The Pulitzer Center is pleased to announce our 2022 cohort of 14 Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows. Every year, the Pulitzer Center awards fellowships to recent graduates from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Northwestern Medill School of Journalism to complete in-depth projects on underreported issues of global importance. This year, the Post-Grad Fellows will report from all over the world, from India to New York, to Guatemala to Ghana, on topics as varied as education, climate change, migration, and conflict.
"This year's Post-Grad Fellows are such a dedicated group and they bring with them such a wealth of varied experiences. Their reporting will shine new light and fresh perspectives on issues related to environmental justice, vulnerable communities, and human rights. We're excited to see what they produce," said Kem Sawyer, Reporting Fellows Program Director.
In addition to funding, each Fellow receives mentorship from a Pulitzer Center grantee. Fellows and advisers are paired based on their reporting interests and expertise.
We are excited to welcome these new Fellows to our community! Read on to learn more about the 2022 Post-Graduate projects.
Medill Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows
"It's exciting to see our graduates take what they've learned in the program and head out to report on issues like Indigenous ecological knowledge in Hawaii and the resiliency of Afghan refugees in India, with the support and mentorship of the Pulitzer Center," said Kari Lydersen, Medill lecturer and leader of the investigative specialization in the MSJ program. "We know they'll do meaningful stories and this experience will continue to inform their work for years to come."
Mrinali Dhembla is a freelance journalist originally from Ghaziabad, India. During her time at Northwestern, she was enrolled in the Medill Investigative Lab. For her Pulitzer Center project, she will report on the handling of environmental disasters in Chandrapur, the most polluted city in India, with a specific focus on the ash dumped by thermal coal plants that can cause physical and health hazards to neighboring communities.
Samantha Dier focuses her studies on social justice journalism, with an emphasis on incarceration. Her podcast, Riot Reform Repeat, showcases the stories of formerly and currently incarcerated people. This fall, Sam will begin work for WBEZ Chicago as a Luminary Podcast Fellow. Her Pulitzer Center project will investigate abortion access for incarcerated pregnant people across the United States after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Ankita Mukhopadhyay worked for more than five years in India at Deutsche Welle (DW), Gartner, and The Economist Intelligence Unit before moving to the U.S. As DW's correspondent, she covered several high-profile investigative stories on the COVID-19 crisis in India. Her documentary project will tell the story of Afghan refugees who came to India for a better life, but are now living legally unprotected in slums and small settlements.
Poonam Narotam has reported for Medill News Service on topics including environmental justice, climate, and health. Her project will take her to Hawaii to learn from scientists and Native Hawaiians restoring coral reefs with modern and traditional tactics in the North Pacific.
Columbia Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows
"We had an exceptional group of applicants this year,” said Jane Eisner, Director of Academic Affairs at Columbia School of Journalism. “I am thrilled that we are able to support so many ambitious and important stories in the United States and around the world."
Funding for the Columbia Post-Grad Fellowships comes from the university, and the Li Global Fellows are sponsored by the Simon and June Li Center for Global Journalism.
Ngozi Cole is a freelance writer who has covered gender, human rights, and culture in Sierra Leone. She has worked for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Women’s Media Center, and Inter Press Service, among others. For her Pulitzer Center reporting project, Cole will report on the aftermath of the deadly Bronx fire disaster which occurred in January 2022, and the lives of victims who were displaced.
Eleonora Francica is an intern at NewsGuard, based in New York. Francica has covered the United Nations for the online newspaper La Voce di New York and worked as an intern in the Italian Parliament, where she developed a database on domestic violence and child abuse. Her project will examine the institutional violence faced by children involved in conflict separation cases in Italy and internationally.
Marcela Rodrigues-Sherley is a reporting fellow at The Chronicle of Higher Education and a stringer for The New York Times. Using data and public records, her reporting focuses on uncovering wrongdoing and holding institutions accountable. For her Pulitzer Center project, she will be investigating U.S. legislation preventing undocumented students from accessing higher education, focusing on Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama, which have passed bans on enrolling in public universities.
Mehr Sher is working as a Report for America corps member and a statewide environmental reporter for Bangor Daily News in Maine. She has reported extensively on the Afghan refugee resettlement program and hate crime legislation in Indiana. Before grad school, Sher began her journalism career abroad in Pakistan, where she was based for more than six years. For the Pulitzer Center, she will report on the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
Hayley Woodin is the executive editor of business in Vancouver Media Group and a North American correspondent for BBC Radio's Business Matters program. She has worked as a multimedia journalist since 2014, reporting from Honduras, Guatemala, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Hong Kong. She was the first international journalist to visit the Escobal silver mine in Guatemala, and her Pulitzer Center fellowship will support her return to report on corporate influence, Indigenous rights, and the battle for silver.
Li Global Fellows
Richard A. Abbey is a business journalist from Accra, Ghana. He has worked with notable business news organizations in West Africa reporting on commodities, central banks’ monetary policies, and technology policies. As an investigative journalist, he has won several awards for works that revealed wrongdoing in central banks and government agencies. His Pulitzer Center-funded reporting will examine the impact of coastal erosion in Ghana on local economies, heritage sites, and women and children in poor communities.
Jean Chapiro is a filmmaker and journalist from Mexico City. Her documentary project will explore the story of mothers of missing children in Mexico who have started a community collective to find their loved ones and find healing through muñecos sanadores or “healing dolls.”
Surbhi Gupta is an Editorial Fellow at the New Lines Magazine based in New York. She writes on the intersection of politics, culture, and history in South Asia, and previously worked as a staff writer with The Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. For the Pulitzer Center, she will head back to India, this time to report on how climate change is affecting ecology and the economy.
Jia Jung will join the Honolulu Civil Beat newsroom to report on Philippine affairs. Her Pulitzer Center project will examine South Korean depopulation, as the aging country seeks to boost its numbers through “reverse immigration,” prompting critical questions for its national identity and cultural preservation.
Pesha Magid is a freelance journalist who has been covering the Middle East since 2012 when she started covering political transitions in Tunisia following the revolution. Since then, she has written for Egyptian news site Mada Masr, freelanced out of Istanbul, and covered mass protest, insurgency, and reconstruction in Iraq. For her Pulitzer-funded project, she will report on civilians killed in the fight against ISIS as a case study in Western responses to their role in international warfare.
Congratulations to all of the 2022 Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows!