The 2011 OPC Foundation Scholars
ALEXANDER KENDRICK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Alexander Besant, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Raised in Canada and bilingual in French and English, Alexander won for his essay on the struggles of women in Lebanon, an issue he covered as a reporter for the Lebanon Daily Star. Despite Lebanon’s claims to freedom and openness, women continue to suffer domestic abuse and economic inequity. An inveterate traveler, he has backpacked solo through five continents. Next up: Africa. Alexander won an OPC Foundation internship in AP’s Cairo bureau.
DAVID R. SCHWEISBERG MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Sisi Tang, Northwestern University
A college senior, Sisi intends to return to Asia to cover economic, environmental and ethnic topics. In her essay, she drew on her experience as a reporter in Johannesburg and wrote about the environmental consequences of more than a century of mining in South Africa’s West Rand. A native of China, she is fluent in Mandarin and southern Chinese dialects and conversant in French and Turkish. She has an OPC Foundation internship in a Reuters bureau in China.
Jialu Chen, Yale University
The Yale senior, who has a double major in economics and East Asian languages and literature, wrote about a recent trip to China where she saw the growing impact of Han migration on the Uyghur population in the city of Kashgar, an oasis-city near the China-Afghanistan border. A native of Shanghai and an ethnic Han, she speaks Mandarin, Shanghainese and some French. An OPC Foundation intern, she is headed to a Reuters bureau in China.
HARPER’S MAGAZINE SCHOLARSHIP in memory of I.F.STONE
Hannah Rappleye, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Since her first trip to Uganda when she was 20, Hannah has been fascinated with Africa. Later, as a multi-media intern for The Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, she covered politics and the World Cup. A graduate of The New School, she wrote about the economic disparities in that country, exemplified by slum-dwellers in Protea South who steal electricity from local homeowners.
IRENE CORBALLY KUHN SCHOLARSHIP
Laura Rena Murray, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Laura wants to track what happens to displaced Somali women and girls who are particularly vulnerable to sex and drug trafficking. In her essay, she wrote about the economic implications of such trafficking where profits are spread around several countries, militant religious groups and local gangs. A founder of a non-profit for street women, she is proficient in French.
H.L. STEVENSON SCHOLARSHIP
Colleen Stewart , Western Kentucky University
A college senior, Colleen wrote about newly widowed and financially destitute Rajamma, whom she met while interning in India. Rajamma’s husband had only recently swallowed a bottle of pesticide after his cotton crop had failed. In the last decade, 180,000 Indians, many in the cotton industry, have committed suicide. The college senior hopes to cover international stories and “make the world seem like a smaller place.”
STAN SWINTON SCHOLARSHIP
Kim Chakanetsa, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
A native Zimbabwean, Kim graduated from the American University of Paris and received a master’s degree from Oxford University. Her winning essay described the refugee camp Mwanza on the shoreline of Lake Tanzania where households are often headed by children and the misery from where the residents fled still hangs in the air. Besides English, she speaks Shona and French. She has an OPC Foundation internship in the AP bureau in Johannesburg.
EMANUEL R. FREEDMAN SCHOLARSHIP
Megan Camm, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Megan wrote about the enduring ethnic conflict between the Hema and Lendu tribes of the northern Congo, seen through the eyes of feuding tribesmen trying to aid a sick child. The Harvard graduate is fluent in French and has won prizes for her photography. She has traveled to 34 countries and territories and intends to return to Cape Town to launch her career in journalism.
THEO WILSON SCHOLARSHIP
Diksha Madhok, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
A graduate of Delhi University, Diksha wrote about the way women of Southeast Asia remain the victims of rigid patriarchal codes and how female feticide is still prevalent even in India’s most prosperous regions. Her essay described the chilling practice of selling brides and bride-sharing in Punjab, a story she would like to use her multi-media skills to explore. She is fluent in Hindi.
ROY ROWAN SCHOLARSHIP
Carol Kuruvilla, New York University
Carol’s winning essay described the life of Yean Heng Yan, who runs a bicycle repair shop near East China Normal University and is one of Shanghai’s four million migrant workers. Denied access to basic services because of her migrant status, she struggles to pay tuition for her children to ensure them a better life. A former English tutor in China, Carol speaks Malayalam and conversational Spanish.
FLORA LEWIS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Mark Oltmanns, University of California/Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
Mark wrote about the Iron Ladies, a group of local housewives in southern Thailand, who have armed themselves with rifles and handguns to protect their village from the violence unleashed by a Muslim separatist movement that has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 people. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mark – who is fluent in Thai - has an OPC Foundation internship in the AP bureau in Bangkok.
S&P AWARD FOR ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS REPORTING
Ajay Makan, University of Chicago
Ajay took a leave from his job as economics producer at the BBC to use his British Fulbright scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in international relations with an emphasis on macroeconomics at the University of Chicago. A graduate of Cambridge University and an advanced French speaker, he wrote about the key role the IMF feels it must play in addressing the Irish economic crisis. Ajay has an OPC Foundation internship in the Reuters bureau in Singapore.
JERRY FLINT SCHOLARSHIP FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS REPORTING
Natalie Bailey, Northwestern’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism
Natalie is currently interning in the Bangkok bureau of IRIN News, the United Nation’s humanitarian news service. Her winning essay was about the dangers posed to Americans dining on shrimp grown in under regulated and overstocked Thai shrimp ponds pumped full with chemicals and unsafe levels of antibiotics. A graduate of St. Mary’s College, she intends to report stories from the developing world.
THE WALTER & BETSY CRONKITE SCHOLARSHIP
Alex Pena, Florida Gulf Coast University
A college senior, Alex has already covered stories in Mexico and Haiti for CNN, ABC News, and NBC. In his essay, he wrote about traveling in the back of a Mexican Drug Task Force pickup on a typically murderous night in Ciudad Juarez. With video camera in hand, he captured some of the violence that makes this border city one of the deadliest places in the world.