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Welcome to SPJ@AU!  Explore our site and discover what SPJ@AU is all about!

Check out our LinkedIn group (and join the conversation!) at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13605306.

Our 2019-2020 President and Vice-Presidents are Jessica DeSoto and Allison Birrell.

If you are interested in serving on our executive committee, positions are available and I encourage you to reach out to our faculty officers, Dr. Andrea Dilworth (andrea.dilworth@ashford.edu) and Prof. Matthew Lewerenz (matt.lewerenz@ashford.edu). 

We welcome your ideas and engagement and hope you will join us in strengthening our membership through your participation!

Again, welcome to SPJ@AU!

Best, 

SPJ Faculty Officers

Dr. Taylor-Moore, Dr. Dilworth, and Prof. Lewerenz

2019-2020 Ashford SPJ Chapter President Jessica DeSoto:

DeSoto (2)

I am Jessica De Soto, President of the SPJ @ Ashford. At a young age, I knew I had a gift to heal the broken and expose raw truths in ways my intellect wasn’t able to grasp. Throughout my life experiences, my footsteps have led me to capture people’s stories in ways that create awareness and inspire others, ushering me into pursing journalism with an unquestionable thirst and passion to fulfill my destiny.

In 2012, I joined the Viking newspaper at Long Beach City College as a staff writer, capturing the essence of people’s stories on topics including anorexia and women’s empowerment. I was later named Editor-in-Chief. As I continued to move forward with purpose, I found myself falling in love with photography. Although writing has been a part of my DNA from the beginning, photography has also enabled me to use my voice to illustrate the visions and stories of others.

After transferring to Ashford to obtain my Bachelor’s in Journalism and Communication, I chose to become President of the SPJ chapter because I believe it will establish a foundation for me to implement new opportunities for students in the program. Equally important, I hope to find myself as a rooted and vested reporter who will stand boldly in truth and accuracy as I strive to heal the broken and expose the raw truth with my stories.

2019-202 Ashford SPJ Vice-President Allison Birrell:

Allison Birrell headshot

My name is Allison Birrell, and I’m currently double majoring in Environmental Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication. Combining my passions for writing with environmental advocacy has allowed me to gain exceptional knowledge about a subject that I want to report on once I graduate.

My ultimate goal is to translate information about the environment into a form that is understandable to all audiences. Through investigatory work, I want to encourage readers to consider all of the Earth’s ecosystems, and help people understand how their actions impact the natural environment. We are at a critical point in history, facing issues both environmental and humanitarian. Reporting on both subjects is the purpose of journalism, and I fully intend to fulfill my duty.

I was introduced to SPJ through my News Reporting and Editing courses at Ashford. Becoming a member of SPJ has provided me with opportunities to improve and hone my skills as an aspiring journalist. The chance to become a member of an organization directly affiliated with my major has inspired me to become an officer for our SPJ Chapter. This role will better prepare me for a career in journalism, and I believe my passion for reporting will encourage others to join our society.