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Meet the Team

Our Board

Board Member

Andrea Ruiz Rabadan

Andrea Ruiz Rabadan is the Equitable and Inclusive Banking Analytics Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Consumer & Community Banking. Her purpose is to inspire and empower other Latina leaders to follow their dreams and to influence the future of the organizations she works with to innovate and develop sustainable business strategies based on data to achieve continued success.

Andrea holds a Masters of Science in Analytics from North Carolina State University and has a double major in Finance and Economics with a minor in Religion from Ashland University.

Andrea is originally from Mexico City and migrated to the US to go to college at Ashland University, with a scholarship to play varsity tennis. She is fluent in Spanish, English being her second language. She is heavily involved in the community serving as a board member in the “YMCA Youth Champions” and “Every Child Succeeds” Board of Directors. She is also an active member of the Adelante BRG, being the Polaris Site Lead; actively participates as a project champion in the Force for Good program; and participates as a mentor in diverse Advancing Hispanic and Latino programs.

Board Member

Claire Rychlewski

Claire Rychlewski was born and raised in Chicago. She is a business journalist for Axios, reporting on investment and deals in the retail and health industries. In her free time she enjoys walks, yoga, and writing and reading poetry.
Board Member

Laura R. García-Ramírez

Laura R. García-Ramírez is a community organizer and educator with a focus on housing, labor and immigration. Her most recent work as the policy lead with the Chicago Healthy Homes Coalition, a group of interdisciplinary advocates fighting for a citywide ordinance to address conditions in the home known to be detrimental to health and safety, led to the bill’s introduction in December 2022. Prior to her work in Chicago, Laura worked in Oaxaca and outside of Mexico City, organizing rural farmers and reporting on illegal land contracts and seizures.

Lekisha Gunn

Lekisha Gunn is the Impact Manager for Girls on the Run Chicago, a national non-profit organization that focuses on social emotional learning and fitness for girls from grades 3 to 8. She previously worked in the Illinois Supreme Court promoting legal access to self-represented litigants after the 2020 racial uprising. She also worked at the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in both Mexico and Austria under the Obama Administration. She is very active in the Chicago community and serves on both the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Chicago and Borderless Magazine. Lekisha holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University and B.S. in Business Administration at the University of Alabama. In her free time, she likes running, reading and playing with her dog, Pep.
Board Member

Maty Ortega Cruz

Maty Ortega Cruz is a dedicated engagement professional with 6 years of hands-on experience in community-centered initiatives. As a first-generation college graduate, they earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Knox College in 2018 and a master's in public policy and administration from Northwestern University in 2023.

Their professional background includes successful engagement with community and corporate volunteers, in addition to nurturing impactful student, teacher, and family relationships across Northern Illinois. They have a commitment to developing action plans that address community needs by utilizing an approach that is centered on sustainability, and collaboration.


Maria Woltjen

Maria is the founder of the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, a national organization that advocates for the rights and best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children. Over the last two decades, she focused on reforming the immigration system—in which children are treated as adults—into a justice system that recognizes children as children, centered on the rights of the child. Throughout her career, Maria concentrated on children’s rights, at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the ChildLaw Center at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, and at the University of Chicago Law School. In 2017, she received the Humanitarian Award from UNICEF, and in 2018, Maria was named a "Chicagoan of the Year" by Chicago Magazine.
Board Member

Sarita Muley

Sarita is a marketing professional specializing in go-to market strategies for new product launches and digital marketing campaigns. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. She is thrilled to be on the board of Borderless Magazine. She is a firm believer in the power of personal stories in influencing change and broadening people’s viewpoint. During her free time, Sarita enjoys reading, writing, and cooking new recipes.
Shapelle Pisano

Shapelle Pisano

Shapelle Pisano is an experienced professional with a background in accounting, auditing, corporate finance, governance, and internal controls. She holds a Masters of Science in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Kentucky State University. Shapelle is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Illinois and currently leads the accounting function as Corporate Controller of the beauty-brand, Glossier, Inc.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Shapelle currently resides in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and is a member of professional organizations including National Association of Black Accountants, DuPage County NAACP and currently serves as an officer in the Chicago Chapter of the KSU National Alumni Association. In her personal time, she enjoys cooking, organizing, and traveling with her husband and two boys.

Our Staff

Marketing and Engagement Manager

Diane Bou Khalil

Diane is a writer with a passion for storytelling, art and fostering community connections.

Diane grew up in Brummana, Lebanon and is fluent in Arabic. She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and a master's degree in international studies from DePaul University. She is also an alumna of the Emma Bowen Foundation Leadership Program.

Diane was Borderless Magazine’s first pathway intern before joining the team as an engagement reporter. Diane has also worked as a journalism instructor with After School Matters and the World Relief refugee agency.

Medill Reporting Fellow

Katrina Pham

Katrina is a multimedia journalist whose focus is on race and social justice reporting. Most recently, she's worked for The Yappie as a staff writer and newsletter contributor. There, she reported on solutions for inaccessible mental health care for Southeast Asian American refugees among other topics relating to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Before Borderless, she interned for ABC 7 Chicago's Race & Culture News team, connecting with community organizations in Chicago to pitch stories for the newsroom.

Katrina was born in Chicago, where both her parents settled after arriving in the United States as refugees from Vietnam following the end of the war. These experiences inform Katrina's work, and she cares deeply about social justice issues.

Editorial Director

Mauricio Peña

Mauricio is an award-winning journalist. He began his career as a crime and breaking news reporter at DNAinfo Chicago. He was a founding member and Southwest Side reporter for Block Club Chicago. Mauricio also worked as an investigative reporter covering immigration at the Desert Sun for the USA Today Network, an education reporter at Chalkbeat Chicago, and an associate digital editor at Chicago magazine.
Cofounder & Executive Director

Nissa Rhee

Nissa is a Peabody-award nominated journalist whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and Chicago magazine, among others.

In her 15-year career, she has covered global issues as a producer at Chicago Public Radio, served as a foreign correspondent in South Korea and Vietnam, and reported on police abuse and gun violence in Chicago.

In 2019, she received the Chicago Headline Club award for best online feature story. Previously, she served as a reporting fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and a juvenile justice reporting fellow at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Queensland.

Operations Associate

Sarah Luyengi

Sarah grew up in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood and is a daughter of Congolese immigrants. She first got involved with Borderless as a freelance reporter in 2020, and she has continued to report on the African and Afro-Caribbean communities in Chicago for the magazine.

Before joining Borderless, she worked in communications at the City Club of Chicago and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her M.S. in International Public Service at DePaul University. She is an associate board member of Sarah's Circle and the Stories Matter Foundation. She has written for Common Ground Review, Third Coast Review, and South Side Weekly.

Visuals Editor

Max Herman

Max is a documentary photographer, visuals editor, and former music and arts writer. As a photographer, he has been drawn to stories focused on immigration, police accountability, education, housing rights, and art for over a decade. In 2017, Max began to focus on long-form storytelling — photographing migration conditions and the humanitarian aid response along the Arizona-Sonora, Mexico border for Latino USA. Most recently, Max has worked as a visuals editor, supporting the work of other photographers and illustrators at ProPublica, Borderless, CatchLight, and City Bureau.
Medill Reporting Fellow

Tara Mobasher

Tara grew up in California but is originally from Iran. She is passionate about solutions journalism.

She worked at her college radio station WPGU, and newspaper The Daily Illini, reporting on local and national issues.

She is currently a master's degree candidate studying journalism at Northwestern University, specializing in social justice and solutions. She earned her Bachelor's degree in journalism and criminology, law and society from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Report for America Corps Member

Aydali Campa

Aydali is an award-winning bilingual journalist from Arizona. Previously, she reported for Inside Climate News, The Wall Street Journal and The Arizona Republic. Aydali has also taken on multimedia roles, editing videos for the government-access television station Mesa Channel 11, and producing segments for a prime-time television series on Arizona PBS and co-producing an award-winning documentary as a graduate student in investigative journalism at Arizona State University. Dedicated to championing diversity in newsrooms, Aydali is a 2024 Widening the Pipeline Fellow with the National Press Foundation. In her free time, Aydali enjoys watching documentaries, baking and learning to play guitar.

Our Contributors

Contributing Reporter

Chelsea Verstegen

Chelsea moved from Texas to Chicago in 2017. She studied journalism in college. She appreciates how journalism can be used to shed light on important issues, like the stark contrast between the political climates of her two homes and the impact of those differences on so many lives. She currently works for Hireology and writes in her spare time.
Contributing Reporter

Claudia Hernández

Claudia serves as the coordinator for the Translating Chicago Stories project that Borderless Magazine runs on behalf of the Institute for Nonprofits News. She earned her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism and digital media production at UT El Paso. Born in Ciudad Juárez, México, Claudia splits her time between her hometown and El Paso, Texas. She is a dual citizen and speaks both Spanish and English. Claudia has worked as a photo editor at bilingual publications such as The Prospector and Minero Magazine. She is the co-founder of Pasos en el Norte, a bilingual publication of short stories about the border and its unique culture. In 2020, she participated in NPR’s Next Generation Radio project. One of her passions is photography, she has travelled around several continents photographing its beauty and the variety of cultures.
Contributing Photojournalist, Former Pathways Photojournalism Intern

Efrian Soriano

Efrain is a photojournalist and community reporter based in Cicero, IL. Raised by Mexican immigrants, Efrain proudly identifies as Chicana and speaks Spanish and English. Their focus lately has been staying civically engaged, community organizing and utilizing their art background as a tool for change.

They have worked closely with organizations such as Cicero Independiente and MuckRock to address the information needs and language barriers in their community. Most recently, they have been dedicated to covering youth, education and the environment.

Contributing Reporter, former Pathways Community Reporting Intern

Maia McDonald

Maia is a local freelance journalist covering community news in Chicago. The granddaughter of Jamaican immigrants and a native of Chicago’s Southeast Side, she received her Bachelor’s degree of Journalism in Radio/TV Reporting and Anchoring from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018.

After graduating, she was an environmental health and wellness reporter and editor for Free Spirit Media’s The Real Chi newsroom in Chicago’s Homan Square neighborhood, a reporting intern for Block Club Chicago for more than a year and a Fall 2022 civic reporting fellow for City Bureau, where she and other fellows looked into Illinois’ temporary work industry.

She’s also reported for The TRiiBE and Austin Weekly News, was a freelance podcast producer for The Poetry Foundation, and is a member of the Chicago Headline Club’s 2023 FOIA Fest Boot Camp Cohort.

When Maia isn’t working for Borderless Magazine as a community reporting intern, she is continuing her work reporting on neighborhood news from across the city at Block Club Chicago as a freelance reporter.

image of woman with red shirt and black glasses
Contributing Reporter

Saleha Soadat

Saleha Soadat is an award-winning multimedia journalist from Afghanistan. After the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021, she was evacuated to the United States. Saleha was born and raised in Kabul, and throughout her early life she experienced inequality, discrimination, injustice and civil war. After 9/11 and the arrival of U.S. forces along with the international community to expel the Taliban, things improved: She and other Afghan women became hopeful because they had the opportunity to get an education and grow professionally.

Without the Taliban’s anti-women policies, Saleha was able to complete high school and enroll in Kabul University, where she graduated with a degree in journalism and starting her career in radio and TV. Saleha was a regular contributor to ToloNews, a private news channel in Kabul, broadcasting the main bulletin every evening.

Saleha has earned multiple awards as a journalist in Afghanistan, including two “Best Reporter” Awards from Afghanistan’s parliament and senate; seven national awards, including for her reporting on human rights; and was named a “Peace Reporter” by the United States Institute of Peace. These awards reflect her expertise, experiences and commitment to the causes that are so important to her.

In addition to her journalism experiences, Saleha was an independent parliamentary candidate representing Kabul in the 2018 Afghanistan parliamentary elections.


Sebastián González de León y León

Sebastián is a journalist, producer, and digital strategist. He is based in St. Petersburg, Flo., but he is originally from Mexico City where he studied Political Science and started his career. He has worked in newsrooms across the US and Mexico, and is today the publisher for San Pedro Gazette, a local news project in the Tampa Bay area. He is also a social media consultant helping brands establish their creative strategy and operation.

Past Contributors

Contributing Reporter

Ata Younan

Ata is a multimedia storyteller. As a first generation American Assyrian born in Iraq, she is interested in exploring the nuance at the intersection of origin, culture and identity. When she is not writing, she manages production at Northeastern Illinois University’s Stage Center Theatre and dabbles in video production. This year, she is producing her first short film.
Contributing Reporter

Leslie Hurtado

Leslie is a bilingual multimedia journalist who covers stories ranging from environmentalism to education, but her main focus is reporting on issues that impact diverse communities in Chicago, including the immigrant population. Raised by immigrants, Leslie has dedicated her time to write stories that fairly represent the immigrant experience. She is passionate about serving the immigrant community and shining light on issues that affect them through different communication mediums. Previously, she worked as a producing fellow for WTTW Chicago and worked at several newsrooms including: City Bureau, WBEZ Chicago, Cicero Independiente, WGN-TV, Telemundo Chicago, Spanish Public Radio, and more. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism from Northeastern Illinois University. When she is away from her desk, she is watching foreign films with her husband or unwinding to jazz pianist Thelonious Monk’s music.
Contributing Reporter

Thy Anh Vo

Thy is a journalist who has reported on local government, policy and politics in California and Colorado.

She started her career in journalism watchdogging city halls and county government in Orange County, CA, the community where she grew up. She has also reported for The Mercury News in San Jose, ProPublica's Electionland project and most recently The Colorado Sun, where she received top regional honors for her coverage of the 2021 redistricting cycle.

Thy is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent and the daughter of refugees. She grew up speaking Vietnamese, and studied Mandarin Chinese while attending Haverford College.

Community Growth Assistant

Yazmin Dominguez

Yazmin Dominguez (she/her) is a media professional based in Chicago, IL focused on empowering local, independent media. As the Community Growth Assistant for Borderless Magazine, Yazmin assists with development and helps foster relationships between the community and Borderless.

Prior to joining Borderless, Yazmin spent four years at the Chicago Reader, where she helped create and grow the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, an alliance of over 60+ Chicago media outlets working to generate new revenue streams and increase visibility. Yazmin has previously worked as a reporting fellow for City Bureau and a production assistant for WTTW Chicago.