Pulitzer Center Update

2018 Student Fellow Washington Weekend Highlights

The Pulitzer Center celebrated its 2018 student fellows weekend with a dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 26. The event highlighted the growth of the Campus Consortium program—bringing together 40 students from 35 universities, journalism schools, schools of public health, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges.

“You have shown us why we should care—what affects one person affects us all,” said Kem Sawyer, contributing editor at the Pulitzer Center, in her opening remarks, “whether it be climate change, women’s empowerment, girls’ education, better health care, or the de-radicalization of prisoners.” Though student fellows reported on multiple issues, their work shared an emphasis on storytelling, particularly, on giving voice to stories that have long gone untold.

Not only did student fellows travel to a wide range of countries—28 in all— but they also represented tremendous diversity in personal backgrounds and experiences. In coming together, fellows learned from one another, shared their perspectives, and demonstrated their unique journalistic skills.

Sawyer reminded students of the importance of such diversity. “Continue to seek multiple points of view.“Do not shy away from paradox and complexity,” she encouraged, “Be at home in a world that embraces diversity.”

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Student fellows Jonathan Custodio, Joy Ikekhua, and Julie De Meulemeester at the evening dinner. Behind them is Pulitzer Center grantee Allison Shelley. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellows Jonathan Custodio, Joy Ikekhua, and Julie De Meulemeester at the evening dinner. Behind them is Pulitzer Center grantee Allison Shelley. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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Photojournalist and student fellow alumni Meghan Dhaliwal speaks at the evening dinner. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Photojournalist and student fellow alumni Meghan Dhaliwal speaks at the evening dinner. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Student fellows Amanda Gordon and Monica Long speak with Pulitzer Center Senior Adviser Marvin Kalb and Mady Kalb. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellows Amanda Gordon and Monica Long speak with Pulitzer Center Senior Adviser Marvin Kalb and Mady Kalb. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center Senior Editor Tom Hundley talks with William Bush of the Board of Directors; and Meghan Dhaliwal, photojournalist and student fellow alumni. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center Senior Editor Tom Hundley talks with William Bush of the Board of Directors; and Meghan Dhaliwal, photojournalist and student fellow alumni. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center grantee Erik Vance speaks at the Cosmos Club. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center grantee Erik Vance speaks at the Cosmos Club. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Student fellows Amanda Gordon, Monica Long, and Alexis Smith talk before the evening dinner. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellows Amanda Gordon, Monica Long, and Alexis Smith talk before the evening dinner. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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Student fellows Kiley Price, Meg Vatterott, and Rohan Naik at the Cosmos Club. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellows Kiley Price, Meg Vatterott, and Rohan Naik at the Cosmos Club. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center University and Community Outreach Director Ann Peters delivers closing remarks at the Cosmos Club. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center University and Community Outreach Director Ann Peters delivers closing remarks at the Cosmos Club. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Joel Motley of the Board of Directors with Pulitzer Center Managing Director Nathalie Applewhite. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Joel Motley of the Board of Directors with Pulitzer Center Managing Director Nathalie Applewhite. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Student fellows Abigail Bekele and Argentina Maria-Vanderhost talk with Pulitzer Center grantee James Whitlow Delano. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellows Abigail Bekele and Argentina Maria-Vanderhost talk with Pulitzer Center grantee James Whitlow Delano. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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William Freivogel, journalism professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, talks with student fellows Ingrid Holmquist and Tomas Posada. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

William Freivogel, journalism professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, talks with student fellows Ingrid Holmquist and Tomas Posada. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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David Rohde of the Board of Directors talking with student fellow Julia Friedmann. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

David Rohde of the Board of Directors talking with student fellow Julia Friedmann. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Student fellow A.J. Naddaff talks with Pulitzer Center Senior Producer Steve Sapienza and Madlen Seyfferth. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellow A.J. Naddaff talks with Pulitzer Center Senior Producer Steve Sapienza and Madlen Seyfferth. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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Student fellow Liz Scherffius with Richard Moore of the Board of Directors. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Student fellow Liz Scherffius with Richard Moore of the Board of Directors. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center interns Ashley Zhang, Claire Seaton, and Karena Phan celebrate student fellows at the Cosmos Club. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center interns Ashley Zhang, Claire Seaton, and Karena Phan celebrate student fellows at the Cosmos Club. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

In her talk, 2012 student fellow Meghan Dhaliwal told this class of fellows “embrace whatever path you take.” Dhaliwal, also a former Pulitzer Center staff member, is now based in Mexico City and works as a freelance photographer and multimedia producer. She has reported from Mexico, Afghanistan, India, and Bolivia. Most recently, her photos of sea cucumbers and of migrants on the Tijuana border have appeared in The New York Times.

Dhaliwal encouraged students to lean on one another. “You are not alone. You are not alone in your passion, self-doubt, and struggle.” You are “a strand in a web of people” who share their love of stories, she said.

Pulitzer Center grantee Erik Vance spoke to fellows about identifying their own personal strengths.“What else can you bring to the journalism you do?” he asked. Vance is an author and award-winning science journalist who has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, and National Geographic.

“Go out, experience, synthesize, and share—we all have stories to tell,” said Vance. “Now’s the time.”

In closing, University and Community Outreach Director Ann Peters thanked the speakers, Campus Consortium faculty, and the Pulitzer Center board—many of whom attended the dinner—for their support of the student fellow program.

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Student fellows and Campus Consortium faculty listen to a panel. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

Student fellows and Campus Consortium faculty listen to a panel. Image by Karena Phan. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer and Communications Director Jeff Barrus talk to student fellows. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer and Communications Director Jeff Barrus talk to student fellows. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center intern Ashley Zhang introduces herself to student fellows. Behind her are Pulitzer Center staff Marvin Kalb, Julia Kelmers, Hannah Berk, and Ann Peters. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center intern Ashley Zhang introduces herself to student fellows. Behind her are Pulitzer Center staff Marvin Kalb, Julia Kelmers, Hannah Berk, and Ann Peters. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center Executive Editor laughs with Managing Director Nathalie Applewhite during staff introductions. Behind them are Pulitzer Center staff members Steve Sapienza and Katherine Doyle. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center Executive Editor laughs with Managing Director Nathalie Applewhite during staff introductions. Behind them are Pulitzer Center staff members Steve Sapienza and Katherine Doyle. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

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Pulitzer Center intern Karena Phan with speaking to student fellows during staff introductions. Behind her is Pulitzer Center staff member Hana Carey and intern Claire Seaton. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

Pulitzer Center intern Karena Phan with speaking to student fellows during staff introductions. Behind her is Pulitzer Center staff member Hana Carey and intern Claire Seaton. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018. 

Throughout the weekend, student fellows met Pulitzer Center staff and presented their international reporting projects. Their stories covered some of today’s most underreported topics, from the treatment of autism in Brazil to activist monks in Thailand working to protect the environment.

The fellows also had the opportunity to meet 13 professional journalists and editors. These panelists, including Pulitzer Center grantees and editors from, NPR News and NPR’s Goats and Soda, TIME for Kids, Global Health Now, Foreign Policy, Voice of America, and American University’s School of Communication, spoke on “Covering Sensitive Issues and Coping with Trauma” and “How to Pitch.”  The Pulitzer Center is grateful to the William and Mary Washington Center and Bloomberg News for hosting the student fellows in their offices.

“What an incredible weekend surrounded by down-to-earth, passionate, humble journalist peers and mentors at the Pulitzer Center! It only reaffirmed my desire to tell nuanced stories,” said Davidson College student fellow A.J. Naddaff.

Click the links below to view blogs and videos from Washington Weekend:

Click the links below to view the videos from the student fellow presentations, Cosmos Club speakers, and journalist panels:

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2018 student fellows and Pulitzer Center staff at Bloomberg News. Image by Todd Moday. United States, 2018.

2018 student fellows and Pulitzer Center staff at Bloomberg News. Image by Todd Moday. United States, 2018.