Ida B. Wells Fellows

2020–2021 Fellows

Tina Vasquez, our Southern Fellow, is a North Carolina-based movement journalist with more than 10 years of experience reporting on immigration, reproductive injustice, LGBTQ+ issues, and gender-based violence. She is currently a staff reporter leading Prism's coverage of gender justice. Previously, she was a senior reporter covering immigration at Rewire.News, the leading online publication devoted to evidence-based reporting on reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice. Her work has appeared in the New York Review of Books, NPR, The Nation, Playboy, and a variety of other publications. Recently, she was a mentor in the Freedomways Fellowship Program as part of Press On, a Southern journalism collective that strengthens and expands the practice of journalism in service of liberation. She will be reporting on immigrant workers and COVID-19.

Akintunde Ahmad is a Bay Area-based multimedia journalist focusing on the intersection of education, economic inequality, and the justice system. Ahmad, an Oakland native, was most recently a Delacorte Fellow with the Columbia Journalism Review, where he wrote about news media and its influence on public perceptions. He holds a BA in sociology from Yale University and an MS in journalism and documentary film from Columbia University. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Appeal, Huffington Post, and MTV. He will be reporting on the Oakland police.

Eileen Guo is an independent journalist who focuses on inequality and the unintended consequences of globalization. Based in Los Angeles, she has reported from across the United States, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Mexico, and China for outlets including The New York Times, National Geographic, Wired, Mother Jones, and NPR. She will be investigating novel uses of surveillance devices.

Jack Herrera is an independent reporter based out of San Francisco. He covers immigration, refugees, and Latino issues. His work has appeared in Politico Magazine, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, Popular Science, and elsewhere. In 2018, he covered the arrival of the two most prominent Central American “caravans” on-the-ground in Tijuana as a reporter for Pacific Standard. In spring of 2020, he began covering the coronavirus pandemic’s effects inside immigrant detention centers. He will be reporting on ICE and COVID-19.

Irene Romulo is a journalist based in Cicero, Illinois, where she helps run Cicero Independiente, a bilingual news organization she co-founded. Her work centers on immigrants, Spanish-speakers, and organizing efforts. She is a proud City Bureau Reporting Fellowship alum and was a 2020 Voqal Fellow. She will be reporting on school discipline.

2019–2020 Fellows

Aaron Ross Coleman is a New York City-based journalist. He writes at the intersection of race, business, and economics. His previous work has covered retail redlining and predatory finance. He has written for The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Nation, Vox, CNBC, HuffPost, The Marshall Project and elsewhere. He will be reporting on discrimination and lending.

Andrea González-Ramírez is a New York-based journalist from Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. She is currently a Senior News & Politics writer at Refinery29, where she reports on a wide array of topics including women in politics, reproductive rights, immigration, gender-based violence, and LGBTQ+ issues. She’s been featured as an expert commentator on MSNBC Live, The Mother Jones Podcast, BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM, and other outlets. Her work has also appeared in NPR’s Latino USA, El Diario Nueva York, Centro Voices, Diálogo, among others. She will be reporting on women’s rights in Puerto Rico.

Mary Annette Pember is an independent journalist focusing on Native American issues. She has reported on the high rates of sexual assault among Native women, sex trafficking, health, impact of historical trauma on Native communities and environmental challenges on Native lands, federal policy issues as well as cultural topics. Her work has appeared in Indian Country Today, ReWire News, Truthout, Yes! Magazine, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Colorlines, The Atlantic and others. She is past president of the Native American Journalists’ Association and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pember will be reporting on the legacy of Native American boarding schools.

Katrease Stafford covers city government and how it intersects with the community at the Detroit Free Press. Stafford, a Detroit native, has received several awards for her work including the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2017 Young Journalist of the Year Award. She was also named a 2018 Rising Star by the News Media Alliance. She will be reporting on housing issues in Detroit.

Gilda Di Carli is a Miami-based investigative freelance reporter who works in audio and text. Her work has been published in The Guardian-US, BBC’s World Service, WNYC and NPR’s Spanish-language podcast, Radio Ambulante. She has contributed to investigative projects at the New York Times and Reuters. She holds a Master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School. She will be reporting on environmental justice.

2018–2019 Fellows

Taylor Eldridge is a New York-based investigative journalist. She is currently an investigative fellow with the non-profit newsroom, The Marshall Project, where she covers a variety of topics within criminal justice, with a focus on mental health and healthcare. Her work has appeared on, the and others. She will be reporting on prison healthcare.

Rebecca Rivas is an El Paso native who now lives in St. Louis, covering racial equity and inclusion, local politics and general news as a staff reporter at the St. Louis American, consistently named the nation’s top African-American newspaper. As a Fulbright scholar, she investigated Peru’s high maternal-death rate among Andean women and produced a 45-minute documentary that has been used as an educational tool in college campuses nationwide. Her work has also appeared on NPR, HuffPost and National Geographic online. She will be reporting on mass surveillance.

Isma’il Kushkush has contributed to the New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, Guernica and Reuters, among others. He was based in Khartoum, Sudan, for eight years and has covered political, economic and cultural stories from Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Sweden, Israel, the Palestinian territories and the United States. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Master of Arts degree from the Columbia Journalism School with a focus on politics and global affairs. He will be reporting on sports recruiting.

Zahra Hirji is a Washington, DC-based staff reporter at BuzzFeed News, covering energy and climate change — everything from the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental rules, to worker safety in the Alaskan oil patch. She previously wrote about fracking, global climate negotiations, and other environmental issues for InsideClimate News, Discovery News, and EARTH Magazine. She will be reporting on worker safety and discrimination.

2017–2018 Fellows

Naveena Sadasivam, an Austin-based staff writer at the Texas Observer who covers science, energy and the environment, formerly wrote about the coal industry for InsideClimate News and fracking for ProPublica. At ProPublica, Sadasivam was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as part of a team investigating the water crisis in the American West. She will be reporting on environmental fines.

Justine Calma, a New York-based freelance multimedia journalist, reports across the US and internationally on public health, climate change, migration, and human rights. Her work has appeared on NBC News, PBS, WNYC, PRI's The World, Quartz, Salon, and HuffPost, among others. Calma was born in the Philippines and moved to Los Angeles as a child. She will be reporting on day care.

Emmanuel Felton, a New Orleans native who now lives in New York, covers the intersection of race and education as a staff writer at the Hechinger Report, with a particular focus on how well schools serve boys and men of color. Previously, he covered education, juvenile justice, and child services as a fellow for the New York World, a government accountability newsroom staffed by recent graduates of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Felton's work has appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, the New York Daily News, and many others. He will be reporting on racial segregation.

Juliana Schatz, a Colombian-American documentary director and producer, started her career at the award-winning investigative series FRONTLINE, where she contributed to 12 public affairs documentaries, among them two Emmy Award winners and one Peabody Award winner. Schatz also produced award-winning work at GlobalPost, where she covered the Egyptian revolution, and for Al Jazeera's program earthrise, on environmental issues. She will be reporting on mental health care for children.

2016–2017 Fellows

Adeshina Emmanuel, a Chicago native, has been a staff reporter at DNAinfo and the Chicago Reporter. His freelance work has been published by In These Times, Chicago Magazine, and the New York Times. He will be reporting on police misconduct.

Ese Olumhense is a graduate student at the Columbia University School of Journalism. She is a former editor at Sahara Reporters Media Group, where she covered corruption and social injustice in sub-Saharan Africa. A Bronx native, Olumhense lives in New York City. She will be reporting on public housing.

Nadine Sebai is an accountant and research analyst turned radio reporter. She graduated from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2016. Sebai was lead researcher for Rape on the Night Shift, an award-winning investigation about the janitorial services industry. She is based in Berkeley, California and will be reporting on infectious disease management.

Nikhil Swaminathan is a reporter, editor, and producer who has worked at Al Jazeera America, Scientific American, Good, and Archaeology. His freelance work has appeared in such publications as Wired, Mother Jones, and Psychology Today. He grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Oakland. He will be reporting on guest workers.