Meet the TNL staff

Caleigh Jensen, Executive Editor.

Caleigh Jensen

Executive Editor

I joined the staff at The Northern Light in October of 2017 as a freshman. During my time here, I’ve held the positions of Staff Reporter, Assistant A&E Editor, Copy Editor and currently, Executive Editor. I am a junior majoring in journalism and public communications with a concentration in digital media and a minor in Spanish. I plan to graduate in the spring of 2021 and take a year to travel and put my writing and language skills to use abroad. After that, I hope to work as a reporter wherever life takes me. Working at TNL the past two years has gotten me more involved with the UAA and Anchorage communities than I ever thought I was capable of, and I’ve met some pretty amazing people along the way. Along with being a journalist and writer, I am also a commercial fisherman, dog lover, amateur singer, shopaholic, Pinterest enthusiast and t-shirt maker.

Morgan Wilhelm, Ad Manager.

Morgan Wilhelm

Ad Manager

I joined The Northern Light in December of 2018 as a Marketing Representative. Soon after, I was promoted to Ad Manager, and enjoy my responsibilities in this position. Occasionally, I write short articles and sponsored content, but most of my work is done behind the scenes. I am a junior music major with a minor in entrepreneurship. My main instrument is the oboe, although I am proficient in a few more instruments as well. After I graduate, I plan to travel in the winter and come back to Alaska in the summer. I have been working in Ketchikan’s tourist industry since I was a child and plan to continue that involvement. When I’m not working, I can be found in a music practice room or researching for my next presentation. I love writing and have self-published three books. Year-round, I like to stay busy!

Mary Ryan, Managing Editor.

Mary Ryan

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Managing Editor

I started out at The Northern Light as Features Editor in March of 2019 and became the Managing Editor at the beginning of June. As a college junior studying journalism and public communications, I am pursuing a career in strategic communications. I am also minoring in business administration and communications. With these degrees, I hope to build a career where business and journalism overlap. Working at The Northern Light has allowed me to experiment with different positions and further determine how I would like to use communication in a future career. In my spare time, I enjoy all things arts: sketching, crafts, swing dancing, playing the violin and singing to guitar chords.

Jason Herr, Layout Editor.

Jason Herr

Layout Editor

I have been with The Northern Light since May 2019, as both the News Editor and the Layout Editor. I am a senior, working to complete a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public communications, and have already completed my minors in psychology and justice. After I graduate, I look forward to working with a company or organization on community relations campaigns, events and advertising. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, gaming, art, comics and I recently began updating my Green Lantern collection. I enjoy working with The Northern Light because I learn something new every week. One day I may be attending a political forum, and the next day learning about how to dissect a whale. It’s always an adventure.

Michaeline Collins

Graphic Designer

I joined The Northern Light team early this summer. I am a junior working towards a bachelor’s degree in illustration. After much thought and exploration, my career goals are to be a successful graphic designer and illustrator. I love playing video games and Magic the Gathering. I do make it outside to go hiking and fishing with my dog and boyfriend. I love my job because I can take someone’s vision and create it for them with my own twists. That is why I have chosen this career path!


Christina Swayney, News Reporter.

Christina Swayney

News Reporter

I joined the Northern Light in May of 2019 as a News Reporter. It has been a dream of mine to write and take photographs for a newspaper, and it came true! I love to write for the paper, but I enjoy taking pictures and editing even more. I am a junior journalism student also pursuing a minor in anthropology. Working at TNL has taught me that writing does not feel like work and makes me happy. When I am not working, I love to cook, paint, rea, travel when I can (when I am not broke), make fragrance oils and read tarot cards for my friends. 

John Novotny, Arts & Entertainment Editor.

John Novotny

Arts & Entertainment Editor

I have been working for The Northern Light since May of 2019. Video games are my passion and thanks to The Northern Light, I have been able to start writing about them professionally. Working at The Northern Light is an incredible opportunity. I’m able to enjoy my favorite hobby and improve my writing to take the next step in achieving my dream. This fall will be the start of my fifth, and hopefully final, year at UAA. I am working towards a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. After I graduate, I hope to start writing for a video game publication or website. Ideally, the work will allow me to stay in Alaska or at least live somewhere with a similar climate, if not a little colder. I chose journalism because I saw it as my way into the video game industry, which I have been obsessed with since I first picked up a controller as a child. Gaming is what I spend most of my free time doing. However, I also enjoy getting outdoors every once and awhile, sport fishing for salmon and trout and hiking. 

Robert Gant, Features Editor.

Robert Gant

Features Editor

I joined The Northern Light team at the end of February 2019 as Features Reporter and have been Features Editor since June 2019. I am a sophomore economics major pursuing my bachelor’s of business administration with a minor in philosophy. My aspirations include getting at least one of my novels published and working within fiscal and public policy. I love the opportunity The Northern Light gives me to connect with the UAA community and shine a light on information about the university. When I’m not writing articles for The Northern Light, I write speculative fictional novels and hang out with my four ferrets: Sir Giles Snuggleworth, Anyanka, Henry and Spike.

Lauren Cuddihy, Sports Editor.

Lauren Cuddihy

Sports Editor

I have been working for The Northern Light for just about three years, having started in September of 2016 as the Assistant Sports Editor and working my way up to Sports Editor. I became aware of the position due to running on the UAA track and field team for three years. I just finished my fourth year at UAA, double majoring in chemistry and biology, and have just one five-credit lab to complete in the fall before graduating in December. After that, I plan to pursue a master’s in clinical psychology and eventually a doctor of psychology and work in the field of mental health. When I am not studying and learning, I enjoy running, hiking, swimming, yoga, reading, volunteering, camping and spending as much time with friends and family as I can!

Paola Banchero

Media Adviser

I am a faculty member in the Department of Journalism and Public Communications. I teach journalism and strategic communications courses. For 10 years before joining UAA, I was a full-time journalist in the Midwest and Southwest. I have been advising The Northern Light since 2004. I am interested in collegiate journalism, immigration and the news, and of late, climate change communication in my research agenda. When I’m not at UAA, I like hanging out with family and friends, running, yoga, reading, volunteering and being outside. 

Zac Clark

Administrative Adviser

I began supporting The Northern Light and KRUA 88.1FM The Edge as the Administrative Advisor in 2016. I’m a UAA alumnus and earned my bachelor’s degree in journalism and public communication in 2005. During my time as a UAA student, I worked at KRUA 88.1FM The Edge. After graduating from UAA, I have worked as a professional staff member. In addition to supporting UAA Student Media, I work with USUAA, Concert Board and Green Fee Board. When I’m not working at UAA, I enjoy spending time with my family exploring Alaska.