Current Staff

The Telescope Newspaper Staff — Spring 2016




Mike Peterson, Editor-in-Chief

Mike Peterson is a writer, freelancer and the editor-in-chief of The Telescope. He’s currently wrapping up his transfer degree and hopes to move on to CSUSM or SDSU. He likes short sentences and quoting Hemingway. He’s also pretty sure his body would break down if he stopped drinking coffee, so he doesn’t risk it.



Joel Vaughn,   Managing & News Editor

Currently, Joel Vaughn co-edits news and herds production for The Telescope. This being being his first year at the paper, it has all but consumed his life and time. Other than living and breathing Palomar news Joel also enjoys: writing reviews when he has nothing else to write, cooking when he has time in his day to eat, drinking beer when he has money, and sleeping when he has almost died.



Daze Castillo, Copy & News Editor

Daze Castillo is the copy editor and co-news editor for the Telescope. He is a self-described political junkie and a full-time user of news and politics. When he is not studying the journalism traditions of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson he is impersonating him in font of the mirror at home. Daze has a deep passion for writing, liturature  and activism and aspires to be a novelist.


Fern Menezes, Opinion Editor

This is the second year Fern Menezes has been with the-Telescope and came back this semester as the Opinion Editor.  She loves voicing her opinion along with creative writing.  She started working on her first novel this summer.  Reading and writing is half of her life, the other half is being with her family.



Shaina Blakesley

Shaina Blakesley wishes she could just lounge in a beautiful green field and create magical poems all day long. But then reality kicks her in the face and bills don’t get paid with lovely little flowers or by clever compositions. So instead she is planning on transferring to SDSU this fall. Ambitiously seeking a Communications and Media degree with an emphasis in Public Relations, and a minor in Business.



Mike Adams,  Sports Editor

Mikel Adams is a journalism major in his third semester at the Telescope and his first as  the papers sports editor. A fan of the local San Diego sports teams and a blogger for Premier League club Chelsea FC in London, England Michael plans on attending SDSU and continuing his pursuits into the journalism field, possibly doing a UT internship this semester.


Diana Guevarra, Online Editor

This is the first year Diana Guevarra has worked with The Telescope, marking her last semester at Palomar college before moving to CSUN. She has lived in San Diego since her birth in 1994. Diana is no stranger to writing, being a former English major, she dabbles in writing daily. She is adamant about fashion, school, comics and sarcasm. Being out-of-the-closet about her nerdiness, Diana relishes her free time off her part time job indulging herself in Heroes of the Storm and additional games. She also loves cosplaying at conventions as her favorite characters.


Michelle Wilkinson,   Social Media and Photo Editor

Michelle Wilkinson is a writer, photographer, the social media editor of The Telescope, and the editor-in-chief of Impact Magazine. She hoards home decor magazines and runs on mass amounts of sugar. She usually has a german shepherd at her side, a camera in her bag, and her trusty iPhone in her hand. She plans to attend Columbia University, if she can find a way to afford it. In the future, she would love to work for a magazine and start her own furniture company.


Collin Vore, Cartoonist

Collin Vore is a cartoonist for The Telescope. She plans to transfer to CS Fullerton or CS Northridge and pursue a career in the animation industry. She likes watching cartoons and drawing bugs and monsters.


Staff writers



Noah Callahan

Noah Callahan loves to write articles that have a focus around emotion and achievement. Callahan’s favorite part of the publishing process is the reporting, where he feels it can be both a challenging experience as he tries to unlock the details of a story and yet one of the most rewarding as he gets to learn so much from each source. Callahan also enjoys transition/vert skateboarding, and writing/producing music under the name “KDMA.”


Kassidy Clark

Kassidy is a third year journalism major and hopes to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall. She hopes to have a career in writing for a high fashion or entertainment magazine in New York. She has always loved fashion, but became more passionate for it after walking in runway shows herself.



Shaye Cunningham

Shaye Cunningham is a third year college student but is in his first year at Palomar. He spent two years at Santa Monica College before retreating from the hectic LA area back to his native North County. He is finishing up his General Education and plans to transfer next year to pursue a degree in Journalism. Shaye wants to write for a sports news company and specialize in baseball.


Colin Daugherty

Colin Daugherty is a staff writer for The Telescope. This is his first semester writing for The Telescope and Impact Magazine. He is trying to become a sportswriter and write about MLB and NFL. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music and watching TV and movies.


Tamara Eakins

Tamara Eakins is a young writer with an old European soul. After being born and raised in London, England and moving to California nine years ago, Tamara enjoys incorporating her background into her writing. This is her second semester writing for The Telescope. Currently pursuing an Associate’s degree in Journalism, Tamara hopes to transfer to the University of Miami in Florida within the next year. In her free time outside of college, Tamara spends time working as a server at a local restaurant and enjoys hiking and travelling any chance she gets. Coffee shops and beach road trips would be her idea of the perfect day off.


Rodney Figueroa

Rodney Figueroa  is a returning staff writer for the Palomar Telescope. He’s previously written for now defunct gaming website MMO Attack and talks a lot about issues pertaining to popular culture, video games and technology.

Figueroa also serves as a teacher in real life, a professor of game design, his understanding and knowledge of how the industry works and some writing credits give him some amount of clarity into his articles. Well versed in social media and social affairs, he centers his writing around current events and opinion pieces at Palomar College.

Before Palomar, Figueroa worked at a Visual Effects firm where he learned how to survive on coffee and determination, when not writing or working, he’s probably playing a videogame or indulging himself in fixing his car.


Cody Gender

This is Cody’s second semester with the Telescope. Cody loves writing and the ability to craft and learn more about a story has always intrigued him. Cody is currently working on transferring to CS Fullerton to pursue his major of broadcast journalism. Writing and radio are really his two biggest passions, and he hopes to combine the two in the future. These past two semesters, Cody has been able to collaborate, showcase, and ultimately grow as a writer through his efforts on the Telescope.


Abraham Jewett

Abraham Jewett is a writer at The Telescope. He enjoys sports, the beach and hanging out with friends. He is focused on his studies and hopes to have a future in journalism and writing.


Belen Ladd

Belen Ladd is a growing photographer with with specific interests in photojournalism and videography. He plans to apply this story telling technique to grow support in the more specific fields of conservation regarding other living organisms and their ecosystems. This is Belen’s second class that  works with the newspaper as a part-time student. His first class with the newspaper was photojournalism. Belen is currently contemplating the path to his goals but his target is clear.


Brooke LaFleur

Brooke LaFleur is a first year staff writer on the Telescope, breakfast enthusiast, and boy band aficionado. If she’s not found writing, she’s probably standing in front of her closet playing endless games of dress-up or frequenting a day out at an art museum, (with brunch with friends of course). Brooke is currently working on finishing her AA in Journalism and hopes to transfer to a UC or private school where she will pursue a degree in Communications.


Maria Leyva

Maria Leyva is a third year Palomar student. This is her first semester writing for The Telescope, but has been published on both the online and print versions of The San Diego Union-Tribune. She hopes to transfer to the University of Southern California or San Diego State University within the next year.


Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin is a reporter for The Telescope, and enjoys playing guitar in his free time. He aspires to be an investigative reporter, covering social issues around the world.


Johnny Mueller

Johnny Mueller is a staff writer for The Telescope and is currently finishing his major prep requirements before transferring to SFSU. A creative writer and student by day, an extreme sports and occult enthusiast 24/7; Johnny is drawn to the bizarre. When not sticking his nose in other people’s business or lurking around for the next artistic story, he enjoys skate/snow boarding as well as playing guitar, drums and organ.


Anissa Ocansey

Anissa Ocansey is original a nursing major, but has always had an unquenchable thirst to express her creativity in all forms. This eventually drew her into the arts of broadcasting and journalism. The Emmy nominated student plans on transferring to cal state San Marcos to complete her nursing degree while also fulfilling herself creatively in every avenue she chooses. Anissaenjoys the little things, the bigger things, shiny things, and edible things. All things interesting, odd, captivating.

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Chanele Retuya

Chanele Retuya is a staff writer for the Telescope. She is majoring in Communications, and is planning on transferring to UCSD or CSUSM. She has a passion for creative writing and landscape photography. On her free time, she enjoys exploring new places in San Diego and trying new restaurants.



Alexandra Rothman

Alexandra Rothman is a sophomore at Palomar College finishing up her Associates in Journalism. Her last two years at Palomar have been dedicated to Palomar’s Speech and Debate team, where she took top individual events speaker and has competed in the national competition twice. This fall Alexandra will be going to Life Pacific Bible School to obtain a Bachelors degree in Transformational Ministry where she hopes to use her public speaking and writing skills to become a motivational speaker.


Kana Shimadi

Kana Shimada is a writer on the Arts & Entertainment, News, Online of The Telescope. I am a major in Cinema and this is my last semester. I am planning to transfer to Europe as a marketing major. I have no idea what my future is going to be, but I always have curiosity and do not afraid of challenging new things.


Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith is a staff writer for The Telescope and finishing up her first year at Palomar as a journalism major. She plans on transferring to CSU Long Beach after earning her General Education. Natalie loves fashion and chicken nuggets and wants to someday write for a fashion/glamour magazine. She has a passion for all things pink and owns a pug named Mr. Bean.

Aaron Vaughn

Aaron Vaughn is a video editor. He has a love for film and television. He hopes to one day to work in the entertainment industry.


Ali Williams

Ali Williams is a first year staff writer for the Telescope. She is a makeup and Disneyland enthusiast who spends all of her free time engaging in either one. Ali is in her fourth semester at Palomar in hopes to transfer to SDSU or Cal State Fullerton with a Journalism degree.



Kylie Dukes

Kylie Dukes is currently a student at Palomar. She is going to school for graphic design. In her free time she volunteers at a horse rescue and has trained horses for 13 years. She also loves her German Shepherd dog and video games.


Kitty Pinney

Kitty Pinney is a graphic design student with hopes to someday transfer to Long Beach. She is known to geek out over cats and glasses and consumes far too much caffeine.


Ciana Wilson

Ciana Wilson is a writer, strategist, and graphic design student at Palomar. Because she’s as obsessed with writing as she is design, she’s a bit nuts for typography. When not glued to her computer screen, she’s most likely the first one at the ballet barre or the last one on the dance floor.



Coleen Burnham

Coleen Burnham is a student at Palomar College. She is majoring in Photography and currently works as a photographer.  She specializes in shooting wildlife and sports. She has worked as a Graphic/Web Designer most of her life and holds a Graphic Design degree. She is very passionate about animal/human rights, wildlife/conservation and environmental issues.


Hanadi Cackler

Hanadi Hamman-Cackler is a photographer who enjoys shooting wildlife and breaking news events. She is majoring in photography and plans on shooting for local papers in the near future. Her hobbies are cooking and spending time outdoors with her family and her dogs. She is very passionate about human rights as well as the health and rights of all animals.


Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is a Photography major and veteran student (retired after 30 years in the Marine Corps) at Palomar College. He prefers the Photojournalism side of photography but also likes shooting still life and landscapes. Stephen is likes to experiment with new techniques within the field of photography.


Kyle Ester

Kyle Ester is a photography major who specializes in car photography but also loves the urban landscape. He hopes to pursue his goals in documentary his life and also other people’s lives outside of the United States.



Aaron Fortin

Aaron Fortin, was born in San Diego California and currently lives in Temecula California. It’s Aaron’s first semester with The Telescope and first photojournalism class. Aaron is a photography major and shoots both film and digital photography. He loves traveling and shooting landscape/abstract photography.


Tracy Grassel

Tracy Grassel is a Palomar College student who is majoring in Photography with a minor in Digital Graphic Arts. This is her fourth year at Palomar and hopes to graduate in 2016/2017. Her favorite saying is:
Every morning you have two choices: Continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them. ~Unknown


Niko Holt

Niko Holt is a full time student at Palomar College. He is majoring in Photography and will be graduating in the spring of 2017. He specializes in photographing portraits, fine art prints, still life and Photoshop editing. His goal is to work as a magazine photographer.


Christopher Jones

Christopher Jones is a first year photographer for The Telescope. He is currently caught between Computer Science and Photography. He would tell you what his hopes, dreams, and aspirations are but they would only change tomorrow. Right now its something information security related. Again.


Johnny Jones

Johnny Jones Photographer and retired military veteran who served 24 years in the United States Navy, hand-picked to manage the media department gaining photography experience shooting with combat camera  completed his bachelor in Business and Science from the University of Phoenix  now currently seeking an AS in Graphic Design at Palomar. Hobbies include: woodworking, golfing and head-shot and model photography. His short term goal is to complete the AS in graphic design while long term includes complete his MBA. I love interacting with people.


Olivia Meers

Olivia Meers is a photographer for The-Telescope newspaper and a first-year Photography major at Palomar College. A San Diego local, Olivia enjoys oldies music and practicing guitar. With hopes of transferring  to the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Olivia plans on traveling the world. Her heart to help and goal to make an impact on people’s lives has taken Olivia on missions to Mexico and Ecuador to help those in need. Olivia is excited to go on another one to Africa this summer.


Claudia Rodriguez

Claudia Rodriguez is a photographer and sometimes-writer for The Telescope. She doesn’t always write about herself, but when she does she likes to break the fourth. Claudia holds a degree in anthropology and is currently working to improve her photography as she would like to be a White House photographer. If anyone knows where to apply, please let her know.



Michaela Sanderson

Michaela Sanderson is in her second semester at Palomar as a journalism major after graduating from Classical Academy High School. She spends most of her time  with her horses, dogs and reptiles, taking pictures, and going on all sorts of crazy adventures with her friends. She is currently taking photojournalism and journalism as a lab.


Sergio Soares

Sergio Soares has been studying photography at Palomar since 2010.  He enjoys photographing people particularly in their outside environment.  As a photojournalist he is interested in learning about story telling using multimedia.  His other passions are cooking and cars.


Youssef Soliman

Youssef Soliman is a first year Palomar student and photographer for The Telescope. Majoring in engineering, Youssef has hopes of transfering to UCSD or UCI to further study his major. Some interesting facts about Youssef is that he was born and raised in Egypt and moved here in 2013. Youseff also enjoys playing the drums and using snapchat.




Deb Hellman, Business Manager and Instructional Assistant


Erin Hiro, Telescope Adviser

[Updated March 15, 2016. This page is under construction.]