Multimedia Storyteller | Photojournalist | Writer

I am a freelance journalist and investigative journalism graduate student at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

When I was a sustainability reporter for Cronkite News, I led an investigation of the sewage crisis on the border, and that story won a 2019 Online News Association award and Associated College Press Best Multimedia Feature Story Package of the Year 2019. 

At that same time I was also reporting on the Venezuelan migration crisis in Peru, where one of my photos won a Society of Professional Journalists - Region 11 Mark of Excellence award.

View my most recent stories below:

Tempe PD pepper sprayed demonstrators at Saturday ‘chalk walk’ protest

A creative protest supporting the Black Lives Matters movement at Tempe Marketplace Saturday went from chalk art to chaos when Tempe police officers tackled three people to the ground and arrested them, while other officers used pepper spray on protesters who were obeying police commands to back up. Lisa Vu, who posted videos of what happened to her Instagram account, was filming as officers arrested and tackled a protester around 8 p.m. When she and Ryan Tice, another protester, asked the officers what the person was being arrested for, one responded, “None of your business.”

Trump protest turns violent when Phoenix PD fires flash-bangs, pepper balls

A peaceful protest of President Donald Trump outside of Dream City Church ended quickly Tuesday afternoon as the president spoke to some 3,000 attendees when Phoenix police officers fired flash-bang grenades, pepper balls and pepper spray into the crowd of more than 200 people, declaring it unlawful. The protest, organized by the W.E. Rising Project, walked from Cave Creek and Cactus roads in northeast Phoenix to the designated “free speech zone” surrounded by gates outside the church, about a half-mile away. After chanting in the zone, and running into about 10 counter-protesters,

Scottsdale police violence protest shuts down Old Town

As thousands marched through Old Town Scottsdale Sunday evening, united to protest police brutality against minorities, their chants echoed off the shops and restaurants that line Scottsdale Road and the surrounding area: “Say their names!” “No justice, no peace!” “I can’t breathe!” The protest was one of several on the 11th consecutive night of demonstrations across Arizona, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minnesota on May 25. That same day, Dion Johnson was shot and killed by a state trooper while sleeping in his car parked on the Loop 101 freeway. There has been little transparency from Phoenix Police Department, which is investigating the shooting, or the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and many questions remain about what happened that led an officer to shoot and kill the unarmed Johnson.

Black mothers: Action needed to keep our children alive

The 100 or so people who gathered in Eastlake Park near downtown Phoenix early Saturday evening heard one message over and over: Black lives matter to Black mothers. Janelle Wood, founder of Black Mothers Forum, led the event. She invited mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to join her briefly on stage in solidarity. Speakers, including youth activists, faith leaders, parents and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, spoke about what it means to be Black in America, ways the state and country can continue this dialogue and why this conversation on race is important.

Virus may bring greater medical and financial risks for undocumented

It’s been a month since Juana stopped taking her key medication to treat the chronic vascular disease that attacks her immune system and debilitates her blood vessels. She has had three heart attacks in the past eight years. Without the medication, Juana said it’s only a matter of time before her symptoms — burning sensations in her legs and feet, severe fatigue and difficulty walking — come back. Without treatment, she could eventually suffer organ failure and die. Juana, who asked that her l

Phoenix 911 Dispatchers Face Trauma, PTSD — But Aren't Classified As First Responders

Recent efforts to reclassify 911 operators and dispatchers as first responders federally are stalled. Those who work in the Phoenix alarm room, like Maria Abeyta, may not see trauma like police officers and firefighters, but they hear it. After her break, Abeyta sits down in her chair in front of seven glowing computer screens, two keyboards and mice. She plugs her headset in and slides it through her hair. The police radio chatter starts to filter in. “10-4 shots fired … white male had a gun

First of the first responders

PHOENIX – After nearly two decades, tens of thousands of calls and countless crises, a series of four calls broke Lauren Pacimeo. As a 911 dispatcher for the fire department, Pacimeo is trained to keep her composure on calls and always has. But in November, her 18 years in the dispatch room caught up with her. The first call was a battalion chief’s 14-year-old son with a fatal gunshot wound. Then she responded to a fire next to her aunt’s house. And after that, her friend dialed 911 when her s

NAU Shipping Wood Chips To South Korea To Help With Wildfire Prevention

Northern Arizona University has worked with multiple agencies for the past year to ship wood chips to South Korea. The process starts Wednesday, and it will help forest restoration efforts, prevent wildfires and bring in income to the state. Low-value wood, often in chips, costs Flagstaff about $40 per ton to transport to Phoenix, according to Han-Sup Han, a director at the Ecological Restoration Institute at NAU. He says that in Arizona, that’s more than it’s worth. “South Korea is a small co

Light Rail 'Respect The Ride' Staffers Aim To Boost Rider Experience

Valley Metro riders are being greeted with ambassadors at light rail stations. The staffers are part of the transit agency’s “Respect the Ride” program designed to boost rider experience. The employees are called “Customer Experience Coordinators,” or CECs, and is a response to rider safety complaints on light rail. Susan Tierney with Valley Metro said complaints have decreased by 40% since rolling out the “Respect the Ride” program. “It's someone that can help you out if you need help with fa

Yavapai County Proposes Property Tax Increase To Ease Crowded Jail, Pension Debt

With a crowded jail and creeping pension debt, Yavapai County’s Board of Supervisors is proposing a 3% property tax increase to alleviate financial stress. The county has worked to divert potential inmates from jail by addressing mental health concerns. That’s according to Phil Bourdon, county administrator. He said if it weren’t for the sheriff’s department’s efforts, the county jail would have been at capacity years ago. The tax increase would help fund a new criminal justice center in Presco

University Of Arizona Researchers Using Ancient Plankton To Predict Future Climate

Two to 5 million years ago, oceans were 50 feet higher, icecaps were smaller and CO2 levels were about the same as today during Pliocene epoch. Researchers at the University of Arizona are using ancient plankton to help predict climate in the near future. It took more than 2 million years for CO2 levels from the Pliocene epoch to naturally decline from 400 to 180 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. Now just about 150 years later, CO2 levels are back up to their Pliocene heights.

Section Of Arizona State Route 88 Still Closed Due To Flood Risk

A 7-mile stretch of Arizona State Route 88 remains closed due to a flood risk related to the Woodbury Fire. That area is from several miles east of Tortilla Flat to just west of Apache Lake Marina turn-off. Due to run-off and debris flows that could be much more intense after a wildfire, there's a possibility of flash flooding from monsoon storms," said Caroline Carpenter, with the Arizona Department of Transportation. Carpenter says the Apache Lake Marina is still accessible from State Route

APS CEO Agrees To Appear In Front Of Arizona Corporation Commission

Arizona Public Service CEO Don Brandt has agreed to appear in front of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Justin Olson, a member of the commission, says he wants more information about the 72-year-old woman who died in her home after APS turned her power off for being about $50 short on her bill. “That's a very important question that I want to understand. Is there a threshold that APS has in place for disconnection? I know other utilities have a $300 threshold? Is there a threshold in place

New Trail In The Works At Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

From 2015-2017, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area saw an 83% increase in visitors. Lake Powell used to be the most popular attraction, but in the past few years, visitation to the area’s land has skyrocketed, with nearly half of the 4.3 million visitors per year visiting Horseshoe Bend. A new trail that will be added to promote more land-based activities at the area. Plans for the Glen Canyon Rim Trail began in 2009. Now after environmental assessments and new funding, it is reaching its fin

New Plan Aims To Stop Acid Runoff Leak From Lead Queen Mine

A mine that hasn’t operated in more than a hundred years continues to leak acid runoff in southern Arizona. The leak has been flowing out of the Lead Queen Mine in Patagonia since 2014. The Coronado National Forest has come up with a new plan to stop it. The bright orange color of the runoff is caused by mineralization of iron-rich water, making the water acidic. It contains heavy metals, according to Heidi Schewel with the Coronado National Forest, She said the drainage only happens when it r

Department Of Education Teams Up With Department of Health Services For School Vaccinations

The Arizona Department of Education has teamed up with the health department to promote vaccinations for students in public schools after several measles outbreaks in other states. The number of parents who claim a nonmedical exemption to vaccinating their kindergarten children has grown to nearly 6% this year, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Now, the health and education departments have sent a joint letter to schools explaining the importance of up-to-date vaccinations
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