The 2018 AAJA Gala Scholarship and Awards Banquet will take place Saturday, August 11 at #AAJA18. 



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Christy Ma is a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She joined her school’s newspaper staff, The Eagle Eyeher junior year thinking it would be a good opportunity to expand her horizons, and eventually rose to the position of copy editor her senior year.

After the Parkland shooting, Christy co-wrote the first two articles reporting on the shooting and the city’s candlelight vigil, and contributed to the special issue, In Memoriam, dedicated to the 17 victims from February 14th. She also reported live at the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. with The Guardian, and spoke on a panel at the Newseum about her experience as a journalist and survivor.

Although Christy will be a freshman at the University of Florida as a nursing major in the fall, she plans to keep journalism in her life by being part of student publications on campus. Follow Christy on Twitter at @christywma.


Nikhita Nookala is a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She served as a copy editor for her school newspaper, The Eagle Eye. Nikhita joined The Eagle Eye staff her senior year because she felt she would benefit from a class that would improve her writing skills. Throughout the year, her passion and drive for the newspaper grew. Following the February 14th tragedy, she traveled to Washington, D.C. to cover the March for Our Lives in collaboration with The Guardian and continued to cover the movements surrounding her school on The Eagle Eye website and on social media. Though she will be pursuing a major in microbiology at the University of Florida in the fall, she hopes to continue fostering her love for politics and journalism through student publications and organizations in college. Follow Nikhita on Twitter at @nikta04 and read her work on The Eagle Eye at eagleeye.news/author/nnookala.


Angela Kang is an American television writer currently serving as showrunner on AMC’s The Walking Dead. She joined the show’s writing staff in Season Two as a story editor, quickly rising up the ranks to co-executive producer by Season Five. Angela expanded her relationship with AMC in Season Seven by signing an overall deal to continue her work on the hit series while developing new projects for the studio. That same year, she was named one of Variety’s 2016 10 TV Writers to Watch. Her promotion to showrunner of The Walking Dead was announced in January 2018, going into Season Nine of the acclaimed series.

Angela's first industry experiences were as a features development intern for the Dino De Laurentiis Company and a writers’ office/research intern for ABC’s Private Practice. Shortly after completing the CBS Writers Mentoring Program and graduating from film school, she landed her first staff writing job on NBC’s Day One. She then went on to write for the critically acclaimed cult favorite FX series Terriers before starting on The Walking Dead in 2011. 

A Southern California native, Kang received a B.A. in theater and English from Occidental College, and an M.F.A. in screen and television writing from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she was a recipient of the prestigious Annenberg Graduate Fellowship. Follow Angela on Twitter at @angelakang.




Howard Chen is currently a producer for ESPN International, specializing mainly in ESPN’s video content for China. Among the projects Howard has helped lead for ESPN include getting Tom Brady to speak Mandarin Chinese and officially changing the Dallas Mavericks’ team name in China.

Raised in Houston and based in Houston, Howard was a reporter for Comcast SportsNet Houston and was a regular part of their Rockets and Astros televised live game broadcasts. He also has been a host/reporter for Houston’s SportsRadio 610 and was the Sports Producer at KRIV-TV FOX 26 Houston. Before all this, he was a Sports Anchor/Reporter at WUPW-TV FOX Toledo and WHIZ-TV NBC in Zanesville, Ohio.

Howard is currently the chair of AAJA’s Sports Task Force dedicated to providing guidance and opportunity for sports journalists and has been an officer in AAJA’s Texas and Michigan chapters. He is very excited Houston is hosting this year’s AAJA convention! Follow Howard on Twitter at @TheHoChen.


Miya Shay is an Emmy award winning journalist at KTRK-TV Channel 13, the ABC owned station in Houston. Currently, Miya's focus is covering Houston City Government as well as the breaking news story of the day. Since joining the Eyewitness News team, Miya has covered every story imaginable. She traveled to China multiple times, where she followed the Houston Rockets, as well as Houston's Mayor.

Born in China, Miya graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism, and a minor in Asian history. Before arriving in Houston, Miya worked in television stations in Alabama, Kansas and Michigan. Her first full time job after college was at CNN Headline News in Atlanta, where she learned how to rip scripts and stack tapes.

Miya is heavily involved in the Houston community, where she has moderated a number of community panels. In 2012, Miya married Texas State Representative Gene Wu. In 2013, they welcomed their first child, Winston, with little brother Lyndon joining the family in 2016. Outside of the newsroom, Miya's passions include traveling to new places, trying new foods and scuba diving. Follow Miya on Twitter at @miyashay.




Niala Boodhoo is the Startup Host/Executive Producer for the radio show “The 21st”, a statewide news and talk show produced by Illinois Public Media, broadcast on five NPR member stations throughout Illinois. She’s been a journalist since 2000 and has worked for The Miami Herald, Reuters in London and Washington, D.C. and The Associated Press in Miami. Follow Niala on Twitter at @NialaBoodhoo.




Neal Justin is the media critic for The Minneapolis Star Tribune. He previously covered music and nightlife for the paper and was a crime reporter at The Rockford Register Star. He is currently president of UNITY, Journalists for Diversity, and a former governing board member for the Asian American Journalists Association. He is the co-founder of AAJA's JCamp, an 18-year-old nonprofit program that helps nurture and inspire the country's top high school journalists. Follow Neal on Twitter at @nealjustin.