Meet the Team

Leah Clapman

Managing Editor, Founder

Leah Clapman created Student Reporting Labs in 2009 as an experiment to engage middle and high school students with current events and reimagine public media for tweens and teens. Under her leadership, Student Reporting Labs has grown from 6 pilot sites to 150 schools in 46 states with partnerships extending from major media and online platforms to international education and youth initiatives. Leah has developed education products such as NewsHour Extra for teachers, Teachers Lounge and “Making the Grade,” a weekly focus on education issues, policy and practice. A Princeton graduate, she serves on the Education Writers Association journalism advisory, Education Innovators and Library of Congress TPS council.

Elis Estrada

Director

Elis is the director for Student Reporting Labs, where she oversees the development, work and content of SRL’s growing national network of schools and partner public media stations. She loves puzzling through large-scale projects that aim to motivate and inspire students and teachers. Elis is deeply invested in creating fun, educational opportunities for young people to engage with news media. Before joining the NewsHour, Elis held dual titles at the News Literacy Project, as program manager for the Washington, D.C region and associate communications director for digital media. Prior to NLP, Elis worked as a producer at NY1 News in New York City.

Victor Fernandez

Youth Media Producer and Video Editor

Victor is the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs video editor. He makes sure that student pieces are ready for publishing on our website, social media platforms, and on the NewsHour broadcast. He gives technical feedback and detailed demonstrations on how to polish your video in the post production stage. He recently received the 2018 Instructional Media – Engaged Learning award from the National Educational Telecommunications Association where he was the editor for the SRL Level Up tutorial series. Victor worked as a Career and Technical Education teacher for 15 years in Miami-Dade County Public Schools where he prepared students for the Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Photoshop certifications. What Victor enjoys most about his job is visiting SRL schools and providing students with hand-on learning experiences. During his time off work he serves as the Student Production Awards Coordinator at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Suncoast Chapter and participates as a judge on college and high school film festivals.

William Swift

STEM and Health Coordinating Producer

William has a passion for science and all things STEM and Health that started as a biology major at the Colorado College, where he focused on ecology, environmental science and theater. William has worked in feature films in Hollywood as well as television in Los Angeles and DC for the Cousteau Society, National Geographic Television, ABC/Kane Productions Int’l., NBC, Discovery and the Teaching Company. Helping students find their voice and passion for STEM and Health topics is the day to day business of the STEM and Health SRL. William works directly with over 30 schools nationwide helping them learn how to find, research, develop, and execute high quality video student reporting stories on STEM and Health topics. William also works with scientific evaluators who measure the progress of STEM and Health students in terms of STEM awareness, engagement, literacy and interest in sharing STEM and Health stories with associates.

Briget Ganske

Youth Media Producer

Briget is a multimedia storyteller and educator. She grew up in Iowa, exploring life with the Kodak camera her grandparents gave her. She earned her B.A. in English, creative writing from Northwestern University, studied documentary photography at The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and received her Ed.M. in arts in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. For the past eight years, Briget has been a freelance photographer and video storyteller. She’s led photo and video workshops with youth in New York, South Africa, Boston, Maine, and Richmond. Since 2015, she’s been working as a videographer at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Briget recently moved to Alexandria with her husband and their two-year-old son.

Adriana Gallegos

Community Engagement Strategist

Adriana is from Albuquerque, New Mexico and studied journalism at the University of New Mexico. After graduating, she worked as a TV reporter at a small news station in Laredo, Texas. Later, Adriana switched gears and went to Washington, D.C. to work for a local congress member and has since worked in communications and marketing. She’s created strong partnerships with diverse media organizations, corporations, celebrities, and government officials including Univision, the mayors of DC and Albuquerque, and American Express. She has also helped clients get spots in the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN, among others.

Rawan Elbaba

Digital Associate Producer

Rawan received her B.A. in communication with a concentration in media production, and a double minor in journalism and graphic design from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Prior to joining SRL, she was the Digital Media Associate at the Arab American Institute, where she was responsible for creating visual content that promoted AAI’s voice online. She was also responsible for managing the organization’s website and social media where she worked to enhance community engagement. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Journalism at Georgetown University. She was born and raised in the Washington, DC area.

Marie Cusick

Youth Media Producer

Marie Cusick joins Student Reporting Labs from StateImpact Pennsylvania, a public media collaboration covering energy and the environment. As a multimedia reporter based at WITF in Harrisburg, Marie closely followed the political, social, environmental, and economic effects of Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom. She was also part of NPR’s Energy and Environmental Collaborative and produced documentaries for PBS member stations about environmental rights and nuclear power. Her reporting has been recognized with a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a national Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Before joining StateImpact, Marie covered science and technology for WMHT in Albany, New York.