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Meet TMN’s Newest Class of Interns

Asia Nicole Alcorn is taking steps today to prepare for her future

By Kendall Gayle Washington

Interns

Growing up, Asia Nicole Alcorn wasn’t exactly sure what the future might hold, but she knew she wanted to do something she was passionate about.

Alcorn is a multi-media journalist interning at Texas Metro News making her mark, and publisher Cheryl Smith says, “You can see the difference in the paper since Asia has been here.”

Growing up in Grand Prairie, TX. Asia was raised in a Christian environment, singing on the praise team. One day, after her Dad picked her up from school, he told Asia they would be moving church homes. Her father, Derrick Alcorn, and grandmother, Emma Davis, started their church over five years ago.

“I was so used to my church family at The Potter’s House,” Asia said, adding that if it was not for the church home transition she would not have grown to be the strong young woman she is today. “l learned to adapt in a new environment and meet new people, which prepared me for my future career as a journalist.”

When she was in the womb, her parents would play music, and sing to her. In her younger years, she was a “singing machine.” Asia assumed that her career would land her in music, but that belief changed in middle school.

Asia’s mom, Lynette Alcorn, encouraged her to join the Optimist Club of Grand Prairie. Asia went on to give 10-minute speech presentations at national conventions competing against kids around the world.

As graduation came closer, she never knew where she would end up after applying to Texas Christian University and the University of Texas Arlington. However, in fall of 2019, Alcorn became an Mean Green Eagle at the University of North Texas.

“UNT felt like home,” she said. In the middle of her freshman year, the COVID-19 pandemic began. For some students, it was a struggle to keep up, but Alcorn said it became easier and she discovered how independent she was.

The true turning point in Asia’s life was not when she found her passion for journalism, but when her son Zane was born.

Zane was the light at the end of Asia’s tunnel. She thanks God every day for her son and for everything she has accomplished.

Asia, a Broadcast Journalism major and Spanish minor, will graduate in fall of 2022 with a bachelor’s degree, and the following year with a master’s degree.

Asia said she is grateful for the opportunity to work with Texas Metro News this summer. She hopes to take everything she has learned at Texas Metro News, and use it in her future career as a news anchor and reporter.

Angelina Liu assumes Editor-in-Chief Post

By Maya Palavali

Friday I’m in Love by The Cure
How to disappear by Lana Del Rey
Secret of Life by Lord Huron

These songs may seem random, but they are a glimpse into Angelina Liu’s personality and style.

Liu is an avid fan of musical arts, but her passion lies in the art of storytelling.

“I think it’s amazing that you’re able to get to know somebody that you may have never gotten to know otherwise,” Liu said.

Liu grew up in Vienna, VA, a suburb next to the country’s capital. However, most of her childhood memories are in Coppell, where her family moved to when she was in the third grade.

Throughout middle school, Liu continued both theater and basketball, but as she entered high school, Liu made the tough decision to stop those current extracurricular activities.

“I decided that they just didn’t really align with what I want in the future,” Liu said. “So, I just picked up journalism and took off with it.”

Liu started as a writer for her school’s newspaper, The Side-kick, her sophomore year.

But as the year progressed, Liu quickly began to love photo journalism and was the staff visual media editor her junior year.

“When I first joined The Side-kick, I didn’t even really want to try photography,” Liu said. “I’m really glad that I decided to pick up a camera because being able to learn more about the camera and its capabilities has been a really cool experience.”

A rising senior at Coppell High School, Liu has earned the position of The Sidekick’s editor-in-chief.

Contrary to her current dedication and talent, Liu wasn’t always interested in pursuing journalism.

“I never had something that I really loved,” Liu said. “COVID really allowed me to say I don’t like what I’m doing right now; that’s where I really started looking into other possibilities.”

Before her internship with Texas Metro News, Liu was a part of the Scripps Howard Foundation Emerging Journalists program. Her selection as one of the twenty students in the program was no coincidence.

As her successful high school career is coming to an end, Liu has an idea of what her future will look like in college.

“My father and my sister went to the University of Texas at Austin, so it was always apparent that’s where I’ll go,” Liu said. “I’ll definitely focus on the humanities side of majors.”

Liu has a support system behind her that is with her on everything, journalism and otherwise.

Her friends get her to step out of her comfort zone, while also cheering her on.

“I hate people watching me, but one of my favorite things to do is go to karaoke,” Liu said.

“I’m just comfortable and being with my friends is the best feeling.”

Grambling State Communications Major Plans to Make Mark

By Emily Dieztmann

When Nycorta Diaz Mabry, Jr. came into the world, his name was already predetermined, along with certain expectations.

According to his grandfather and father, Nycorta means “strong Black King,” and Nycorta Jr. said both men have been great role models to help chart his path in life.

Mabry is one of Texas Metro News’ newest interns and he is ready to make a difference.

“I have a lot that I can offer the world, but I haven’t had the opportunity to show them that yet.”

Even in a ZOOM call, Mabry exudes a go-getter attitude and an amiable personality. He is one of those people who knows how to lead but also to care for the people he loves.

A native of Flint, MI, and graduate of Flushing High School, Mabry played a variety of sports and excelled in all of them, but his favorite and the one he was best at was football.

He even played for select teams outside of school, garnering many awards.

Graduating in 2017, Mabry went on to Davenport University on a full-ride football scholarship. While he had offers from some Division 1 schools, he selected the Division 2 college because he felt it was best for the financial needs of his family.

He believes he could have had more and better offers if he just had more exposure —an issue he deals with to this day.

Mabry played football through his sophomore year with Davenport University, but then he tore his ACL. He said that injury was truly “the pivot point of his life.”

Everything in him had been geared toward football. It was “his way out.” Now he was out of the game, he did some soul searching.

After a long internal battle, he decided his next goal was to attend Grambling State University. He even started reaching out to students saying he would be there the next semester. Sure enough, he was accepted and traveled south to Grambling, LA.

Now, a Mass Communications major and Marketing minor, he has decided the biggest brand he wants to build is him-self. In preparation for his many big moments in the foreseeable future, he began branding himself under his full name, as he believes it carries a lot of responsibility and power.

In addition to writing stories, covering events and learning all areas of the industry, Mabry will also be hosting a weekly podcast in June, utilizing his marketing skills to promote the I Messenger Media Brand that includes: Texas Metro News, I Messenger, Garland Journal and other IMM Digital platforms.

Inspired by the likes of Joe Budding and rap mogul Diddy, Mabry plans to use his opportunity at Texas Metro News to build his repertoire, make connections to other powerful leaders of the Dallas/Fort Worth communities and take what he has learned and make a change. He is also focused on changing the world.

“Being an influencer means having the ability to change the world,” Mabry said, as he describes the beginning of this new journey. “It’s a big responsibility.”

Texas Metro News interns
Kendall Gayle Washington, Iniya Nathan, Asia Nicole Alcorn and Angelina Liu, some of the Texas Metro News interns.
Iniya Nathan has Stories to Tell

By Angelina Liu

As a child, Coppell High School senior Iniya Nathan always had an interest in reading. Whether it be a mystery, romance or fantasy, the complex worlds of each multi-faceted character intrigued her as she struggled to put each book down.

“I often got in trouble for reading during class time in elementary school,” Nathan said.

This exact hunger to consume stories of demi-gods slaying monsters on top of the Empire State Building, to the tragic love stories of doomed fictional universes has developed and translated to her love for storytelling.

Born in Downers Grove, IL, her family moved to Coppell, Texas when she was in fifth grade. Although Nathan is introverted, she does not allow this trait to deter her from seeking truth and reporting it. Her passion to shed light on injustice is motivated by her own experiences with racism and what she sees on the news.

“A guy smeared bacon all over my desk in third grade when I told him that I didn’t eat bacon due to my culture,” Nathan said. “I want to be able to advocate for others because there are people who suffer in silence. Writing a story about an experience can help other people who are in a similar situation.”

Outside of journalism, Nathan is often traveling with her family to the sandy laid-back shores of the Bahamas, or the massive mountain ranges of the Swiss Alps, where the air is thin but the sunset atop a range makes it worthwhile.

The similarities between the fictional worlds of her novels, and the real-life destinations make it special for Nathan to experience the striking beauty of each location.

Although Nathan realizes that she can’t fulfill her dream job to teach dragon writing to children, as dragons don’t exist in this world (yet), she aspires to be a paralegal or work in public relations.

Nathan said she is excited to tell the countless stories of those in the Dallas metroplex.

Coppell High School senior starts her journalism career

By Iniya Nathan

At the beginning of her junior year, she had no idea that this one class would change the course of her life.

Maya Palavali, originally from Valley Ranch, Texas, moved to Coppell when she was three years old. She joined Coppell High School’s student newspaper The Sidekick, on a whim her junior year, a year later than when most students join the staff. At first, she was not very passionate about the program.

“I was basically slacking off for the first semester,” Palavali said. “I’m not really sure what changed, but when I came back from [winter] break I just got really into The Sidekick. I exponentially became passionate about this.”

She is currently the staff cartoonist for The Sidekick. However, she did not see a future in journalism until after she got accepted into the Scripps Howard Foundation Emerging Journalism Program at the University of North Texas. The one week journalism workshop not only convinced Palavali that a future in journalism is possible, but also placed her here with Texas Metro News.

Palavali’s first article was an opinion and from then she has expanded to writing entertainment stories, features, drawing cartoons and more. Her favorite section is still opinions, and her passion for advocacy tints those stories.

“When I was younger, I thought [advocacy] was kind of stupid,” Palavali said. “Why would we need that? It really changed in seventh grade.

There were some circumstances where I realized I was not like my peers. It felt like I was other and I don’t want people to feel that way.”

The two issues that are most important to her are LGBTQ+ rights and mental health, although other issues like women’s rights and racism matter a lot to her as well. While she does a lot of volunteering, her life does not circle around helping others. Her other hobbies include writing poetry and drawing. She is a debater and debate coach and was a part of the Coppell Literary Art Magazine, also known as CLAM.

Palavali is not confident that she is going to major in journalism in college as she is also considering other majors such as business and psychology. However, she is not letting go of this passion after high school and plans to at least minor in journalism or continue working in the field somehow.

Her inspiration is her family as they have been a huge, supportive part of her life, especially when it comes to journalism.

Palavali is ready for her writing to change the world.

“I want to shine more light on the people’s struggles,” Palavali said. “But not just their struggles, but their lives outside of being part of a community because that’s not shown enough. People can look at my writing and they’ll think ‘I’ll be ok.”

Terry Allen
“Big Mama Said” columnist, Terry Allen gives intern Nycorta Mabry, Jr. advice for success.
Young, gifted, Black and focused on success

By Asia Nicole Alcorn

Kendall Gayle Washington is the definition of young and inspiring.

At 16, she has already graduated from Dallas College with an Associate of Arts and Science.

Now a rising senior at Bishop Dunne Catholic School, Kend-all has her heart set on pursuing journalism and her top school choices include New York University, Columbia University, Florida A&M University and University of Texas at Austin.

Kendall is a Jill of all trades, with the personality of a creative leader and a heart of gold.

Her parents, Kenneth and Sharon Washington, set high expectations for their daughter, which she has already surpassed.

“Kendall Gayle has always been a positive overachiever,” Mr. Washington said. “If she wants something to happen and it doesn’t exist, she’ll make it happen.”

Kendall describes her mom, Sharon Washington, as her best friend and inspiration.

“We are extremely proud of her because she is self-motivated and self-driven,” Mrs. Washington said. “She sets her own goals and accomplishes them.”

Kendall is a hardworking individual, which you can see by her school and community involvement, along with her grades.

She is in the top seven percent of her senior class, of 76.

Kendall is a go-getter. She is president of her school’s media and empowerment clubs and co-captain of her cheer team.

She has also achieved her Bronze and Silver Awards as an Ambassador Girl Scout. Soon, she will complete her Gold Award.

“Even though I might not have been in an environment surrounded by people who look like me, I was always involved in my community and church growing up,” Kendall said. “I always knew who I was, and I was never shying away from my Black culture.”

Kendall and her family are members of Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, where she is involved in the youth ministry.

Inspired by WFAA-TV Channel 8 anchors and reporters Tashara Parker and Cleo Greene, Kendall said she is ready to build and grow her brand.

“I’m here with Texas Metro News to learn, grow and experience all I can,” she said. “Even after I build my brand, I will come back to uplift Texas Metro News.”

She joined the Texas Metro News team as a multimedia journalist, writing newspaper articles, managing social media and creating news packages.

Within two weeks of working with Texas Metro News, her first article, “New And Improved: Austin Street Center” was published in the weekly newspaper.

Kendall Gayle Washington’s accomplishments are impressive and she’s only beginning. She is living proof it’s not about age. It’s more about hard work, positive spirit and determination.

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