The 2009 OPC Foundation Scholars
ALEXANDER KENDRICK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Maria Repnikova, Oxford University
An admitted global migrant since childhood, the Latvian native wants to return to China where she once studied the language as a Fulbright Scholar. Now a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, the Georgetown graduate wrote about the plight of young Russian women who dance in Chinese disco clubs and hope for a better life. Fluent in Russian and Mandarin, Maria will spend the summer as an OPC Foundation intern in the Reuters bureau in Beijing.
DAVID R. SCHWEISBERG MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Teressa Rerras, Western Kentucky University
As a former airline employee, Teressa traveled the globe and discovered - with camera in hand – “the alley ways, back roads, and rural areas” of the world’s capital cities. Now a journalism student, she is honing her skills as a photojournalist and intends to return to record such stories, as she did in her essay, of the desperate lives of Afghan women who resort to self-immolation as their only recourse against domestic violence and oppression.
Shipeng Guo, University of California/Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
By telling stories from “each side to the other with accuracy, insight and compassion,” Shipeng’s goal is to narrow the cultural divide that separates China and the West. Having worked for the Christian Science Monitor and Reuters in his native China, Shipeng intends to cover China’s economic and political modernization as a bilingual and bicultural reporter. He wrote about the major anniversaries that China will observe in 2009 and its impact on Chinese participants now living in the San Francisco Bay area.
HARPER’S MAGAZINE SCHOLARSHIP in memory of I.F.STONE
Jonathan Jones, University of California/Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
A graduate of West Chester University (PA) with a master’s in journalism from Berkeley, Jonathan is now a post-graduate fellow in its investigative reporting program. He intends to continue his research on the role that Firestone plays in Liberia, a country still recovering from a devastating war. As Firestone seeks to resurrect its rubber plantation to fill the world’s need for latex medical supplies, Jonathan views its impact as a “cautionary tale about the successes and shortcomings of global capitalism.”
IRENE CORBALLY KUHN SCHOLARSHIP
Haley Sweetland Edwards, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
In her essay, Haley asked the disquieting question of how to control new media technologies to “provide the world’s people with more voice, not more violence,” especially in unstable regions already torn apart along ethnic, racial, or religious lines. A Yale graduate who was raised on a sailboat off the coast of Latin America, Haley intends to return to the region to cover the impact of new media – “the common language of the future.”
H.L. STEVENSON SCHOLARSHIP
Jessica Wanke, Columbia University School of International Public Affairs
Jessica wrote about the disenchantment of Mazar-i-Sharif farmers and politicians, once among the most ardent U.S. supporters, who were left penniless when the West failed to follow-up its promises after the Afghans destroyed the poppy fields, their major cash crop. With a BA from Arizona State and a graduate certificate from Hebrew University (Jerusalem), Jessica hopes to pursue her career as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Central Asia.
STAN SWINTON SCHOLARSHIP
Michael Miller, New York University School of Journalism and Latin American Studies
A graduate of the University of Chicago, Michael describes a public housing crisis in Caracas made worse by policy paralysis. As developing countries everywhere struggle with rural-to-urban migration, President Hugo Chavez is unable to solve the issue of urban squatters on vacant public lands. A former resident of Northern Ireland and a fluent Spanish speaker, Michael will spend the summer as an OPC Foundation intern at the AP bureau in Mexico City.
EMANUEL R. FREEDMAN SCHOLARSHIP
Simon Akam, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
A British Fulbright Scholar, Simon wrote about the human toll of land mines and other incendiary devices that still remain in vast areas of Egypt 65 years after the North African campaigns of World War II. An Oxford University graduate and former second lieutenant in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Simon speaks German and Arabic and will spend his OPC Foundation internship in the Reuters bureau in Jerusalem.
THEO WILSON SCHOLARSHIP
Michelle Theriault, University of Oregon
Michelle tells the story of Adamu, queen of tuo-zafe, a spicy soup, in the festering slum of Sodam and Gomorrah in Accra, Ghana. A graduate of the Willamette University, Michelle intends to explore the lives of people hustling to survive amid the poverty and urbanization that is reshaping the cities of the developing world. She will travel to South Africa this summer as an OPC Foundation intern in the AP Johannesburg bureau.
ROY ROWAN SCHOLARSHIP
Stephen Nessen, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Steve believes that China’s changing rural communities provide a better window for understanding the impact of China’s powerful economy. In his essay, the Mandarin speaker describes his visit with nomadic Ewenki who earn their living selling antler products from their reindeer herd. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Steve will be the first OPC Foundation winner to intern with the South China Morning Post.
FLORA LEWIS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Emily Witt, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Emily wrote about Beira, Mozambique, still recovering from war and harmed by the economic collapse of neighboring Zimbabwe, and “how two governments’ longstanding alliance can ultimately make both countries’ people suffer.” A Brown graduate, Emily first traveled to Mozambique on a Fulbright fellowship. Fluent in Portuguese, she intends to return to Africa to investigate its problems through the eyes of individual citizens.
S&P AWARD FOR ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS REPORTING
Priti Patnaik, New York University
A five-year veteran correspondent for Indian business publications, Priti is enrolled in NYU’s certificate program in business and economic reporting. In her essay, Priti discussed the often complex relationship between regulators and the regulated and the need for “greater coordination among regulators across geographies.” She has undergraduate degrees from Osmania University and B R Ambedkar Open University and a diploma from the Asian College of Journalism.
OPC FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP in memory of FRED WIEGOLD
Jeff Horwitz, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
In Eastern Congo’s North Kivu province, a region devoid of passable roads and government infrastructure, somehow – Jeff writes – the beer delivery men have no problem. While well-meaning development projects collapse, the makers of Turbo King developed an “organic network capable of adapting to the population they serve.” After completing a one-year business reporting fellowship, Jeff - a graduate of Pomona College - intends to return to East Africa to cover emerging markets.