Meet the Students

Latifah Al-Hazza

Latifah Al-Hazza , whose lineage is both Kuwaiti and American and whose life has been equally divided between Kuwait and America, is a bicultural individual whose identity is rooted in two dissimilar cultures. The blending of these diverse cultures while growing up has dramatically influenced how she views the world around her and current issues.

Latifah traveled to Tanzania with her father to create a documentary of the less fortunate living and schooling conditions of children. Her documentary has been aired on numerous television stations in Virginia. Latifah currently attends the University of Illinois as a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Currently, Latifah is an on-air entertainment reporter at WPGU 107.1, an anchor for the UI-7 “JamSession”, a section editor for the illio Yearbook, as well as a writer for The Spread online magazine. Having traveled to fifteen countries, she is fascinated by the nuances that define a culture; the traditions, customs, and ways of thinking that vary from one country to another. Her focus in her continued learning has been how cultural misunderstandings can arise due to a lack of cultural understanding and how this misunderstanding can be avoided.

The determining factor that led her to Broadcast Journalism came at a young age when she accompanied her uncle, who is a television cameraman in Kuwait, to the set of one of the programs he was filming. Latifah was mesmerized by the journalists behind the camera. They became a role model in her mind and she knew that one day she would like to be in front of the camera reporting on important issues and events from around the world. Latifah’s passion is to give voice to women and underprivileged individuals in various cultures who have a story to tell. She would like to have the opportunity to be their storyteller.


Saira Anwer

Saira is a senior in the Broadcast Journalism program at the University of Illinois. She loves reporting and learning new things. She is excited to explore Turkey and even more excited to try Turkish food! Saira enjoys singing, dancing and playing tennis. She hopes to someday be a TV news reporter or anchor.


Jessica Bourque

Jessica is a Junior studying News-Editorial journalism. Since age ten, after reading her first National Geographic, she’s fantasized about traveling the world as a foreign correspondent. Today, she is eager to discover and embrace as many new cultures as she can. Above all, she strives to connect with people, especially with those who are different from her. In turn, she hopes her work can help others connect with people they wouldn’t have connected with before.


Megan Graham

Megan is a senior in News-Editorial Journalism and Political Science at the University of Illinois. She has been writing for the Daily Illini since the beginning of her freshman year; for one year as a news reporter and since then as a weekly columnist.

Megan caught the politics bug after working on a campaign the summer after her freshman year and has focused on writing about domestic and international politics ever since. She graduated from The Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University during the summer of 2010 while interning at the CEO Update magazine in Washington, D.C.

After spending half a year in Vienna, Austria in 2011, Megan can’t wait to travel abroad again. She ventured through Italy, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic and Croatia (just to name a few!) but looks forward to a completely new experience in the Middle East.


Caroline Pahl

As a lifelong learner with a fearless attitude and a proactive spirit, Caroline Pahl strives to inspire people to learn and care about cultures, issues, and news across borders.

Pahl’s own passion for cultures has been nurtured throughout her life. At the age of five, her parents sent her to Poland to live with relatives, where she was exposed to the language, lifestyle, and traditions of her ancestors. Upon her return, her parents enrolled her in Polish school. Meanwhile, her mother got her interested in writing and reporting about well-known female athletes for Polish magazines and newspapers in Chicago. Pahl realized her senior year in high school that a unique door of opportunity had been developed from her childhood experiences: majoring in journalism was an easy choice for her.

Caroline Pahl is a graduate of the University of Illinois, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast journalism and a minor in French. Pahl took advantage of a variety of opportunities during her four years on campus, from volunteering for Alternative Spring Break to reporting for the Daily Illini. Sophomore year, she launched a student-run show called “JamSession” as its first Executive Producer. Pahl also interned for UI-7, the University of Illinois cable service, where she enjoyed documenting the achievements of students and faculty on campus. Her campus experiences granted her internships at the Voice of America in Washington D.C., the Home Shopping Network in Florida, and
WCIA-3 News in Champaign, IL.

In 2011, Pahl won a chance to represent Illinois on a trip to Japan through a national reporting competition. Later that year she was chosen to fly to Washington, D.C. for a day to document the Central Illinois Honor Flight. After college, Pahl hopes to combine her desire to travel with her appreciation for in-depth news coverage to become a TV producer for international news, or a documentarian. This summer opportunity in Turkey is fulfilling Pahl’s desire to explore a foreign culture, while internalizing her experiences and depicting them through various journalism mediums in hopes of educating others about Muslim issues and Turkish culture.


Lindsay Prossnitz

My name is Lindsay and I’m a senior in Broadcast Journalism. I chose this major because I have always wanted to be a foreign correspondent, so I am thrilled to have this opportunity to report in Istanbul. I believe the power of writing can be an effective tool for social change, and I hope to shed light on the challenges now facing Turkey with its diverse Muslim population. I look forward to learning more about Turkey, and sharing my experiences along this journey.


Taylor Smith

My interest in journalism developed while I was a student at East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, Michigan. As a member of the school’s Falcon News Network I gained my first experiences conducting interviews, capturing video, editing and writing. Now I am a senior at the University of Illinois, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to cover news and events on the University’s campus as a member of WBML Radio, The Daily Illini and UI-7 Productions. I have gained experience through internships at WOOD TV 8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan as well as through my participation in the Illinois Broadcasters Association Multicultural Internship Program, where I was placed at WLS- TV in Chicago, Illinois.

Following graduation I plan on continuing my work as a multimedia journalist and establish my career as a reporter or producer. Throughout my life I have shown immense interest in learning, meeting new people and gaining new perspectives. I am excited to continue these interests as I study Turkey, its culture and subjects surrounding Islam.


Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a curious go-getter with a passion for people and their stories. She is a University of Illinois student and a May 2012 graduate. Lauren has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. Before she could write, she would interview her grandparents and fill an entire legal notepad with their answers; when the interview was over she would proceed to tell an intriguing story based on her scribbled notes. Having become more mature, she still pursues this passion for details and exploration.

Her love for story telling has been paired with a need to seek adventure around the world. Her goal is to one day become an International Reporter and cross her goal of “touching every continent” off of her bucket list. In order to prepare for global expeditions, she immerses herself in different cultures. She has attended global Leadership conferences enhancing her love for diversity as well as connecting with diplomats and young world leaders about changes they wish to see in their countries.

Leadership and understanding are key in making progress. She contributes to the United States’ progress by helping student leaders. She works as a facilitator for an annual national diversity conference. The leaders she has met along her journey inspire her with their stories. She hopes to bring them to light through the all platforms of journalism. Her skills have been in enhanced by internships in newsrooms such as ABC-7 in Chicago, IL, USA and WCIA-3 in Champaign, IL, USA. She learned the value of virtual connection during her time as a social media executive at Her resume can be viewed through the “website” link. Lauren is elated to have received the opportunity to enhance her desire to widen global perspectives with this trip to Istanbul. She is excited to dig deeper into Turkish delights as well as broadcast voices that often go unheard in the Muslim community.


Tolu Taiwo

Tolu Taiwo, a junior in News-Editorial Journalism, is beyond ecstatic to be going to Turkey this summer. Ever since she was a freshman, it’s been on her bucket list to travel to Turkey, and she can barely believe it’s happening right now. This trip fits in right with Tolu’s post-graduation plans, as she wants to study international human rights law, and believes that she should learn about as many countries as she can to stay well-informed.

Tolu loves to take pictures, and she’s looking forward to capturing the beautiful sites of Istanbul into the camera.  She also wants to further improve her videography skills, and is eager to start interviewing people via video. Tolu is also excited to meet new people and hear their stories, and try new foods, as she is somewhat of a foodie. Besides being a Journalism 470 student, Tolu is also the columnist for the Daily Illini and a blogger for HerCampus. She enjoys watching Parks and Recreation, hanging around the Illini Union Board office and cooking the only thing that she knows how to make—her famous macaroni and cheese.