Fall 2007

Photos by Amy Hendrick

The American Observer is produced by the American University School of Communication’s graduate journalism program. This online magazine is a student publication that focuses on news from campus, Washington, and the world. The American Observer is published every Tuesday and Thursday.

Staff: Fall 2007

Liz Anderson received her bachelor’s degree in communications at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala., and her teaching credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills. A Los Angeles native, she enjoys relaxing beach walks, writing, singing and gathering with family and friends … and food! E-mail Liz


Cristina Fernandez-Pereda received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid. Recently, she was studying social and cultural anthropology, but put that on hold to get her master’s degree in Washington. She has worked in radio broadcasting and production and published articles in newspapers in Latin America through the Press Department of a Spanish NGO, Solidarios Para el Desarrollo. E-mail Cristina


Eka Gurgenidze received her bachelor’s degree from the Kutaisi State University and has a master’s degree in journalism from Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management. She has worked as a political reporter, TV anchor and news producer for several TV stations in Georgia. She covered the Rose Revolution, as well as parliamentary and presidential elections in 2003-2004. After graduation, she plans to return to Georgia to work in television and teach at CSJMM. E-mail Eka


Katherine Gypson received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in history and writing from Marlboro College in Vermont. She has written news and cultural broadcasts for Voice of America, covered international intelligence and national security for United Press International and worked as a research assistant for the D.C. bureau of The Wall Street Journal. After receiving her master’s degree in print/international journalism from American University, Katherine would like to cover international politics and cultural issues. E-mail Katherine
Fumiko Hattori received her bachelor’s degree in German literature from Sophia University in Tokyo. She worked as a Japanese-to-English news translator at Dow Jones Newswires in Tokyo, and at Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. She has a strong interest in wars, particularly the Pacific War, and has assisted on a U.S. project to preserve WWII battle sites. She has also worked as an associate producer on a U.S.-Japan documentary on the kamikaze. She hopes to continue to document the stories of those who experienced wars. E-mail Fumiko


Katharine Jarmul received her master’s degree in education from Pace University and her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She relocated to the District after teaching high school literacy in Brooklyn, N.Y. She has a background in community radio and web development and currently freelances for Free Speech Radio News. She is interested in reporting on urban youth issues using a convergent media format. E-mail Katharine


Jesseka Kadylak received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Duquesne University in 2005. Originally from Pittsburgh, Jesseka has moved countless times to gain experience in different aspects of the journalism field. Before returning to school, Jesseka worked in New York City at CMJ, a music-focused magazine, and she was a news and entertainment editor at cleveland.com, where she also authored a rock blog. E-mail Jesseka

Eun Kang received her bachelor’s degree in English from Binghamton University in New York. At Binghamton, she was a senior editor and writer for Han Perspective, as well as an opinion and entertainment writer for the university’s newspaper, Pipe Dream. She hopes to one day write about biblical archaeology or human trafficking for National Geographic. E-mail Eun

Amanda Knowles received her bachelor’s degree in English from Allegheny College in 2006. She worked as a copy editor and page designer at the Erie Times-News and the Meadville Tribune. After graduating with a master’s degree in journalism and public policy from American University next year, Amanda plans to continue working in copy-editing and page design for a newspaper or magazine. E-mail Amanda

Casey J. Labrack received his bachelor’s degree in political science at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. At Stonehill, he ran an underground politics magazine out of his dorm room, with the help of a few other renegade folk heroes and some pirate software. Casey writes news and creative pieces, and takes and edits photos. His clips, short stories and photography can be found at www.CaseyLabrack.com. E-mail Casey

Gurpreet Nandra received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. She was an intern for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for the Sikh Heritage Exhibit, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Public Defender Service. She was also a student intern for Sen. Rockefeller, D-W.Va. She completed a year of law school at Cooley Law School. E-mail Gurpreet

Federica Narancio received her bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2006. For two years, she worked as a reporter of urban affairs for El Pais of Uruguay. Upon completion of her master’s degree in print journalism, Federica would like to work as a foreign correspondent. E-mail Federica Narancio

Caine O’Rear received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia. For two years, he has worked as a general assignment reporter for Richmond.com, an online news and arts magazine based in Richmond, Va. He also has written for American Songwriter, a Nashville-based music publication. O’Rear hopes to one day write about international affairs for publications great and small. E-mail Caine

Sabrina M. Parker, an M.A. candidate in broadcast journalism, has covered entertainment, travel and pop culture trends as an editor and writer for national magazines since graduating from Wake Forest University. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Delta Air Line’s Sky, Vibe and Sister 2 Sister. E-mail Sabrina

Sakina Rangwala received her bachelor’s degree in film studies from Brunel University in England, and her master’s degree in English from Mumbai University in India. A native of India, she worked as a film journalist in her home country before coming to the United States. She aspires to be a photo journalist. E-mail Sakina

Lagan Sebert received a bachelor’s degree in economics and international studies from Rhodes College in 2003. He went on to serve in the Peace Corps in Honduras before returning to the United States to work in production and publicity for organizations such as the Sundance Institute and the American Film Institute. As a writer, Lagan has published fiction, written films and been a freelance journalist, contributing to NPR and Hollywood Today, among others. After graduation, Lagan would like to work as a multimedia “backpack journalist” covering international affairs and culture. E-mail Lagan

Joan Soley received a bachelor’s degree in history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She previously worked in international horse racing in Dubai, but has been living in the District for a few years – though nothing can compare with Singapore, where she grew up. E-mail Joan


Lisa Tanger received her bachelor’s degree in business from Marymount University. Tanger has been published in USA TODAY and NewAmericanMedia.org. E-mail Lisa Tanger


Federica Valabrega received her bachelor’s degree in integrative physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Valabrega, originally from Rome, lived in Boulder for five years. Her favorite hobby is climbing, but she can often be found teaching Yoga at Jacob’s Fitness Center. Federica would like to write for a health or outdoor publication. E-mail Federica Valabrega