As we continue to grow and support student journalists in our communities, Arizona Luminaria is excited to welcome two interns this summer.

Teressa Enriquez grew up along the border in Nogales, Arizona and moved to Tucson to study at the University of Arizona, where she is a senior majoring in journalism and German, with a minor in Spanish. She’s trilingual and is interested in telling environmental and community stories. Teressa says her passion for journalism comes from being naturally nosey and having traveled all over the world.

Reia Li grew up in Tucson and is a senior at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. majoring in anthropology and minoring in math. Although Reia loves researching, writing and talking to strangers, they say their main motivation for pursuing journalism is that they feel it is how they can best contribute to their community.

Luminaria is committed to listening to our communities. We hear you when you tell us you want your stories told with care by local journalists who live here; and are rising to the opportunities to create newsrooms and news coverage that fully and fairly reflect our diverse communities.

“Teressa and Reia are the next generation of talented, caring college journalists who put their communities first. They are working to make newsrooms and local news more inclusive and trustworthy, as well as accountable to people who want information so they can take action and create change,” said Dianna Náñez, executive editor and co-founder of Luminaria. “These values matter to Arizona Luminaria. We know they will join us and challenge us in working to rebuild and rethink local journalism so it is a more equitable and ethical system and space for journalists and communities of all backgrounds, especially for historically marginalized people. Please join us in cheering them on as they chase their dreams, shape Luminaria and share your stories.”

Reia fell in love with journalism as a reporter for the student newspaper of the Claremont College Consortium, where they covered tenant organizing and housing issues in the Inland Empire.

More recently, Reia has written about student engagement with the community for the city of Claremont’s newspaper, as well as a biweekly book column for The Student Life highlighting books by and about queer Asian people. 

Reia is thrilled to be joining the Luminaria team for the summer. They are most excited about getting to be a part of a small, community-oriented newsroom that cares deeply both about the wellbeing of its journalists, as well as the community it covers. Reia is eager to report about Southern Arizona issues, holding this land near and dear to their heart.

“I talk a lot with my friends who are also aspiring journalists about the way that the journalism industry can be exploitative — relying on unpaid or underpaid labor, expecting journalists to put aside their physical and mental health for the sake of a story, and either neglecting to cover underserved communities or only covering the problems they have,” Reia said. “Given the many issues with today’s journalism industry, I still can’t believe my luck at stumbling into a woman-led nonprofit filled with veteran reporters who, like me, care deeply about Southern Arizona. With Arizona Luminaria, I hope to continue to learn how to write nuanced, long-form pieces that serve the communities I come from.”

Teressa’s love for journalism was influenced by her extensive travels where she met incredible people, learning about their countries and cultures through their voices and their eyes, and wants to tell their stories. She’s done international volunteer work, including at a children’s camp teaching English to little vampires. (Ask her about it!)

“I have traveled to México, Romania, Israel, India, Germany, Montenegro, Hungary, and was ‘stranded’ in a Moscow airport for 24 hours in a layover, worked in Hawaii for three months and visited Albania for a day,” Teressa said.

Teressa also discovered a passion for photography and film through classes in photojournalism and multimedia. She won a 2022 Drew Gyorke Memorial Photojournalism Award for one of her photographs and has continued to pursue visual journalism through film. She hopes to keep telling small stories through film and one day make a full-length documentary.

“I am very excited to be working with AZ Luminaria during the summer. In fact, I have been looking forward to it all semester! I absolutely love their stories on the community and the way they have been covering the water crisis in different local communities,” she said. “Whether they’re doing features on people or digging deep into a crisis, their stories make an impact. Their stories are trying to bring people together and help people feel more involved, less lost, and empower them to take care of their community. I want to be a part of that. I want to tell the stories of those less heard. I want to help.”

Teressa wants to delve deep into the issues surrounding the community and helping people feel heard at a local level — truly helping people connect all across Southern Arizona. In Teressa’s free time she plays rugby with Tucson’s Old Pueblo Lightening Women’s team and competes in the Southwest.

“Every practice is another opportunity to better my skills and receive new bruises,” she said. “I love it.”

When Reia isn’t digging into journalism, they’re on the sports field.

“I love running and am on Pomona College’s track team,” they said. “I also love soccer and I’m excited to coach at the Queer Trans Football Club’s soccer camp for queer and trans youth this summer.”

Please give Teressa and Reia a big bienvenidos and share your story ideas with them by emailing info@azluminaria.org.

Irene McKisson

Irene is an audience development expert and obsessed with reader-first journalism. She is a former Arizona Daily Star editor and was co-founder of #ThisIsTucson and led that team until July 2021. She is...