Spring 2021 SPJ Election

Voting has begun!

Please select only ONE candidate in each category. You need not vote in each category if you do not wish to do so.


Voting is open until Sunday, Feb.7 at 4 p.m. Results will be announced on Monday, Feb. 8 at noon.

Each Jan. start J-school student is eligible to cast one ballot for the elections.

While the votes will be kept confidential, we need you to fill in your name and e-mail to ensure the integrity of the ballot.

All ballots are final – no changes are allowed. PLEASE FILL IN CAREFULLY

Last Name
First Name
E-mail address


AJ Jondonero

Surabhi Rao

Jackie Koppell
Kayla Steinberg
Anna Gordon


AJ Jondonero M.S. Full-time
past education: MS in Journalism, Columbia University, Class of 2021 – BA Broadcast Communication, University of the Philippines Diliman, Class of 2020
In college, I was active in student council. I represented all students in my department during my sophomore year as part of the college student council. I spearheaded community development initiatives and participated in mobilizations calling for the freedom of the press. The year after, I represented my entire college in the university student council. I co-headed the student formations committee, where I facilitated leadership training seminars and helped out in gender sensitivity trainings. I helped organizations be recognized by the university. In my senior year, I was the graduation committee chairperson. I facilitated the graduation photo shoots and addressed anything that was related to graduating students. I oversaw the first-ever virtual graduation rites for my college, where my committee and I produced a three-hour ceremony.
why vote for me: My classmates should elect me because I have demonstrated experience when it comes to leadership roles. But more than that, I really just want to find a way to serve my fellow students as I always have, and I believe I found that in SPJ. I’m a hard worker and I value and respect the insights and ideas of my colleagues. Aside from that, I am an advocate for press freedom and SOGIE equality, and I see SPJ as a platform where I can help unite students in our global community to forward progressive causes.

•Surabhi Rao, M.S. Full-time
past education: University of Alabama at Birmingham, BS in Biology and Anthropology; Current M.D. Candidate at UTHSC
qualifications: I have held many leadership positions in college that required organization, tact, cooperation, and flexibility. I was the Campus Editor, Features Editor, and Community Editor during my time at UAB. I was a part of a group of medical students that helped organize the first-ever COVID testing site in Memphis, TN. I was the president of a lobbying organization- AMA, bridging the gap between students, administration, and legislators. Regardless of my background, I think that flexibility will be the most important part of this job. I think my medical background is unique, and lends itself well to serve here. I can look for solutions in very trying times and provide compassion, leadership, and excitement. Thank you for your consideration!
why vote for me: It is inspiring to learn and grow amidst this bright group of journalists, and it would be my honor to serve you. I believe I have the time, energy, and commitment to do this job well. I see a few major concerns in our class right now with regard to tuition, employment opportunities after graduation, and student well-being amidst the pandemic. We can use unique ideas and a calm approach to tackle these issues. I have the tenacity and background to create clear goals for the class, and I will bring a strong voice to the administration for you. We’ve chosen a unique, thrilling, difficult time to become journalists, and we are turning a year-long course into eight months. With all of those extra obstacles, I have a few ideas to foster unity and build strong relationships with one another.
My circumstances are a bit different, I won’t be looking for internships after graduation. I have no other positions, and this would be a major focus that I could pour myself into while I am here.

BELOW YOUR SPRING-21 SPJ GENERAL BOARD MEMBERS (They are appointed but you should get to know them.)

Anna Gordon, M.S. Full-time
past education: Johns Hopkins Class of 2020
qualifications: I am interested in being chair of the speaker’s committee. I run my own podcast so I know what it takes to reach out to interesting speakers and bring them to speak.
why I want to serve: I promise to do the best I can to make sure our SPJ brings interesting and dynamic speakers to campus!

Jackie Koppell, M.S. Full-time
past education: Cornell University (Undergrad)
qualifications: I have quite a lot of experience representing students, having sat on the Board of Trustees at Cornell University as the student representative. Prior to grad school, I was an executive at an influencer marketing company and know how important it is to work with your colleagues as a team to get the job done!
why I want to serve: I’d be honored to be part of the Board of SPJ. Creating opportunities for our unique class would be a joy. Finding ways to use this pandemic to our advantage so our experience is amplified is a challenge I would relish. I love to solve problems and listen to others, two characteristics that I believe would make me a good board member. I also love planning events and activities and would look for ways that could improve networking opportunities for everyone. Plus, working with fellow board members would allow me to find out what excites our class, and then create additional programming to fulfill on those interests. Finally, having been out in the working world for some time, I bring my experience, knowing the value of a team and how important it is to work together to make things happen!

Kayla Steinberg, M.S. Full-time
past education: Bachelor’s in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis; M.S. Journalism Full-Time January start here
qualifications: I served in several leadership roles in undergrad — team manager for the figure skating team, Co-VP of religious life for WashU Hillel, treasurer for two different clubs and more! Serving in so many different roles has given me experience in a bunch of areas, from planning events (in person and over Zoom) to managing a budget — and I’ll apply those different skills and experiences to the general board member role!
why I want to serve: I want to make this truly unconventional school year amazing, and I’d be honored to serve on the SPJ board to help make that happen!