Introducing: The Winter 2019 Full Spectrum Cohort

We’re proud to welcome the Winter 2019 class to AIR’s Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive. This group brings together makers from throughout the United States, and spans a wide range of interests including audio ephemera, communal listening experiences, comedy, video games, ice cream cakes, and then some. Their storytelling expertise runs the gamut, from radio art to digital journalism to film and television production. This December, the Winter 2019 Full Spectrum cohort will gather at UnionDocs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a week of learning and exploring with the guidance of co-leaders Chiquita Paschal and Cher Vincent. Meet the cohort below!

Myra Al-Rahim (she/her) is an audio producer currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Outside of her day job editing audio, she considers herself a practitioner of hauntological radio art. Many of her performances and compositions are preoccupied with the physicality of analog technologies and emphasizing the material qualities of playback systems that enable us to access recorded sounds. She is an avid synthesist and the use of electronic music tech is prevalent in most of her work. She is also a restless collector of audio ephemera from the past. In an ever privatizing world, Myra believes that airwaves remain one of the last domains truly reserved for the public. In all her compositions, she is dedicated to channeling the public spirit.

Heloiza Barbosa (she/her) is creator/producer of Faxina Podcast, a Portuguese-language podcast of stories that get swept under the rug. She is also a Brazilian academic researcher and a writer whose work has appeared in Alpaca literary magazine and other international academic and literary publications. Heloiza believes that the future of podcasting sounds like women, people of color, queer individuals, and immigrants.

Ellen Berkovitch (she/her) is an award-winning documentary radio producer and podcaster, as well as a digital journalism entrepreneur and writer. She has been news director of Santa Fe Public Radio. In 2018 she contributed a long-form investigative environmental radio documentary about uranium pollution on Navajo Nation to KRCB/NPR One. Ellen is now at work on two new podcasts as well as on a participatory journalism initiative, the Re-Voice Project, to amplify voices of people experiencing homelessness as experts in the accelerating social crisis. She moved back to her hometown of New York City from New Mexico in September 2018. In 2019 she has participated in #50WomenCan (Take the Lead in Journalism), a women’s journalism leadership training program. She’ll begin teaching journalism at Pratt Institute in January 2020.

Molly Born (she/her) is a journalist and producer living in West Virginia. She has spent 2019 working on film projects with documentary filmmaker, Elaine McMillion Sheldon. In 2018, Born was a fellow with Report for America, an organization that places journalists in under-covered areas. As a fellow, she covered issues in southern West Virginia for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the state’s NPR member station, and was a finalist for the 2019 Livingston Award. Before that, Born worked six years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Elizabeth Friend (she/her) is freelance journalist and audio producer based in North Carolina. She’s also the co-creator of Audio Under the Stars, the largest outdoor audio documentary festival in the Southeast. Each summer Audio Under the Stars shares a selection of original stories and thoughtfully curated favorites designed to bring the world of audio storytelling out of your earbuds and into the outdoors, creating a one-of-a-kind communal listening experience.

Robin Gelfenbien (she/her) is the Ambassador of Fun aka an NYC-based storyteller, writer, comedian and host. She’s a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner who has performed on PBS, RISK!, Mortified and countless shows. She’s also shared the stage with luminaries like Hannah Gadsby, Trevor Noah and more. She’s the Creator and Host of the storytelling series and podcast, Yum’s the Word, which features her homemade ice cream cakes. The show has been named a New York Times and Time Out New York Critic’s Pick.

Andrea Gutierrez (she/her) produces interviews and features for The Frame, a daily arts and culture radio show by NPR station KPCC. She is drawn to stories about the intersections of gender, race, class, and ability in arts and culture. Her work has appeared in print, digital, and audio in various outlets, including BBC World Service, The Current (CBC), LAist, The California Sunday Magazine, Marfa Public Radio, and Bitch. In 2019 she was an AIR New Voices Scholar and a finalist in KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race. Andrea received an MFA in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and B.A. in German studies at Scripps College. Social: @AndreaGtrrz

Alisha Hall (she/her) is the creator and producer of the weekly podcast Tell It. Each episode is less than five minutes long and offers listeners little nuggets of wisdom. She’s worked as a board operator and Freelancer for WFYI in Indianapolis, staff writer with FAF Collective, and she was a 2016 New Voice Scholar. Alisha is from University Park, Illinois. She is a mother, college graduate, crybaby, and an overall people-lover. She wants to tell whole stories that open minds, hearts, and inspires people to live fuller lives!

Ari(el) Mejia (she/her) is a Chicago native who believes multiple truths exist at once. She came to audio art and radio production by way of feminist praxis, community organizing and education. As well as working on independent audio projects Ari is the Assistant Director of Features at CHIRP Radio, a Chicago community radio station where she curates & produces interviews with Chicago-based artists. She is also the Youth Radio instructor for Chicago’s youth programming non-profit After School Matters.  Ari was a 2019 Air New Voices Scholar, and is a proud member and co-founder of the Radio (R)ejects, a queer + poc audio collective challenging what it means to make experimental work based out of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans. 

Ron Lyons (he/his) is an independent journalist and audio storyteller. He writes about culture and technology which can be found in 101.9 WDET, StoryCorps and Slate Magazine. When not working on stories he unwinds by video games, eating Korean food and traveling. Journalism like any other industry can have both it’s good and bad days, but he wouldn’t leave it for anything else in the world.

Cat Modlin-Jackson (she/her) is a freelance journalist and co-host/producer of WRIR’s Race Capitol, a weekly show that interrogates racial narratives in Richmond, Virginia — home to the former capitol grounds of the confederacy. Her educational background is in Middle Eastern politics and the Arabic language, which she studied intensively in Oman. She came to journalism by way of national politics after writing about the Women’s March in January, 2017. She’s done stints in New York, Tampa Bay, and Houston, where she covered gender, race, food, agriculture, and the political threads that tie it all together. 

Laurel Morales (she/her) has been a public radio reporter since 1998 but she has spent the majority of her career in northern Arizona covering Indian Country. During that time it’s been her mission to find innovative ways to break down complicated issues for local, regional and national public radio audiences. She has won several awards for her reporting and writing, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award for her continuing coverage of the Yarnell Hill Fire, the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighter hotshots. Her greatest accomplishments have been sparking dialogues, informing decision-makers and moving people to action.

Emerald O’Brien (she/her) is a multimedia storyteller with predilection for audio. Along with the arts of communication and narrative crafting, she’s interested the ways people create and consume stories as a way to engage their world. Since receiving a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, she has worked in various production and reporting roles at KBIA, NPR’s Morning Edition and APM Reports. She is currently a digital producer for American Public Media’s Live from here with Chris Thile.

Erika Romero (she/her) is a producer based in NYC. She’s traveled across the country in the iconic StoryCorps airstream trailer as part of the 2015 Mobile Tour, produced shows for Maeve in America and Mashup Americans. She is currently the associate producer for The Splendid Table.


Kip Reinsmith (he/his) is a writer, director, producer, and trans human who is passionate about unearthing stories and truths rarely told. His past podcasts include the time-traveling historical series Subframe about the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco, produced in partnership with the California Historical Society, and Marc Maron Presents: Classic Showbiz, about the untold history of comedy in the U.S. His audio work has been featured on WNYC’s Nancy and KALW. His directorial debut, a music video for Mal Blum’s Reality TV, was featured on NPR’s First Watch. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film and television production with a focus on documentary studies.