Staff Bios

We are the Mosaic Class of 2012!

Staff Biographies

Andy Fang

While describing himself as mellow and easy going, Andy Fang is far from mundane. With the passion to “always try new things,” Andy has explored life’s every corner, having been to the Naval Academy Summer Seminar, moving beyond the limits of school through journalism, and attending more than eight concerts. But that thirst for the unexpected is insatiable, as he plans to visit New Zealand with his orchestra and Korea with the Sea Cadets. He can be found frequenting an Ethiopian restaurant or growling as he ensures that he win a game of spoons by any means necessary. His drive for life keeps him open; his only pet peeve – loud noises in the morning. While his passion is evident, no description is more accurate than his self ascribed alliteration – Awkward Andy. As a rising senior at Saratoga High School, Andy will be the Life editor for his high school newspaper, The Saratoga Falcon.

Ashley Lugo

Ashley Lugo, a San Bernardino native, is a staff photographer on the Mosaic 2012 staff. She personally owns a Canon Rebel, which she loves to use to take photos of her friends and family back at home. While she was on her school’s newspaper staff last year, she has decided to transfer on to the yearbook staff next year since her journalism classes have been cut in to thirty-minute classes instead of the traditional on hour-long class.  She also had a nasty toe infection about a month before Mosaic began that she loves to brag about and she makes a point to show everyone photos of her toe pre-surgery and post-surgery.  Although she is somewhat indecisive about her future, she plans on probably becoming a teacher or astronaut and continuing photography on the side. The Mosaic staff of 2012 is grateful to have her on board to help make this amazing paper soar to new heights in terms of photography.

Camille Debreczeny

Camille Debreczeny from Danville was the latest edition to the Mosaic Staff, due to an untimely bout of strep throat that caused her to miss the first two days. A recent grad from Monte Vista High School, she will be starting her freshman year of college at Willamette University in Oregon this fall. Her love for journalism stems from her experience as her high school paper’s news editor and attendance at last year’s National High School Journalism conference in Anaheim. The eighteen year-old enjoys playing the piano—particularly pieces from Debussy—and reading. Her favorites include The Lord of the Rings trilogy and New Machine. If Camille could be any Disney character, she would be Pocahontas, because “she’s very in-tune with nature and isn’t one of the typical princesses that sits around waiting for others to solve her problems.” Camille also has a tattoo of a whale tail and has a motorcycle permit.

Corina Martinez

From the minute she entered the room with her wide smile and eager hand outstretched to be shaken, it was plain to see that Corina Martinez was easily going to become one of the nicest and most valuable colleagues a person could have hoped to gain. Corina prides herself in being well-immersed in her Mexican heritage as well as a major contributor to Presentation High School’s newspaper, “The Voice.” After she completes senior year, Corina hopes to attend a college somewhere in San Francisco where she can work towards fulfilling her brilliantly radiant journalist potential. Corina is a very passionate student who takes all of her assignments and interests to heart. She enjoys animals, children, and doing anything that involves helping her community.

Within two weeks, I have witnessed Corina tackle an incredible story and put in 150% effort. She is an incredible hard-worker and an extremely talented journalist who is amazing at both communicating with her subjects as well as writing about them beautifully. Whether Corina chooses to become a successful journalist in a bustling city of her liking or to settle down on a ranch, raise her twelve kids and nurse her farm animals, she will be happy. She harnesses the talent of being positive and caring; with these two character traits, there is no doubt that “Compassionate Corina” will reach great heights in her life. Even though at times, she can be quite the verbally-expressive tough cookie, these are only signs of her fascinating protective instinct and we all know she means well.

Creo Noveno

Born in the Philippines but raised in San Jose, Creo Noveno moved to the United States at the age of eight after seven years of living in the Philippines and Malaysia. She soon settled in San Jose with her family and learned English from classes she took in elementary school. She is the middle child of three siblings. Creo, age 17, is a sweet, loveable, kind, hard working passionate student. During her free time she loves drawing, sleeping, and drawing in her sleep. Although she says she is clumsy in sports, she has a red belt in tae-kwon-do. (She’s modest too.) An aspiring writer, she is an incoming senior at Silver Creek High, where she and fellow Mosaic reporter Walter Teng-Tran will be the incoming co-editors-in-chief for their high school newspaper. Even though she was born in thePhilippines, she only knows how to say “pass the rice” in Pilipino. In her free time she likes to listen to alternative rock. She also says people can’t say or spell her name right so she says to think of OREO cookies but just take an “O” out and add “C”.

Gabe Quintela

Few words can describe Gabriel Quintela. From his very calm demeanor, to his tall frame (compared to me at least), Gabriel is nothing short of awesome. He’s able to gain this type of tunnel vision that allows him to quickly get on his assignment and see it through to the end—well, with the occasional soccer break. His great interest in sports had led him to being the next sports editor for his school newspaper and hopefully, a future sports commentator on ESPN.  He also loves to chow down on food. Lots of food.

Gianna Dimick

Meet Gianna Dimick, known as our resident longboarder. As a self described caring and hardworking person she is also the oldest of nine siblings.  This big sister drives a twelve-seater van and often charters her siblings to camps and practices. Gianna is the life of the party, with her charismatic personality and knack for taking beautiful action photos she definitely brings the energy up in any situation. Gianna inhabits Redwood City but attends Carlmont High School in San Carlos. During the summer, she teaches swim lessons and works at her local gym. In other words, Gianna is an exercise enthusiast. She plays one of the toughest sports around, water polo and when not playing “a rigorous sports that involves throwing a ball into a goal while swimming,” Gianna is partial to doing the breast stroke for her high school swim team. Going along with the aquatic themes in her life, her favorite movie happens to be Aqua Marine; a film about teenage mermaids. When not spending time staying fit or hanging out poolside, Gianna enjoys shopping, and singing along to her eclectic iTunes library.  Something that is important to Gianna is being involved in her high school’s spirit events. She wants to go to a college that has a high sense of school spirit. As a senior, Gianna is lined-up to be her newspaper’s editor-in-chief and photographer, she hopes to take back the photography tips and tricks she’s learned here at Mosaic to Carlmont High.

Jewel Devorawood

The 16 year-old pageant queen Jewel Devorawood was born in Jacksonville, Florida before she was adopted and raised in San Francisco. Although she is a city girl at heart with a sophisticated, independent personality to match, Jewel has fun just clowning around; literally. In her free time, she unicycles, juggles and performs as a clown. While she does embrace her silly side, Jewel is also a polished young woman who won the title of Miss San Francisco in 2007 and is hoping to run for Miss California this year. Her celebrity inspiration is Mariska Hargitay, an actress on Law and Order who started a charity called the Joyful Heart Foundation for victims of child abuse and sexual assault. Jewel attends high school at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco and works on her school newspaper The Broadview. As a photographer, Jewel’s favorite part of photojournalism is “capturing all the emotions in one shot.” Jewel’s ability to start a conversation with just about anyone is extremely useful as a photographer as it helps her get up close to people and capture the beauty of each and every person she photographs. She is currently interested in two different career paths: becoming a journalist/photographer or becoming a child advocacy attorney.

Kimmy Tejasindhu

Fresh out of her high school in San Bernardino, “Kimmy” Tejasindhu blessed us with her exuberant personality at Mosaic. She has captivated every person in the program with her charming laugh, unforgettable style, and an interest of what makes you “tick.” After bonding during our morning ritual of getting ready together she walks out of our room, and I can tell our fellow classmates are as fascinated by Kimmy’s statement outfits as I am. With big aspirations, she’s not going to let her talent for writing go to waste. Now an intended Communications major at UCSB, she was Editor-in-Chief for “The Cajon Courier” and is writing her own novel, “The Moon and the Tide.” Kimmy is not afraid to express what’s on her mind, and will crack a joke and offer her smile no matter the time or place.

Lexy Brown

Alexandria Anne Brown, more commonly known to Mosaic campers as “laughs-a-lot Lexy” is undoubtedly, the most bubbly person I know. Within one hour of meeting her in my dorm room, we had already exchanged countless words and she had already apologized for talking too much. When asked to describe herself in one word, she unsurprisingly blurted “chatty!”

Lexy is a rising junior at Enochs High School in Modesto. She actively participates in many school clubs, such as Future Business Leaders of America and Mock Trial. While she is a loyal Girl Scout, she has also had nine years of experience in karate and currently maintains a brown belt. Additionally, she competitively shows horses.

Though she claims that she never has any free time, in the time that she isn’t submerged in school or sports, she enjoys reading and writing. She currently writes for her local newspaper, the Modesto Bee.

Margaret Lin

Margaret Lin, an amazing roommate and extraordinary photographer, is from Cupertino, California. She recently became interested in photography when about six months ago she attended a school football game and someone simply handed her a camera. Little did she know that that simple gesture would lead to her working for the Mosaic. At the end of summer, she will be entering her senior year at Monte Vista as photo editor for her school paper, El Estoque. In her previous year working for El Estoque, Margaret was a staff writer who wrote a column titled “What’s the Point Anyway?”. The column featured her thoughts on pop culture, such as; phrases like Y.O.L.O, the “planking” fad, and celebrities like Kim Kardashian. She became a bit of a school celebrity when she received lots of humorous feedback regarding her Y.O.L.O article. Margaret recalls that several of her peers would see her in hallways and yell out, “Y.O.L.O!” and she would reply with a smile and “Y.O.L.O!”. Of all the interesting things about Margaret it is her compassion and her many talents in the field of journalism.

Naib Mian

Naib perpetually has a sunny disposition that rivals those of talk-show hosts and golden retrievers. He enjoys Lady Gaga’s music, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and East Coast fashion, namely the scarves and pea coats. He adores the color combination of brown and blue and can often be found gleefully conversing in a disconcertingly spot-on British accent. An upcoming senior, Naib will be the news editor of Mountain View High’s school newspaper, The Oracle. In regards to the future, he plans to either pursue a career in journalism or science; he enjoys both equally.

Nashra Anwer

Nashra Anwer’s love of writing is inspired, in part, by the wisdom of Albus Dumbledore: “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”  Nashra was the editor-in-chief of The Pony Express at Pioneer High School.  She dreams of becoming editor of a larger newspaper such as The New York Times, or working in publicity for Pixar. Having spent most of her life in San Jose, Nashra is excited to move on next year to UC Irvine, where she will study Literary Journalism.  Movies make Nashra cry.  She has shed tears during Lilo & Stitch, Forrest Gump, Harry Potter, Schindler’s List and many others.

Olivia Lucas

Journalism came naturally to Olivia, who developed an interest in the field when she went to a journalism camp last summer. In her sophomore year at Head-Royce School in Oakland, she began working for her school newspaper where she will hold the position of spread editor this upcoming year as a junior. Olivia came in with the creativity to invent article ideas full of potential, and the persistence to make them all successful, all while keeping an admirable grace and poise. Perhaps the best quality I’ve seen in Olivia is her ability to be a friend in any atmosphere. She’s a friend in the dorms, in the newsroom and even as a journalist in an interview. Every aspiring journalist should look up to Olivia’s work ethic, professional stature and writing ability.

Rosio Ramirez

Rosio “Ross” Ramirez, a rising senior at Alisal High School and a self acclaimed drama queen, is actually surprisingly calm and mellow. She loves the way journalism allows her to step out of her comfort zone and reach out to others. Ross has over 30 pairs of shoes, and constantly feels the need to buy more. She likes to read about people overcoming traumatic experiences, and hopes to go scuba diving someday. Ross was unpleasantly surprised when her dad brought home a rooster instead of a puppy one day, and hopes to get a dog when she moves out. Ever practical, if she was stranded on a deserted island and given the option to bring one thing, she would take water. An excellent and slightly creepy roommate, Ross once made my bed and folded my clothes that were haphazardly strewn across the floor and said, “I just felt like I had to.” When she grows up, she wants to be a neonatal nurse, to help babies that need intensive care. -Tanya Raja

Silvia Cardonia-Tapia

Oakland-born and raised, Silvia Cardona-Tapia shows more compassion than any of the roughness her old stomping grounds would suggest. The environment she surrounds herself with is what defines her, be it the flush of green grass in West Oakland’s Dogtown, the stifling silence of suburban Manteca, or even the swarm of diligent clacking in Dwight Bentel Hall’s newsroom. When she’s not cracking jokes between periods of writer’s block, she’s an avid photographer and can be seen snapping away with her camera phone. At only seventeen, Silvia already has her eyes set on a career as a physical therapist, hoping to make use of her frequent visits to the emergency room as a child (she was an avid bed-jumper and has the scars to show for it). From untimely losses of friends to a shaved head at the age of twelve (lice was a worthy adversary), Silvia has proved herself resilient against all obstacles set in her way, though she will concede to exhaustion and trade in an evening spent chatting with friends for a full night’s sleep. No other roommate could ever be as welcoming, as considerate, or as kind as Silvia can be, and I’ve half a mind to kick my sister out of the house and make our bunk-based friendship a permanent arrangement

Tanya Raja

I knew I was going to have a roommate, but never thought it would be someone like Tanya. On her way to be a senior at Mission San Jose in Fremont, Tanya has a big passion for Harry Potter. She loves movies and is quite a sarcastic charm. Apparently, she embraces McDonald’s too much and was having withdrawals as soon as the second day. With a mellow personality, it’s easy to talk and get along with Tanya. Her devotion for journalism began at the age of 15 when she joined her school newspaper, The Smoke Signal, where she will be the editor of the Arts and Entertainment section this following year. She also is the president of Mission:SOS which helps to change school policies in order to benefit students. Some of what they have accomplished so far is revising the homework policy and starting school at a later time. An intriguing story she tells is that although she’s actually 17, legally, she’s 16. Born in India she did not have a birth certificate and when she moved to the US there was somewhat of a misunderstanding and her birth date was changed to be a year younger.

Walter Teng-Tran

Walter Teng-Tran, 16, has a self proclaimed rambunctious personality. Although he acknowledges that he’s immature at times, Walter finds ways to become the center of every situation. And like every good entertainer, Walter is ready to dance, make faces, or say something unexpected in order to keep others laughing and on their feet. Digging deeper into Walter’s bag of talents, one can find a leadership ability that has landed him the EIC job at his school newspaper next year. Always prepared to lighten the mood or take charge of the situation, Walter isn’t afraid to get his feet a little wet.

Editorial Assistants

Jasna Hodzic

Editorial assistant Jasna Hodzic was a photography student in the 2007 Mosaic. Entering her senior at UC Davis, where she studies conservation biology and Spanish, she has been a photographer and photo editor for the campus newspaper, The California Aggie. She interned at The San Francisco Chronicle during the summer of 2009 and hopes to combine her majors and passion for photojournalism and become a conservation photojournalist.

Magali Gauthier

Editorial assistant Magali Gauthier was a photography student in the 2010 Mosaic. A Mountain View High School graduate, she now studies communications and Spanish at UC Santa Barbara while working as a photographer for three campus publications. She hopes to pursue a career in photojournalism.

Audrey Frey

Editorial assistant Audrey Frey was a student in the 2009 Mosaic. A graduate of Milpitas High School, she is currently a proud Golden Bear at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an English and philosophy double major who appreciates a good newspaper with her morning coffee.

Mr. Wizard Chernoble

As the most integral and important member on the Mosaic staff, Mr. Wizard helps out with all aspects of the paper in many ways. He spends most of his time sitting in the left back corner of the newsroom, working hard through day and night to finish all his stories. Student reporters have complained that the wizard never seems to go out and actually report on stories but he claims that he can’t due to his old age (he was born in the early 1600s). Recently he has temporarily taken over the position of photo editor Nhat Meyer and has also been a participant in the Photo Booth sessions the staff photographers have had. He also has a little brother, known only as Mr. Wizard Jr.. Overall, he hopes that all his studies in the field of magic at Stanford will help contribute to the student reporters’ overall success.

Mr. Wizard “MiniMo” Jr.

In the 1600’s born and raised/ Ancient Rome is where I spent most of my days/ Magic and sorcery, spell-bindin’ those fools/ Flirting with the witches outside of school/ When a couple of guys, they were up to no good/ Started making trouble in the brethren hood/ I got in one little duel and my mama got scared/ She said “you’re moving in with your brother” so I ended up here


Joe Rodriguez

Workshop director and Dorm Dad Joe Rodriguez writes the Eastside/Westside column for the San Jose Mercury News. He co-founded the Mosaic in 1993. He previously worked as a reporter and editorial writer at the Modesto Bee, Riverside Press Enterprise and Hartford Courant newspapers. Joe has served on the boards of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Latino Journalists of California, and Unity Journalists of Color. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1998 and has won several journalism awards, including the best column in the Bay Area award from the Peninsula Press Club. Joe is a graduate of Cal-State Los Angeles and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Marcos Cabrera

Reporting instructor Marcos Cabrera is a features and pop culture writer at the Monterey County Herald, which he joined in 2001. Cabrera also worked at the Salinas Californian, where his beats included education and high school sports, as well as a stint as features columnist. He was a fellow in the 2009 NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. Cabrera attended CSU-East Bay, where he majored in English/Creative Writing. He was a student in the first Mosaic in 1993 and a two-time participant in the Gannett internship program.

Ardua Harris

Mosaic instructor Ardua Harris is an assistant features editor for Bay Area News Group (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News). She edits  lifestyle and TV content for the newspapers. She also leads the Life in Perspective teen board, which consists of teenagers who write columns and features for the newspapers and websites. A graduate of Dartmouth College, she started her career as a copy editor at the Kansas City Star and joined BANG in 2005.

Sharon Noguchi

Mosaic reporting instructor Sharon Noguchi covers K-12 education, the best beat at the Mercury News. Her interest in news writing began in junior high, where she worked on her school newspaper. She attended the University of California-Santa Cruz and also studied journalism at UC-Berkeley. She’s worked at the Palo Alto Times, then at the Japan Times and the Asahi Shimbun, both in Tokyo, where she was an editor and copy editor. At the Mercury News, she’s been a copy editor, op-ed editor, editorial writer, teen page editor and reporter. In 2004-05, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Tokyo, where she researched Latin American and Filipino immigrant communities in Japan. She likes to write about teens and teen culture, in a futile attempt to stay current with her two teenage daughters.

Nhat Meyer

Mosaic photography instructor Nhat Meyer specializes in sports and has covered three Olympic Games since joining the Mercury News in 2000. He grew up in Colorado and earned a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri. He interned at newspapers in Utah, North Carolina and Virginia. Meyer also shoots for the news, features and  business news departments.

Elliott Almond

Instructor Elliott Almond is the Olympics, soccer and college sports writer for the San Jose Mercury News. A communications and political science graduate of California State University, Fullerton, he worked for four community newspapers in Orange County before joining the Los Angeles Times at age 20 and then moving on to the Seattle Times and Mercury News. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times for investigative reporting, twice for work involving performance-enhancing drugs in sports. After completing a master’s program in comparative government at California State University, Long Beach, Almond attended Argentina Idioma Espanol, a Spanish-language school in Patagonia. He has been a commentator on public radio, including the BBC and NPR, as well as a guest on Lehr News Hour and CNN. He is author of Surfing: Mastering Waves from Basic to Intermediate, which includes 100 of his photos. Almond currently is preparing to cover his 10th Olympic Games this summer in London.

Darlene Tenes

Mosaic Dorm Mom Darlene Tenes is a public relations professional and founder of CasaQ, a San Jose-based company specializing in Latino products and services. She is a contributor for local network television on Hispanic culture, history and food. She is a popular speaker at seminars, conferences and cruises, where she is known for her micro-history lessons, quick wit and entertaining presentation of recipes. A past and current member of many community and arts organizations, Tenes currently mentors teens and young adults through the Catholic Diocese of San Jose’s Juvenile Detention Ministry and The Role Model Program.

Josie Lepe

Mosaic photography instructor Josie Lepe joined the San Jose Mercury News in 1999, becoming lab director and then a photographer. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Lepe has lived in San Jose most of her life. She is fluent in Spanish and was the first in her family to graduate from college. A graduate of San Jose High Academy, she earned a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in photography from San Jose State University.


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