Meet the New D&Me Dozen

“Determined, energetic, hardworking.”

“Imaginative, thoughtful, hopeful.”

“Curious, a little weird, chill but not lazy.”  

As their first reporting assignment, we asked members of our Democracy & Me Spring 2022 Student Team to describe themselves in a few words; these were some of the responses. It takes all kinds to make this program happen—and of course, bringing diverse youth voices to our podcast and other platforms is what we’re all about. 

This semester we have two college-level interns returning to the program: Harnoor Mann, a senior journalism major at the University of Cincinnati; and Robert Thikkurissy, a student in UC’s Transition & Access Program. We’re also welcoming recent UC grad AJ Jones in a new position of Podcast Lead, helping our student hosts develop topics, research questions for discussion, and take their on-air presentation skills to the next level.  

Making up our D&Me Student Advisory Board for this term are Lael Ingram, Nico Luginbill, and Sydnie Barrett from Walnut Hills H.S.; Bryan Aguilera of Virtual High School’ Antonia R. Willis of Taft IT H.S.; and, from Aiken New Tech H.S., Joyeuse Muhorakeye, Pawan Rai, Syriene Djakata, and Tasnim Saad. 

“Joining Democracy & Me excites me because when we discuss real-world issues, I will not only be able to see things from my perspective; I’ll be able to see things from the perspectives of others,” said Pawan Rai, who’s joining the student team for the first time. “There are many things I hope to learn… (like) how to collaborate even if we have opposing viewpoints on certain issues.” 

Pawan and his cohorts will serve as Peer Prize judges for this year’s Student Voices Competition and as youth leaders of our Spring PodCamp on May 1, among other projects; you’ll hear them on Democracy & Z, read them on the blog, and see them on our YouTube channel.

“I loved the flexibility in roles offered to interns during my last internship with D&M, in the spring of 2021,” reflected Harnoor Mann. “I was able to try a lot of different things, while building relationships with students working towards different kinds of change. Still, there is much more I know I can learn and be involved in… I can bring my experience organizing with other groups around campus and bearing witness to the efforts of community leaders who have worked for decades to make Cincinnati a better home for all. I’m also interested in learning more about the day-to-day of an audio journalist and about the challenges with telling stories during a pandemic.”

Harnoor, we got you! Special thanks to our sponsors at the Charles H. Dater Foundation for making these paid opportunities possible for area students. The learning goes both ways, and having these young people around makes all of us at Cincinnati Public Radio more “curious,” “hopeful,” and “determined” to amplify their voices.    

Hear Robert Thikkurissy talk about his experience on the Democracy & Z podcast team.

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