Staff

Roger Boye

Roger Boye

Program Director
  • Cherub history: Boye has been a part of the cherub program for 45 years. He was the associate director before becoming program director in 1985.
  • Work experience: Associate professor emeritus at Northwestern University. Served as Medill assistant dean and director of the Medill undergraduate program for 18 years. Graduated from University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree and from Medill with a master’s degree.
  • Interesting fact: Raises beefsteak begonias.
  • Frequently says: “Medill, period. As in, end of sentence.”

Joe Grimm

Joe Grimm

Head Instructor
  • Cherub history: Instructor since 2009.
  • Work experience: Visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. Teaches editing, career branding and reporting, among other things. Has written several books including “Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors,” “100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans” and “Coney Detroit.” Worked as a recruiter at the Detroit Free Press for 18 years. Recruited for the Freedom Forum and Patch.
  • Interesting fact: Taught in Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  • Frequently says: “Sometimes you have to go against the crowd for what you believe in.”

Sarahmaria Gomez

Sarahmaria Gomez

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Instructor since 2005.
  • Work experience: A lecturer at Medill who specializes in multimedia storytelling. She is director of Medill Media Teens, a mentoring program that pairs Medill undergraduates and teenagers interested in producing multimedia journalism. She ran Tu Multimedia for eight years. When she’s not teaching, Gomez creates short documentaries for foundations and non-profit organizations looking to make the world a better place.
  • Interesting fact: Loves Michael Jackson so much that when he died, people sent her condolences.
  • Frequently says: “My precious journalism babies.”

Katherine Dempsey

Katherine Dempsey

Instructor
  • Cherub history: 2010 cherub, 2015 instructor.
  • Work experience: 2015 Medill graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. Interned and wrote for Woman’s Day and Runner’s World. Will begin six-month internship at Men’s Health magazine in August.
  • Interesting fact: Has run two marathons and would love to qualify for Boston Marathon.
  • Frequently says: “Don’t stress out too much about trying to get into the perfect school, because you’ll end up where you are meant to go. You’ll end up in the place that’s best for you.”

Paulina Firozi

Paulina Firozi

Instructor
  • Cherub history: 2010 cherub, 2012 and 2013 community associate, 2015 instructor.
  • Work experience: 2015 Medill graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Has interned at Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and USA Today. Was editor-in-chief of The Daily Northwestern her junior year. Will return to USA Today to intern at the Washington Bureau in September.
  • Interesting fact: Studied classical ballet for 12 years
  • Frequently says: “Tweet that.”

Alexandria Johnson

Alexandria Johnson

Instructor
  • Cherub history: 2012 community associate, 2015 instructor.
  • Work experience: 2015 Medill graduate with master’s and bachelor’s degrees in journalism. Interned at ABC News, CBS 2 Chicago and Chicago Tonight. Worked at Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern for four years and will be a fellow there next year.
  • Interesting fact: Had a day named after her in her hometown of Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
  • Frequently says: “Seriously?!?!”

John Kupetz

John Kupetz

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Cherubs instructor since the early 1980s. Has taught several staff members, including instructor Cynthia Wang and guest instructor Bret Begun.
  • Work experience: Assistant professor at the College of Lake County, a Medill adjunct instructor and faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Communications Residential College. Previously, Kupetz was a placement director and assistant professor at Medill for 10 years. Has a master’s degrees from Medill and Bowling Green State University.
  • Interesting fact: “There’s nothing at all interesting about me. I have no personality.”
  • Frequently says: “There is no crying in journalism. We eat our wounded.”

Cynthia Wang

Cynthia Wang

Instructor
  • Cherub history: 1988 cherub, guest instructor 1994 to 2011 and full-time instructor since 2012.
  • Work experience: Graduated from Medill in 1993. Worked for People magazine for 18 years as an entertainment writer, reporter and editor. Traveled to five Olympic Games, nine “American Idol” finales and six “Survivor” locations. In 2011, left People and moved to Sydney. Now freelances for People and WHO (People’s Australian sister magazine).
  • Interesting fact: Can draw an object on paper with one hand and use the other hand to control a mouse to draw the same object on a computer.
  • Frequently says: “So imagine you have a hedgehog.”

Charles Whitaker

Charles Whitaker

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Full-time instructor since 2012.
  • Work experience: Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Medill and is the Helen Gurley Brown Research Chair at Northwestern. Was a senior editor at Ebony magazine before he started teaching at Northwestern. Worked as a newspaper reporter for the Miami Herald and Louisville Times. Has written for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and Essence magazine, among others. Currently is a doctoral candidate in the Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy.
  • Interesting fact: Never went to third grade because he skipped from second grade to fourth grade.
  • Frequently says: “Try not to be so esoteric.”

Bret Begun

Bret Begun

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: 1993 cherub, 1995 community associate, instructor for 16 years.
  • Work experience: Articles editor at Details Magazine. Previously worked at Newsweek Magazine for 13 years, principally as front-of-the-book editor. Was National Affairs editor for the 2008 election. Covered the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Olympic Games.
  • Interesting fact: Can juggle.
  • Frequently says: “At your internship, volunteer for the crap jobs and do them with a smile.”

Jazmin Beltran

Jazmin Beltran

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Guest instructor since 2013.
  • Work experience: Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Medill. Worked as a reporter and editor for the Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin. Was assignment editor, writer, online producer and publisher for Univision Chicago. Now is a freelance news reporter for Univision Chicago and adjunct lecturer at Medill.
  • Interesting fact: Considered working for the CIA while attending Northwestern.
  • Frequently says: “You can look at every situation in a positive light or a negative light. Choose positive. You’ll always get a better result.”

Tom Giratikanon

Tom Giratikanon

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: 2004 cherub, 2009 instructor, guest instructor from 2010 to 2015.
  • Work experience: A graphics editor for The New York Times, he co-founded Code With Me, coding tutorials to help journalists gain data storytelling skills, with guest instructor Sisi Wei. Previously worked as a newsroom developer for The Boston Globe, 2010 to 2012.
  • Interesting fact: Co-founded a short-lived, deep-frying restaurant at Northwestern for journalism students.
  • Frequently says: “Sup?”

Lindsey Kratochwill

Lindsey Kratochwill

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: 2010 and 2011 community associate, 2012 instructor, guest instructor since 2013.
  • Work experience: After graduating from Medill in 2012, interned at Fast Company magazine. In 2013, became an editorial assistant at Popular Science magazine. Now assistant editor at Popular Science.
  • Interesting fact: The tree frog is her favorite animal.
  • Frequently says: “Lovely.”

Mary Lou Song

Mary Lou Song

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: 1986 cherub, cherub instructor for 12 years.
  • Work experience: Has a bachelor’s degree from Medill and a master’s degree from Stanford. Joined eBay in 1996 as its third employee. Has built Internet companies as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur for the past 16 years. Launched Tokoni Inc., a story-sharing site, and Ongo, an aggregated news service. Currently CEO of FuelX.
  • Interesting fact: Learned to walk on fire.
  • Frequently says: “Shame.”

Sisi Wei

Sisi Wei

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Guest instructor in 2014 and 2015.
  • Work experience: News applications developer for ProPublica since 2013, and co-founded Code With Me with fellow guest instructor Tom Giratikanon. Previously, Wei was a graphics editor for the Washington Post and interned at the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. Interactive editor at North by Northwestern before graduating from Medill in 2011.
  • Interesting fact: Is really good at Argentine tango ballroom dancing.
  • Frequently says: “Does that make sense?”

Andy Brown

Andy Brown

Community associate
  • Cherub history: 2013 cherub, 2015 community associate.
  • Work experience: Sophomore at Medill. Sports editor at North by Northwestern.
  • Interesting fact: Can’t hear in his left ear.
  • Frequently says: “Come on, guys. Please be quiet.”

Natalie Escobar

Natalie Escobar

Community associate
  • Cherub history: 2013 cherub, 2015 community associate.
  • Work experience: Sophomore at Medill. Photo director at North by Northwestern.
  • Interesting fact: Her twin brother goes to a college whose mascot is also the Wildcats.
  • Frequently says: “Guys!”

Mia Zanzucchi

Mia Zanzucchi

Community associate
  • Cherub history: 2013 cherub, 2015 community associate.
  • Work experience: Sophomore at Medill. Intern at Young Rider Magazine 2013-2015. Takes photos and videos for North by Northwestern.
  • Interesting fact: Put a Northwestern sock monkey on her high school graduation hat.
  • Frequently says: “Super!”