Meeting my UCSD Extension Digital Journalism colleagues Tuktuki and Yesenia and our instructor, longtime freelance journalist Sylvia Mendoza, the first night of class made me proud to be an American (a rare sentiment during this Trumped-up era).
Tuktuki (or Tuks for short) arrived in the United States in August 2016. She hails from Calcutta, India, where she worked as a freelance content producer and program head in radio and television. She and her husband, who works at UCSD, came to California on a 5-year visa.
In less than a year, she's become the Wonder Woman of volunteerism. She's done much to make America great by donating her time and talent to the WorldBeat Center in Balboa Park, the UCSD Friends of International Students and the La Jolla Playhouse.
Yesenia, a Latinx intellectual and activist, graduated from UCSD in 2008. During her post-graduate years, she's devoted herself to making America great through profound civic and literary engagement.
A politicized Wonder Woman, she spent two years at the American Civil Liberties Union advocating for repeal of California's death penalty. She also worked on developing the Democratic Socialists of America's platform to revitalize the Democratic party as a more progressive force.
She recently cofounded and serves as poetry editor of Lumen, a digital literary magazine. Future plans include pursuing an MFA in poetry.
Our instructor Sylvia aims to impart the journalistic wisdom she's accrued through years of freelancing. Her high ethical standards and experience will up our games as writers, journalists and power-of-the-press advocates.