographs what she lives, rather than what she sees, in total immersion in the heart of territories or stories that interrogate her. Her work revolves around questions and territories that cross her personally, connected with current societal issues like identity, migration, women’s rights, and territory, with a transdisciplinary approach from drawing to performance.

She is a National Geographic Emergency Fund Recipient and a Pulitzer Center grantee (2020), a We, Women grantee by Photoville and Women Photograph (2019-2020), a Moving Walls fellow by Open Society Foundations (2018-2020), and an International Women’s Media Foundation grantee and fellow (2017, 2018, 2020). She has been nominated twice to the 6×6 Global Talent Program by World Press Photo.

She has worked for The New York Times, TIME, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Amnesty, and published in Days Japan, Wired, Geo magazine, among others. She exhibited her work in Argentina, France, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. She is a visual storytelling teacher and lecturer in Argentina and with Strudelmedia Live and the Pulitzer Center. She also has given community engagement workshops since 2014.


Femi Redwood, CBS News and 1010 WINS Radio, Correspondent | she/her/hers

Femi Redwood is an Emmy-nominated correspondent who splits her time between CBS News and 1010WINS Radio. From her previous work at VICE News covering intersectional issues, to her time as an investigative reporter and anchor in Flint, Michigan, Femi’s mission has always been the same: to help struggling communities through powerful storytelling. She is a board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBTQ Task Force.


Sam Sanders, NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders” Host | he/him/his

Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a “deep dive” interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week’s news.

Previously, as a key member of NPR’s election unit, Sam covered the intersection of culture, pop culture, and politics in the 2016 election, and embedded with the Bernie Sanders campaign for several months. He was also one of the original co-hosts of NPR’s Politics Podcast, which launched in 2015.

Sanders joined NPR in 2009 as a Kroc Fellow, and since then has worn many hats within the organization, including field producer and breaking news reporter. He’s spent time at three Member stations as well: WUNC in North Carolina, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and WBUR in Boston, as an intern for On Point.

Sanders graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 with a master’s degree in public policy, with a focus on media and politics. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, with a double major in political science and music.


Viktorya Vilk, PEN America, Program Director for Digital Safety and Free Expression | she/her/hers

Viktorya Vilk (she/her/hers) is the program director for digital safety and free expression at PEN America, where she leads initiatives on a range of free expression issues, including developing tools and strategies to empower writers, journalists, and media organizations to defend against online abuse. She has over a decade of experience working in nonprofits to expand access to the arts and defend creative and press freedom.



Neha Wadekar, Independent Multimedia Journalist | she/her/hers

Neha is an independent multimedia journalist reporting across the globe. She reports at the intersections of climate, gender, conflict, health, human rights, emerging democracies, and politics. Neha’s written and video work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Economist, PBS NewsHour, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Mother Jones, CNN, TIME, and others.

She has received fellowships from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the United Nations Foundation, the Fuller Project, the Overseas Press Club, the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the Groundtruth Project.