JOHN BEAR – Kiowa, Carnegie, Oklahoma

John grew up in what he calls the “country sticks” of Carnegie, Okla., where he and his four brothers were called the Bear Boys. Bear hopes to launch a career as a radio talk show host or as a state impact reporter for National Public Radio in Oklahoma. He is a junior studying communications with a minor in language arts at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla. – Dyani Brown




DYANI BROWN – Shinnecock, Southampton, New York

Dyáni (pronounced dee-AHH-nee) is passionate about using her education and experience to strengthen Native people through the use of strategic communications and media. While serving as chairwoman of her nation’s Tribal Council board, she authored Agawam Notes, a weekly column  about tribal events in the town’s local newspaper.  Brown is also a Udall Scholar and a Truman Finalist, and is devoted to a career in public service. Her hobbies include karaoke, swimming, trying new foods, and traveling. She is a senior at American University in Washington, D.C. – John Bear


PARIS BURRIS – Chickasaw, Del City, Oklahoma

Paris is the special projects editor of the University of Oklahoma newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily. She began her education as a homeschooled student but went public by attending community college. The experience gave her more time to spend with her family.  Burris hopes to become a traveling journalist; she wants to further her education in journalism beyond her home state of Oklahoma. Her daily activities include reading, playing video games, attending concerts, and hanging out with friends. She is a senior and plans on attending graduate school after she completes her journalism degree in May 2016. – John Sallee, IV


LORENZO GUDINO – Fort Sill Apache, Oak Lawn, Illinois

Lorenzo (“Zo”)has worked for Northwestern University’s sports radio station, television stations, and the school magazine, all of which are student-led organizations. Inspired by his American Indian culture, Gudino is heavily involved with the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance organization and states, “I want to not only be engaged but also increase the Native presence and awareness on campus.” He’s a music fanatic and has a passion for sports. And he’s very specific about his eating habits: when he is relaxing with a  plate of pancakes, he will eat everything but the outer rim. He claims the outside to be “spongy.” He is a junior at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. – Erin Tapahe


LORI HASSELMAN – Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma,Abilene, Kansas

Lori Hasselman has worked at Haskell News Television Production for two years and has spent three years at The Indian Leader newspaper at Haskell Indian Nations University.  She enjoys live music, spending time with good friends and tacos ("Eating them, cooking them, dipping them - they really are a hobby!").  She has three grown children. Hasselman is a senior at Haskell, which is in Lawrence, KS. She plans to pursue a graduate degree and to continue to be heavily involved in journalism and media. – Lyle Jacobs



LYLE JACOBS – Oglala Lakota Sioux, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Lyle has written for the Native Sun News, the Lakota Country Times and for He enjoys working out, hiking, and basketball. He coaches basketball at his local high school and also enjoys creating highlight videos for the team.  He is a senior at Duke University studying sociology, but he is also seeking a teaching license and program certificate in journalism. His career goals following college are to become a high school counselor or teacher and basketball coach while also continuing as a journalist and pursuing graphic design. – Lori Hasselman


JOHN ADAM SALLEE IV – Inupiat, Anchorage, Alaska

John has worked as a staff reporter for The Northern Light, the student-run newspaper at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. He has also worked as an intern for the Anchorage radio station KNBA, also known as “Alaska’s Native Voice.”  Sallee’s inspiration to pursue journalism stems from his fascination with entertainment news, and he aspires to become a red carpet correspondent. Growing up, Sallee has been in somewhat of a culture clash. Being of Alaskan Native and Mexican descent, and growing up in Eagle River, a small town about 10 minutes away from Anchorage, his family consists of two diverse and different cultures. Outside of journalism, Sallee enjoys trying out new restaurants, spending time with friends, enjoying live music and exercising. He is a sophomore studying journalism at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. – Paris Burris

DAKOTA SHEREK – Ojibwe/Cherokee, Louisville, Kentucky

As a youth, Dakota already knew journalism was for her. She attended duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky, a school that offered journalism and communications programs. She has interned at WLKY News in Louisville, and was able to shoot stand-ups and interview alongside professional reporters. One of her dreams is to cover politics. She hopes to present citizens with factual and unbiased information. When she’s not working on a story, you can find her enjoying her favorite pastime: reading.  She is a recent graduate of Western Kentucky University where she received a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting. – Tsanavi Spoonhunter


TSANAVI SPOONHUNTER –Northern Arapaho, Big Pine, California

Tsanavi has had extensive experience in print journalism: she has been published in both her university’s paper and a local newspaper. She would like to become a documentary journalist, though she is willing to explore other forms of journalism as well. Spoonhunter hopes to make a positive impact in Indian Country through her work, and wants to become an inspiration for Native youth. As someone from a small town with a small reservation, she knows it is important for Native youth to see that they can accomplish their goals despite obstacles they may face. When Spoonhunter isn’t studying, she’s outside. She loves any outdoor activity, including camping, hiking and paddle-boarding. She is a sophomore at the University of Nevada in Reno. – Dakota Sherek


ERIN TAPAHE – Navajo, Provo, Utah

Erin had little journalism experience before attending college, but she has been involved with the Native American Journalists Association for the past two years. Through NAJA’s programs, Project Phoenix and Native Voices, she has found her passion to pursue journalism. Tapahe finds joy in painting and sports, including soccer.  She has hoop danced for the past 10 years and even teaches fellow students at Brigham Young University. Erin is also heavily involved at BYU’s Multicultural Center, where she often volunteers while juggling the everyday obstacles of college life. Her future goals aren’t set in stone, but she is working on a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Law school might be a future option. She has hometown roots in Window Rock, AZ. When at home, her family makes sure she has a plastic spoon for eating Greek yogurt; anything else would ruin the taste. She’s a sophomore at Brigham Young University. – Lorenzo Gudino


Raji is a recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley. After completing most of school in Fremont, California, Raji decided to study Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. In college, she was part of CalTV News for four years, where she worked as Senior Producer. Raji also worked at NBC Bay Area’s newsroom and Investigative Unit. It was there that Raji learned to write, shoot, and edit for broadcast journalism. Raji’s career goal is to become a TV producer in long-form news. In her spare time, Raji likes to blog, shoot photos, explore new places, and try interesting food.