The Girls' Voices for Change Contest Judges
Laura Ling is an award-winning journalist and author. She most recently hosted the Discovery mini-documentary series, The Power of Kindness that looks at the scientific roots and benefits of being kind. She hosts Everyday Bravery, a podcast about overcoming life’s biggest challenges. As the Director of Development for Discovery Communications’s digital network, Seeker, she oversaw the creation and production of original web series that have amassed tens of millions of views online. Ling is the host of Conquered on Z Living Network, a series that profiles awe-inspiring people who have broken boundaries to achieve their goals. She has also hosted two documentary series airing on the E! Network: E! Investigates and Society X with Laura Ling. Prior to joining E! Ling served as Vice President of Current TV’s journalism department and created Vanguard, the network’s weekly investigative documentary series. Under her leadership, Vanguard received numerous prestigious awards including the Alfred I. DuPont Award and several Emmy nominations.
In March 2009, while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women, Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. The two journalists were arrested and held captive in North Korea for 140 days before being granted a special pardon and returning to the United States. She documented her experience in the 2010 memoir, Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, that she penned with her sister, Lisa.
As a correspondent for SoCal Connected, the hard-hitting news magazine series airing on KCET, Ling’s work was recognized with both an Emmy and a national Edward R. Murrow award. Ling has served as a producer for Channel One News and co-created Breaking it Down, a documentary series on MTV that aired between 1999 and 2001. Her work has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, NBC, and PBS. She has also written editorials for the Los Angeles Times and CNN.com. Ling was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2009. She is a Service Ambassador for Points of Light, the nonpartisan organization dedicated to solving social problems through voluntary service. She resides in Mill Valley, California with her husband and two children.
An actress across film, television and Broadway Ashley Bell is most recognizable for her critically acclaimed role in The Last Exorcism, for which she earned an Independent Spirit Award and MTV Movie Award nomination. Bell has crossed genres, making her Broadway debut in Machinal and has starred in films that have garnered acclaim at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and TIFF.
Bell directed, wrote and produced her first feature documentary entitled, Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story, which had its national theatrical release by Abramorama in April of 2018, and was broadcast on STARZ in July 2018. Ashley serves as a US Ambassador for Cruelty Free International.
Bell is adapting a play by Pulitzer Prize nominee Lillian Groag into a limited series, and has written a book on independent documentary filmmaking called, “Shoot It. Sell It. Show It: How I Made An Independent Film With Grit & Google.” Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bell studied acting and directing at Cambridge University (UK). She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with honors, and was mentored by Oscar nominee Kathleen Turner.
Rebecca Dharmapalan is a Tamil Sri Lankan artist, filmmaker and musician. She is currently a MA of Human Rights Law candidate at SOAS University of London.
As a 22 year old artist and sociology graduate from University of California Berkeley, Dharmapalan’s passion lies in human rights and justice for underrepresented and marginalized groups. From her TEDxTalk discussing the epidemic of child sex trafficking in the United States, to speaking up when voices are silenced, Dharmapalan’s dedication to uplifting those around her speaks truth to her dedication to her community.
Dharmapalan is a Glamour College Woman of the Year 2017, a winner of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21, and an OZY Genius Award winner 2018. She is currently producing her first feature length film on Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees that the survived recent genocide in her motherland.
Victoria Moroles is an American actress. She plays Andie on the Disney Channel show Liv and Maddie, and Hayden Romero on MTV‘s Teen Wolf. Victoria was born in Corpus Christi, TX and lived out her early childhood in the nearby small town of Rockport. Having spent most of her younger days in the art studio of her Uncle Jesus Moroles, she lived under constant inspiration of him and his work. This was one of the biggest influences on her love for the arts, along with her love for dance, which she had been immersed in since the age of 3. Performing anywhere felt like home, but there was sparse opportunity in South Texas which led her to LA at the age of 12 to begin her acting career. Currently residing in LA, Victoria is also heavily influenced by music in her day to day life and enjoys playing acoustic guitar. She is passionate about girls’ empowerment, and ensuring that girls around the world can express their creativity.
Fernanda Echavarri is an award winning journalist working as an editor/producer for NPR’s Latino USA. Before joining the team she was a reporter at Arizona Public Media where she covered immigration, education and public affairs. Fernanda, a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, was born and raised in central Mexico. She started her career in journalism in 2008 working for newspapers in Southern Arizona. Fernanda received an RFK Human Rights Award in 2017, was a Peabody finalist and a national Edward R. Murrow Award winner in 2016. She has also been awarded a Rocky Mountain Emmy and a Dori J. Maynard Award from the American Society of News Editors. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
N’Jeri Eaton is the Deputy Director of Programming & New Audience at NPR (NPR) where she is charged with sourcing new content, partnerships and talent. Previously, N‘Jeri was the Content Development & Initiative Manager at the Independent Television Service (ITVS) where she managed the Diversity Development Fund and the Open Call production funding initiatives. She is also a freelance documentary producer and editor. Her feature film First Friday had its national premiere on PBS World Channel series AfroPop in 2016. Her short film Perry County screened at festivals around the country was distributed by New Day Films. She was the Associate Producer for the Oscar shortlisted film The Waiting Room, which premiered on Independent Lens on PBS. N‘Jeri received a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts Studies at Emerson College and her master’s at the UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Kirthi Nath is a filmmaker, consultant and sacred activist who believes that ordinary people ripple extraordinary change. As founder and lead filmmaker at Cinemagical Media, Kirthi works with entrepreneurs, nonprofits and companies to create films and craft campaigns with bravery, courage and heart that bring messages alive and inspire social change. Kirthi’s work has featured cultural visionaries and global campaigns such as Eve Ensler, Tara Sophia Mohr, Alice Walker, One Billion Rising and V-Day. In addition to filmmaking, Kirthi offers experiential workshops, talks, meditations and coaching that helps people connect with their inner wisdom, foster loving presence and awaken wonder.
Marisa Vitiello is an artist, designer, and educational consultant. She most recently led instructional design for Adobe Stock Photo. As an artist, she has collaborated with Degenerate Art Ensemble to make costumes for a performance of Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach, commissioned by Robert Wilson. She has also been the lead artist on projects receiving grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation, and Environmental Justice Network in Action (a program of Seattle Public Utilities). As an educational consultant, she has overseen multiple local and international media collaborations for the Adobe Youth Voices program. Her focus is on civic engagement, art making, and getting good stuff done.