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Pulitzer Center Update June 5, 2024

Announcing the 2024 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellows

Congratulations to the 2024 cohort of Reporting Fellows. Graphic by Lucy Crelli. United States, 2024.
Congratulations to the 2024 cohort of Reporting Fellows. Graphic by Lucy Crelli. United States, 2024.

The Pulitzer Center is excited to announce its 2024 cohort of 46 Reporting Fellows. Their projects address some of the most critical and underreported stories in our world, including migration, global health, and climate solutions.

“This year’s Fellows are covering such a wide range of subjects, from campus protests in the U.S. to the impact of flooding in India, desertification in Mongolia, and oil disputes in Guyana. The passion they share for their reporting projects is contagious,” says Kem Sawyer, outgoing Reporting Fellows Program director.

Karima Haynes will now lead the Campus Consortium Reporting Fellowship program. “I am thrilled to be working with the Reporting Fellows this year,” Haynes says. “Their passion and commitment to storytelling is exceptional.”

Each year, the Pulitzer Center has awarded Fellowships to students attending our Campus Consortium partner schools. These include liberal arts colleges, community colleges, state universities, historically Black colleges and universities, and graduate schools of journalism and public health in the U.S., Canada, and Qatar.

Each Fellow is paired with an adviser—a Pulitzer Center grantee with expertise in the Fellow's topic or reporting destination. Pulitzer Center editors also provide mentoring in reporting, writing, and multimedia.

Explore the projects of our 2024 Reporting Fellows below:

Human Rights

Our American University Fellow, Audrey Hill, will report on femicide and gender equity issues in Italy. Hill is currently a journalist and data intern at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, where she contributes to The Washington Post.

Celeste Hamilton Dennis is this year’s University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Fellow. She will give an intimate look at what it means to be LGBTQ in Guyana, one of nine Caribbean countries that still criminalizes same-sex intimacy. Hamilton recently received the Association of Healthcare Journalists’ Beat Reporting Award for a series about solutions to the mental health crisis.

Glendale Community College Fellow Sami Smith will attend the Silverstone Grand Prix to report on the future of women in Formula One racing. In 2022, Smith worked as a media intern for the National Football League.

From Texas Christian University, Lys Marquez will report on the NBA Academy in Mexico. The academy’s coaching staff recruits young basketball players—many from different countries—who aspire to play in the NBA. Marquez, a sports reporter with experience covering local and national teams, will investigate the recruitment process.

Our Huston-Tillotson University Fellow, Jacquel Spearman, will travel to Germany for his Pulitzer Center project. There, he will cover global discrimination against Black hair. Spearman is a freelance journalist for the Austin Free Press.

This year's LaGuardia Community College Reporting Fellow, Ayumi Sugiura, will investigate strict rules in Japanese school systems and the resulting tensions between those systems and the youth. Sugiura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Studies from Nanzan University in Aichi, Japan, and has freelanced for HEAPS Magazine.

Jordan Barrant is our 2024 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fellow. For their project, Barrant will explore the intricate connections between Jamaican and Southern self-taught artists. Barrant is a communications fellow at the Jamaica Art Society, where she manages the organization’s Instagram account.

Norah Rami, our University of Pennsylvania South Asia Center Fellow, will report on College Street in Kolkata, India, as a marketplace of ideas. Rami is a writer and editor at 34th Street magazine at Penn.

Our Fellow from Northwestern University in Qatar, Shrijan Raj Pandey, will look at how low-earning Nepali women have been empowered and exploited for years under the fair-trade relationship for handicraft items. Pandey has reported for the Al Jazeera Media Network, Nepali Times, and Nepal Health Abhiyan UNESCO Society.

Elon University’s Avery Sloan will cover debt collection for formerly incarcerated people in Denmark. Known as the “welfare state,” Denmark provides legal representation when a person is accused of a crime. If convicted, that person has to pay the government for representation upon reassimilation. Sloan is the managing editor of the student-run newspaper The Pendulum.

Flagler College's Fellow, Lilly Dietz, will report on housing initiatives in Finland. Since 2008, the country has seen a 30% decrease in homelessness. However, progress has seemingly stalled. Dietz is an on-air personality and host for WFCF-88.5 FM, Flagler College’s radio station.

Spelman College Fellow Montsho Canton completed a semester abroad in Valparaiso, Chile, last year and will return for her Pulitzer Center project about the country’s plan to reduce recidivism after incarceration. Canton is a former fellow and Unlocked Minds Presidential Intern for the Spelman College Social Justice Program.

Peace and Conflict

Texas Christian University’s Ella Gonzales will report on Ukrainian refugee families in Poland. In just two years, the Russian-Ukraine war has created the second-largest refugee crisis in the world. A service journalist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Gonzales will use her Pulitzer Center Fellowship to expand on a semester-long research project she produced for a long-form journalism class.

Westchester Community College Fellow Josiah Farrell will cover the centuries-old border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela, and its impact on Venezuelan migrants living in Guyanese territory. Farrell has previously taken courses at Trinity College Moka and Cambridge University.

Julianna Deutscher, a master’s of public health candidate at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, will cover human rights violations of Venezuelan migrants in Brazil. More than 7 million Venezuelans have fled their homes due to the country’s complex humanitarian emergency. Deutscher will raise awareness on the challenges these migrants face, with a focus on those combating human trafficking.

Luis Fuentes, from Forsyth Technical Community College, will document Venezuelan migration to Peru. More than 7.6 million migrants and asylum seekers have traveled more than 2,000 kilometers across Colombia and Ecuador to Lima, a city in Peru that now holds the largest Venezuelan population outside of Venezuela. Fuentes, editor-in-chief of Forsyth’s Technically Speaking outlet, will focus on the informal economy.

Samiha Syed recently graduated from Benedictine University with degrees in sociology and criminology. Her Pulitzer Center project will examine Illinois as a sanctuary state for immigrant women and refugees. In 2020, Syed was elected to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Zoya Ahmer, our Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean Fellow, will report on discrimination against Peruvian migrants in Argentina. At Penn, Ahmer is a philosophy, politics, and economics student, with a concentration in globalization.

Our Fellow from Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs is Claudia Amendoeira. She will use her reporting to answer the question: What explains the connection between religion and violence in Brazil? She is also covering efforts to preserve Afro-Brazilian faiths. For CNN Portugal, she wrote about her experience fleeing Tel Aviv, Israel, in October 2023.

From the University of Chicago, Emma Janssen will travel to the Netherlands. There, she will investigate the social and political status of Kurdish immigrants who fled Turkey. Janssen, a Dutch citizen with experience living in Turkey, has bylines in the Miami Herald, Hyde Park Herald, and Chicago Maroon.

Our University of Wisconsin-Madison Fellow, Rachel Hale, will report on Sephardic Jews in Spain. Her project will highlight those who were granted citizenship after proving their ancestry and those who stayed and reconnected with their heritage in Spain. Hale has received multiple student journalism awards, including the Milwaukee Press Club Gold Award for Best Soft Feature Story in 2023.

This year's Fellow from Washington University in St. Louis, Randi Hendricks, will report on Palestinian refugees in Jordan. According to the United Nations, the Palestinian refugee crisis is the longest unresolved refugee crisis in the world. With her project, Hendricks will highlight the effect the 1993 Oslo Accords had on the assimilation of Palestinian refugees into Jordanian society. Hendricks is proficient in Arabic and recently received an Undergraduate Research Award at WashU for summer 2024.

Reporting Fellow team Gaia Caramazza and Kira Boden-Gologorsky from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism have followed Columbia student encampments since April 2024. Their film and Pulitzer Center project will expand on the national student movement. Caramazza works for the BBC World Service and has produced a documentary covering the 2011 Arab Spring. Boden-Gologorksy is a journalist and producer who started her career on the CNN Original Series team and now freelances for clients including PBS and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Guttman Community College Fellow Marcos Quinones will document pro-Palestinian student protests on New York City campuses. Quinones is an experienced photojournalist, and his work has appeared in He is a James Baldwin Fellow at Guttman Community College. 

Climate and Environment

From the University of Richmond, Ananya Chetia will cover how floods impact primary and secondary education in India’s river island Majuli, Assam. Last summer, Chetia worked as a Reporting Fellow at Inside Climate News.

Andrew Balaban is a first-year student at Hunter College in New York. His Pulitzer Center project on Oregon’s flooding management system builds on his passion for sustainability and public policy issues.

Our Davidson College Fellow, Brigid McCarthy, will report on the hunger strikers of Tenerife. Activists in the drought-stricken Canary Islands are protesting overtourism and overconsumption by refusing to eat. McCarthy has won many awards for her writing, including Davidson’s prestigious Gail Gibson Prize for Scholarly Writing last year.

Damilola Oduolowu is our 2024 Missouri School of Journalism Fellow. Currently pursuing a doctorate in journalism, Oduolowu has vast experience working as a senior journalist reporter for the BBC World Service. His reporting will focus on the destruction of mangroves in Lagos, Nigeria.

Eder Ruiz Sánchez, our Swarthmore College Fellow, will report on the project Campesinos Cultivating Resilience. By centering small-scale farmers in San Felipe del Progreso, Mexico, this investigation will dive into how they’re combating climate change. Ruiz Sánchez was a Central America intern at the Washington Office on Latin America.

Jess Savage, our Fellow from Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, will continue the work they started in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, as part of Medill’s Health and Science embedded journalism program. Their project will examine how local sheep farmers are directly impacted by rewilding and land restoration processes.

The Boston University College of Communication Fellow, Lauren Fox, will cover the effects of climate change on Nepal’s Sherpa community. Fox grew up in the heart of Colorado's mountaineering industry and has experience producing multiple nonfiction short films.

This year's Fellow from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Zaya Delgerjargal, will travel to Bayankhongor, Mongolia, where the temperature rise is twice the global average and icy cold snaps have dramatically increased, to report on changing nomadic life. Delgerjargal was also named a 2023 Diversity Fellow by the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Katerina Portela, our Reporting Fellow from San Diego State University, will examine the community impact of pollution at San Diego’s Imperial Beach. She works as an investigative student assistant at California-based outlet KPBS.

Natalia Castillo, from the University of Pennsylvania, will document the climate crisis in Puerto Rico. Earlier this year, Castillo was elected to the 140th board of The Daily Pennsylvanian as editor-in-chief of 34th Street magazine.

Jennifer Wybieracki joins this year’s cohort from Syracuse University, where she is studying for her master’s in magazine, news, and digital journalism. Previously, she studied conservation biology at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her Pulitzer Center project will cover the impact of industrialization on Alaskan Indigenous communities.

Maddy Keyes, our University of Oklahoma Fellow, will cover ecological grief among Inuit tribes in Greenland. Keyes previously covered Capitol Hill and the White House as a correspondent for the Gaylord News in D.C.

Global Health

Boston University School of Public Health Fellow Caroline Dignard will report on the Inuit in Nunavut and their search for food sovereignty in the Arctic tundra. Dignard was a writing fellow for the Public Health Post, where she reached 20,000 weekly readers.

Maya Reid, from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, is reporting on the unseen diabetes crisis lurking beneath the dire humanitarian and security needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Her project will highlight the challenges refugees with diabetes face as they navigate accessing care and storing medications with limited resources. Reid is a Clinical and Operational Research intern for Doctors Without Borders.

Hampton University’s Nia White will report on infant dental enucleation (IDE). Sweden has received an influx of migrants from East African countries, where IDE is practiced, in the last 10 years. White, a journalism student and former NBC Fellows Scholarship recipient, will explore what their medical community is learning about the cultural practice.

Melina Traiforos, from Wake Forest University, will cover New York City's efforts to combat high Black maternal mortality rates. Her project will highlight the city’s one-year-old initiative to provide free, non-medical doula support to under-resourced pregnant people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Traiforos has bylines in Cincinnati magazine, 3-4 Ounces Student Literary Magazine, and the Old Gold & Black student newspaper.

Riya Sawhney is a master's student in experimental surgery at McGill University, where she was awarded the Jean-Martin Laberge Fellowship in Global Pediatric Surgery. Her Pulitzer Center project will take her to Turkana County, Kenya, where blood availability is limited to one transfusion center for a population of over 1 million people. Sawhney will cover emerging solutions to this blood desert crisis.

Reporting Fellow team Ania Gruszczyńska and Nathan Siegelaub from Columbia University spent the last year following Pierce “Sparni” Sparnroft, a gifted 21-year-old jazz vibraphonist studying at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Their film, SPARNI, illuminates the struggles of mental illness as Sparnroft prepares for a major student-driven recital in May 2023. Gruszczyńska holds a bachelor's in politics from King's College, London, and has reported for the Columbia News Service. Siegelaub previously attended Harvard College, and hopes to edit films.

Special Initiatives

Fellows Shi En Kim and Aryana Noroozi also join this cohort. They were previously selected in early 2024 to report on stories related to global health.

We look forward to working with the Fellows on these exciting projects and to seeing them discuss their reporting projects this fall at Washington Weekend. Congratulations to the 2024 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellows!