Pulitzer Center Update

Two Student Fellows Win 2016 SPJ National Mark of Excellence Awards, Third a National Finalist

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Award-winning photo from "Seattle Group’s Training Program Saves Lives of Moms and Babies in Kenya." A child receives an immunization as part of a Kenya Red Cross outreach program in rural West Pokot County, Kenya. For many in the area, the monthly mobile clinic, on a mat rolled out under a tree, is their only contact with the health system. Image by Paul Nevin. Kenya, 2014.

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Paul Nevin's project is featured during Mark of Excellence Award ceremony at the Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism 2016 conference in New Orleans. Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2016.

Two Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium student fellows are national winners in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards: Paul Nevin from the University of Washington for his reporting on maternal and child health in Kenya and Jae Lee from Washington University in St. Louis for his reporting on healthcare in Uganda. Student fellow Sydney Combs from the University of Chicago placed as a national award finalist for her reporting on Maasai women in the workforce.

Nevin, a 2014 student fellow, won the "Feature Photography, Large School Division" award for "Seattle Group’s Training Program Saves Lives of Moms and Babies in Kenya," published in The Seattle Times in 2015 as part of his Pulitzer Center-supported project, "Saving Kenya's Mothers." Throughout his reporting, Nevin explored the challenges Kenya faces with maternal and child health as well as the Kenyan government's efforts to save mothers’ lives and improve childbirth safety.

Nevin was also one of five finalists for the Mark of Excellence overall best in collegiate journalism award, the MOEy.

Lee, a 2015 student fellow, won the "In-Depth Reporting, Small School Division" award for his series of articles from his Pulitzer Center-supported project "Uganda: Looking at an Under-Resourced Healthcare System" published by three outlets: Scientific American, PRI's The World, and Global Health Now. For his article published in Scientific American, for example, Lee explored how a program that trains nurses to take over from badly overextended physicians could be part of the solution for Uganda's poor healthcare system.

Combs, also a 2015 student fellow, placed as a national finalist in the same category as Nevin for her project, "Maasai Women: Breaking Out of the Boma." Her stories follow several women from Tanzania who struggle to grow (or start) their own businesses as they challenge their village's conception of women.

Combs, Lee and Nevin were part of a group of six Pulitzer Center student fellows who won 2015 Regional Mark of Excellence Awards that enabled them to move on to the national competition. In the regional competitions, Lee and Kara Andrade from American University won first prizes in in-depth reporting in region 7 and region 2; University of Southern California's Rebecca Gibian and Diana Crandall won first prize in region 11 for breaking news; Combs won first prize in Region 5 for feature photography and in television feature reporting; and Nevin won first prize for feature photography in Region 10.

This SPJ Mark of Excellence competition marks the first time two Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium student fellows have taken home national prizes in the same year, but the third time fellows have won national awards.

Pulitzer Center student fellow Anna Van Hollen, a 2012 graduate of Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium member Davidson College, with a 2012 national first-place Mark of Excellence Award in feature writing for her Pulitzer Center project "Palestinian Youth at a Crossroads. " Varsha Ramakrishnan received a 2013 national first-place Mark of Excellence Award in the non-fiction magazine article category for her Pulitzer Center project "The Dowry System in India: Is the Trend Changing?" Ramakrishnan is a physician from India and a 2013 graduate of the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium member Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.