SHAJIA AHMAD is a reporter for The Garden City Telegram, a southwest Kansas daily spanning several rural counties deep in the heartland. She specializes in local government, agricultural and diversity-related stories, including a focus on Hispanic, Latino and other immigrant and refugee communities. Ahmad plans on focusing on the resettlement resources available to Somalian, Burmese and other refugee communities for her fellowship.
ELIZABETH BAIER is a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio, where she covers southeastern Minnesota and parts of Iowa and Wisconsin. She reports on a wide-range of topics, from rural and agricultural issues to education and immigration. Baier joined MPR in June 2008 after six years of writing for newspapers, including the South Florida Sun Sentinel and The Miami Herald. She received a B.S. in journalism and international relations from the University of Miami and a certificate in contemporary Latin American studies from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago. In 2004, she was awarded a yearlong Inter-American Press Association fellowship. Baier plans on exploring how a rural American community is transformed by a large community of Mexican immigrants for her fellowship.
VALLERY BROWN is a reporter on the watchdog investigative team at The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City. She has worked for about two years covering a variety of topics ranging from health to immigration to landlord-tenant issues. Brown graduated with a degree in journalism and a minor in Spanish from the University of Central Oklahoma and is completing a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Oklahoma. Brown plans on examining the people and faces behind the immigration debate for her fellowship.
THOMAS BURR is the senior Washington correspondent for The Salt LakeTribune. He covers Congress, the White House and federal agencies with an eye toward issues affecting Utah and the West. He is president of the Washington-based Regional Reporters Association and a member of the Congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents. Burr is a graduate of Southern Utah University. Burr plans to examine the E-Verify system that has been adopted in the heartland states for his fellowship.
CHRIS CASEY has worked at daily newspapers in Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon. He has covered a variety of beats in his 20-year career, including government, business and education. He currently covers city hall and immigration and writes a column for The Tribune in Greeley, a fast-growing city on Colorado’s Front Range. Casey plans on investigating why the Weld County District Attorney’s Office has repeatedly denied applications for U Visas to provide information that could be helpful to law enforcement for his fellowship.
STEPHANIE CZEKALINSKI is a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch and the Dispatch’s Spanish-language weekly, Fronteras. At the Dispatch and Fronteras, she has written on topics that affect Latinos living in central Ohio, including immigration, crime, education and politics. In 2008, Czekalinski partnered with the Dispatch’s investigative projects team to explore the impact of illegal immigration on the lives of central Ohioans. The resulting series, American Divide: The Immigration Crackdown, was a 2008 finalist for the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers administered by the Neiman Foundation for Journalism. Czekalinski holds a master’s degree in English literature from The Citadel. Czekalinski plans on examining who is being deported from central Ohio and how that compared to other Midwestern cities for her fellowship.
GINNIE GRAHAM has been a Tulsa World reporter for 16 years. She currently works as a projects writer. She has written stories about abuses in child-care centers and group homes for mentally disabled people, foreclosure and bankruptcy trends, early childhood education issues, substandard housing and sealed court records. She has covered social services, education, nonprofits and courts. Graham plans on studying migrant farmers, pregnant immigrants and detention/deportation for her fellowship.
RON JACKSON is an author and award-winning journalist with 25 years of writing experience. He is presently a staff writer with The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, where he covers a wide range of stories, including topics dealing with illegal immigration. He recently received a first-place award for his investigative coverage of the Mexican drug cartels in Oklahoma from the Society of Professional Journalists. Jackson is also the author of Alamo Survivors (Waco: Sunbelt Media, Inc., 2010), Blood Prairie: Perilous Adventures on the Oklahoma Frontier (Waco: Eakin Press, 2007) and Alamo Legacy: Alamo Descendants Remember The Alamo. He lives on Oklahoma’s western prairie with his wife, Jeannia, and their four children. Jackson plans on studying two people who have journeyed to Oklahoma, one legally and one illegally, for his fellowship.
MIRIAM JORDAN is a senior special writer in the Los Angeles bureau of The Wall Street Journal. She writes about immigrants nationally from a grass-roots perspective. She arrived in Los Angeles six years ago, after spending most of her career in the developing world. She was a correspondent for Reuters News Agency in Mexico, Brazil and Israel, and for The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, New Delhi and Brazil. Jordan was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and 2009. She has received several awards for her coverage of undocumented immigrants. She grew up in the United States and Brazil and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French and Hebrew. Jordan plans on examining the impact of anti-illegal immigrant legislation in Oklahoma on the life of legal Hispanics for her fellowship.
PILAR MARRERO is senior political reporter and blogger at La Opinión and other ImpreMedia Newspapers. She is a professor of journalism at UCLA Extension and has written and collaborated with BBC Mundo, Feet in 2 worlds, Nieman Reports, New America Media and other publications and blogs. She is a regular news analyst for NPR’s Latino USA, CNN en español, Maria Elvira Live on Mega TV and KMEX Channel 34 of Univisión and Al Punto with Jorge Ramos. Marrero plans to examine immigration law and policy and the devolution of due process for her fellowship.
LEE ROOD is projects and investigations editor at The Des Moines Register. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Rood has spearheaded numerous reporting projects and investigations by the Register staff, including nationally award-winning pieces on biofuels, climate change,and abuse of power within a public job-training agency. Her own reporting over her 13 years with the newspaper has led to several changes in state and federal law, criminal charges against some of the targets of her investigations, and earned more than three dozen state and national awards. Rood plans to examine where people in the Midwest are being arrested for immigration violations for her fellowship.
MARY SANCHEZ is a weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media Services, specializing in immigration, race, politics and culture. She also is a metropolitan columnist with The Kansas City Star. Sanchez has also written a column for the Poynter Institute focusing on how journalists can cover racial issues with more depth. She has been a correspondent for EFE, a wire service based in Madrid, Spain. Sanchez plans to study the slow process of justice for immigrants for her fellowship.
PATRICIA SCHNEIDER is a reporter at The Capital Times in Madison, Wis. Schneider covers race and ethnic communities, neighborhoods, social services, non-profit organizations, immigration and social justice services. She has established, strengthened and broadened ties to minority communities. Schneider plans on examining the impact of undocumented inmates on local public policy, community relations and family experiences for her fellowship.
DAVID STOUT produces and reports for T30 Noticias, the Telemundo affiliate in Oklahoma. He is based in Oklahoma City. Although he reports on a broad range of issues, he specializes in political reporting and issues that have to do with immigration. He has also worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as the Public Education/Outreach Coordinator for its campaign for immigration reform, Justice for Immigrants. Stout plans to look at the immigration and Christianity in the nation’s heartland for his fellowship.
SARAH TERRY-COBO is a freelance reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently is working with the Center for Investigative Reporting on a number of projects. Her reporting specialties are environmental policy and Latin American issues. Her work has been published in The Oakland Tribune, Forbes.com, GreenBiz.com, CIR’s Muckraker blog and Tulsa’s weekly bi-lingual newspaper, La Semana del Sur. Terry-Cobo plans to investigate interstate drug trafficking for her fellowship.