Oakland Voices has trained dozens of community journalists over the years. We caught up with a few to see where the program has brought them in their professional and personal lives. Some are pursuing a full-time journalism career, while others are busy publishing books or articles. Stay tuned for more alumni updates in upcoming months!
Katharine Davies Samway
Katharine Davies Samway co-authored a book, Supporting Newcomer Students: Advocacy and Instruction for English Learners (2020), published by W.W. Norton and TESOL Press. Davies Samway is from the 2016-2017 Oakland Voices cohort, and co-wrote the book with with Lucinda Pease-Alvarez and Laura Alvarez. “Teachers are often stretched when it comes to working with English learners, and they struggle even more when their English learners are brand new to English and the U.S.,” Davies Samway said. “I hope our book will support teachers of newcomer students.”
Brandy Collins, who was a part of last year’s cohort (2019-2020), has been busy freelancing for many publications, including contributing regularly to Oakland Voices’ website. In addition, Collins has written for The Oaklandside, Berkeleyside NOSH, and has self-published articles on Medium. These are a few articles Collins has published in the past few months: The Personal Resistance (Medium.com), Protecting Ourselves from Ourselves (Medium), Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen (Berkeleyside Nosh), The coffee industry has a diversity problem (Berkeleyside NOSH), and Breonna Taylor Wasn’t Me But She Could Have Been (Oaklandside).
Ryan Barba is an alumni from the 2017-2018 class of Oakland Voices. In 2020, he graduated from Laney College, having earned an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T) in Journalism. Barba is the current Managing Editor for The Citizen of the Peralta Community College District and holds two internships with the EdSource Student Journalism Corps and On Spec Podcast. He was the recipient of the Torri Minton Journalism Scholarship from the Peralta Foundation this Spring. Barba will be applying to transfer to the University of California system this fall with intentions to further his education in journalism and teaching.
Debora Gordon self-published a children’s book named The Bridge and the Wall. In the book, famous bridges and walls have a conversation about their contributions to the world, in rhyme. The book includes illustrations from 14 artists. “As a mere human living in these simultaneously thrilling and troubled times, I am interested in treading lightly, living thoughtfully, and teaching peace through my writing and art,” Gordon said. Gordon was a part of the 2012-2013 Oakland Voices cohort.