Angelika Albertorio — Fifteen-year-old Angelika Albertorio of Laurel, Maryland first became interested in Discover the World of Communications between 2012 and 2013 when she submitted two films for the Howard County Environmental Film Festival, held at American University. One of the courses she chose to sign up for was Backpack Journalism. Angelika decided to take this class because it was something new: a new challenge. Through this class she hopes to learn interviewing skills that can be used in the future.
Madison Buffardi — Madison “Maddy” Buffardi is a 17 year-old aspiring journalist, based in Philadelphia. She is a senior at Neshaminy High School and the Managing and Opinion Editor for The Playwickian, her high school’s newspaper. She is also a member of the Future Problem Solving Club and a volunteer at Top-Sports, an organization that teaches sports to children with Autism. She is a participant in the NSLC program and American University is her top-choice for university.
Juana Capelluto — Growing up in Argentina’s capitol, Buenos Aires until the age of 11, Juana Capelluto’s family came to America – more specifically Florida – in search of a more promising future. After the move, Juana had to learn to speak English and now at the age of 17, she is fluent in both Spanish and English. She is multimedia editor for her school online newspaper as well as the executive editor of their literary magazine, Electric Ink. Juana is also the social director of a club called PRIDE (promoting relationships in diversity through education) and runs track and field. She aspires to attend American University in 2015 and after graduating, she hopes to work for National Geographic as a backpack journalist. If not National Geographic, Capelluto hopes to open her own flower shop.
Carmen Collins, born a fraternal triplet in Connecticut, is an all-around person. She has traveled the world from Europe all the way to Cuba. She decided to attend NSLC because “it seemed like a really good opportunity.” Carmen is a fan of volleyball and tennis as well as a very talented artist. She has won awards such as the Scholastic Award for Art and has had her work published in the Greenwich Literary Magazine.
Delaney Collins — Collins, born in Concord, New Hampshire, has traveled around the world and hopes to keep doing so for as long as she can while still residing in the town she was born in. She has been to numerous locations such as Iceland, Ireland, and England and is currently planning a trip to China next year. Collins, currently in her junior year, is an active feminist and poet while practicing aerial yoga on the side. Collins, who has two moms, is not ashamed of her parents being lesbians and actually participated in her first protest for women’s rights at the age of three. She considers herself to be agnostic because she still wants to experience other religions before choosing. She is big on experience before any judgment/decision and hopes to enjoy life through that philosophy.
Aislinn Cushing, a 16 year old rising senior from the Bay Area in California, is a very well traveled girl. In the 6th grade she traveled to Egypt and soaked up the beauty of the cultural differences between the US and Egypt. Aislinn has also visited Turkey and Israel and was astounded by how beautiful other countries can be. Aislinn attends Jewish Community High-School where she takes part in her school’s theater and volleyball programs. She is also part of an non-profit organization called Beyond Differences, which deals with social isolation in middle schools.
Adam Ettelbrick — Adam is a student at Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He is 17 years old and lives in New York City. Adam is very active in the feminist community. He considers himself a feminist and is part of various groups that strive to end rape. His drive to end rape and overall sexual abuse is stronger than many people his age. Rather than sitting around and talking about why things should change, he gets up and does something. He is extremely active in the political community of New York as well as school clubs. Even though he is an activist and in my opinion has done much for the improvement of his community, he considers himself “a pretty boring guy” who is “addicted to coffee”.
Alexandra Feinman — Alexandra Feinman, a seventeen-year-old upcoming senior at Montville High School in North New Jersey, is a strong feminist who is willing to overcome all odds to be able to provoke ideas through only a few words. Alex, following her passion as she approaches her final year in high school, is pursuing an independent study on rape studies in high school. Although her concerns consist of serious topics, Alex’s charisma and style, consisting of knee socks, high top vans, Indie music, and Underground Hip-Hop, allow all of those who surround her to experience her welcoming warmth. Alex’s love for reading, in particular John Green, sparks a goal of her own – to write her own novel. With a great understanding of people, she wants to write her own novel that connects her thoughts of being out of place with mutual thoughts of others. At NSLC, she hopes to find her passion in writing again.
Valerie Gales — Valerie Gales is an incoming sophomore in Pike County High School. She was born in Macon, Georgia, but moved to Zebulon, Georgia two years ago. She writes for her local newspaper, Pike County Journal, as a reporter. She and nine other students were chosen from among 300 young people to receive an internship at her newspaper in Macon where she filmed news stories that later were aired on the TV station, 13WMAZ. She is the oldest of four children and enjoys singing and acting in musicals through her high school and the surrounding community. Despite her varying interests in journalism and news stories, coming to DC is the farthest she has ever traveled from her home state of Georgia.
Graham Gestring, 16, is a rising senior from Jonesboro, Arkansas at Valley View High School and has been very involved in the school community. Through his avid interest in film, he managed to get a grant from the state government of $2,000 for promoting the cinematography program in his school. He has also done a documentary on former meth addicts. Ever since the eighth grade, his interest in film has been his passion. He decided to become part of the National Student Leadership Conference to learn more about a field that he was interested in, which is media, film, and journalism. Graham’s senior year will be spent in Nuremberg, Germany with a good friend who lived with him this year. Graham wants to travel and learn more about the world around him. He does not want to stay in one place but rather to discover new cultures and experiences.
Sixteen year old Olivia Glod, an upcoming senior at Peters Township in Pittsburgh, PA, is a creative, bubbly, and possibly, one of the most interesting girls you will ever meet. Although she does not expect a profession out of it, Liv enjoys making creative videos, ranging from documentaries to silly music parodies involving her friends. Along with film making, Liv is also an avid writer and editor for her school newspaper, “Smoke Signals,” and director of her school news program, “Headlines.” Liv’s life goal comes in a package of two: she has the dream of moving to New York City or Washington DC in hopes of becoming an international relations writer, while also striving to become an English language teacher in a developing country, preferably Haiti or Peru. In her free time, Liv takes pleasure in attending Indie Rock Concerts and reading. Liv’s reasoning for attending the NSLC? She wants to expand her friend group to those who are as passionate with writing as she is.
Adam Hockenberry – Seventeen year old Adam Hockenburry is a member of the DWC Backpack Journalism course and has many other passions in the arts and otherwise. Growing up in Philadelphia, Adam has always been surrounded by music. His parents met because of their common instrumental interests and their aptitude was handed down to their son. Adam’s father inspired him to learn to play the guitar in addition to the drums. He enjoys listening to music and frequents concerts and festivals. He went to his first concert, Odd Future, during his freshman year and his current favorite band is Tame Impala, whom he has also seen live. Aside from music, Adam enjoys photography, especially 35mm film. Adam has no preference in subject matter. Rather, he is inspired by contrasts in color and light. Adam is not only artistic but also athletic; he excels in football and has been recruited by Colgate University. Going into his senior year, Adam has multiple colleges in mind, including Syracuse and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Kyla Hodges — Kyla hails from Durham, North Carolina, where she is a rising sophomore and soccer player at Durham Academy. Outside of school, she does work with victims of domestic violence, recovering drug addicts and children from impoverished neighborhoods. She often goes to such neighborhoods with her mother where she buys food and prepares it at the home of a family and has dinner with them. This allows for the parent of that household to spend more time at work or taking care of other responsibilities. When we spoke, she told me that she sees a lot of strife and a lot of struggle in the world. She is optimistic though about the future: “People of our generation want to do things, they want to make a difference,” she spoke quickly, piping into the conversation something that seemed to her at least, to be a truth. “You always hear about kids starting something, doing something to better the world around them,” she said, this optimism is visible in all of the work she does.
Victoria Middleton — Victoria, 16, is from the small town of Bethany Beach, Delaware. Victoria, who is entering her Junior Year of High School, plans on seeing musical acts, contemplating her collegiate endeavors, and making the most out of the numbered days in her small suburban town. Although the small suburban feeling of Bethany Beach can be isolating and dull, Victoria likes the feeling of comfort and appreciates the wide support system that the town has. In her free time she plays piano and listens to Indie Rock, including bands such as The Shins, who she recently saw live at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. Her future will include traveling. “Ever since I was a child I have been interested in the Asian Culture. Between Asia and Boston, those are the two places I have always been fascinated in”. Boston could be a possible collegiate destination for Victoria, but because she is only a junior, she is happy about having more time to research schools, because she knows how important of a decision it is. She expects NSLC to give her a better perspective of the college experience and also wants to make new connections and enjoy this part of her summer.
Nicole Mosher — Nicole is a 17 year old Delaware native with a love for American history. As a junior in high school, she came to American University looking for programs to help her pursue her interests in both communications and history. She began exploring the field by taking part of the newspaper in middle school and is currently taking a photography class. Nicole enjoys swimming, volleyball, and is also a huge Orioles fan. She also loves the color blue and watching the TV show NCIS. As a rising senior, she is determined to get involved in more in depth programs as well as exploring new experiences such as the ones provided here at American University.
Born in Puerto Rico, Issac Quevdo moved to the United States at the age of five with his parents. He now resides in Weston, Florida, located just 20 minutes from the ocean which conveniently gives him the opportunity to enjoy one of his favorite hobbies — surfing. Among his many extracurricular activities he enjoys soccer immensely, which he has played the majority of his life. As an all around student who makes honor roll regularly, he was able to participate in the National Student Leadership Conference at American University. He avidly supports the idea of prioritizing happiness over success and lives by this mantra in his daily life, and enjoys being able to influence others happiness positively in the same way.
Maria Schmitz, an incoming senior who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, is far from an ordinary seventeen year old girl. While she is not in school at G.W. Community School, she spends her time fencing competitively, and even plans to do so at her future college, which might include American University, University of North Carolina, Georgetown, or Trinity. When she is not active with her fencing club, she enjoys working with children, specifically involving education. This past school year, Maria interned as a teacher’s aid, helping Hispanic youth catch up with their academics. In the future, Maria plans to continue enriching the lives of kids through education, as well as create opportunities for others to learn about human trafficking. Maria is here at AU this summer to further her interest in journalism, and to see if she would like to choose this career path in her future.
Annalise Tracy, or ‘Annie’ as she prefers to be called, is a 15-year-old junior from Silver Spring, Maryland. She attends Saint John College High School where she writes for and helps run her school’s literary magazine. She has had two poems featured in the magazine. In addition to writing, Annie enjoys singing and acting, and participates in many musicals at her school, including Godspell and The Sound of Music. She also runs cross-country and volunteers at the local food pantry in her free time. She decided to come to Discover the World of Communication to become more educated in the film, journalism, and media arts field.