This is the fourth summer that the Land and Water Resources Department was able to host student writers from the Simpson Street Free Press, a nonprofit newspaper and youth center that teaches critical thinking and writing skills in hopes of bridging Madison’s achievement gap. Simpson Street Free Press works to cover a variety of environmental topics, and has a special series focused on stories about Dane County. Read more articles in their Where in Dane County series. Learn more about the newspaper and program in this short video (YouTube).
Desteny Alvarez is a student at Monona Grove High School. Desteny was recently promoted to a teen editor position at Simpson Street. She writes in English and Spanish and, as a teen editor, helps younger student reporters prepare articles for publication.
Mariama Bah is an 8th grade student at Sennett Middle School in Madison. Her passion is science and she writes extensively on topics related to the environment and protecting natural resources. Mariama has worked at Simpson Street since she was in 4th grade and was an intern with our Department in 2019. She is an accomplished writer and reporter whose work has been published by several local media outlets.
Zainib Yahiaoui is a student at Madison East High School. Relatively new to the Simpson Street Free Press staff, Zainib's written work has focused primarily on science and history. Her recent piece on the effects of climate change and the decline of Wisconsin's walleye population got over 700 clicks on the Simpson Street websites and social media platforms.
Jules Da Costa is a student at St. James Middle School. He has worked at Simpson Street for about two years. During that time Jules has been a prolific and dedicated writer. Jules loves all things science and enjoys researching topics that spark his natural curiosity.
Christy Zheng is a senior at McFarland High School. She is a senior teen editor at Simpson Street Free Press, and has been working there since seventh grade. Previously, Christy was an intern with our Department in 2017 and 2018.
Coordinating our 2020 summer internship programs are three Simpson Street Free Press veteran staffers:
Shoko Miyagi is longtime volunteer and literacy specialist at Simpson Street. Miyagi holds an MA in Applied English Linguistics from UW-Madison and currently works for the University of Wisconsin System. She develops curriculum for second-language learners.
Taylor Kilgore is the managing editor at Simpson Street and is graduate of the UW-Madison School of Journalism. Kilgore is a south Madison native and has worked for Simpson Street since she was in 8th grade.
Kadjata Bah is a student at Madison East High School and a senior teen editor at Simpson Street. In addition to her other work at Simpson Street, Kadjata has served internships at The Capital Times, Madison Magazine, and was an intern at our Department in 2017.
Mariama is going into 7th grade at Sennett Middle School. She has been attending Simpson Street Free Press since 2nd grade. At Simpson Street, she likes to write about space and science. During this internship, she would like to learn about the Dane County Park System.
Valeria is going into 8th grade at Sennett Middle School. She has been working at Simpson Street Free Press for about 4 years. She mostly writes about environmental issues and is excited to learn more about nature and the environment during this internship.
Gabby is going into 9th grade at West High School. She has worked at Simpson Street Free Press since 5th grade. In her free time she enjoys biking and reading. She is interested in this internship because she wants to learn more about the environment.
Vanessa is a sophomore at West High School. She has worked for Simpson Street since 7th grade and enjoys writing about a wide range of topics from climate change to ads in space. Through this internship she is hoping to learn new things about the environment.
There are also two student writers working with UW Extension. Check out their work here.
Josepha is going into 8th grade at St. James Catholic School. She has worked for Simpson Street for almost 2 years. She often writes about historical figures and health-related topics. In her free time, she enjoys reading and singing. She is excited about this internship because it will be a fun new experience for her.
Leilani is an 8th grader at James C. Write Middle School. She has worked at Simpson Street Free Press for 8 months. In her free time, she likes to play the violin and study dermatology. She is interested in the internship because she enjoys learning information about the environment.
Christy is an incoming sophomore at McFarland High School. She has been with Simpson Street Free Press for four years. Christy writes about a variety of topics, including environmental issues and social justice. Her interests include reading, dancing, and playing the piano. Christy is a returning intern at the Land & Water Resources Department and she hopes to learn more about the local environment.
Felicia is going to be a freshman at McFarland High School. She has worked at Simpson Street Free Press since 7th grade, and has written about a wide range of topics from whales to jetpacks. In her free time, she enjoys reading, and drawing. She is excited to learn more about the environment through this internship.
Sharon is going to be a freshman at Lafollette. She has worked for Simpson Street Free Press for almost four years. She writes about a broad array of topics, including science and biographies of influential people. In her free time, Sharon likes to read, organize, and watch movies. She is excited for this opportunity because it will be a new experience and she will be able to learn more about the environment and how it affects Wisconsin.
Sylvan recently graduated from Evansville High School, and will be attending Hampshire College this fall. She has worked at Simpson Street Free Press since 8th grade, and currently edits and writes about environmental issues. She enjoys traveling, backpacking, reading, and learning new things. After attending Conserve School, a semester-long boarding school program that emphasizes environmental issues and outdoor recreation, she became interested in incorporating environmental advocacy in her future educational and career plans. She hopes to learn more about the role of local government in conservation during her internship.
Kadjata is going into 7th grade at O'Keeffe Middle School. She has worked for Simpson Street since 5th grade, and often writes about social justice and health related topics. In her free time, she enjoys reading books of various genres, drawing, creative writing, and playing violin. She is interested in this internship because she would like to learn more about water use and how it can affect local communities.
Christy is an incoming freshman at McFarland High School. She has worked for Simpson Street since 7th grade. She writes about a variety of topics including environmental issues and social justice. In her free time, she likes to read, play the piano, and dance. She is interested in this internship because she would like to learn more about the environment of Wisconsin and how to preserve it.
Hugo is 17 years old and currently lives in Madrid, Spain. He visits his family in Madison every summer. He started working at Simpson Street Free Press in July and enjoys it a lot. Hugo will be going to university soon and plans to major in journalism and photography. His interests include soccer (he has played for 12 years) and taking photos and videos of his family and friends.