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Announcing ProPublica’s 20 Diversity Scholarship Recipients

These 20 talented journalists will get $750 each to attend conferences including NABJ, ONA, EIJ and IRE.

We’re excited to announce the 20 recipients of the 2019 ProPublica Diversity Scholarship. Each of these talented journalists will receive a $750 scholarship to attend a conference in 2019. This year’s recipients were chosen from among more than 535 applicants.

We’ve written about what ProPublica is doing to increase the diversity of our newsroom and of the broader journalism community. This scholarship program is part of our ongoing efforts and will help make it easier for journalists from underrepresented communities to take advantage of everything these conferences offer.

Here are this year’s recipients:

Ariam Alula

Ariam Alula is a student at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, where she is using community-oriented journalism to tell stories about family caregivers of people with autism. Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2013, Alula has traveled to over 15 international and domestic cities as a tourist and English teacher. This summer, she’ll be producing online and video content for BronxNet, a local cable television station serving the borough’s 1.5 million residents. Ariam will be attending ONA.

Mohamed Al Elew

Mohamed Al Elew is a senior at UC San Diego studying computer science. Last fall, he interned at San Diego’s independent data-driven news nonprofit inewsource, contributing to the data cleaning and analysis. He served as the editor in chief and assistant news editor of UCSD’s independent student newspaper, The Triton. Recently, he was a research assistant for UCSD Political Science Chair Thad Kousser, utilizing machine learning to research Twitter and the 2016 presidential election. As he moves forward in his career, he plans to focus on data reporting and news app development. Mohamed will be attending NICAR.

Tatyana Bellamy-Walker

Tatyana Bellamy-Walker is a Knight and CNN Scholar at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism. Tatyana specializes in LGBT issues and environmental politics. His work has appeared in the Daily Beast, NBC Out and DNAInfo. Tatyana is an ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) LGBTQ grant awardee. He will be interning at CNN this summer. Tatyana will be attending NLGJA.

Isabel Carter

Isabel Carter is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at Emerson College. They began their journalism career in Chicago, working on Queer Cafeteria and interning for the Muslim American Journeys program, a collaboration between the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, StoryCorps and the National Library of Congress. More recently, Isabel produced an award-winning podcast covering the 2018 third ballot referendum in Massachusetts and its impact on the trans and gender nonconforming communities. They love to incorporate data visualizations and multimedia features into their work, and as they move forward with their career, they hope to continue to use their reporting and multimedia journalism skills to amplify stories of marginalized peoples and bring diverse voices into all sectors of the media. Isabel will be attending NLGJA.

Troy Closson

Troy Closson is a junior at Northwestern University majoring in journalism through the school’s Accelerated Master’s Program. This summer, he’ll be working as a reporting fellow at The Texas Tribune. Troy was previously a managing editor for The Daily Northwestern, his campus newspaper, and has interned at the Chicago Sun-Times and Block Club Chicago. His primary interests revolve around multimedia and investigative stories at the intersection of race and culture, as well as improving racial diversity in newsrooms. He hopes to work for an organization like NPR’s Code Switch or The Undefeated in the future. Troy will be attending NABJ.

Jackie Contreras

Jackie Contreras is a senior at Boston University majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. She is the producer of Inside Boston, a campus newsmagazine show that focuses on the issues that impact Boston. She is a Los Angeles native and hopes to head back to sunny California as an investigative journalist spotlighting social justice issues. Jackie will be attending NICAR.

Katherine Gilyard

Katherine Gilyard is a senior at Howard University pursuing her degree in journalism while preparing for her MPH and medical school. She has worked as the photo editor for 101 magazine, interned for the Directors of Health Promotion and Education, served on the National Press Photographers Association board for two years as the student chair and currently works as its intern. Her reporting interests include health, science and the environment. She intends to blend the practice of medicine and investigative photojournalism to help give communities truly equal access to information and care. Katherine will be attending AHCJ.

Luis Joel Méndez González

Luis Joel Méndez González grew up in Moca, Puerto Rico. He’s a sophomore at the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo (UPRA), where he is pursuing undergraduate studies in journalism. He has written for La Isla Oeste, QuEvento, Pulso Estudiantil, Dialogo UPR and El Nuevo Día; he also produces his own radio segment broadcasted through WISA 1390 AM. In 2018, he was one of the three winners of the First AccuWeather Environmental Journalism Competition. Last summer, he worked on an investigation about the evolution and status of the Hispanic media in Florida for the Association of Journalists of Puerto Rico (ASPPRO). Currently, he’s president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), UPRA Students Chapter. Luis will be attending EIJ.

Abby Ivory-Ganja

Abby Ivory-Ganja is a graduate student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Her research is inspired by the ProPublica Local Reporting Network and examines what best practices should be implemented when local and national newsrooms collaborate to create investigative journalism. She currently produces the IRE Radio Podcast from Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, NPR, the Columbia Missourian and NPR member stations KBIA, WLRN and Wisconsin Public Radio. Once she graduates in December, she hopes to work in audience engagement, understanding and improving the way audiences receive and interact with journalism. Abby will be attending SRRCON.

Gabrielle Larochelle

Gabrielle Larochelle is a rising senior at The New School-Eugene Lang studying Journalism + Design with a minor in global studies. She has studied abroad in Indonesia researching eco-tourism and biodiversity while interviewing people in Bahasa Indonesian. This summer, she will be studying abroad in Brazil, doing projects, researching and creating web docs with human rights organizations while interviewing in Portuguese. She has interned for and written over 50 articles for Galore magazine, was featured and interviewed by Melissa Harris Perry in Elle, and represented as a media ambassador for Young Women’s Advisory Council. Currently, she is a freelance writer for Culture Shift magazine, and she one day hopes to report on international news and stories from across the globe. Gabrielle will be attending NABJ.

Maya Lora

Maya Lora is a rising senior and double major in English and journalism at Washington and Lee University. She has broken stories for the independent school newspaper, the Ring-tum Phi, since her freshman year and now serves as editor in chief. She covered the election season for local, state and national races for the student newscast, the Rockbridge Report, following four months of congressional reporting with The Hill in Washington. She will intern in her hometown at the Miami Herald this summer. She hopes to cover politics in the future, especially in the policy realms of crime, war and terrorism. Maya will be attending EIJ.

Kiran Misra

Kiran Misra is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, currently working as a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Fellow researching the human cost of development in New Delhi and learning Hindi as a Boren Fellow in Jaipur. She has written about prison industrial complex abolition for South Side Weekly and served as the Viewpoints editor for the Chicago Maroon. Kiran will be attending AAJA.

Jocelyn Moran

Jocelyn Moran is a bilingual journalism and Spanish student at San Diego State University graduating in May 2019. She’s the managing editor at The Daily Aztec and the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists SDSU chapter. Her work includes coverage of events at the U.S.-Mexico border, and she has focused on representing the Latino community at SDSU through her stories. She interned with ABC 10 News in San Diego during the summer of 2018 and currently, she is interning at Telemundo 20. She will be attending EIJ.

Mallory Newman

Mallory Newman is a multimedia journalist in her second year at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism who holds a BA in international relations from San Francisco State University. She was an enlisted military police officer and civil affairs officer in the Marine Corps Reserve from 2007 to 2014 and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Musa Qalah, Afghanistan, in 2011. Her focus is on investigative reporting through multimedia, especially video, and her areas of interest include police, politics, human rights and equality. Mallory will be attending NICAR.

Kynala Phillips

Kynala Phillips is currently a senior and First Wave scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison double majoring in journalism and mass communication and Afro-American studies. She spends most of her time freelancing for, where she has served as an intern and editorial assistant. She is the co-president of the NABJ chapter at UW-Madison and former publicist for the Wisconsin Black Student Union. She will be starting an internship at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism this spring. Outside of class, she is enhancing her skills as the art director of Souvenirs magazine. Her dream is to enter the world of magazine journalism and become a culture editor in the field. Kynala will be attending NABJ.

Bryan Pietsch

Bryan Pietsch is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, where he is pursuing degrees in journalism and business. This past year, Bryan has been conducting research for his honors thesis on press credibility in the U.S. and Mexico. He also worked in the Washington bureau of Cronkite News/Arizona PBS and was awarded a 2018/2019 scholarship from the White House Correspondents’ Association. This summer, he will be reporting on policy and enforcement in Reuters’ Washington bureau. In his career, Bryan hopes to cover business or Congress. Bryan will be attending NLGJA.

Irene Franco Rubio

Irene Franco Rubio is a media professional at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication / Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. Growing up in the West Phoenix Valley in Arizona and recognizing the social and racial injustices present within economically distressed communities, Irene made it her mission to advocate for not only her Latinx community but for systematically oppressed populations on an all-encompassing standard. Irene hopes to shift today’s media landscape toward becoming more diverse and all-inclusive by accurately representing the beliefs, issues and perspectives of disenfranchised communities as a content creator, change-maker, intersectional thinker, advocate and media professional. Irene will be attending EIJ.

Elizabeth Ucles

Elizabeth Ucles is a senior at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, majoring in writing and rhetoric with a journalism concentration and minoring in Spanish. She spent the summer in New York City through a fellowship with the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY while also serving as a politics intern at WNYC radio. In her senior year, Elizabeth interned at Austin’s NPR station, KUT 90.5, in the newsroom. This semester, she is focused on hyperlocal journalism as an editorial intern at Community Impact Newspaper. After graduation, Elizabeth hopes to jump into the world of reporting whether it be in print, web or public radio. Elizabeth will be attending SND.

RaShunda Veals

RaShunda Veals is a junior mass communications major attending Alcorn State University. She is part of various clubs and organizations including the National Association of Black Journalists and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She serves as the editor in chief of the Alcorn State University Campus Chronicle, where she assigns and edits news stories, and has worked as a news reporter for ASU TV-13 and interned at WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi. RaShunda currently works for Grand Gulf Nuclear Station (Entergy), where she serves as a contractor communications specialist. Her goal is to further her education in the news industry. Rashunda will attend NABJ.

Aaricka Washington

Aaricka Washington is an M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School. Because of her experience as a Teach for America 2014 corps member in Houston, she has developed a deep passion for pursuing stories that involve education, race and business. Before attending Columbia, she was an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Indianapolis, supporting more than a thousand low-income students in obtaining a full-tuition scholarship for college. Aaricka is a 2014 graduate of Indiana University, where she wrote weekly articles about education and diversity for the Indiana Daily Student and interned at WXIN Fox 59 in Indianapolis. She sees a need for more in-depth, visually appealing stories that illustrate the complexities that impact the educational landscape. She hopes to fill part of that gap by acquiring the skills needed to become an investigative, multimedia reporter. Aaricka will be attending IRE.

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