Roger Boye

Roger Boye

Program Director
  • Cherub history: Boye has been a part of the cherub program since 1971. He was 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. For many years he wrote for the Chicago Tribune and the Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the Year. 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.”

Joe Grimm

Co-Head Instructor
  • Cherub history: Grimm has been an instructor since 2009.
  • Work experience: Grimm is visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism, where he teaches reporting, editing, career branding and 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: “The Faygo Book” by Grimm came out in 2018. It follows “Coney Detroit,” another book about an iconic Detroit food.
  • 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: Song was a cherub in 1986 and has been a cherub instructor since 2003.
  • 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, 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

  • 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

  • Cherub history: McCarthy was a cherub instructor in 2017 and 2018.
  • 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.”

Lauren Harris

  • Cherub history: Harris was a first-year cherub instructor.
  • Work experience: Harris graduated from Medill in 2018 with a degree in journalism and integrated marketing communications. She worked for the Chicago Reporter as a multimedia intern, the New York Times as a motion graphics intern and Bustle as a video and motion graphics intern. After the program, she will be a page for NBC.
  • Interesting fact: Harris is obsessed with the SIMS game and plays around three times a week (not during the program, though).
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “The courage and confidence to learn something new even if it’s not necessarily given to them on a platter by schools and educators and that they feel free to try new things on their own.”
  • Cherub highlight: “I am excited that Haus of Harris is making a reality TV show on their own.”

Austin Siegel

  • Cherub history: Siegel was a first-year cherub instructor.
  • Work experience: Siegel worked for North by Northwestern and interned with the Northwestern athletic department as a student. He got a job with the Cubs, NBC sports, and then the Chicago Blackhawks, where he will be a content intern next year.
  • Interesting fact: Siegel was on America’s Got Talent when he was a sophomore in high school.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Be more comfortable doing stuff, not for the greed, but because you just want to do the best that you can. You have a better idea of how much of yourself you have to put into something to feel like you really did your best.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Getting to know the instructors in a different way. I had Mary Lou, Joe and Roger as my instructors, and so getting to know them as friends was really rewarding.”

Karen Springen

  • Cherub history: Springen was a cherub instructor in 2010, 2017 and 2018.
  • 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.


Mia Zanzucchi

  • Cherub history: Zanzucchi was a part-time photo instructor. 
  • Work experience: As a student at Northwestern, Zanzucchi worked for North by Northwestern as an editor, managing editor and multimedia contributor. She has also worked with Young Rider magazine, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Northwestern Athletics, NBC Olympics and The Dodo. 
  • Interesting fact: She worked the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Olympic shift.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “I think they should really take away the network we have here. It’s really strong, both from instructors and from students. These are lifelong friends you’re going to have.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Seeing students improve their photography throughout the summer. [They went] from sending my not great pictures of backs of heads, or we don’t know what’s going on, to amazing pictures that could easily be published, right off the bat.”

Stephanie Zimmermann

  • Cherub history: Zimmermann joined cherubs as an instructor in 2018.
  • Work experience: Before cherubs, Zimmermann worked as an investigative reporter at ABC News, where she focused on consumer issues. Prior to that, she was a columnist, reporter and assistant city editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. She also reported for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. After the program, she plans to return to the Sun-Times.
  • Interesting fact: When she was in her mid-20s, Zimmermann spent a year in Kenya, working in relief and development. She ended up freelancing for Voice of America and interning at a newspaper there as well. Zimmermann ultimately decided journalism was still right for her.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “You all should be there for each other, you should support each other. You will see these people again. You will go to school with them, you will work with them, you will cross paths again. I love seeing cherubs supporting each other, because we can all learn from each other.”
  • Cherub highlight: “It was really nice to take the cherubs to see the Sun-Times because I spent a good part of my career there, and I’m about to go back and it was really nice to see the enthusiasm and excitement they had for a great Chicago newspaper. It was a nice way to blend old and new.”

Bret Begun

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: He was a cherub in 1993, a community associate in 1995 and has been an instructor for 17 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!”

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 a 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.”

Cynthia Wang

Guest Instructor
  • Cherub history: Wang was a 1988 cherub, a guest instructor for 19 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.”


Gabby Birenbaum

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Gabby Birenbaum was a 2016 cherub and 2018 community associate.
  • Work experience: Birenbaum worked as a reporter for The Daily Northwestern in the fall and winter of 2017. She then worked as an assistant campus editor in the spring and will be a web editor in fall 2018. She worked as an intern for Bill Shapiro in the summer of 2017 and contributed to Riggo’s Rag and Busting Brackets.
  • Interesting fact: Birenbaum runs an Instagram account dedicated to mozzarella sticks called @friedcheeseplease.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “They should take away confidence in their journalism skills, so many new friendships and the opportunity to connect with all these people they didn’t know.”
  • Cherub highlight: “I loved Cheraoke. I loved seeing cherubs being creative and giving their all and seeing what they came up with and everyone working as a team.”

Andrew Golden

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Andrew Golden was a 2016 cherub and 2018 community associate.
  • Work experience: Golden writes for the Daily Northwestern and he used to write pieces for the Baltimore Sun.
  • Interesting fact: Golden has been to Brazil and Argentina.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “Take what you learned from cherubs and continue to grow. Never be afraid to reach out to your CAs and instructors.”
  • Cherub highlight: “Planning and watching the mandatory fun events for this year.”

Marissa Martinez

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Marissa Martinez was a 2016 cherub and 2018 community associate.
  • Work experience: As a freshman, Martinez was assistant opinion editor for two quarters at The Daily Northwestern. Over the summer, she was a copy chief. Next fall, she will be an opinion editor.
  • Interesting fact: “I speak two languages and am slowly learning Arabic, French and Korean.”
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “I want cherubs to feel more confident in their journalism skills and themselves. Even though we threw a lot at them, they came out of every assignment having given it their all. I’ve never seen a group of more creative teens in the same room.”
  • Cherub highlight: “My favorite cherub memory is watching charades. It was hilarious to see the students start so well and end up in a completely different, place.”

Amanda Rooker

Community Associate
  • Cherub history: Amanda Rooker was a 2016 cherub and 2018 community associate.
  • Work experience: Rooker worked as a staff reporter and newscast host for Northwestern’s student broadcast, Northwestern News Network. She was editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, The Express, and she has previously written for The Orange County Register.
  • Interesting fact: Rooker tried to start her own company in the third grade called IntPeople that consisted of plush dolls that would be registered with an online game, inspired by Webkinz.
  • What cherubs should take away from the summer: “I hope that cherubs can learn and grow both as journalists and as people. I hope they come away with lifetime friendships and a great Twitter bio.”
  • Cherub highlight: “The first Sunday show-off was definitely a highlight for me. I found my passion for broadcast when I was a cherub, so seeing that same discovery in some of the cherubs this year was so special for me. It was amazing to watch them learn everything in only a few hours and then write, anchor, report and produce their own show–and the laughter and bonding that happened throughout made it one of my favorite cherub moments.”