To have had the opportunity to participate in NPR’s Next Gen Radio program has been the most rewarding experience. I’ve learned new skills, tricks, and tips on how to become the best storyteller that I could possibly be. To have had the opportunity to work with my mentor, Anh Gray, has been so rewarding. I think she is just the most amazing mentor, and really just an overall great relative. She has been so supportive throughout this whole experience and encouraged me to do the storytelling that I want to do. 

I went into journalism to share the stories of my people, and to have someone just as passionate about sharing the stories of Indigenous people, was so refreshing. It’s a narrative that is not often heard in mainstream media, and to have the opportunity to share a story like Jolie Valera’s is an honor. It really is an important story and to have on a NPR platform is something that I’m so grateful for.

I want to thank Doug Mitchell and Traci Tong for holding space for young journalists, like me, to grow and learn from experts like Anh and Selena Seay-Reynolds. I walked into this experience not knowing much about Adobe Audition and I am leaving feeling confident in my newly learned skills to share narrative stories on radio platforms. 

I am grateful to have worked with the web editors; Amara Aguilar, Kylene Yumul, and Erica Lee, on developing my web piece and creating photo captions that help elevate Jolie’s important story. 

Lastly, I am glad to have shared space and built a community, even if it was virtual, with everyone involved with this special project. I am appreciative of the investment Next Gen Radio has made in me, because it is not only an investment in me and my family, but Indian Country as a whole.