January 7, 2022

SJI welcomes 16 students to its 30th class

SJI Staff

Sixteen students will be part of the Sports Journalism Institute’s milestone 30th class. The students from universities around the nation will come together in late May -- either in person or virtually -- to prepare for internships this summer at newspapers, networks and multimedia sports outlets.  

The class includes five women and 11 men. Four universities each have two students in the class—the University of South Florida, the University of Missouri, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Arizona State University. The class also includes students from three schools that have not previously been part of SJI —Boston College, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Quinnipiac University.

Eighteen students were chosen for the class but Lia Assimakopoulos of Northwestern and Emily Leiker of the University of Missouri each have accepted a full-time job and we congratulate them on their moves.

“I am extremely proud that the students will be part of a historic moment for SJI,” co-director Leon Carter said. “When a group of NABJ and APSE members discussed a boot camp at the NABJ Convention in Detroit in 1992, who in the group thought SJI still would be thriving today? My one piece of advice to the 2022 Class: Be prepared to work hard; you have a lot to live up to.”

SJI thanks all its hosts, partners and sponsors, including the Gannett Foundation and the Gannett news organizations. Seven Gannett newspapers will serve as intern hosts in 2022—USA Today, The Tennessean, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Louisville Courier-Journal, The Oklahoman and the Tuscaloosa News. Longtime partner ESPN will also host an intern.

In addition to these partners, SJI also thanks Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Malcolm Moran, whose guidance on deadline writing and other topics has been a staple of SJI boot camps for over a decade. We also thank the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where SJI was in residence for seven boot camps. We also thank David Squires, a member of the North Carolina A&T faculty and a member of the SJI leadership team from the beginning who annually makes sure SJI students are well-versed in editing and storytelling on any platform.

We also thank Arizona State University, which has hosted SJI’s boot camp the past three summers and will do so again this year. The program was conducted on-site in 2019 but moved to virtual in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Bootcamp will begin May 21 with orientation and wrap up on May 28. During the week, students will hear from newsroom professionals and academics on topics ranging from ethics in the press box, to diversity in the media, to tips on beat coverage. Students also will hear from SJI alums who have used the program as a launching pad to careers at places such as ESPN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and The Athletic. SJI training emphasizes deadline reporting and writing whether in person or via zoom.

The 2022 class includes seven Black students, four Hispanic Americans and three Asian Americans.

“From Day One, SJI has been a rainbow coalition and our 30th class exemplifies that,” co-director Sandy Rosenbush said. “And in answer to Leon’s question about which of us expected SJI to be going strong at 30 – none of us! But we are all grateful that it is: This industry needs our graduates now more than ever.”

The Class of 2022

Devin Bradshaw

Arizona State University



Toyloy Brown III

Quinnipiac University


USA Today

Alberto Camargo 

University of South Florida 


Knoxville News Sentinel

Derrian Carter

Arizona State University

Graduate student

Tuscaloosa News

Alexis Davis

North Carolina A&T State University


The Commercial Appeal

Roshan Fernandez

Syracuse University


Seattle Times

Nathan Han

University of Texas at Austin


Kansas City Star 

Emma Healy

Boston College


The Tennessean 

Jeremiah Holloway 

North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Louisville Courier-Journal

Marissa Kraus 

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The Denver Post

Callie Lawson-Freeman

San Francisco State University



Joel Lorenzi

University of Missouri-Columbia


Houston Chronicle

Peter Morales

North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The Washington Post

Varun Shankar

University of Maryland


Charlotte Observer

Richard Silva

University of South Florida

Detroit News


Payton Titus

University of Florida


Yahoo! Sports

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