Joan Donaldson Scholars

2022 Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship recipients

2022 Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship recipients

Anusha Kav | UBC, Vancouver

Anusha Kav

Anusha Kav is a writer and journalist with a passion for personal storytelling and covering issues of gender, race, and representation. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, she earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Political Science from the University of Alberta where she minored in Women's and Gender Studies. Here, she grew an immense curiosity about how we consume, enjoy and critique media—from news to social media trends to popular culture like film and television—which ultimately brought her to journalism. In 2022, she completed her Master of Journalism at The University of British Columbia, where she won a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarship to fund her Master's research on identity and representation in television political news comedy shows. She was one of CBC Edmonton's Summer News Scholars in 2021, working as a producer and reporter for the local newsroom throughout the year. Anusha has experience in audio and written storytelling, covering a range of topics including arts and culture, women's health, politics, the opioid crisis, and protests. Anusha's work has been featured at both the local and national level, appearing in the CBC, The Globe and Mail, Maclean's and more. Outside of journalism, Anusha dabbles in wildlife photography, loves birds, interior decor and celebrity culture. Find her on Twitter: @kavanusha.

Ben Andrews | Carleton University, Ottawa

Ben Andrews

Ben is a multimedia journalist working in Ottawa, Ontario. He became interested in journalism while conducting a media analysis for a sport history article on the Canadian Football League during his B.H.K. at the University of Windsor. With a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarship, he then studied the intersection of local journalism and politics in an M.A. at Dalhousie University before moving back to Ontario to complete an M.J. at Carleton University. During his time at Carleton, Ben interned as a reporter with Cabin Radio in Yellowknife, freelanced for a national newspaper and worked as a reporter and web writer with CBC Ottawa. Ben's stories on topics ranging from the opioid crisis to pandemic protests have aired on local CBC Ottawa airwaves and across the country on World Report. Alongside his time in school, Ben has worked as a staff writer for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a chiropractic assistant, and a tree planter.

Camilla Bains | Ryerson University, Toronto

Camilla Bains

Camilla Bains discovered her passion for telling stories and asking questions at a young age, and her interest in journalism solidified watching the Me Too movement sweep the globe. A graduate of the Ryerson School of Journalism, Bains also graduated with a double minor both in politics and public relations and was elected Journalism Director at her university. She enjoys broadcast and multimedia journalism, and loves to be on camera. Previously an intern at CBC's Power & Politics, Bains is interested in covering a wide breadth of topics from domestic and international politics, foreign relations, social issues and more. Bains is a dedicated journalist with a passion for reporting on marginalized communities, and looks at all stories and voices with an intersectional lens. With language skills in English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu, Bains also has an avid interest in international relations, history and politics. She can be found on Twitter @CamillaBains and Instagram @CCBains.

Cassandra Yanez-Leyton | Carleton University, Ottawa

Cassandra Yanez-Leyton

Cassandra Yanez-Leyton is a trilingual multimedia journalist from Ottawa with a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University. She loves telling everyday stories about resilient individuals that feel good on the ears and stimulate the brain. Although she has a clear passion for audio, Cassandra also loves writing in-depth long-form stories and data journalism. After volunteering in Bolivia, Cassandra was hired by the Latin American Studies program at the University of Toronto where she was studying, to host and produce el CafeciTO, a current affairs podcast meant to showcase student research. The following summer she headed to her parent's country, Chile, recorder in hand to investigate a new immigration law targeting Haitians. Convinced of the power held by a good story, she headed back to Ottawa to pursue her Masters. Cassandra has interned with CBC Toronto where she looked into innovations that could subdue the effects of the national overdose crisis. She continued to explore the crisis during her internship with CBC Montreal a few months later. On top of the crisis and drug policy in general, Cassandra is interested in indigenous issues and giving a voice to underrepresented communities. Find her on Twitter: @CassandraY_L

Eesha Affan | Carleton University, Ottawa

Eesha Affan

Eesha Affan was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario by two immigrant parents and her grandparents. Her love for storytelling was born with her. Starting from writing stories about her stuffed animals, this love has resulted in a bachelor's degree in journalism and human rights from Carleton University. Eesha has spent the last four years gaining many diverse experiences. She has volunteered for groups like the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition doing primarily graphic design work. She spent two years working as a tour guide on Parliament Hill and entrenching herself within Canada's federal political scene. During her degree, the stories Eesha has told have ranged from the power of the K-Pop community to the struggles of Uyghur Muslims living in Canada. Her true love lies in video journalism because she loves helping people tell their own stories with their own voices. Her goal is to tell the stories history has ignored and to tell them in a way that makes them impossible to forget. When she finds some limited free time, you can find Eesha reading fantasy novels, playing video games and spending time with her insanely large family. Connect with her on Twitter @EeshaAffan.

Esteban Cuevas | Concordia University, Montreal

Esteban Cuevas

Esteban Cuevas grew up as a migrant in Montreal with an enthusiasm for culture and languages. The spark that lit up an interest for journalism occurred when he first bought an entry level DSLR with which he documented his first travel outside the country. He earned a Journalism degree from the University of Concordia, winning scholarships for his work as a Teaching Assistant and being nominated as Student Photojournalist of the Year at the JMH Awards. He has worked as Photo Editor at the Link Newspaper, Teaching Assistant for the Radio Newsroom class and the video editing lab, and was a Summer intern at CityNews, which then became a position as Operations Floater at Montreal's newsroom. With his love for photography and videography, his interest in multimedia reporting and his passion for advocacy journalism has allowed Esteban to cover diverse and complicated local stories in different platforms. As a CBC Joan Donaldson scholar, Esteban hopes to further hone his technical skills in order to produce the stories that capture the interest of Canadians.

Griffin Jaeger | Western University, London, ON

Griffin Jaeger

Griffin Jaeger is a multimedia journalist born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He holds a Master of Media in Journalism and Communication and a Bachelor's Degree in Information and Media Studies from Western University. Griffin's love for storytelling began at an early age. He started speaking at the age of one and hasn't stopped. As a youngster, he enjoyed writing silly storybooks. Soon after, Griffin discovered his passion for theatre. His curiosity and drive to find and tell compelling storylines within everyday life began on the stage. Griffin's storytelling evolved into multimedia journalism at the start of his undergraduate years. He joined Western University's former campus media network, Western Television as a campus reporter. During four years working for Western Television, he immersed himself in a wide range of stories – covering campus events, breaking news and trending topics ranging from entertainment to student affairs. In only his second year of reporting, he received the Western Television Reporter of the Year Award and the Legacy Reporter Award for his dedication and commitment to the role. Griffin's multimedia storytelling has extended to commercial blog writing, event coverage and on-site reporting through social media. Griffin dedicates his love for storytelling to his Grandfather – who worked in media as a photographer for many years and was a lifelong storyteller. The two often bonded over their love for the field and sharing stories. Griffin hopes to follow in his footsteps as he enters the newsroom. Through various mediums, Griffin strives to tell the stories that go with your morning coffee – amplifying voices and informing the public at large. Connect with him on Twitter: @griffjaeger 

Lane Harrison | University of King's College, Halifax

Lane Harrison

Lane Harrison is a Toronto-born journalist. He's a graduate of the University of King's College, where he received a bachelor of journalism in 2022. Hungry to get reporting while completing the first-year foundation year program at King's, he began writing for the Dalhousie Gazette as soon as he could. He became the Gazette's news editor in 2020 and gained a passion for covering campus news. He pitched, assigned and edited stories about international student issues, labour relations between professors and administrators and difference makers in the university community. He became the Gazette's editor-in-chief in 2021. He's a passionate multimedia journalist who's always excited to go somewhere with his camera. As a reporter for the Signal, the publication run by the school of journalism at King's, he compiled press releases to create data visualizations that tracked Nova Scotia's Omicron wave. Prior to being a Joan Donaldson scholar, Lane interned at the Globe and Mail in the spring of 2022. An avid traveller, he's biked across Cambodia and paddled down the Nahanni River. In his spare time, he's usually found watching arthouse films or listening to the Beatles. Connect with him on Twitter @lanesharrison.

Leslie Amminson | University of King's College, Halifax

Leslie Amminson

Growing up in St. John's, N.L., Leslie Amminson relied on broadcast journalism to connect her to the other coasts of Canada thousands of kilometres away. She fell in love with the stories she heard over the airways and wanted to be part of creating that connection for others. Leslie holds a B.A. from Memorial University and both a B.J. and an M.J. from the University of King's College. Through her studies, she reported on racial inequity in Nova Scotia's health-care system, federal prisons for women in Canada, and Halifax's housing crisis. Leslie's coverage and photos of tent encampments in the city were featured in the Halifax Examiner. In her first semester at King's, Leslie co-produced a radio documentary about the impact of sexual assault coverage on recovering victims. That documentary was a finalist for an Emerge Media Award and aired on the CBC documentary program Atlantic Voice. In the spring of 2021, Leslie went to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., where she worked as a reporter for CBC's Labrador Morning. There, she produced a five-part series on sexual violence in the region and covered a wide array of other stories. Leslie is excited to be back at CBC as a Joan Donaldson scholar.

Michelle McCann | Centennial College, Toronto

Michelle McCann

Michelle McCann is a Toronto-based journalist whose interest in media was piqued in the fifth grade. Her father had a job delivering newspapers and she would often tag along on his route. Michelle would sit in the back seat of the car and read the day's top stories in between tossing papers onto doorsteps and porches. She was hooked. After graduating from university with a degree in political studies, Michelle taught English in Korea for a year. Because of this, she has an enduring love of Korean BBQ and karaoke. After returning to Canada, she worked for a couple years in a media relations unit in government. Her job was to monitor the news for developing issues. She also wrote statements and quotes for journalists to use in their pieces about government policy. Michelle was an intern for CBC Toronto Digital this past summer as a part of her journalism program. She wrote stories on crime, community events and trends. During the internship, she combed through data from the city of Toronto's COVID-19 vaccination portal and pinpointed a community that had been overlooked in the city's vaccination outreach program. The story highlighted what was being done to boost vaccine rates in the area and ran on radio, web and television. Michelle is passionate about politics, culture, human interest, and investigative stories. She has written for CBC Toronto, Beach Metro News, and the Toronto Observer and is currently working at CBC News Network as an editorial assistant. 

Safiyah Marhnouj | Carleton University, Ottawa

Safiyah Marhnouj

Safiyah Marhnouj is an Ottawa-based journalist passionate about covering community news and underrepresented communities across Canada. Growing up listening to CBC Radio, Safiyah followed her love of storytelling to Carleton University's journalism program, where she completed a degree in journalism with a minor in human rights. She credits her start in journalism to Carleton's independent newspaper the Charlatan, where she volunteered as a writer before eventually becoming an editor of the news section. In 2019, Safiyah presented her winning ideas on the future of journalism education at the World Journalism Education Congress in Paris, France, calling for hands-on, inclusive and unconventional learning methods. Through her reporting, Safiyah is committed to uplifting and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities who have been underreported and misrepresented in the news. She loves telling stories about local activism, politics, religion, and health but has never been afraid to cover something new. She has had her work published in the Charlatan, Capital Current, Ottawa Citizen, Canadian Geographic and the Globe and Mail. In her spare time, you can find her talking about books and trying to find the best iced coffee recipe. You can connect with her on Twitter: @SafiyahMarh

Saloni Bhugra | Humber College, Toronto

Saloni Bhugra

Saloni Bhugra is a multi-lingual Indian-born journalist. Bhugra moved to Toronto in 2018 with two suitcases and her diverse educational experience. At the age of 15, she started participating in Model United Nations conferences. Being an active and aware citizen, and after attending and organizing over 26 international level conferences, she inculcated the trait to speak up about world issues on a regular basis. Through her work, she aims to voice the deliberately silenced sections of the society and act as a watchdog to the people in power. Bhugra has spent the past four years in Canada practicing Journalism at Humber's Skedline, Florence University of Arts, and FBI Style Magazine. In November 2020, she produced a conference at Humber to educate journalists about the 'Unapologetic Reckoning in the Media: Racism in the Newsroom.' Her engagement with communities from all over the world led her to become a humanitarian aid worker at The Safe Space Project, and a digital contributor at The Blindian Project. Bhugra is a contributor and administrator of Ruckus Women, where she is working to facilitate BIPOC artists in Canada to build an art collective that aims to 'decolonize art' and raise funds to empower Canadian BIPOC artists. Twitter @BhugraSaloni Instagram @Saloni_bhugra