It took a mass shooting to draw attention to Wilkinsburg, but Vanessa German has been trying to help kids in the gun violence-plagued area for years.
Born in Miami and raised by Brooklynites in Southern California, Jennifer Mascia spent her childhood believing she was going to be the next Meryl Streep. At 17, she moved to New York with her father, a carpet cleaner, and her mother, a retired teacher, and majored in theater at Hunter College of The City University of New York. Upon graduating, she embarked on an illustrious career as a server in several overpriced Manhattan eateries before embracing her inner news junkie and going back to school. She graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2007 and spent eight years at The New York Times, where she was a news assistant, researcher, fact-checker and writer in Metro and Editorial. Currently a staff writer at The Trace, Jennifer has lived in Harlem since the Clinton Administration.