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meet the team

The Week Junior team

Andrea Barbalich, Editor in Chief

Andrea is in charge of deciding what goes into each issue of The Week Junior and making sure we publish the best possible magazine every week. She grew up in a small town in New York and always loved reading and writing. She also likes riding her bike, traveling to fun places, watching her son play baseball, and cooking for her family and friends. Her favorite food is raspberries. 


Mindy Walker, Deputy Editor

Mindy gets to brainstorm ideas and edit stories so they are informative and enjoyable to read. She grew up in Missouri and dreamed of moving to New York City to work in magazines after college. And she did! Now she lives outside the city with her husband, three daughters, and energetic dog Mango. Her hobby is being a carpool ninja. 


Victoria Beall, Art Director

Vicky uses her design skills to make sure every page of the magazine looks amazing. She enjoys playing with type size and having fun with color to make the stories exciting to read. She has a 15-year-old daughter, and her home is always full of children—just the way she likes it. She also speaks fluent Japanese.


Paul Kramer, Production Director

Paul has the important job of making sure the magazine gets to the printer on time—and without any mistakes! On his days off, he takes bicycle trips that go through the night and for hundreds of miles. He has two grown children and wishes this magazine had been around when they were young.


Gail O’Connor, Senior Editor

Gail’s job is to write many of the stories you like to read in The Week Junior. She grew up in New York taking a city bus to school and lived on the same street as her grandmother and cousins. She has three children, who were each born in a different state, and two dogs who are best friends. Her favorite hobby is having fun with her family.  


Jennifer Li Shotz, Senior Editor

Jen spends her days thinking like a kid and hunting for stories The Week Junior readers will want—or need—to know about. A Los Angeles native, Jen lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two goofy children, and one very bad dog. She writes kids’ books about dogs and bakes a lot of chocolate chip cookies with very few chips.


Nataki Alexander-Hewling, Photo Editor

Nataki gets to look for all the amazing photos you see in the magazine, and sometimes she actually takes them herself! She especially enjoys choosing Photos of the Week. Nataki is the mom of two boys, and she’s also a foodie who enjoys eating and taking pictures of foods from all over the world.


Doug Grant, Research Editor

Doug is responsible for getting all the facts in the magazine right. He also writes news stories. He’s from the Philadelphia suburbs and likes catching the latest movies, learning new things, like jiu-jitsu, and exploring the nooks and crannies of New York City's neighborhoods. His favorite food is everything. 


Opheli Garcia Lawler, Staff Writer

Opheli writes stories for the magazine and reads lots of news to make sure kids are informed about what’s going on in the world. She’s from Florida, where she grew up going to the beach, camping, and playing soccer. Now Opheli lives in Washington Heights, where she likes to spend time with her neighbors and cook new recipes. 


Brielle Diskin, Assistant Editor

Brielle is curious about the world, just like The Week Junior readers are. She loves finding fun facts and writing stories that matter to kids, and she thinks scoping out new movies is a blast. She's a New Jersey girl at her core, but New York City will always have her heart. She loves traveling and discovering new places with friends.