Meet the Staff


Maleesa Johnson: Editor-in-Chief*

Maleesa is a senior journalism major from Round Rock.

She entered the newsroom scene as a Lariat reporter during the second semester of her freshman year. After that, she was hooked. She applied for a staff position and went on to be staff writer, copy editor, news editor and copy desk chief over a span of four semesters.

Last semester, she took a short break from the Lariat to serve an editor of Focus Magazine, another branch of Baylor Student Publications. She and her co-editor, Magen Davis, centered the publication on celebrating cultural diversity in the Baylor and Waco communities.  She aims to do similar work with the Lariat. View her goals as Lariat editor-in-chief here(

Outside of class and the newsroom, she loves to figure skate, Netflix binge and laugh with friends and family. She is major cat-lover, but is practicing self-control by not adopting all the kittens until after graduation.


Dane Chronister: City Editor* 

Dane is an aspiring journalist, photographer and musician. He is a member of Phi Kappa Chi and helps lead children’s worship for Highland Baptist Church. Dane is a superhero enthusiast and hopes to use his gifts and ability to write in order to help others. He wants to give a voice to the voiceless and inspire people to share their stories. Dane thinks that everyone has a testimony, we just have to listen in order to hear it.






Sarah Pyo: Web & Social Media Editor 

Sarah Pyo is a Korean-American from Chicago, IL and studying journalism, public relations, and sociology.

She loves basking in the sunlight and hunting down unique coffee shops. She listens to all types of music, except screamo, or rap with lots of profanity. She also loves food, especially good food. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and looking for hole-in-the-walls in various cities. Even if they’re not hole-in-the-walls, good food is still good food. Since she’s never traveled outside of the country, she dreams of the days when she can eat good food overseas.

Although it’s become a rarity nowadays, she enjoys reading (particularly British literature), cooking and knitting. When the weather permits, she also loves to run around outside (not literally). She likes to play volleyball, basketball, or even catch with a football/baseball. Sarah doesn’t swim unless she has to and cannot play soccer even if her life depended on it.


Rae Jefferson: Copy Desk Chief*

Rae Jefferson is a senior journalism major and FDM minor from Houston. She has been around the Lariat track quite a few times, having previously been a staff writer and the A&E editor. This semester, Rae wields the great red correction pen as copy desk chief, and now has the authority to bop staffers over the head if they don’t know the difference between “there,” “their” and “they’re.”

When she isn’t crushing Lariateers’ grammatical dreams, Rae spends her time perusing Instagram, gawking over typography on Pinterest and taking photos of stuff. She is also a lover of travel, music and art, and desires to maybe one day write a book that will be read by a crowd slightly larger than just her dad, mom and Noah (the family dog).



Helena Hunt: Arts & Life Editor

Helena Hunt is a senior University Scholar major from Sonoita, Arizona. No, she doesn’t want to explain University Scholars to you (she doesn’t understand it either) or show you where Sonoita is on a map (it won’t show up). Helena wants to be a writer so she can talk about everything without really knowing about anything. Everyone has told her that she’ll find her niche, but she’s realized that her niche may just be nichelessness, a fact she has reluctantly come to accept. At least when all her friends and rivals are successful academics, lawyers and doctors she can write the book that exposes their hypocrisies. It probably won’t be published, but she doesn’t mind. If you’re a somewhat bitter dilettante too, Helena would love to talk to you about Stevie Nicks or David Foster Wallace over tea—but not coffee or iced tea, and certainly not iced coffee. Oh, and she’s much nicer than she sounds in print, she swears.


Mugs_RH August 20, 2015-23

Jeffrey Swindoll: Sports Editor*

Jeffrey is a senior journalism/film & digital media double major.

After about two years of writing for the Lariat (one semester as an arts & entertainment reporter and three semesters as a sports writer), he somehow found a way to get on with the editors as sports editor. That’s not all there is to him, though…

Jeffrey loves family, video games, sports (especially soccer), music and writing. He partakes of each and every one of those things on a weekly basis. He spends time with my family across the country via Google Hangouts. He gets together with friends to play Smash Bros., Mario Kart and FIFA. He never turns down a chance to play some pickup soccer on campus (regardless of whether he’s wearing Levi’s or not). He is very often trying to find a new way to communicate his thoughts and revelations in the form of song or poem. Lucky for Jeffrey, at least two of those are things that he’ll be doing on a daily basis for the next two semesters – sports writing.

The Lariat part of his life is just a portion of who he is, just as he is sure that studies or an occupation is only a fraction of your being as well.

Covering Baylor athletics is an extraordinary opportunity, given the quality of facilities, teams and fan base. Baylor has hit the jackpot of college sports. We all get to see it, but Jeffrey gets the privilege of picking the school’s daily dose of sports news on campus.


Mugs_RH August 20, 2015-70

Richard Hirst: Photo Editor 

His name is Richard Hirst, but he answers to both Richard or Robby equally.

From Southern Oklahoma, Richard has worked for a photography studio based out of Fort Worth for the past four and a half years.

He came to Baylor two years ago following his sister, who is an alum. He is now a senior journalism new media major. While at Baylor, he has become a national award-winning photographer thanks to his work at the Lariat.

After graduation, Richard plans to move up to Fort Worth and work for the photography studio doing mostly commercial photography. On a personal level, he is a major nerd who can spend hours on end sitting at a computer editing or doing technical writing. Like most other college kids, he also loves hanging out with friends. It’s just the struggle of finding the time.


Deidre Martinez: News Editor*









Liesje Powers: Staff Writer 

Liesje Powers is a freshman and is currently pursuing a major in journalism with a minor in museum studies.
Powers was born in Belgium but moved to Texas at a young age. This relocation spurred her fascination for all things cows and Texas (but never Longhorns, of course). The move also left Powers with an almost un-pronouncable name, but has opened her up to a world of mispronunciations to respond to.
Although an avid anti-morning person during school breaks, Powers spends her early mornings working out with the Baylor Crew during the school semester, and has recently been elected as historian.
When Powers isn’t writing or rowing, she enjoys napping or taking pictures of nature. Some of her favorite napping spots include Moody library, her car, and any benches she comes across on her way to class. As a photographer, Powers is often enamored far too much by flowers, and takes stopping to smell the roses to an entirely new level.
This is Powers’ first semester on staff, and she is excited to be a writer for the Lariat and for all the opportunities it gives her to grow as a journalist.


Jessica Hubble: Staff Writer 

Emma King is a new member of the Lariat staff this year. She is a sophomore, studying journalism/public relations. Emma’s parents live in Chandler, Texas, with the family’s two dogs, two cats and Emma’s brother, who is a senior in high school. Last school year, she was a clarinet player in the Golden Wave Band and performed with Sing Alliance in the spring. She is a member of First Baptist Church, Waco, and the Texans are Emma’s favorite NFL team. During her free time, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, blogging, learning to play her guitar or spending time with friends.




Mugs_RH August 20, 2015-11Jessica Babb: Broadcast News Producer*

As a sophomore, Jessica is currently majoring in journalism and political science with a film and digital media minor. After she graduates in 2018, she plans to attend law school and invest in the field of legal and political journalism. Growing up in a military family from the Central Texas area, Jessica has an affinity for traveling and experiencing different cultures. She is a fun-loving, Christ-centered girl who has a passion for writing and a love for laughter. Her best dance moves come out when she is jamming to her favorite songs in the car and in her spare time you can find her binge-watching “Scandal.” As a member of Delta Delta Delta, Jessica is a strong proponent of the extra-large T-shirt trend and without a doubt, she has learned that life is always better with a little bit of sass and chocolate!


Thomas Mott: Assistant Broadcast News Producer

Thomas Mott is a sophomore communication specialist major with a journalism minor. Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, to military parents, Mott has been working on and behind the camera since he was little. Beginning with his own YouTube channel, which has amassed over 350,000 views to date, Thomas quickly realized he had a love for on-camera speaking. While attending high school, Thomas joined his school newspaper and also landed a job at Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio. He became a tour guide and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the top guides at the cavern to date. Thomas was a high school state quarter-finalist for tennis and currently is on the Baylor club tennis team. Thomas has a passion for football and enjoys rooting for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles along with the Baylor Bears.



Mugs_RH August 20, 2015-16

Stephen Nunnelee: Videographer

Stephen Nunnelee of Athens, Texas, makes photos, films and mixed media artworks. His photos and films are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. Nunnelee is currently a Professional Student and butler/father to a five-year-old Superhero in training named Cainen. When not at school or helping Cainen fight bad guys, Nunnelee can be found at the gym or on the couch. Upon graduating in May 16’ with a bachelor’s degree in new media, he hopes he will be able to contribute to society, get a job and finally pay his mother back. If not, then Nunnelee, as he has stated on many occasions, is perfectly content with his role as butler/father. Nunnelee currently lives, works, and is completely awesome in Waco, Texas.


Meghan Mitchell: Sports Writer






Mugs_RH August 20, 2015-19Trey Honeycutt: Photographer 

Trey Honeycutt is a sophomore and a business major. He is an Eagle Scout and with that, loves being in the outdoors; whether that be hiking, Enoing, fishing or throwing the Frisbee with friends. He also is very lighthearted and enjoys making jokes and making people laugh. He loves it when he can make someone’s day with something as small as a joke. He additionally enjoys meeting new people. People say that Trey has never really met a stranger because he loves taking the time to listen to people’s stories. He thinks it is amazing what you find out when you take the time to listen to what people have to say. Finally, Trey enjoys the art of photography and the power that it holds. He strongly believes in the saying by Aaron Siskind that says, “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”


Penelope Shirey: Photographer 







Mugs_RH August 20, 2015-44

Asher Freeman Murphy: Cartoonist

Asher Freeman Murphy is the cartoonist for the editorials (and occasionally other stuff). He has been with the Lariat since he was but a wee baby freshman. As a senior, this is his fourth year in a row to be doing illustrations for the Lariat, and he couldn’t be happier with that fact. Asher has aspired toward being a cartoonist since he was seven years old, so as far as student employment goes, this is the dream! Outside his work for the paper, Asher is a graphic design major and a mildly-talented drummer.

*Denotes a member of the editorial board