Tom was born in France 23 years ago and moved to England as a teenager. He majored in Politics and Sociology at the University of Essex. Journalism has always been a major part of his life: he started writing articles and reading newspapers at a young age. His favourite topics range from sports to cinema and music. He prefers writing features because this is how he can truly express his humorous style.
Maya Auer was born in Northern Italy, the bordering region of Trentino Alto Adige. Maya studied English and American studies at Innsbruck University in Austria. She also took part in student exchange and spent one semester abroad in Wales, where she did a minor in creative writing. Journalism is appealing to her as she is interested in the documentation of things and she is intrigued by social issues. In Maya’s own words: “I think journalism is one way of getting to know how humans interact.”
Originally from Ireland, Louis grew up in London. He has a bachelor’s degree in World Politics from Leiden University College, The Hague. He has worked for a start-up TV production company and is passionate about documentary making, podcasts and engaging multimedia stories. Louis wants to dig into important social issues by telling the stories of the real people involved.
One look at Kelvin Bras is enough for you to guess that the piece written by him will most probably provoke, inspire, and be somewhat different from the mainstream. With a background in creative writing and English literature in which he graduated his bachelor’s in Los Angeles and London, Kelvin combines modern and creative ways to convey a story. He is motivated to tell meaningful human-interest stories that spark his readers’ curiosity.
Guido Cocconi is a 30-year-old Italian from Parma. He began studying journalism to meet and learn as much as possible from a wide range of people. In turn, Guido strives to broaden the horizon of his audience through writing his stories. Yet, his heart still belongs to his one big love: Philosophy. Guido hopes that by combining his passion for philosophy with the practical knowledge gained in journalism to fulfil his dream of writing a novel.
Marcello Filibeck is a 28-year-old Italian with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, Markets, and Institutions from the University of Bologna. He has had many jobs, including some in which he practised journalism. Most notably, Marcello has collaborated with two magazines in Italy: Luce and theWise Magazine. Besides that, he currently works as a freelance video maker. Marcello’s excitement for journalism stems from his desire to understand why things happen and how things work. Despite not knowing yet what kind of journalist he wants to be, it is clear that he is passionate about the profession as a whole.
Lotta Groenendaal is one of the many talented writers of the 9to5 team. Originally from Neubrandenburg, Germany, Lotta has been in Groningen since 2018, achieving a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen and while also completing a minor in Journalism. Lotta’s curiosity and intrigue for a wide variety of subjects led her to the Master’s program of Journalism at the same university, where she hopes her habit of asking “too many questions” will finally be rewarded!
Stéphanie Hamel, 31 years of age, is one of many multi-talented members of our team. She is currently in Groningen, completing her second master’s degree, having previously completed a master in American studies. Originally from Normandy, she has since travelled extensively and even spent six months in Mexico working as a journalist for Excélsior, the second oldest newspaper in the country. Stéphanie hopes to make complex news issues available and understandable for people around the world and would love to be able to tell her stories through podcasts in the future.
Himanshu Jana, from India, has a background in automobile engineering. He however got fed up with scientific writing and was missing the “human touch” in his work. He, therefore, went on a year-long hitchhiking journey through India, only to conclude that he wanted to focus his life around telling human stories, in a visual way, with a special focus on inequality.
Shreeya Khanna is 25 years old and comes from India. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master in English Literature before embarking on her Journalism master. That is not all, however, as Shreeya is also running not one but two successful Youtube channels. If that wasn’t enough, add that she is a trained Indian classical vocalist, has hosted radio shows on All India Radio and worked for Hugo Boss in their digital marketing section. She wants to do journalism to impact different parts of society and tell the stories that need to be told.
Jan Douwe Krist was born in Utrecht and currently resides in Maastricht. He graduated with a bachelor’s in Human Geography at the University of Utrecht and a master in Globalization and Development at Maastricht University. His journalistic background is substantial as he followed a minor in Journalism and landed himself an internship at Tegenlicht – a Dutch television program focusing on future affairs in society. Curiosity drives Jan Douwe’s journalistic aspirations. His topics of interest are geopolitics and geoeconomics. He is determined to make these complicated topics understandable to the public. Besides Dutch and English, Jan Douwe speaks Spanish as he spent considerable time in Latin America.
Kirsten grew up in Reading, England and later travelled to Sheffield to complete her bachelor’s in History. Since she was young, Kirsten knew she wanted to become a journalist. Having the ability to give people a voice is what attracted her to the profession. After completing her masters, Kirsten is interested in being a foreign correspondent. Her motto? Live day by day and don’t plan… just see what happens.
Ana Lešković, though originally from a small, lesser-known village in Croatia, prefers to tell people that she’s from the capital, Zagreb. Four years of her life were spent in Prague, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Telling stories will continue to play a large role in her life, with the difference being that words will now be her preferred medium. In the future, she sees herself in one of two journalistic roles: either as a feature-writer or a cultural reporter focusing on music. The latter goal makes sense when considering that she’s also an amateur songwriter and guitarist herself. Her songs, rather than fitting into one, clear-cut genre, integrate elements from 90s shoegaze, indie rock, pop and classic rock. With a friend, she has already recorded several songs and is currently waiting for the right moment to release them.
Born in a small Italian town, Francesco Morelli is now a Journalism student at RUG. He has a background in languages and translation and is fluent in Spanish, French and basic Portuguese. Francesco enjoys sports which can be seen by the brown belt he achieved in Judo. His style is best characterized as urban and minimal. The dream of becoming a journalist goes hand in hand with his passion for writing short stories. Travelling also plays a big role in his life: After living in the UK during his bachelor’s, he promised himself that he’d go to every country in the world, no matter how far the journey.
Barbara Basia Niemczyk is from Silesia in Poland. Basia’s full name is Barbara, but everybody calls her Basia. She studied Applied Linguistics in English and Italian in Silesia and spent one year in the Southern Italian region of Puglia studying in Bari. Before coming to Groningen, Basia did an internship at the Polish newspaper Agora and worked for the Classical Arts Academy in Florence as a creative writer. She is drawn to journalism because it is a combination of some of her favourite activities: Storytelling, discussing and exchanging ideas, as well as, learning about different backgrounds and perspectives.
Paula Gibson-Pujol is a 24-year-old Journalism master’s student at the University of Groningen. Growing up in Barcelona and pursuing her bachelor’s in electronic media & creative writing at the University of Cincinnati, Paula’s background has allowed her to develop into an open-minded, artistically driven person. She enjoys singing and playing the guitar, and has danced with a group for several years. Paula has years of experience in reporting and video editing through her many internships, including at Borgen Magazine and the OTR Film festival in Cincinnati. She aspires to make documentaries on social and humanitarian issues around the globe.
Shwet Parag has a background in English Literature. Originally from Bihar in India, he studied his undergraduate degree in Hyderabad, after which he interned at the daily newspaper, The Shillong Times. Shwet particularly engages with political and travel journalism from India and around the world. He hopes to combine this interest with his passion for photography to tell multimedia stories.
After a minor in Journalism, while studying International Relations at the University of Groningen, Yoana Petrova knew that she wanted to continue as a reporter. This, and the fact that she gained some journalistic experience while working for the UKrant, led her to study journalism. Her goal as a reporter is to combine her love for politics with live reporting. For now, Yoana’s still soul searching on her path as a journalist, but she knows she wants to be a broadcaster – any kind of broadcaster; politics, culture, social relations, everything seems to be of interest. As long as she can be open, transparent, and truthful. Because the journalistic principles are of the highest value to her!
Lily Plass, 22 years old, half Kenyan half Austrian, was born in the United States and moved to Innsbruck, Austria, where she completed high school. She taught English to children in Madrid and Paris and then moved to Amsterdam where she graduated in Sociology. She decided to study journalism because she feels everyone has an untold story that should be heard, and she believes that sharing these stories can help change the world for the better. In-depth feature writing, with the addition of video and audio storytelling, is what she finds most interesting. She would like to report on the endangerment of animals, wealth, inequalities and women’s rights.
After completing a Bachelor in Psychology and a Master in Clinical Psychology at the University of Groningen, 21-year-old Nicola decided to continue with Journalism. His curiosity to know what happened in the world and to report stories for other people is what drives him the most in this study. Nicola plays tennis and has a passion for sports. He also loves to travel, connect with other cultures and places, and enjoys discovering different shapes of society.
Dimitri Rhodes grew up in between New Jersey and Paris, where he was born. The 21-year-old has been interested in humanitarian and socio-economic issues since early on in his life. He joined the Model United Nations program during his high school years, which later on granted him the opportunity to visit the United Nations headquarters. Following his passion, Rhodes graduated from the Institut Catholique de Paris with a sociology, politics and economy Bachelor’s degree. Today, he is a Journalism Master’s student at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, and, after graduation, wants to focus on social commentary and documentary filmmaking.
Mariana Santos Gomes is a Portuguese journalism student at RUG. Despite her formal education in Business Administration and Sociology in Copenhagen, she’s always wanted to be a journalist, for as long as she can remember. She takes pride in her consistent journaling and her own interview project, called “What’s the next step?” Mariana also wants to travel – a lot. While doing so, she’s determined to fulfil her ambition to make the world a bit better through journalism. Ironically, a 9 to 5 job won’t be in her future.
As Juan Sierra was born in Argentina, grew up in Hong Kong and studied International Relations and Organizations in Groningen, it is no surprise to find him striving for even more internationality in RUG’s Journalism Master. He always wanted to be a writer and has many stories to tell, thanks to the experiences he has gained around the world so far. One of his biggest passions is sports. Since his idea of becoming a professional athlete did not work out (yet), writing about sports and similar topics is Juan’s way of accessing that world.
Jason Smeets is an aspiring journalist with a drive for stories with strong social and political components. Born and raised in New Zealand by Dutch parents, Jason’s knack for writing and passion for people drew him to a Bachelor’s in Communication and Journalism at Auckland University of Technology. When Jason’s 2020 Eurotrip was cancelled, he used his newly available time to become a news junky. He believes the MA of Journalism at the RUG is a great opportunity to hone his skills and reconnect with his Dutch roots. In the future, Jason wants to work as a field reporter, ideally via written and radio media.
Lukas Stock, 23 years old, comes from Germany. He has a background in psychology but is deeply interested in politics, history and international relations. His curiosity and urge to dive deep into interesting untold things as well as his love for persuasive storytelling pulled him towards the field of journalism. Apart from beautifully crafted stories, his love for hot and spicy food is unparalleled.
Born and brought up in the suburbs of Paris by French and English parents, William has an academic background in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Exeter. Not only does he want to do journalism to bring untold stories to life, but as a future journalist, he also aims to contribute to and enhance journalistic integrity.
Leon Woudstra is from Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. He was ten years old when he saw his neighbors leave for holidays to Israel, the country he only knew as a warzone from the news. That was pivotal: he recently spent a summer in Israel to learn Hebrew, and studied International Relations and International Organization in Groningen, focusing on national security and digital technology. Leon’s journalistic ambitions came later, and he cites Christiane Amanpour as an inspiration. As he realized at ten years old, balanced media can help people understand. He wants to do this by making documentaries, features and profiles. Not necessarily on international affairs only though: he would also love to follow Patty Brard for a year.
Emily Zaal is both Dutch and American but, before her family eventually settled in Wisconsin, she had a fairly nomadic childhood. She credits this constant movement for giving her the sense of adventure to move across the Atlantic and pursue her studies in Groningen. Due to her lifelong love of writing, Emily started to work for UKrant in March 2020 and from there, her passion for writing has grown into one for journalism. In particular, she loves feature writing as it allows her to really explore and tell the story of one particular subject in detail.
Anna Zwettler is from Stuttgart, Germany. Before coming to Groningen, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Culture Studies from Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is passionate about arts, digital drawing, reading contemporary fiction and thrillers, and writing. It is her love for the latter that prompted her to do journalism in the first place. Anna wishes to write human-interest stories and cultural features, specifically those concerning arts. She hates asparagus with a passion.