• Blanca Navarro

    California State University, Fullerton
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    Blanca Navarro became immersed in design at a very young age and has worked to keep improving her skills and learn more about what she loves. Ms. Navarro, 21, spent most of her childhood in Anaheim, Calif. Now a senior at California State University, Fullerton, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design. Ms. Navarro is on staff at TUSK Magazine, her school’s yearly magazine, where she works as a graphic designer and strives to make the same impact as a designer for the Institute this summer.

  • Keila Vizcarra

    California State University, Northridge
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    With an acceptance letter from California State University, Northridge, Keila Vizcarra broke a pattern in her family. Ms. Vizcarra, 20, of Victorville, Calif., is the youngest of five and the first in her family to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

    She recently completed her second year as the layout editor for the university’s student-run newspaper, The Sundial, which is one of her greatest accomplishments so far. But Ms. Vizcarra won’t stop there. She hopes to work in radio news, preferably for National Public Radio, as a voice for immigrant rights. Ms. Vizcarra is a designer at the Institute.

  • Lyanne Alfaro

    University of Illinios, Urbana-Champaign
    Paula Ospina/NYT Institute

    Lyanne Alfaro’s father wanted her to become a doctor.

    But after looking into Lyanne Melendez’s work, the ABC7 reporter her father named her after, Ms. Alfaro, 22, became interested in journalism. Her teachers at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago encouraged her to join the school newspaper.

    Ms. Alfaro, a first-generation college student, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s in journalism.

    She was a feature and entertainment writer but jumped into hard news. She is a copy editor at the Institute and is also reporting.

  • Mia Chism

    University of Oklahoma
    Pinar Istek/NYT Institute

    Ask Mia Chism what her favorite thing is, and she’ll say, “grammar.” Her love of conjunctions and punctuation come into play in her role as a senior copy editor at The Oklahoma Daily, the University of Oklahoma’s student-run newspaper. There Ms. Chism is known as, “the one with the New York Times thing.” So words — writing or editing them — are her strength.

    Ms. Chism, 20, is a copy editor at this year’s Institute.

    “An important part of journalism is making sure that everyone is heard because that’s part of the truth,” she said.

  • Lucia Hoffman

    Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

    When Lucia Hoffman tweets, the world of tennis listens. With no regular journalism job or connections at the United States Tennis Association, Ms. Hoffman became an influential voice in sports — and she did it all on social media.

    A native of São Paulo, Brazil, she found her love for tennis from watching her father and uncle play. She moved to the United States and completed two undergraduate years at Columbia University and last year returned to pursue a master’s in journalism. Ms. Hoffman is a web editor working on audience development at the Institute.

  • Jonah Smith

    Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    Jonah Smith, a graduate student at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and School of Engineering and Applied Science, is concentrating on data-driven journalism. Mr. Smith, 23, is an interactive graphics editor at the Institute.

    As an undergraduate at Columbia he studied statistics and sociology. During that time, Mr. Smith was an intern at BuroHappold Engineering, working with the sustainability team to develop visualization tools.

    Mr. Smith said it’s challenging to present data in a clear and interesting way, and he wants to continue developing his skills.

  • Saiyna Bashir

    Columbia College Chicago
    Daniela Franco/NYT Institute

    Saiyna Bashir, 26, found herself in a crowd in Ferguson, Mo., after the announcement that there would be no indictment in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

    The Huffington Post asked permission to publish her Instagram photos from that night, and she went to a nearby bus stop to transfer the photos. Ms. Bashir hopes to cover events like that as a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker.

    Born in Karachi, Pakistan, she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Beaconhouse National University in Pakistan and is pursuing a graduate degree in public affairs reporting at Columbia College Chicago.

  • Noelle Haro-Gomez

    University of Arizona

    Noelle Rosario Haro-Gomez, 27, has learned that with determination and persistence, she can get through anything in life.

    “You have to find your way around the obstacle you’re trying to get through,” she said.

    Ms. Haro-Gomez put herself through community college and several years at the University of Arizona, where she received a bachelor’s degree in May.

    She is a photographer at the Institute, but it would not have happened if not for her persistence and tenacity: It was the third time she had applied.

  • Pinar Istek

    University of Texas at Austin
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    While studying at the University of California, San Diego, Pinar Istek toyed with the idea of being a fashion photographer. But her focus shifted to photojournalism when she realized she was more interested in documentary-type photos.

    Ms. Istek, a native of Turkey, recently completed her master’s project on survivors of attempted suicide. “Photography was a hobby and it became what I did,” she said.

    Ms. Istek, 30, finished the first year of a four-year doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin, doing research on visual journalism.

  • Santiago Mejia

    City College of San Francisco
    Ben Bartenstein/NYT Institute

    While in high school, Santiago Mejia only considered photography a hobby. He never imagined it would become his profession.

    At City College of San Francisco, however, he wanted to become a doctor to save lives.

    Mr. Mejia’s classes consisted mostly of math and science with one exception: photojournalism.

    His friend suggested he join the college newspaper and Mr. Mejia joined as a photographer. He later became the editor in chief.

    Mr. Mejia, an intern at the San Francisco Chronicle and a photographer at the Institute, believes he can still save lives as a photojournalist.

  • Paula Ospina

    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Noelle Haro-Gomez/NYT Institute

    Paula Ospina picked up a camera for the first time in ninth grade. She has long wanted to be a photojournalist, but in today’s changing industry, she hopes to incorporate video and audio as well.

    Ms. Ospina is a sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in photojournalism.  She works as a freelance photographer for Reporter Magazine, run by R.I.T. students.

    Ms. Ospina is a photographer at the Institute and she hopes that it will help her become more of a visual storyteller.

  • Jasmine Aguilera

    University of Texas at El Paso
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    Jasmine Aguilera, 22, comes from a family of immigrants and was raised in El Paso, Tex., where the United States Border Patrol, Spanglish, Mexico license plates and murals of Chicano and Aztec history are part of daily life.

    Ms. Aguilera, a reporter at the Institute, became interested in journalism after a mentor showed her National Geographic Explorer documentaries.

    While finishing her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, she is interning at The Dallas Morning News and Al Día TX, a Spanish-language newspaper. She has been investigating topics such as refugee shelters and issues in the L.G.B.T. community.

  • Ben Bartenstein

    Macalester College
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    If you looked in the basement of Ben Bartenstein’s childhood home in rural Wisconsin, you would find a bin of book manuscripts he wrote in elementary school. They are vestiges of an early love of writing. He has not yet published a book, but Mr. Bartenstein, 20, can say he has had plenty of opportunities to write. As a student at Macalester College, he has written for the student newspaper and several other outlets. He continually looks to grow as a reporter and immerse himself in diverse communities with enthusiastic aspiring journalists. The search led him to the Institute.

  • Alex Corey

    California State University, Northridge
    Pinar Istek/NYT Institute

    Alex Corey is focused on using his bilingual skills to inform his community.

    He points to a story he reported in English and Spanish on the deferred action program, which President Obama implemented to stop deportations of some undocumented immigrants.

    “For me, it was important writing that one in Spanish because that’s something that people are going to use,” Mr. Corey, 23, said.

    He graduated in May from California State University, Northridge, where he studied journalism and was the English editor of the El Nuevo Sol student publication.

    Mr. Corey is a reporter at this year’s Institute.

  • Daniela Franco

    New York University

    Daniela Franco grew up in Colombia and remembers an evacuation of her school because of a threat from the FARC guerrilla group. She remembers learning about people being kidnapped and seeing terrible things in her mother’s morning newspaper. She says that her desire to tell great stories stems from growing up in a troubled country.

    Ms. Franco is a rising senior at New York University, studying journalism, sociology and Latin American studies. A reporter at the Institute, she admires journalists like Christiane Amanpour “because they go out there.”

  • Yessenia Funes

    SUNY Plattsburgh
    Pinar Istek/NYT Institute

    Yessenia Funes took her first journalism class as a senior at Uniondale High School in New York.

    She realized the importance of environmental issues but was also interested in social justice.

    “I can’t just be a bystander and see things happening,” said Ms. Funes, a reporter at the Insitute. “Social justice reporting is my way to try to do something about it.”

    She earned degrees in journalism and environmental studies at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

    Ms. Funes freelances, writes poetry and was web editor at the travel-focused publication, DoNorth Magazine.

  • Rachelle Krygier

    New York University
    Pinar Istek/NYT Institute

    Born and raised in Venezuela, Rachelle Krygier does not remember a day without the influence of Hugo Chávez, the president at that time. There was constant political chaos and conversations about safety at the dinner table.

    A rising senior at New York University, she is pursuing a double major in journalism and political science.

    “I wouldn’t even be able to report,” she said, referring to the government-controlled media in Venezuela. The government has enforced restrictions on major news channels and newspapers, punishing those who choose to challenge those restrictions.

    Ms. Krygier is an intern at CNN Español and a reporter at the Institute.

  • Sandra Lopez-Monsalve

    CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
    Saiyna Bashir/NYT Institute

    Sandra Lopez-Monsalve is the assistant director of radio at WBCR at Brooklyn College, where she creates content and teaches about media. Though she said, “Teaching is not an easy task,” she said she loves it.

    Ms. Monsalve, from Bogotá, Colombia, is a graduate student at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, concentrating in arts and culture. She has a master’s degree in media studies from CUNY, Brooklyn College.

    One of her favorite published articles is about Slide Hampton, a renowned trombone player who performed with Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats. She said interviewing Mr. Hampton “was a terrific experience.”

  • Polo Rocha

    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Noelle Haro-Gomez/NYT Institute

    Polo Rocha would use Mondays to catch up on sleep. Rest was hard to come by for this University of Wisconsin-Madison student.

    “I work at the student paper, so I literally came home at, like, 4 a.m.,” said Mr. Rocha, 22, the former managing editor at The Badger Herald, in a chipper tone.

    He is a double major in political science and journalism. What drives him to such sleep-depriving lengths? The possibility of making a difference.

    Last year he received a fellowship from the National Newspaper Association and he will be the social media editor at his school paper in the fall.

  • Kayla Samoy

    University of Arizona
    Pinar Istek/NYT Institute

    Kayla Samoy, 22, has one of the coolest titles on her résumé. She was the NASA Space Grant Intern at The Arizona Daily Star, covering technology and business for the paper, which is based in Tucson. Ms. Samoy moved to Tucson when she was 4. Growing up, she did not consider going into journalism. It was not until she started college that her mother suggested majoring in the field. Since then, Ms. Samoy hasn’t looked back. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s in journalism and is a reporter at the Institute.

  • Samantha Schmidt

    Indiana University, Bloomington
    Pinar Istek/NYT Institute

    On New Year’s Eve, Samantha Schmidt’s family members grab suitcases and take turns running around the block several times at her grandmother’s home in Costa Rica — an interesting family ritual.

    Ms. Schmidt’s family takes a yearly trip to visit her mother’s family in Costa Rica, which sparked her interest in traveling and understanding different cultures.

    A rising senior at Indiana University, Ms. Schmidt will study abroad in Jordan this fall, putting her majors in Arabic and journalism to work and getting closer to becoming a foreign correspondent.

    Ms. Schmidt, a reporter at the Institute, said she wants to learn how to find stories in a place where she’s completely unfamiliar.

  • Maya Dangerfield

    CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
    Saiyna Bashir/NYT Institute

    As a child, Maya Dangerfield traveled the world with her library card and her favorite characters in literature.

    After majoring in history and American studies at William & Mary in Virginia, she joined Teach for America and taught high school history for two years while blogging about her experiences in public and charter schools.

    She then returned to her storytelling roots and is now a student of multimedia journalism at the CUNY Graduate School in New York.

    Ms. Dangerfield, a videographer at the Institute, is focused on mastering the tools for visual storytelling.

  • Sarah McClure

    Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
    Saiyna Bashir/NYT Institute

    Sarah McClure, a video journalist at the Institute, first connected with her family’s native Mexico while zip-lining through Puerto Vallarta’s jungle with the country’s president at the time, Felipe Calderón.

    She was on the production team for the television series “Mexico: The Royal Tour.” Shortly after, she decided to pursue a career in multimedia journalism.

    After completing her undergraduate degree at Chapman University, she worked at The Los Angeles Daily Journal. Ms. McClure, from Orange County, Calif., has a master’s degree from the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

  • Tahseen Rabbi

    Stony Brook University
    Saiyna Bashir/NYT Institute

    One afternoon, a friend suggested that Tahseen Rabbi apply for a journalism program in China. She signed up that same day.

    Journalism Without Walls, a three-week reporting program, removed any hesitations Ms. Rabbi, a former pre-med student, held about pursuing a journalism career. She reported in print and video in Beijing, Hutang and Yangzhou and took journalism classes with Chinese students.

    Ms. Rabbi, a videographer at the Institute, received her degree in journalism from Stony Brook University in May.

    “China taught me that good journalism is a privilege,” she said. “Attending the program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

  • Ana M. Rodriguez

    CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
    Santiago Mejia/NYT Institute

    Ana Maria Rodriguez, 28, grew up in Colombia and spent her summers in the countryside. She is a videographer at the Institute, inspired at a young age to use her lens to tell stories of the people there and their struggles.

    Ms. Rodriguez graduated from Georgia State University in 2011. She attends the health and science reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York, where she is specializing in visual journalism. She will start a summer internship at The Village Voice in New York after the Institute.

  • Yolanda Martinez

    Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
    Paula Ospina/NYT Institute

    Growing up in an immigrant family from El Salvador, Yolanda Martinez has always identified with her Latina heritage. The struggles her family endured helped confirm her decision to pursue journalism.

    “So many of the major cities have diverse communities that are not reflected in the newsroom,” she said. “This has to change.”

    KCET, an independent television station, provided Ms. Martinez with journalistic growth opportunities. Her mentors motivated her and offered strong advice.

    Ms. Martinez, a web editor at the Institute, said that she is ready to go anywhere, as long as it is challenging and makes a positive difference.

Jonah Smith contributed layout and design.