Media Convergence Team Bios

Media Convergence is an intense, a one-year graduate diploma program in multimedia storytelling. Our students already have a degree or diploma (usually in journalism, but sometimes in a related field), or they have been working in the media and want to polish their skills in this rapidly changing media landscape. We have an amazing group of students from all over the world, as well as from here in Canada. Check out our eager team for this year.

Lori Baldassi

From backstage to the airwaves (or leading the committee), Lori Baldassi has been in and around the music industry and involved in community activities for more than 20 years. As the voice of Blackburn Radio’s “In the Loop” for 10 years, her award-winning contributions are well-known in the city of Windsor.  An active participant on boards of directors, she created many successful events for charities including the St. Clair College annual Christmas CD and concert, which raises funds for local food banks. She also contributes to Blues Fest Windsor, working with world-renowned musicians. Lori has completed the music management program at the Detroit Institute of Music Education and holds a certificate of adjudication from Osgoode Hall – York University. She has presented a number of times in front of the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission.

Meng (Amy) Bao

You can call me Amy.  I come from Chongqing, China where I studied journalism at Chongqing Normal University. In Canada, I am going to practice my language skills so I can get a higher score in my ILETS test. I want to be hard-working in the media and read everything I need to know.

I am interested in traveling and have been able to visit many places to experience different cultures.

I am starting my studies in Windsor with a basic understanding of media skills, such as photography and video production.

Meanwhile, I am developing my independence, optimism, kindness and more.

Bernard de Vaal

Born and raised in South Africa, my academic and work career have been sculpted by an insatiable desire to find and tell stories. I graduated top of my class in drama at Rhodes University under the tutelage of some of the world’s most esteemed academic performers. After my studies I entered the professional national performing arts arena. I produced, wrote, directed and often performed in more than 50 professional productions.

As the field of multimedia was emerging as a highly user-friendly distribution platform, I and two colleagues established a boutique video and digital marketing production company. For four years, we grappled with the ever-changing character of online media and also produced three highly successful reality television series and a reputable catalogue of online products.

My experience in media allowed me to expand my horizons and I joined the Expresso Morning Show on South Africa’s national broadcaster working as insert director, producer and director of photography for four years.

Without reservation I see myself as a highly creative and inspired leader who has sprained almost every limb going that extra mile.

Mengru (Shirley) Feng

Shirley is a creative journalist who is concerned about bringing the most interesting things in life to the whole world. Coming from China, she has a different view of the news. She also loves to find different ways to tell stories. Shirley is a person everyone likes when they meet. She hopes to learn about production and editing programs like Photoshop and Premiere.

Dawn Gray

Dawn is a journalist on a mission. She is a skilled writer and photographer who intends to use her talents to change the world for the better. She specializes in feature writing and urban photography. Dawn believes in the power of journalism and its potential to improve our society and the world. She takes her position of “societal watchdog” very seriously and considers herself to be a voice for the voiceless.

Her focus is to bring attention and action to issues of social injustice in her community, country and around the world.

Angelica Haggert

Angelica does a bit of everything. Born and raised in Windsor-Essex, she has had adventures around the world but always tends to find her way back home. After graduating from the University of Windsor with two Bachelor degrees, Angelica joined her mother in operating a local digital magazine (The Hub Windsor-Essex) that explores the area. She has been writing since she was first handed a crayon and she loves to tell stories, but still she does not know what she wants to do when she grows up. As a professionally trained stage manager, Angelica works with various community theatres in the area and manages operations at Enigma Escape Rooms. She’s a mom to two dogs and a cat, loves column writing, disc golf, squash and race cars.

Laurie Harrison

After graduating from the St. Clair College Public Relations program, I was invited to join the WETech Alliance Social Media Superheroes. This unique group is made up of 30 social media specialists representing non-profits, for profits, local media, the City of Windsor and both school boards.

As the creator and administrator of a local community Facebook page, W.E. Put the WIN in Windsor Essex, my goal is to give local businesses, organizations and charities a free platform to spread their message.  I have volunteered with a number of these local non-profits and organizations such as Easter Seals, the Brain Injury Association, Crime Stoppers and First Robotics to run their social media pages at signature events.

You will often see me taking part in many of the fundraisers, activities and events that I am asked to promote as a way to promote through participation.

Millar Hill

St. Clair College Journalism graduate. Media Convergence student.

Writing has always been an intriguing form of communication for me. Since I was child, I was fascinated by it. It has allowed me to be creative but also informative. Being in the Media Convergence program is going to help build my portfolio, make connections and polish my skills for a career in the media industry. I love featuring writing and I plan to take that passion and run with it.

Alyssa Horrobin

St. Clair College Journalism grad, proud Canadian, quarter of a century. I am an amateur filmmaker always working to be better and am especially passionate about short films and documentaries. I have been a storyteller since I could talk and have since learned to love telling other people’s stories through writing, photography and film. I love to travel and learn everything I can from anyone and about anything. The more of the world I see, the more of it I want to explore. Of all the things I love about this life, human connection is at the top.

Alexandra Hristoff

I am a recent graduate from the University of Windsor in Communication, Media and Film, with a certificate in Arts Management. I currently bartend at the Ciocairo Club and work at the Chrysler and Kordazone Theatres. I have been involved in theatre for a large portion of my life and hope to use my creative arts background in my future career. I would love to create a local independent paper. I think Windsor-Essex County needs a one-stop website or newspaper for entertainment and I would love to establish a calendar with reviews of stage plays, festivals and art shows. I am excited for this year and believe this program will allow me to hone the skills I already have and grow the skills I need in our changing media landscape.

Haiwei (Ivy) Li

I am 22 this year and I have a younger brother who is super adorable and only one year old. I love downloading small original movies to watch alone. These films are fascinating to me. I also love to play sports in my spare time.

My undergraduate degree from Chongqing Normal University is in fashion design.

Wenqi (Emile) Li

I am from China where I am earning a bachelor’s degree in Media, specializing in television directing. I am crazy about photographing and filming. My favorite photographer is Steve McCurry and I am really interested in the pictures he took in the 1980s, especially the photo called Afghan Girl. In my spare time I like to take pictures and fly my DJI drone. I look for the details to focus on.

My goals include going to the U.K. to get my master’s degree in media then applying for a PhD in media or education. At the same time, I will look for a job in the media to make sure I get  work experience. My end goal is going back to university to be a media teacher.

Sihong (Ennis) Liu

I’m an international student from China and I prefer to be called Ennis. I studied sports training at Chongqing Normal University where I was also given a scholarship to play on the school tennis team. I have been playing tennis since primary school, and consider tennis to be my greatest strength.

I am interested in tattoos and challenging myself. I want to be self-confident and sociable, broadening my horizons to learn as much as I can.

Sanjay Maru

I am a lifelong resident of the Rose City and a recent graduate from the Communication, Media, and Film program at the University of Windsor. During my time in the program, I developed a passion for on-air broadcasting. Also, for three years, I served as an executive member of Engineers Without Borders Windsor. In 2014, I was recruited as its major events lead. Subsequently, I was elected as president, leading a team of students from across Canada to advocate for food sustainability programs and host educational conferences for high school students. In 2016, I recouped my role of PR director, creating marketing material and event recap videos to promote the organization. I currently run a DJ business called Maru DJ & MC Services and also manage a mixed martial arts news website – MMAIndex.INFO.

Kush Mendiratta

I’m from New Delhi, India. I’ve done my bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the Vivekananda Institute Of Professional Studies. The Media Convergence program will enhance my skills for field work. I am looking forward to learning more about news stories, being a TV anchor and working as a reporter. I am a fitness enthusiast and have competed in several fitness contests. I have recently moved to Canada and have never lived independently ever before. This is teaching me many important things about life, such as time management and hard work.

Ladan Mohamed

As a 24-year-old lifelong resident of Windsor, Ont., I have explored a lot of what this city has to offer. As a millennial, there is another “forever club” I have had the pleasure of being a part of: the world of news, media and social media including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and more. These early influences led me to pursue a degree in Communications, Media and Film at the University of Windsor. After graduating, I decided I still needed to study this field more in-depth, which led me to the Media Convergence graduate program. With its focus on all aspects of the media and a very hands-on approach, I know this is the place to be to become a converged journalist.

Kati Panasiuk

Kati is a converged journalist in Windsor, Ontario. Her work has been featured at the Lance, The Hub, MediaPlex News, CTV, CBC and Weather Network. CTV aired Panasiuk’s video of a massive barn fire in April 2016 that killed over 100 cattle. The Weather Network also broadcast an interview and footage she collected of the Tecumseh flood of 2016 which was seen nationally. She is an international award-winning photographer, placing in the top 100 of 12,000 people world-wide with Photographer’s Forum Magazine. She is a recognized photojournalist in the Windsor-Essex area and has a passion for storytelling.

Felicia Patterson

My two years in the Journalism program at St. Clair College taught me the fundamentals of being a professional in the field. As a native Windsorite, I am familiar with my community and have a strong interest in exploring it further and applying my skills along the way. I have wanted to be a journalist since I was 14 years old, and now I am living my out my dreams. I was a curious child and as I grew older, I learned to research and I find things out on my own. That is what brought me to this very point in life. I was always a strong writer and received recognition in high school. Before I even attempted to accomplish becoming a reporter, I never thought I would be editing film and gaining experience in photography, anchoring and radio. I truly feel that reporting is what I was born to do.

Jiaqian (March) Ren

You can also call me March, because I was born on March 21. I’m an international student from China who studied drama and television at Chongqing Normal University’s College of Chinese Arts. I’m into the different stories of all kinds of people and that’s what gives me ideas for script writing.  I am so obsessed with movies – all kinds, but superhero movies are my favorite.

I am looking for a new start to make myself better and I want to try my best and do everything earnestly. I am hoping to find a happy place again.

Todd Shearon

Todd Shearon has a habit of living his dreams and accomplishing things others don’t even dare to think of.

An award-winning special event planner, entertainment manager, public relations officer and journalist, this published author chooses to live life to the beat of his own heart.

Shearon established his own event and music management company InTheRed Entertainment (1999-2011) while also working as the director of student life for the University of Windsor and freelance writing for Canada Social magazine.

Shearon was hired as the coordinator of community and media relations for Windsor Spitfires Hockey club in 2011 before publishing his first book entitled Major League Anxiety, based on his world record-setting journey to visit all 30 MLB stadiums in 28 days.

Shearon’s growing love for media arts led him to pursue a diploma in Journalism at St. Clair College where he graduated from in 2017 as the managing editor of the Converged Citizen.

Check out his new podcast See Hear Speak No Evil.

Sreedha Varanasi

Brilliant books and films take us through fictional wonderlands and tell stories of fictional characters, but I am a firm believer that the best stories are born out of reality itself. Life gives us stories that compel, educate, excite and inspire us all, and these are the stories I want to find and tell. I want people to learn about the world around them and feel emotion for people and places unfamiliar to them. As a journalist, my goal is to write stories and create visuals that not only compel my audience, but also evoke feelings of empathy and understanding for both the familiar and unfamiliar in life. I am 22 years-old, a proud Indian-Canadian and a journalist by passion.

Shubhangana Vishwanathan

Shubhangana is full of enthusiasm, always looking for ways to experiment. She is from the land of rich culture – India. She graduated in Journalism and Bharatnatyam (Indian Classical Dance). She has also been awarded a bronze medal for her community service. A nature lover, she also loves to work on cross-culture projects, strengthening her roots at the same time. Her aspiration is to become a creative producer and director who is able to give new dimensions to reality shows and bring the whole world under one map.

Lingyi (Sunnio) Zeng

I come from the city of Chongqing, which is located in the southwest of China. I am a junior student at Chongqing Normal University where my undergraduate program is in radio and television editing.

I know a little about media, and I am good at editing video and using some software programs. While here, I want to learn more about media convergence and accumulate more experience. My English is not good, so I need to practice again and again. Hopefully, my teachers and classmates will give me more advice!

Elisabeth Remington

Harshpal Singh

I was born and raised in India where I completed high school at Army Public School in 2012. Three years later, I graduated from the Journalism and Mass Communications program at IP University in New Delhi.. I have worked as an intern with a few media houses and event companies in India.

I was recruited by a Yamaha dealership after graduation where I was working as a customer relationship supervisor with responsibilities including completing audits, identifying consumer service trends and implementing quality and customer service standards.

After working for a year, I came to Ontario and studied marketing management at Fanshawe College.

Ioana Iota

I am from Romania. In my country, I studied in the faculty of letters for five years, majoring in English and Romanian literature. During four of those years, I was also in a teaching module.

When I was in school, I had the chance to encounter a group of reporters who came to investigate campus life and the professionalism of the teachers.

The Media Convergence program is going to develop my writing and speaking skills to help me in my future career. I am a person always full of enthusiasm, looking for ways to experiment with new things.

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