2017 Board of Directors Candidates

Ruth Nasrullah is running for President of the Houston Pro chapter.  She has been a freelance writer since 2003, writing for multiple media outlets including the Houston Chronicle, Religion News Service, Azizah, Islamic Horizons, MuslimMatters and Toastmaster.  She has a master of arts in journalism from Emerson College and a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from Goucher College.  Ruth has served two terms as president of the Houston Pro chapter and chaired the committee which organized the 2014 SPJ region 8 conference.

Tom Marsh is running for Vice President of the Houston Pro chapter.  Tom is a freelance journalist who previously held a variety of reporting, editorial, publishing and management positions with IHS, ODS-Petrodata and Offshore Data Services, covering the offshore oil and gas industry. In addition to being an incumbent member of the Houston Chapter SPJ board, he is a founding board member of the Houston Chapter SPJ Susanne M. Pagano Scholarship Fund. Tom is a firm believer in and strong supporter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ goals, particularly the society’s efforts to inspire and educate student journalists. If re-elected to the Houston Chapter board, his focus in the coming year will be to strengthen the financial position of the Pagano Scholarship Fund.

Sandra Gonzalez is running for Secretary of the Houston Pro chapter.  Sandra is a longtime reporter who is new to Houston. She has covered news in cities including Dallas, Bakersfield, New Orleans, and Las Vegas. She says of her experiences: “The journey has been amazing, from meeting civil rights leaders to covering the recovery of Hurricane Katrina. As the industry continuously evolves with technology, the basic principles of great journalism never change. That’s why I love the Society of Professional Journalists. I became involved with SPJ when the Excellence in Journalism Conference came to New Orleans in 2011. In 2012 I was selected as a Diversity Fellow, and have enjoyed serving in various roles of leadership. I have been Diversity Chairman, Las Vegas Chapter President, and currently I am part of the SPJ training network which gives me the opportunity to show journalists how to use digital tools from Google to enhance their reporting. I also just returned from EIJ in Anaheim where I was co-adviser for the EIJ News news room where some of the best journalism students from across the country got to be reporters throughout the duration of the conference. I would be honored to represent SPJ members and journalists in Houston during this remarkable time of history for journalism.” Sandra is also running for At-Large Board Member of the Houston Pro chapter.

Stacie Overton is running for Secretary of the Houston Pro chapter.  Stacie is a freelance journalist who has worked in television and print for 17 years. She spent 13 years as a television news producer and writer focusing on health news, science, food, parenting and features on women who make a difference in the world. The stories she produced were aired across the US on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox news affiliates. In 2013, she moved to the Middle East to focus solely on food writing. She was the food writer/editor for The National, an English-language daily headquartered in Abu Dhabi from 2013 to 2017. She relocated to Houston in 2017 and is now working as an international freelance journalist. She has been nominated for three Freddy Awards – and won one – for health reporting. She has won an Award of Excellence in the Accolade Global Film Competition and she was a finalist for the 2004 Livingston Award for young journalists. She has a BA in broadcast journalism and mass communications from the State University of New York at Oswego, where she was a co-recipient of the Vernon E. Rank Outstanding Senior award. Stacie is also running for At-Large Board Member of the Houston Pro chapter.

Jim Magill is running for Treasurer of the Houston Pro chapter.  Bio to come.

Sandra Gonzalez is running for At-Large Board Member.  See Sandra’s bio above.

Stacie Overton is running for At-Large Board Member.  See Stacie’s bio above.

Joseph Pina is running for At-Large Board Member.  A current Multidisciplinary “Leave of Absence” undergraduate student from Rochester Institute of Technology’s North Star Center/Center for Multidisciplinary Studies Undeclared Mechanical Engineering, Associates of Applied Sciences & Technology, as well as an current student member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).  As an “Leave of Absence” collegiate Mechanical Engineering student he is 3 classes from graduation with an Associate of Arts in Motion Picture’s & Television as well as an student member of the Houston Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalist, Collegiate Affairs Ambassador, and current 2017 Board Member Nominee.  International Law/Legal, Law, as well as International Security, Security Sector Reform, Police Sector Reform, Environmental & Peacekeeping Operations, Street Addressing & City Mapping, Economic & Financial Literacy, U.S. Army R.O.T.C., Leadership, Management, and Counseling, as well as U.S. Air Force R.O.T.C., are complimentary studies as an journalistic board member nominee.  Founder & President of “The Extra Sheet Street Newspaper Organisation Group & Firm” for the low-income/homeless Rochester, NY, Community resident as well as the promotion of equal rights for women – the people’s voice.

Sobia Siddiqui is running for At-Large Board Member. Sobia served the Houston office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations as Communications Intern in 2014 and currently works with CAIR as Operations Coordinator.  Her work has included event planning for the annual Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium, organizing for Texas Muslim Capitol Day and social media reporting for the Texas Da’wah Convention.  She has also worked with the Muslim American Society-Katy and the Islamic Council of North America’s Young Muslim Quiz Competition, all while pursuing her undergraduate education. In 2016 Sobia spent six months teaching English to Syrian refugee families in Houston.  She is currently pursuing a bachelors degree in journalism at the University of Houston.

Valerie Wells is running for At-Large Board Member.  Valerie is a reporter and editor at The Galveston County Daily News. She has worked as a journalist for 30 years at daily and weekly newspapers and monthly magazines. She has won several awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. In 2012, she won first place in feature writing in the SPJ Green Eyeshade Awards.

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