Biographies

From left to right: Leonardo, Rhazi, Geraldine, Maral, Holly, Christopher, and Aurelio.

Geraldine Cols Azocar is the producer and anchor for News 12 En Español serving the communities of New Jersey and The Bronx. Born and raised in Venezuela, Geraldine Cols Azócar joined the News 12 En Español team in July of 2010.

Before working at News 12 Networks, Geraldine worked as a reporter and producer for KOMU TV, the NBC Affiliate in Columbia, Missouri. She was also and as an anchor and production assistant for STL-TV, a local programming channel in St. Louis, Missouri. While working for KOMU 8 –TV Geraldine was one of the creators of “KOMU En Español”, a web series in Spanish started in 2006 while Geraldine was still a journalism student helping out with a series called “Immigration in Depth”. The series earned Geraldine and KOMU 8-TV a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award.

Geraldine also worked for Newsy.com in 2008 and for Orinoco Televisión in Venezuela as a reporter for the beat of politics and unions in 2007. Geraldine has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Webster University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Holly Edgell is the coordinator of Youth in Media 2011. She is a Regional Editor for Patch.com, a network of more than 800 local news websites across the United States. Born in Belize, Holly lived abroad most of her life, but maintains close ties with family in Belize City. She was the first news director for Great Belize Television’s “News Five” in 1991. “News 5” was the first independent television newscast to air in Belize.

Holly took a two-year detour into public relations before heading for graduate school the mid-1990’s. Her first job after grad school was as a newscast producer at WFMJ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio. From there she went to WTAE-TV (ABC) in Pittsburgh, also as a newscast producer. She switched gears to special projects producing in Cleveland at WOIO-TV (CBS) and later WDIV-TV (NBC) in Detroit. Holly’s teaching career began in 2001 at Florida A&M University, where she was an assistant professor of journalism. She joined the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 2006. Holly joined Patch.com in July 2010 and supervises 12 news websites in the St. Louis, Missouri region.

Rhazi Kone is the Haiti Project Manager for the Youth Section in the Division of Communication at UNICEF in New York.  He has led in partnership with the UNICEF Haiti Country offices. He has worked on a series of youth empowerment initiatives with a strong emphasis on traditional and new media as tools of civic and social action.

Rhazi is a citizen of Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, and holds a dual degree in Architecture and International Affairs from Columbia University

Nyasha Laing is a documentary filmmaker, writer, and consultant. As a consultant and former practicing lawyer, she has worked for international law firms, government agencies, and advocacy organizations in New York, Geneva, and Belize on a range of issues including copyright campaigns, traditional knowledge and folklore, immigrant rights, and juvenile justice.

Nyasha is the producer and director of Punta Soul (WOMEX IMZ Showcase 2008; Pan-African Film Festival, AFI Silver Festival 2010), which traces the evolution of popular afro-indigenous music from Belize.

Presently, she is producing youth media campaigns for organizations including her own, The Global Parish Project, a Belize-based organization dedicated to cultivating social and culturally relevant documentary storytelling through digital media and cross-cultural expression. Nyasha serves as a Jury Member for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 2011 Plural Awards for youth filmmakers.

Leonardo Melendez is a photographer and website designer based in Orange Walk, Belize. He got my first camera when he was in junior college. Around this time he started to blog. He is very fond of writing and having a camera at hand complimented the whole blogging thing. Eventually, he found himself spending more time working on photographs than writing. Since then photography has become a part of his life.

Christopher Saunders is a graduate student at the University of Missouri studying broadcast journalism and working at KOMU-TV as an anchor, producer and sports reporter.

Chris’s career started a lot closer to Belize—right here in the Caribbean.  He was a freelance sports print photographer 15 year ago in the Bahamas. He worked at several media houses in the Bahamas before landing at the national broadcaster as a sports anchor and producer.

Along the way he picked up several awards for sports journalism and feature reporting. The 2007 Paul Quinn College graduate (BA Mass Comm.) interned at NBC-5 (DFW) and The Dallas Weekly and has covered everything from hurricanes to elections to outer space aliens—ask him about that one, its a great story!

The 2002 CNN-International Fellow has also contributed to the CNN World Report, The Associated Press and BBC’s World Service. In his spare time he’s a basketball referee & swimming starter.

Aurelio Sho is the station manager of Ak’ Kutan Radio (96.1 FM) at the Tumul K’in Center of Learning in Blue Creek Village, Toledo District. The station reaches 95 percent of the Toledo District.

He holds a degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Belize and served as a police officer before becoming a media professional. He began his career in radio through UNESCO in 2005, when the agency was starting up a new community-based radio station in the Toledo District. He received training through UNESCO in Jamaica, Trinidad and the United States.

Aurelio pioneered the first community radio station in Toledo, and the second one in the country of Belize. In his six years as a broadcaster, Aurelio has worn many hats: technical work, fixing equipment, programming and production and working on the air. He became station manager of Ak’ Kutan Radio in 2009

Tumul K’in Center of Learning is a non-governmental Maya organization that promotes sustainable development with identity through intercultural education, training and research fusing modern and Mayan values, knowledge and philosophy. The radio station strives to improve the livelihood of rural Toledo through news coverage and programming about education, health, agriculture, entertainment, culture and music.

In 2010, Aurelio was a participant of Dateline: Belize, a training programme for professional Belizean journalists sponsored by the University of the West Indies, Open Campus, Belize.

Maral Usefi is the Senior Producer of Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel, the number one rated morning show on cable. She has worked as a TV reporter and anchor, shot and edited video and written for online publications and newspapers.

She has produced specials ranging from 50th anniversary programs, to live coverage of the California International Marathon. Maral has also planned and executed dozens of shows live on location – including the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, the Republican convention in Minneapolis, the 2009 Obama inauguration in Washington, DC and most recently the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London.

Previously, she worked at MSNBC in New York and KCRA in Sacramento. Maral is a proud University of Missouri alumna, with a dual degree in broadcast journalism and philosophy. She’s currently working on her masters in philosophy. In her spare time, she coaches girl’s lacrosse and volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the March of Dimes.


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