Monica Luhar

Monica Luhar is a journalist and aspiring educator.

@monicaluhar

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About Monica

I've been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I used to get a kick out of spotting typos on billboards and would spend hours at the library devouring Highlights Magazine or playing dozens of rounds of Scrabble with my beloved dada. Somehow words quickly became my canvas. I was able to better see and understand the world around me through the written word. 

Over the years, I have worked as a journalist, copywriter, editorial assistant, editor, and digital producer for various online, hyperlocal, and national news outlets and higher education institutions.

Previously, I served as assistant digital producer, site and social media editor for two seasons of the Emmy-award winning television show, "SoCal Connected" on KCET. 

I have worked as a freelance journalist and contributor for NBC News and NBCUniversal, producing original reported news and features. I've produced on-camera Instagram Stories and have worked closely with freelance video producers for accompanying pieces. 

I was recently nominated as a finalist for the SoCal Journalism Awards presented by the Los Angeles Press Club for Best "Personality Profile" for my NBC Asian America story on the Donut Man. 

My bylines have appeared as press releases and original reported articles for NBC News, VICE (Broadly and Tonic), Southern California Public Radio, KCET, OC Weekly, LA Weekly, HelloGiggles, Yahoo News!, The Aerogram, India-West, Louisiana Weekly, Alhambra Source, New America Media, University of California, Irvine, USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

The stories I've reported have connected me to inspiring, resilient people. I've interviewed organizations and courageous individuals who are working to combat human trafficking and recruit more foster parents to fill culture and language needs.

For NBC Asian America, I interviewed an actress who addressed racist trolls on the Internet, challenging the underrepresentation of diverse characters in theater and television. I learned about student-led organizations that are creating a safe space to break the stigma of mental and sexual health within AAPI communities. I also tried not to fangirl when I got to interview my childhood crush, Kev Nish, from Far East Movement. 

I will never forget the faces I've met a long the way, or the stories that either broke my heart into a million pieces or gave me hope. 

I will never forget the grieving mother who lost her son to a senseless drive-by shooting, the aspiring young childhood photographer who never let cancer define him; the nursing survivor who survived a mass shooting, or the fierce determination of a 14-year-old girl in Seattle who launched a petition at her middle school to make tampons and sanitary supplies free and available in all restrooms on campus. 

There are so many stories yet to tell. I will always consider myself to be a storyteller. My next adventure is to continue to write impactful, compelling stories and pursue my dream of working in both philanthropy communications and education. 

 
 
 

Selected Articles

 

 

 
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Project Preserves Cambodian Genocide Survivor Stories After Decades of Silence

Monica Luhar, NBC News, April 21, 2017 -- Growing up in Long Beach, California, Phatana Ith often felt detached from her identity as a Cambodian-American woman until she began to have conversations with elder women in the community about their experiences during the Cambodian genocide.

 
 Image: Boris Jovanovic / Stocksy

Image: Boris Jovanovic / Stocksy

The People Who Make You Look Good Are Suffering

Monica Luhar, VICE, March 7, 2017

Tattoo artists literally bend over backwards to make us look like scrawl-emblazoned demigods. Their effort takes patience and sacrifice, though, considering the physical strain involved may be wrecking their bodies, one tat at a time.

 
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A 'Budding' Industry: Asian Americans for Cannabis Education

Monica Luhar, NBC News, December 7, 2015 -- When Tiffany Wu first entered the cannabis industry in March, she noticed that Asian Americans involved in the industry were few and far between — a trend the 28-year-old says was made even more apparent after she attended the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, one of the nation's largest cannabis trade shows attracting thousands of advocates and industry professionals, in Las Vegas in November.

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn’t, I would die.
— Isaac Asimov
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The Women in Wheelchairs Changing the World of Competitive Dance 

Monica Luhar, VICE Broadly

The LA Rollettes playfully tousle their hair and blow kisses to their reflections. They spin around the dance floor at Evolution Dance Studios in North Hollywood in wheels that light up like confetti, creating a triangle line formation in preparation for a new round of choreography set to Dua Lipa's "Blow Yo Mind (Mwah)" and Lady Gaga's "Applause."

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New Series Highlights Transgender Stories, Introduces 'Ladies Of AsiaSF' - NBC Asian America

Monica Luhar, NBC News

Some people have a hard time remembering anniversaries and birthdays, but for Lorne Anthony, July 13, 2014, is a date she has no trouble remembering.

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LGBT Behind Bars: Removal From General Population Causing Problems  - KCET

Monica Luhar, KCET

In America's jails and prisons, LGBT inmates are often housed in separate units apart from the general population. Some inmates and advocates support the use of these prisons-within-prisons because research has shown that LGBT inmates are at a higher risk of sexual assault and violence. For example, one study showed that LGBT inmates are ten times more likely to be sexually abused than heterosexual inmates.

 
 

Selected Work

 
 
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Human trafficking survivor Ima Matul to speak in Culver City Tuesday

Monica Luhar, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), March 10, 2014

Nearly 14 years ago, Ima Matul was trapped in a situation that seemed hopeless. Tuesday, she'll be sharing her story during a discussion on modern-day human trafficking in Culver City.


Mixed Martial Artist Keta Meggett Helps Kids Fight Back Against Bullies

Monica Luhar, LA Weekly, July 19, 2017

At 5 foot 3 inches tall, Keta Rush is a compact force of nature in the wrestling ring.When she steps onto the mat, she throws on her signature gold cape and instantly becomes a badass, real-life superhero on a mission to empower kids and eradicate youth bullying.

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Counterpunch: Latino Goes to the Mat So Women Can Fight Violence

Monica Luhar, NBC Latino, December 21, 2016

 It was a personal tragedy that led Los Angeles Police Department tactical self-defense instructor Maurice Gomez to what he considers his life's purpose - teaching women to protect themselves, usually for free.

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Asian Americans don't get treated for alcoholism. This group wants to change that for South Asians.

Monica Luhar - NBC News - Dec.15.2017 

Each Thursday, a group gathers around a candle at a church in Iselin, New Jersey, to talk about their struggles with alcoholism.

Like many other Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups, members share stories about their problems with alcohol and substance use disorders and their road to recovery and sobriety.

 Philosophy professor Margaret Gilbert/Press Release/University of California, Irvine

Philosophy professor Margaret Gilbert/Press Release/University of California, Irvine

Focusing on Rights 

Monica Luhar - University of California, Irvine Press Release, - April 24, 2018


University of California, Irvine, Melden Chair of Moral Philosophy Margaret Gilbert is accustomed to forging new paths. She is one of two women in the UCI School of Humanities to be inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, as a philosopher, occupies a field where women are significantly underrepresented.

 Photo: Peter DaSilva / for NBC News

Photo: Peter DaSilva / for NBC News

The Rice Rockettes: 'Sugar and Spice and Everything Rice'

Monica Luhar - NBC News - Oct.09.2015

Estée Longah wears a faux fur coat and a set of pearls to go with her Elizabeth Taylor-inspired white cocktail dress. She gently adjusts the flyaway curls from her wig and applies the finishing touches to her smoky eyes before a night out with the Rice Rockettes, an Asian-American drag performance troupe she founded in 2009.

Resume

You can view/download my resume below. 

Education

B.A. Literary Journalism
University of California, Irvine
Fall 2007 to Summer 2011

Skills & Languages

  • Writing 
  • Interviewing 
  • Social Media Management
  • Copy writing and editing
  • Transcribing 
  • Community Engagement

English

Some Spanish

Gujarati

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Services & Pricing

*Services are negotiable 

 

  • Transcription services - $1 a minute

  • Copywriting package - $250-$450

  • Freelance writing assignments - $350-$1,000

  • Social Media Copywriting and Management - $250-$450

  • Tutoring services - $20 per hour

Copywriting and Content Management

I have written creative digital copy, uploaded video content, and managed sites. 

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Program Teaching Children With Cancer to Widen Their World Through Photography

By Monica Luhar, Site and Social Media Editor for KCET's "SoCal Connected." 

When a couple lost their young son, Pablo, to a rare form of cancer they were devastated. They were also moved to give back. Their son, Pablo, loved photography, so his parents started the Pablove Shutterbugs program. It gives other children with cancer the opportunity to learn photography. The children use cameras to widen their world, forget their illness and express themselves in new ways.  

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Breathing New Life Into Taxidermy

By Monica Luhar, Site and Social Media Editor for KCET's "SoCal Connected."

Taxidermy is very much alive at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where specimens from across the animal kingdom -- owls, eagles, rabbits, cats (elephants, polar bears, bison) -- are put on display in vivid dioramas. It's safe to say that this job is not for the faint-hearted. But while museums around the country have trimmed their taxidermy staffs, the NHM's Tim Bovard -- along with volunteers -- continue to preserve and mount new specimens.

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Promo Copy for Studio Sapphire

Monica Luhar, Studio Sapphire

Introducing Sapphire Kids Dance Fit, a motivational youth program that fuses elements of dance (hip hop, Bollywood) with fun fitness workouts and yoga and meditation sessions. We're offering a week of free classes with $0 enrollment fee. Enroll your child, brother/sister, niece/nephew now! ✨💓 sapphiredancefit.com or DM for more information and family deals. .

Community Engagement, Media Events, Reporting Adventures

 Behind the scenes of "Boba With the Chief" at the Asian Youth Center in San Gabriel, CA for NBC Asian America. 

Behind the scenes of "Boba With the Chief" at the Asian Youth Center in San Gabriel, CA for NBC Asian America. 

 Empowering women through health, fitness, and dance! Studio Sapphire owner Shikha Thapa hosted a fun Zumba and yoga class at Lorna Jane in Arcadia, CA. 

Empowering women through health, fitness, and dance! Studio Sapphire owner Shikha Thapa hosted a fun Zumba and yoga class at Lorna Jane in Arcadia, CA. 

 With our Sapphire Kids dance team celebrating Studio Sapphire's 1st birthday on Valentine's Day! We had a blast choreographing an original Bollywood dance! 

With our Sapphire Kids dance team celebrating Studio Sapphire's 1st birthday on Valentine's Day! We had a blast choreographing an original Bollywood dance! 

 With my NBC Asian America colleagues at V3Con at the National Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo. 

With my NBC Asian America colleagues at V3Con at the National Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo. 

 Baby Casper loves to read. It's so important to read to young kids daily. You'll be amazed what they can absorb. 

Baby Casper loves to read. It's so important to read to young kids daily. You'll be amazed what they can absorb. 

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 Interviewing Jim Nakano, founder of The Donut Man, for NBC Asian America

Interviewing Jim Nakano, founder of The Donut Man, for NBC Asian America

Contact

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