After weeks of reading your essays, conducting interviews, and listening to your thoughts on issues you feel are underrepresented in your communities, we have finally selected our 2016 MTV Campus Ambassadors.
We received hundreds of applications from bright and talented students across the United States (and also from Ecuador, Greece, New Zealand, and beyond), so choosing our finalists was not an easy task. However, we're confident that the following 18 individuals (including one high school student!) not only embody the independent, risk-taking, and optimistic spirit of MTV, but will fulfill their role of representing their campus, their peers, and the issues that matter most to you.
With that being said, we are thrilled to announce our first-ever MTV Campus Ambassadors. Get to know them below.
ALONDRA BODDENMTV News
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL
College/University: Florida International University
Major: Broadcast Media
About Alondra: Alondra Bodden literally likes long walks on the beach. Also anything dipped in or made with chocolate (except mint and peanut butter) is good in her book. She is majoring in broadcast media and is currently in her junior year at Florida International University. Alondra is a Gemini (they're not all horrible people, she promises) and a natural-hair savant. Oh, and she has a five-year-old daughter (an adorable Maltese).
Find Alondra on Twitter
JUSTIN CLAYMTV News
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College/University: Georgia State University
About Justin: This just in — it's Justin Clay. He's an Atlanta-based journalist, foodie, and dreamer powered by hummus, liberation, and cute animals. In his free time, you can catch him listening to Nicki Minaj and watching recipe videos online.
Find Justin on Twitter
ALEX REAVESMTV News
Hometown: Edina, MN
College/University: Dartmouth College
About Alex: Alex Reaves is a quirky and slightly charming teenager from Minnesota. She spends most of her time reading, writing, and dreaming about owning cats. You can catch her scrolling through Tumblr, listening to Vampire Weekend, or thumbing through a novel.
Find Alex on Twitter
PETER GONZALEZMTV News
Hometown: Santa Maria, CA
College/University: California Polytechnic State University
About Peter: Peter Gonzalez is a 23-year-old who dreams of being the next Oprah and one day having a Starbucks drink named after him. He likes to think of himself as a sarcastic shot of espresso. (If you haven’t already guessed, he drinks too much coffee.) In his head, Taylor Swift is the music director of his life's soundtrack. Ultimately, Peter wants to create content that propels people upward and empowers them to share their own stories.
Find Peter on Twitter
BIZZY EMERSONMTV News
Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL
College/University: University of Missouri
About Bizzy: Bizzy Emerson is a journalism student at the University of Missouri. When she isn’t sharing feminist articles on Facebook, she can be found on a treadmill, eating ice cream, or looking at photos of Rami Malek.
Find Bizzy on Twitter
JAIME GORDONMTV News
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica/Wise, VA
College/University: Duke University
Major: Cultural Anthropology
About Jaime: Jaime Gordon is a sophomore at Duke University, where she studies cultural anthropology in addition to pursuing a certificate in journalism. She serves as University News Department Head for The Chronicle, Duke’s independent daily newspaper. Additionally, she writes a pop culture–themed column and produces podcasts for the largest digital publication at Duke, The Standard. Over the summer, Jaime worked as a Collegiate Correspondent for USA Today. Prior to college, Jaime had no experience with journalism and sought to become a lawyer. Now she hopes to work in media or communications after college.
When she's not writing, Jaime enjoys binge-watching irreverent sitcoms and obsessing over pop culture. Her guilty pleasure is unhealthy green foods (namely, mint-chocolate-chip ice cream and everything matcha-flavored). She also loves musical theatre and can often be found jamming out to tunes from Hamilton. Her hobbies include rooting for the underdog and having no chill. She knows every word to Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo (no irony intended). Jaime is a member of the sorority Alpha Phi.
Find Jaime on Twitter
SARA LIMTV News
Hometown: Topeka, KS
College/University: The University of Kansas
Major: Journalism and Creative Writing
About Sara: You can win over Sara Li's heart with the following words: bowl, brown rice, black beans, steak, corn, mild salsa, sour cream — and guacamole, if you're feeling fancy.
Find Sara on Twitter
MARIAH WOODSMTV News
Hometown: Chicago, IL
College/University: Temple University
About Mariah: Mariah Woods is a Chicago Southsider like the prophet, Chance. She loves theatre for social change and writing about artists. Mariah is very excited to be part of MTV Founders.
Find Mariah on Twitter
TAYLOR VIDMARMTV News
Hometown: Assumption, IL
College/University: Richland Community College; Decatur, IL
Major: English/Political Science
About Taylor: Taylor Vidmar is a writer, blogger, and former Girl Scout from Illinois. She loves reading, tweeting about politics, and binge-watching Gilmore Girls. Her greatest passions are to dispel the myths about community college and the latter seasons of Glee (not as bad as everyone says). If she’s not writing, she’s probably napping or talking about how much she loves Mindy Kaling.
Find Taylor on Twitter
TIONDRAE (TIO) PIERMTV News
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
College/University: Stanford University
Major: Human Biology
About Tio: Tio Pier is at junior at Stanford and is interested in the intersection of ideas — particularly identity and biology. He's passionate about health, gender, sexual awareness, race, queerness & PrEP, and how biology/culture/society all reflect on one another through these lenses. Tio has been cooking for 10 years, is big on music (hip-hop, R&B, alternative, and more). Recently, he has been loving research concerning somatic impacts of fashion due to social hierarchy and aesthetic (attempting to venture into runway). Fast-forward halfway through the school year and Tio will most likely be stress-eating and dancing exhaustively somewhere on campus.
Find Tio on Twitter
ISABEL SONGMTV News
Hometown: Grand Junction, CO
College/University: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology
About Isabel: One of Isabel Song's biggest passions is empowering young voices and making sure that those voices are heard and matter. On the flip side, she has an unhealthy relationship with reading and with the combination of mint and chocolate. Isabel is involved in a ton of organizations on campus, including being president of the Progressive Student Association, which was formerly UC Berkeley Students for Bernie. Her roommate calls her the "most organized tornado" she's ever seen, which is a strangely accurate description.
Find Isabel on Twitter
GABRIELLA THOMPSONMTV News
Hometown: Munich, Germany (originally from Atlanta, GA)
College/University: Amsterdam University College
Major: Film & English Literature
About Gabriella: Gabriella Thompson is a writer, actress, and motivational speaker. She is currently studying film and literature at the Amsterdam University College. Her hobbies include photography, pizza, and procrastinating.
Find Gabriella on Twitter
SHAQUAN MCDOWELLMTV News
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College/University: Brandeis University
Major: Politics (Not Political Science. The guy who founded this department was against calling it “science." It’s a long story.) and History. Minor in Theatre.
About Shaquan: Shaquan McDowell's mother named him at birth and it was so cool, he decided to let the name stick (although he believes he's acquired over 50 nicknames and the list is gets longer daily, including "Shayquin" and the traditional "Shaq"). Shaquan hails from Spartanburg, SC, but the suburbs of Atlanta are his home. He has an unhealthy obsession with politics, history, and googling tips on random historical facts. He loves people and probably talks too much, but that’s OK because his friends understand, and if they don’t, he has 11 siblings who will listen.
Shaquan has won national speaking awards, so he guesses that means some people enjoy his voice. His family has been in America for a super long time and is connected to a variety of Founding Fathers, which probably works to Shaquan's advantage, considering that one day he wants to run for public office. Currently, Shaquan serves as the head of a independent youth political group he founded, The Purple Party, and it's his passion. He also acts (he's been in over 30 productions, stage and film) and writes poetry, short stories, and novels. He likes to try to sing (emphasis on try).
Find Shaquan on Twitter
EMMA HAVIGHORSTMTV News
Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ
College/University: Fordham University
Major: Marketing (Gabelli School of Business)
About Emma: Emma Havighorst is a ~teen~ with many side hustles including writing words on your local internet, managing her own website (Alkaline + Chrome), and being seriously addicted to both social media and donuts.
Find Emma on Twitter
KAMRIN BAKERMTV News
Hometown: Omaha, NE
School: University of Nebraska-Omaha
Major: Journalism & Media Communications
About Kamrin: Kamrin Baker is a yellow-haired female who likes waffles and news. She's a writer for here (MTV), there (Fresh U and the F Bomb), and just about everywhere (previously The Huffington Post and Local Wolves magazine). She's really into pugs and mozzarella sticks. Kamrin is high-strung, but so happy to be here.
Find Kamrin on Twitter
JAKE GAYOSOMTV News
Hometown: Orange County, CA
College/University: Xavier University
Major: Digital Innovation/Film and Television
About Jake: Jake Gayoso is just a guy trying to eat In-N-Out and text in all lowercase.
Find Jake on Twitter
EMILY TANTUCCIOMTV News
Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ
College/University: Rutgers University
Major: Communication with a specialization in PR; minor in Entrepreneurship
About Emily: Emily Tantuccio is a 22-year-old social media strategist (aka she ghostwrites tweets for bands), photographer, and freelance publicist from NJ. She's currently a senior at Rutgers University and is on a lifelong hunt for the best vegan cheeseburger in NYC (By Chef Chloe's on Bleecker is currently in the lead).
Find Emily on Twitter
ANNA KOPPELMANMTV News
Hometown: New York City
College/University: The Calhoun School
Major: Currently double majoring in how not to care about popularity and how not to cry over the amount of biology homework she has.
About Anna: Anna Koppelman was a high school freshman with self-esteem issues so she began to write about them. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, Seventeen, and MTV. She is a recovering Tracy Flick, a Sarah Kay wannabe, and, one day, a suitor of Ezra Koenig (or at least she hopes).
Find Anna on Twitter
In the winter, we will be re-opening applications for Spring 2017 Campus Ambassadors.
Want to be an MTV Founders contributor? Send your full name, age, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.