Staff

Roger Boye

Roger Boye

Program Director
  • Cherub history: Boye has been a part of the cherub program for 47 years. He was the associate director before becoming program director in 1985.
  • Work experience: Boye is an associate professor emeritus at Northwestern University and served as Medill assistant dean and director of the Medill undergraduate program for 18 years. He is faculty chair of Northwestern’s Communications Residential College and parliamentarian of the Northwestern Faculty Senate. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree and from Medill with a master’s degree.
  • Interesting fact: He raises beefsteak begonias.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “How to live a good life.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Everything.”

Sarahmaria Gomez

Assistant Director
  • Cherub history: She was the 2017 assistant director and has been a cherubs instructor since 2005.
  • Work experience: Gomez is 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 nonprofit organizations looking to make the world a better place. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees for Medill.
  • Interesting fact: Gomez loves Michael Jackson so much that when he died, people sent her condolences.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Remember that they have worked hard to build a strong journalism foundation over the past five weeks and no matter where they end up going to college, they’re going to be rock star journalists.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Teaching the TV broadcast editing class where the students actually sit up at the anchor desk. Usually, students are pretty serious about that workshop, but this year we had a pretty fun group.”

Joe Grimm

Co-Head Instructor
  • Cherub history: He has been an instructor since 2009.
  • Work experience: Grimm is visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism and teaches editing, career branding and reporting, among other things. His students publish “bias busters,” a series of guides about cultural competence. The guides have covered African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, East Asian cultures, veterans, immigrants and more. He worked as a recruiter at the Detroit Free Press for 18 years and recruited for the Freedom Forum and Patch.
  • Interesting fact: He taught two times each in Saudi Arabia and Russia between 2014 and 2017.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “A deeper love for the things they are passionate about and the tools to keep learning.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Seeing them conquer their fears and grow.”

Mary Lou Song

Co-Head Instructor
  • Cherub history: She was a cherub in 1986 and has been a cherub instructor for 14 years.
  • Work experience: Song has a bachelor’s degree from Medill and a master’s degree from Stanford. She joined eBay in 1996 and has built internet companies as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur for the past 16 years. She founded FuelX, an advertising technology company that will expand into advertising for virtual reality and augmented reality, and served as the CEO for four years. She now serves as an executive chairman. “I believe that my career in technology and startups began at cherubs. Even though I studied journalism, cherubs prepared me for much, much more. The program teaches students skills, such as writing, editing, interviewing and storytelling. And then it goes even further and gives students the courage to pursue their passions in any field.”
  • Interesting fact: She learned to walk on fire.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “I hope everyone walks away believing that they can do anything — that they can walk on fire, too.”
  • Cherub highlight: “I love working with the students and watching them take their walk on fire.”

John Kupetz

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Kupetz has been a cherubs instructor since the early 1980s. He has taught several staff members, including guest instructors Cynthia Wang and Bret Begun.
  • Work experience: Kupetz is a professor at the College of Lake County, a Medill adjunct professor and faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Communications Residential College. Previously, he was a placement director and assistant professor at Medill for 10 years. He has master’s degrees from Medill and Bowling Green State University.
  • Interesting fact: “There’s nothing at all interesting about me. I have no personality.”
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Journalism requires the Wizard of Oz virtues — courage, heart and brains — and you find them inside yourself.”
  • Cherub highlight: “I enjoy talking to students about great films when they’ve come to it for the first time.”

Carlin McCarthy

Instructor
  • Cherub history: McCarthy was a first-year cherub instructor.
  • Work experience: McCarthy is a 2017 Medill graduate. She has interned with ABC News, PBS, TimeOut Chicago and Scholastic magazines. She directed short documentaries on LGBTQ elderly housing discrimination in Chicago and grassroots protests against the Trump administration. While at Northwestern, she was the news director of the Northwestern News Network and a Medill Media Teens mentor.
  • Interesting fact: She once spent a day shooting videos with Hamilton cast members.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “You are capable of a lot more than you believe. Take chances, make mistakes and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Meeting one-on-one with my students. It was great to get to know them and learn about their passions. I always walked out of those meetings inspired and hopeful about the future of journalism.”

Alex Duner

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Duner was a first-year cherub instructor.
  • Work experience: Duner is a 2017 Medill graduate who majored in journalism and minored in computer science. He will start working as a front-end web developer at Axios right after cherubs ends. He interned at Axios, BuzzFeed, The New York Times and the Texas Tribune. He was a student fellow at the Knight Lab and the webmaster at North by Northwestern.
  • Interesting fact: Duner once interviewed Akon in Washington, D.C.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “The news industry is constantly changing, but you don’t have to be at the mercy of other people’s plans. You have the power and tools to build the future of news that you want to see.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Teaching Code-off (an optional Sunday coding club). It was so fun watching everybody learn and get excited about building cool things and making websites.”

Karen Springen

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Springen was a cherub instructor in 2010 and 2017.
  • Work experience: Springen has taught at Medill since the spring of 2004. She also directs Medill’s journalism residency program. Springen holds an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford and graduated from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She worked at Newsweek for 24 years, but always freelanced on the side. She has been published in Elle, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, and other publications and still writes a review every week for Booklist.
  • Interesting fact: She ran the Boston Marathon while pregnant.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Take that extra step, make that extra call and have that fire in your belly.”
  • Cherub highlight: The Sunday blog club because the students are creative and enthusiastic.

Desi Hanford

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Hanford was a first-year cherub instructor.
  • Work experience: Hanford has her undergraduate degree in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and graduated from Medill’s graduate school in 1996. She worked at Dow Jones as a business reporter for about a decade and now teaches sports, news and business writing at Medill full time. Hanford is also a contributing editor to a B2B publication.
  • Interesting fact: Hanford was born on the same day as her husband, just in different years.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Never stop believing in yourself and trust your gut instinct because it’s typically right. Be confident even when you might be scared.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Being reminded of how talented and hard-working high school students are, given their age.”

Tania Karas

Instructor
  • Cherub history: Karas was a 2006 cherub and 2017 instructor.
  • Work experience: Karas graduated from Medill in 2011. She covered courts in New York City for two years before becoming a freelance journalist based in Lebanon. Karas reported on refugees in Greece and Turkey as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow in 2015 and 2016.
  • Interesting fact: She is deaf and wears cochlear implants.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Listen to the voice inside of you. If there is a story you really want to tell or a place you want to report from, you don’t need anyone else’s permission. Just go.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Being able to get to know a great group of journalists and watching them grow in five short weeks.”

Bret Begun

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: He was a cherub in 1993, a community associate in 1995 and has been an instructor for 16 years.
  • Work experience: Begun is an editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. He was the articles editor for Details magazine and worked at Newsweek magazine for 13 years, principally as its front-of-the-book editor. He was Newsweek’s national affairs editor for the 2008 election and covered the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Olympic Games.
  • Interesting fact: He can juggle.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Have a five-year plan.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Getting to see Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”

Cynthia Wang

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Wang was a 1988 cherub, a guest instructor for 18 years and a full-time instructor from 2012-2016.
  • Work experience: Wang graduated from Medill in 1993. She worked for People Magazine for 18 years as an entertainment writer, reporter and editor. She has traveled to five Olympic Games, nine “American Idol” finales and six “Survivor” locations. In 2011, Wang left People and moved to Australia where she is now a staff writer for Who (People’s Australian sister magazine).
  • Interesting fact: Wang 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.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “There are media jobs waiting for them as soon as they graduate and they have a network of fellow cherubs, staff and alumni eager to help them pursue their careers. That — and to beware of sexy people.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Seeing cherubs create their own amazing magazines.”

Tom Giratikanon

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Giratikanon was a 2004 cherub, a 2009 instructor and has been a guest instructor since 2010.
  • Work experience: Giratikanon is 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. He was a newsroom developer for The Boston Globe, from 2010 to 2012.
  • Interesting fact: Giratikanon co-founded a short-lived, deep-frying restaurant at Northwestern for journalism students.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Work hard.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Working with students to help them learn to code.”

Lindsey Kratochwill

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Kratochwill was a 2010 and 2011 community associate, a 2012 instructor and has been a guest instructor since 2013.
  • Work experience: After graduating from Medill in 2012, Kratochwill interned at Fast Company magazine. In 2013, she became an editorial assistant, and then assistant editor at Popular Science. She produced podcasts for The Week magazine and is now an assistant producer at Panoply. She also was managing editor of the Medill alumni magazine.
  • Interesting fact: The tree frog is her favorite animal.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “That cherubs leave feeling inspired to try new things.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Hearing the audio stories the students produced and watching them work with audio for the first time.”

Sisi Wei

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Wei has been a guest instructor since 2014.
  • Work experience: Wei is the deputy editor for news apps at ProPublica. She served as a news app developer there from 2013-2016 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. She was the interactive editor at North by Northwestern before graduating from Medill in 2011.
  • Interesting fact: Wei is really good at Argentine tango ballroom dancing.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Journalism is always changing, but we are the ones changing it. Cherubs should feel free to experiment with all kinds of storytelling and to see what really speaks to them.”
  • Cherub highlight: An interactive stories presentation in which she got to show cherubs all the different things they can do with data design and coding.

Kristina Karisch

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Karisch was a 2015 cherub and 2017 community associate.
  • Work experience: Karisch will be a web editor for The Daily Northwestern in the fall and spent two quarters as an assistant city editor. She will spend the upcoming winter quarter in Washington, D.C. at the Medill on the Hill program.
  • Interesting fact: Her first language is German.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make the most of every minute.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Seeing friendships form so quickly and everybody get along so well.”

Syd Stone

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Stone was a 2015 cherub and a 2017 community associate.
  • Work experience: Stone worked as a reporter for The Daily Northwestern in the fall and winter of 2016 and then worked as the assistant city editor in the spring quarter of 2017. She will be a copy chief for The Daily in the fall and will be in Washington, D.C., for Medill on the Hill for the winter quarter.
  • Interesting fact: She plays the cello.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Find a balance between staying up super late so as not to miss out on anything but to get enough sleep so you don’t nap in class.”
  • Cherub highlight: Junior Junior Olympics

Alex Schwartz

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Schwartz was a cherub in 2015 and community associate in 2017.
  • Work experience: Schwartz is a columnist for The Daily Northwestern, photo director for Spoon University and producer of Mee-Ow Comedy.
  • Interesting fact: He lives five minutes from Disney World.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Don’t come in thinking that you will have a specific experience. Just be open to trying new things and learning about things in journalism that you haven’t previously been exposed to. They will prepare you well for studying journalism or having it as a career.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Probably posing as an androgynous ‘angry parent’ during the meeting story.”