Religio is the work of students in Professor Ari Goldman’s “Covering Religion” seminar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The purpose of the course is to develop student journalists’ abilities to write and report about matters of religion and faith for diverse audiences. This year, the seminar will focus on covering religion in Italy, where the class, which comprises the staff of Religio, will travel in March for an eight-day reporting trip sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation. This is the 20th year Prof. Goldman is teaching the seminar and the 13th reporting trip he has led abroad.


Covering Religion 2013 Class


Harman BoparaiHarman Boparai covers the community of Padre Pio.  He was born and brought up in Amritsar, Punjab in India, the seat of the Sikh religion, where he went to medical school. During his medical education he did rotations at the medical schools of Harvard, Yale and Cornell Universities. Harman worked for a year as a doctor in India before starting his master’s in Broadcast Journalism at Columbia University. He is interested in being a travelling doctor/journalist, in healthcare journalism and in reporting on the intersection of religious belief, spirituality and health.

hsb2129@columbia.edu | @drharmanboparai 


Kimberly BrooksKimberly Brooks covers Women’s Religious Orders. She received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. Originally passionate about science and medicine, Kimberly succumbed to her love of storytelling and moved into television production. She began working as an assistant at the Oprah Winfrey Show, including a freelance project at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. Later, she joined NBC and worked almost four years as a Segment Producer for their lifestyle brand. Kimberly is now is a full-time master’s student concentrating in broadcast journalism. 

knb2001@columbia.edu | @kimnikiabrooks


Lauren DavidsonLauren Davidson covers liberal Christian women’s orders. Born and bred in London, England, Lauren has a degree in Theology and Religious Studies from Cambridge University. Formerly a business reporter at City AM, a daily newspaper in London, Lauren has been published in The Times (of London), The Huffington Post, The Jewish Chronicle and a variety of other publications. She loves film, theater, literature and roast chicken, and can lick her elbow (challenge her if you dare). Lauren is in the print concentration at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and is social media editor of Religio.

ld2538@columbia.edu | @laurendavidson | www.laurendavidson.co.uk


Morgan DavisMorgan M. Davis covers Greek and Russian Orthodox.  Originally from Springfield, Ill., the land of Lincoln, Morgan moved to Washington, DC to receive her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Journalism from The George Washington University.  During college she was editor of The Daily Colonial, editor-in-chief of College Magazine and intern for the Philadelphia City Paper.  For two years after college, Morgan worked for the Peace Corps in their DC headquarters.  She moved to New York in July 2012 to pursue her master’s at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, with a concentration in magazine journalism.  When she’s not balancing her class schedule and an internship at the World Policy Journal, Morgan enjoys baking and decorating cookies and cupcakes.  Morgan is co-managing editor of Religio.

mmd2195@columbia.edu | @morgymdavis


DanaFordeDana Forde covers the Anglican beat. She has worked for several publications in both English and Spanish, focusing on topics ranging from education to religion.Forde has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University and a master’s degree from Rutgers University. She was also a governor’s executive fellow at the Rutgers-affiliated Eagleton Institute of Politics. She is a newspaper concentrator at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

df2477@columbia.edu | @df2277


Mustafa HameedMustafa Hameed covers the Muslim community. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Mustafa completed middle school and high school in Carmel, Indiana, before earning his B.A. in philosophy & linguistics from Columbia University. Mustafa worked as a producer for WFYI-TV, the Indianapolis-area affiliate of PBS, before beginning his master’s program at Columbia Journalism School, where he is a broadcast student in the documentary program. Mustafa is co-managing editor of Religio.

mth2119@columbia.edu | @mustafahameed


Stephen JiwanmallStephen Jiwanmall covers evangelical Protestants. A Philadelphia native, he graduated from La Salle University in May and interned at several local media outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Business Journal, and WTXF-TV. Last semester, Stephen served as a web editor and West Indian beat reporter for the New York Torch, a student-operated website focusing on the city’s ethnic communities.  Proud of his Indian and Pakistani heritage, Stephen looks for ways to learn more about his culture. He is a lead coordinator of Columbia’s chapter of the South Asian Journalists Association, and he was a member of a South Asian dance team at La Salle for four years. He also casually plays an instrument called the harmonium and sings in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi for his church’s choir and worship team.  Stephen is co-webmaster of Religio.



Jesse MarxJesse Marx covers the Community of Sant’Egidio. He hails from Chicago, where he earned his B.S. in Economics and then got his start as a staff writer for two weekly newspapers, The Regional News and The Reporter, on the city’s southwest side. While working for AOL Huffington Media Group, he covered politics and crime and the razor’s edge that separates them. In 2012, he was nominated for a Peter Lisagor Award. As a freelancer in New York City, he has written extensively on urban tribes—homeless youth, tea partiers, radical Catholics of the Occupy movement. In May, after graduating from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he is headed west for an internship at The Oregonian newspaper.

jmm2342@columbia.edu | @marxjesse


Tasneem NashrullaTasneem Nashrulla covers Orthodox Judaism. After graduating with a degree in mass media from Mumbai University in India, she worked as a reporter covering civic and community issues at a hyper-local newspaper- the Mid-Day Metro. She then worked as a principal correspondent at India’s second largest English daily, The Hindustan Times, where she covered politics, terrorism, the recession, as well as culture and lifestyle. As a social media editor at Viacom18 Media, she was in charge of producing online content for some of India’s biggest media brands – MTV India and Comedy Central India. As a magazine student at Columbia Journalism School, she currently ingests an obscene amount of caffeine while writing about religion, murders, and the aftermath of hurricanes.  



Jordi OliveresJordi Oliveres covers Opus Dei. He was born in New York but grew up in Mexico City. He studied songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston and then shifted his interests to journalism and interned at Rolling Stone magazine. He may still be just a candidate for a Master of Science with a magazine concentration at Columbia Journalism School, but he is already a webmaster for Religio.



David PalacioDavid Palacio covers the Methodists and Waldensians.  Originally he hails from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and attended Emory University in Atlanta where he studied Philosophy and Religion.  Upon graduation from Emory, David was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.  While serving as a Marine David completed several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and left active duty as a captain in order to attend Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  In the future David would like to cover conflict zones as a way of blending previous experience with the skills learned at Columbia.  He is a magazine concentration in the master’s program, and is photo editor for Religio.

dgp2106@columbia.edu | @davidgpalacio


Angela ReeceAngela Reece covers Hinduism and Sikhism.  Born in Tehran, Iran to a Chinese mother and American father, Angela is a multimedia journalist.  Raised in Atlanta, she graduated from the University of Georgia where she obtained her B.A. in Journalism.  Before moving to New York City, Angela worked at CNN International under senior anchors, Riz Khan and Jim Clancy, who inspired her to see the world for herself. In 2005, she taught English in Vietnam, and has since traveled extensively around the world – primarily in Southeast Asia and the Middle East – chronicling stories about travel, culture, human rights and lifestyle. Angela is currently completing her master’s in broadcast journalism at Columbia University.

arr2170@columbia.edu | @ReeceAngela


Marie TellingMarie Telling covers the Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was born and raised in France where she received a bachelor in Liberal Arts and a master’s in Political Science. During her studies, she also lived in Sweden and in Washington. Last year, she studied journalism at Sciences Po Paris where she produced a radio documentary on Yiddish speakers in the French capital. Before moving to New York City to attend Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she was working as a journalist for the French news site Rue89.com and covered the French Presidential elections for them. At Columbia, she studies Digital Media, with a focus on photojournalism and multimedia production. She is one of the photo editors of Religio.

mt2830@columbia.edu | @MarieTelling


Katherine TheofanousKatherine Theofanous covers Reform Judaism. Originally from Chicago, Katherine came to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism to further develop her story-telling skills.  Katherine graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked in television production for several well-known production companies in Chicago, including Harpo Studios. Katherine loves to travel and serve in other parts of the world.  A recent four month journey to South America and a volunteer experience at a Bolivian orphanage sparked her passion for journalism. As a first generation Greek-Cypriot American, Katherine enjoys travelling to Cyprus and when she is not working, Katherine enjoys time with family, friends and a delicious cup of coffee.

kat2154@columbia.edu @katherinetheofa


Jeff TysonJeff Tyson covers the Mormon Church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is from Mendon, NY, and has a Bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester. Jeff has worked with human rights organizations in Senegal and the United States, and first experienced religion reporting while living abroad in Senegal. He enjoys running, acoustic music and good conversation. Jeff is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

jmt2180@columbia.edu | @jtyson21


Matthew VannMatthew Vann covers Catholic men’s religious orders.  Matthew is a native New Yorker who lives in Brooklyn. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in broadcast journalism and political science. Previously, he worked as an urban fellow in the NYC Mayor’s Office. He also worked for CNN International in New York covering the UN Security Council. Matthew is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Digital Media at the Columba University Graduate School of Journalism. Outside of school, Matthew spends his time running and playing the cello.

mvv2108@columbia.edu | @MPVann 


Our Professors:

Ari GoldmanAri L. Goldman, a former religion correspondent for The New York Times, has been teaching the “Covering Religion” seminar at Columbia since 1993. This year’s study-tour to Italy is the 13th he’s led with Columbia students. In past years, the class has gone to Russia, Ukraine, India, Italy, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. Professor Goldman was born in Hartford, Conn., and was educated at Yeshiva University, Columbia and Harvard. He is the author of three books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard. Professor Goldman and his wife Shira Dicker live in Manhattan and have three children.


Alexander StilleAlexander Stille is the San Paolo Professor of International Journalism at Columbia. He graduated with a B.A. from Yale University and earned an M.S. at Columbia. He has worked as a contributor to The New York Times, La Repubblica, The New Yorker magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Correspondent, U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe, and The Toronto Globe and Mail. He is the author of “Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism” (1991); “Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic” (1995); “The Future of the Past” (2002); and “The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi” (2006).


Caterina ClericiCaterina Clerici, the teaching assistant for the Covering Religion course, is an Italian journalist and photojournalist from Milan, Italy. She graduated from the Master of Science at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2012. Before moving to New York, she was living in London, UK, and studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies, where she earned a BA in Politics and Development Studies. Caterina is currently working freelance for American and Italian online publications, and as a web editor and blogger for the social documentary photography website SocialDocumentary.net. She is also doing a long-term documentary photography project on “Little Liberia,” the Liberian refugee community of Staten Island, NY, on which she wrote her Master’s thesis at the journalism school. Caterina is the teaching assistant for Covering Religion.

cc3366@columbia.edu | @caterinaclerici

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