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The People Behind Mosaic 

Meet our Mosaic team—a dedicated group of experienced journalists, photographers, and mentors committed to storytelling and building meaningful connections.

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Mosaic Advisory Board

Sharon Noguchi

Mosaic co-director

Sharon worked three-plus decades at the Mercury News as a copy editor, opinion editor and writer, education reporter and occasional food writer. She also worked as a writer and editor at newspapers in Japan, reported from Cambodia after the ouster of the Khmer Rouge, and spent a year in Japan on a Fulbright fellowship writing about Latin American and Southeast Asian migrant laborers.

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Mosaic Advisory Board

Maya Suryaraman

English and journalism teacher at Santa Clara High School

Maya is a retired English and journalism teacher at Santa Clara High School. She was an education reporter for The Mercury News for 15 years before moving into education. Maya provides support for journalism teachers and is one of the Mosaic summer workshop instructors. She has been an instructor with the program since 2017.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Julia Chie

Editorial assistant

Julia Chie is a rising senior at San Jose State University. Chie has worked for the school’s newspaper The Spartan Daily since 2023 where she currently holds the position of layout editor. In addition, she DJs for the campus radio station KSJS, 90.5FM. In her free time Chie reads up on local and nation-wide politics and takes her love for music to concerts.

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Mosaic School Year and Summer Staff

Nhat Meyer

Photo video instructor

Nhat V. Meyer has been a staff photographer for The Mercury News since 2000. He previously worked at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. for three years. He graduated with a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Jake Nicol

Multimedia instructor

Jake Nicol is a national Emmy-nominated multimedia journalist. He is a 2023 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, a program supporting journalists from around the world who are creating solutions to journalism’s most urgent problems. Nicol teaches digital journalism and video storytelling at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and City College of San Francisco. He has worked as a senior video journalist with The Wall Street Journal in San Francisco. He was also a freelance video producer and writer for National Geographic. Early in his career, Jake helped start a community media center, working as a media educator, project and facility manager, and producer.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Iris Sanchez

Editorial assistant

Iris Sanchez is a recent graduate from Lincoln High School where she reported for the Lincoln Lion Tales. Her interest in writing is heavily impacted by joining Mosaic’s 2023 class where she gained hands-on journalism experience. Sanchez is an avid reader and will be studying creative writing at San Jose State University in the fall.

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Mosaic Advisory Board

Sal Pizarro

Columnist at The Mercury News, Mosaic co-director

Sal is an experienced columnist with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. He has been with The Mercury News since 1993. Sal is the co-director of Mosaic and has been an instructor with the program since 2016.

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Mosaic School Year and

Summer Staff

Dennis Akizuki

Instructor

Dennis Akizuki is a retired journalist with more than 43 years of experience as a reporter and editor at newspapers in the Bay Area, 33 of them at the Mercury News. A native of San Jose, he attended San Jose High School and the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in journalism, worked for the Daily Californian and was a member of the Cal Band. He has been a Mosaic instructor since 2023.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Rob Hernandez

Page designer

Rob Hernandez, a native of California's Coachella Valley, began his career in newspapers while studying at CSU Fresno. He worked part-time at The Fresno Bee in the Editorial Art Department, earned a BA in graphic design and held prestigious positions at the Los Angeles Times and San Jose Mercury News. Over his twenty-year newspaper career, he received multiple Society of Newspaper Design Awards. Rob has spent the last 15 years working with global companies such as Oracle and Sage to craft branded visual content.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Sarah Lai Stirland

Podcasting instructor

Sarah Lai Stirland is a freelance producer, editor, and writer. She  is a Roving Philosophical Reporter for KALW and Stanford University's Philosophy Talk radio show and podcast. She's contributed news and features to KALW's Crosscurrents news magazine in San Francisco, and is a 2020 alumna of KALW Public Media's Audio Academy.She co-teaches and edits KALW Public Media's tbh podcast for teens. Lai Stirland also contributes to The Los Gatan newspaper, and has written for the Boston Globe magazine, POLITICO, and WIRED, among other publications. She's covered tech policy as it's shaped by Congress and the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, as well as financial technology and municipal finance in New York City.

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Mosaic School Year and

Summer Staff

Kathy Miedema

Instructor, production chief

Kathy Miedema has worked as a reporter, copy editor, communications manager and magazine editor. She now works as an elementary teacher but keeps a toe in journalism with Mosaic. Her husband is the Deputy Sports Editor at the Mercury News. She has a daughter who attends UC-Santa Barbara and a younger daughter who is an incoming senior at James Logan High School in Union City. 

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Alyssa Phillips

Photo assistant

Alyssa Phillips is a Journalism & Mass Communications Graduate Student in her second year of her M.S. degree at San Jose State University. She has extensive experience in print, digital, and multimedia journalism. She joined San Jose State University's Broadcast News Program: Update News, and is now pursuing her dreams of being a T.V. News Anchor.

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Mosaic Advisory Board

Joe Rodriguez

Mosaic co-founder, Opinions Editor, Instructor, Mosaic Advisory Board

After a 40-year career in journalism, Joe has retired to a mountain house just outside his native Los Angeles. Joe worked for The Mercury News for 25 years where wrote a human-interest column about ordinary people who had never been in the news but whose lives and work illuminated trends and issues stirring under the surface of Silicon Valley. He previously wrote opinion columns, editorials and news articles on Latino affairs, immigration, health and welfare reform and urban redevelopment. He was one of the co-founders of Mosaic in 1993 and is still actively involved.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Autumn Alvarez

Web producer

Autumn is a print and online journalism major at San Francisco State University. Her first taste of news writing began at De Anza Community College’s publication La Voz where she was a reporter and editor-in-chief. Outside of the newsroom Alvarez is an active member of her church's youth leadership team and can be found solving newspaper crossword puzzles.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Mike Corpos

Newsroom manager

Mike Corpos is Mosaic’s newsroom manager. During the school year, Mike serves as production chief for the Spartan Daily, San Jose State’s award-winning student newspaper. Mike spent 11 years in the newspaper field working in Utah, South Dakota and California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism at San Jose State and recently completed his master’s in mass communications at SJSU.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

E'jaaz Mason

Photo video instructor

E’jaaz A. Mason is the co-founder of Lede New Orleans, a nonprofit that equips young creatives to transform local media. Prior to co-founding Lede, Mason taught multimedia storytelling in local public high schools for five years. In 2015, Mason and his partner, Edward Buckles Jr., began work on the award-winning documentary Katrina Babies. Mason’s latest documentary, Black Suit: Sewing [Her]story, is set to premiere in March 2025.

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Truc Nguyen

Podcasting instructor

Truc Nguyen (they/them) is a Vietnamese queer artist whose work with sound began while training at Bay Area public radio station, KALW. They were a fellow at The Intercept and helped relaunch San Francisco's queer radio show, Out In The Bay.

In 2022, they received support from the Sankofa Fund for Cultural Preservation to work on

Boat People, a mixed media piece with animation, photography and original music. They were an artist in residence at the Dresher Ensemble where they developed this story into a live radio experience. Recently they composed music and edited a series of stories for Kearny Street Workshop

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Mosaic Summer Staff

Robert Salonga

Instructor

Robert Salonga has been a criminal justice and public safety reporter with the Bay Area News Group since 2007 — including the past 12 years with The Mercury News — and was part of a news team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2017. A San Jose native, he graduated from Silver Creek High School and has been an instructor with Mosaic since 2014. He might have been a Mosaic alum had the program not had an aberrant gap year in 1999.

Mosaic Executive

Sal Pizarro

Columnist at The Mercury News, Mosaic co-director

Sal is an experienced columnist with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. He has been with The Mercury News since 1993. Sal is the co-director of Mosaic and has been an instructor with the program since 2016.

Mosaic Advisory Board

Joe Rodriguez

Mosaic founder, Mosaic Advisory Board

After a 40-year career in journalism, Joe has retired to a mountain house just outside his native Los Angeles. Joe worked for The Mercury News for 25 years where wrote a human-interest column about ordinary people who had never been in the news but whose lives and work illuminated trends and issues stirring under the surface of Silicon Valley. He previously wrote opinion columns, editorials and news articles on Latino affairs, immigration, health and welfare reform and urban redevelopment. He was one of the co-founders of Mosaic in 1993 and is still actively involved.

Mosaic Advisory Board

Maya Suryaraman

English and journalism teacher at Santa Clara High School

Maya is a retired English and journalism teacher at Santa Clara High School. She was an education reporter for The Mercury News for 15 years before moving into education. Maya provides support for journalism teachers and is one of the Mosaic summer workshop instructors. She has been an instructor with the program since 2017.

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