Our alumni

Since the 1950s, hundreds of CSPA graduates have gone on to great careers in journalism, public relations and other fields that require analytical thinking, strong writing and clear communication.

Here’s what our recent and more veteran alumni have gone on to do.

Recent workshop graduates

Kellen Browning

2016 National High School Journalist of the Year

kellenCSPA class: 2015
School: Pomona College
Experience: Past intern with Kaiser Health News and reporter for the Davis Enterprise

“During my two weeks in San Luis Obispo, I learned that journalism is thriving and is more important than ever.

Being surrounded by 25 eager young reporters and professional instructors was electrifying. I’ve never lost the passion for journalism I found at CSPA.

I had so much fun learning how to cover breaking news, delving into public records, podcasting and shooting photos that I’ve returned twice as a counselor. I just can’t stay away. There’s nothing more fun to do with your summer.”


Julia Poe

2015 National High School Journalist of the Year

Julia Poe

CSPA class: 2014 
School:
 University of Southern California
Experience: Daily Trojan sports editor; intern with the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA-Today Wisconsin

“I doubt I would have had half the success I’ve had so far without the mentors and skills I gained from the workshop. I’ve gained a wide set of friends and contacts in the journalism community, particularly in California, that have helped me.

This truly is a family, and those who join are lucky to have a support system for life.”


Meghan Bobrowsky

2017 National High School Journalist of the Year

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CSPA class: 2016
School:
 Scripps College
Experience: Video editor of The Student Life at the Claremont Colleges; video editor at Global Student Square

“The breaking news simulations were similar to assignments that working journalists have every day, including the short deadlines, limited information and sudden, unexpected events.

CSPA made me realize that I want to keep telling stories for the rest of my life.”


Gwen Wu

Gwen Wu

CSPA class: 2013
School:
 University of California Santa Barbara
Experience: Editor-in-chief of The Bottom Line, UCSB’s weekly student newspaper; intern with San Francisco magazine and TakePart.com

“CSPA was the first place I’d ever been where I was surrounded by people who dearly loved journalism.

It was wonderful learning from real reporters who taught you about the intricacies of the trade and who actually had faith that I could survive the industry.”


Tyler Pager

Tyler Pager

Workshop year: 2011
School: Graduate student at Oxford University, degree from Northwestern University
Experience: Intern with the New York Times, USA Today, Boston Globe and Politico; editor-in-chief of the Daily Northwestern

“CSPA was the first intensive journalism program that I had done, and it provided me with a pathway to achieve my goals.

The workshop is ideal for anyone who knows they want to go into journalism. It sets up a really strong foundation for a future in journalism or any career in which you need strong communication skills.”


Fatima Ali

Fatima Ali 2Workshop year: 2015
School: University of San Francisco
Experience: Beauty Editor at the Tempest, District Office Intern for State Assemblyman Phil Ting 

“CSPA helped me understand what it takes to be a journalist, and strengthened my reporting, writing and communication skills.

Each course was taught by an incredible instructor with established experience in the industry.

It was an unforgettable and enriching experience.”


Karan Ology

15965208_866219040184802_8890318566601708842_nWorkshop year: 2016
School: University of Southern California
Experience: News Editor at the Daily Trojan; intern at the San Mateo Daily Journal

“High school journalism is a poor reflection of what professional reporting looks like. CSPA provides that fast-paced, deadline-heavy experience through classes on every type of reporting and with real-world applications.

But beyond the journalism skills, CSPA provided a community. The counselors and instructors are my role models and mentors who continue to support me.  My best and closest friends are people I met at the workshop.


A few of our alumni in the industry

Amy Schellenbaum

amy-schellenbaum-headshot

Workshop year: 2010
Current Position: Online Director for Popular Science
School: University of Connecticut

“CSPA gave me a feel for what it was like to be a working journalist. I experienced harsh deadlines and challenges that took me miles away from my comfort zone. It gave me an adrenaline high for two weeks straight.

I learned about the aspects of journalism beyond storytelling—things I ended up loving. It’s not just about getting the narrative; it’s high-stakes problem solving, quick-thinking, and asking the right questions.

The most incredible thing, though, was hearing from a group of successful journalists who believe (without a hint of reluctance or suspicion) in the value and vitality of the profession. They were so inspiring, so dedicated, and so good at what they do. I wanted to be like them. I still do.”


Eric Coleman

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CSPA class: 1980
Current position: News Editor at Bloomberg News
School: Northwestern University

“My path into journalism started with an introduction by my older brother, Paul, to the cub journalism class at our high school. This class was taught by the great teacher and CSPA mentor Gil Chesterton.

Gil taught us both the basics and guided us on the weekly school newspaper. He led us into write-off competitions and awards and, a couple years apart, the CSPA workshop. It was as rigorous and rewarding a program as you could imagine.

I’ve made my career in business and financial news, and I’m still doing what I love today, thanks to my brother and those early years under Gil and the CSPA.”


Paige Cornwell

image1

CSPA class: 2008
Current position: Seattle Times reporter
School: University of Nebraska

“CSPA gave me a real glimpse into the day-to-day life of a journalist, and exposed me to different types of journalism opportunities.

All the news aspects of the workshop, I use every single day. The workshop also gave me lifelong friends.”

 


Ariel Wesler

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CSPA class: 2003
Current position: News Anchor, The Now San Diego
School: University of Southern California

“CSPA taught me the fundamentals early to succeed in this crazy business.

From writing under pressure to working as a group, it’s a fun boot camp for aspiring journalists.”

 


Matt Hanlon

Matt Hanlon

CSPA class: 2008
Current position: Cinematographer at Threaded Films
School: University of Oregon

“After my experience at CSPA, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. Those life-changing two weeks made a huge impact on me, and were a big reason that I nabbed an internship the following summer at my local paper, applied to journalism school and ultimately became a video journalist and filmmaker.

The skills I learned at the workshop that are so crucial to good reporting and journalism have also helped me as a documentary filmmaker and visual storyteller. I really can’t stress enough how important CSPA is. It gives you the chance to immerse yourself in journalism and learn from some of the best in the industry.

I’ve made many lifelong friends through CSPA. Some have gone on to great careers in journalism, and many others are succeeding in other industries. Regardless of whether you decide to be a journalist, you’ll develop really useful skills, and make lifelong professional connections and friends.”


Jessie Geoffray

jessie-geoffray-headshot

Workshop year: 2010
Current Position: Assistant Editor, Goop.com
School: Northwestern University

“CSPA helped me determine whether I wanted to pursue reporting and editing as part of my college education, and ultimately, as a career.

Being a CSPA alum firmly cements my status as a journalism nerd, which I’m pretty proud of. It’s definitely the best decision I made when I was 16.”

 

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5 Comments

  1. Hello,
    I am a graduate of the class of ’77 (Dana Hills) and the advisor of the Matador Messenger, the first SNO online middle school newspaper in Orange County. (matador messenger.com) with a monthly readership of over 5,000 worldwide. All that I teach my young journalists I learned from my experience at the CSPA summer camp.
    Thank you. Please include me in the alumni section.

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  2. Rich Hammond says:

    Thank you, Christine. Hopefully some of your students will join us in SLO in a couple years!

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    1. Yes! I now have “recruited” advisors at Esperanza and Yorba Linda High Schools to start SNO online papers at their campuses and I am sending them trained reporters to continue writing and publishing. I would greatly appreciate having some CSPA graduates visit our newsroom and speak about their roles as writers, publishers, and reporters with my staff of talented and eager young reporters and editors. Please contact me if you are interested and available to visit us in Yorba Linda at Bernardo Yorba Middle School. Let’s inspire a whole new generation of potential CSPA SLO campers!

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  3. bill bruns says:

    THIS SHOULD REPLACE MY EARLIER POSTING WHICH WAS DEEMED TO BE “AWAITING MODERATION.”

    I attended the Workshop way back in 1959, when I was a rising senior at San Dieguito High School in Encinitas. I had no idea what I was getting into: the mornings, afternoons and evenings devoted to journalism, with professional instructors and enthusiastic fellow student journalists. I learned so much in those 13 days and I was so inspired, I came home determined to pursue a career in journalism. After college, this meant Life magazine (1967-1972), freelance writing, TV Guide (1988-1991) and editorship of the Palisadian-Post in my adopted hometown, Pacific Palisades (1993-2013). I will always treasure those two weeks at the Workshop and my mentor, Ralph Alexander.

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  4. I attended the workshop in 1972 and received the Top Writer award (senior division). In September of that year I started as a freshman in the Cal Poly Journalism program. In 1973 I was a summer cub reporter for the (Orange County) Santa Ana Register and I continued for three years as a music critic there. After moving to the SF Bay Area I graduated from San Jose State U. with a BA in Radio/TV Production however my first job out of college was as a technical writer in Silicon Valley. The writing skills I learned through CSPA and Cal Poly have carried me through my entire career and today I am an active alumnus of the CP Journalism department. I currently am consulting on IT projects at Wells Fargo Bank and I’m also very active in the nonprofit sector as a Board Chair and Committee Chair. Thank you CSPA for your role in building my skills.

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