About

School Stories is produced by the seventeen reporters of the 2009 Covering Education seminar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Meghan Berry’s interest in just about everything led her to journalism.  After studying English literature at Gettysburg College, traveling in South America and Asia, lifeguarding and working at a boarding school, she took a job at a weekly newspaper in New Jersey.  As a journalist and graduate student at Columbia’s Journalism School, Meghan is able to explore many of her interests–primarily health, the environment and education–through her reporting.

Danielle Blundell has wanted to be a journalist ever since she realized her fondest memories at the University of Virginia were related to writing — whether it was students responding positively to her articles or instilling her obsession for crafting the perfect lede in her classmates as a news writing tutor.  Now at Columbia, Blundell is exited to put the two together in the Covering Education seminar.  She spent the past summer teaching in New York City public schools and is anxious to interact with students again.

Jordan Broadwater hails from the Old Dominion. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in history before beginning her studies in newspaper journalism at Columbia University this fall. She has worked as a reporting intern for NBC-29 News and The Hook News Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and now hopes to meld her two loves of writing and education as an education reporter.

Darrin Burgess studied comparative literature at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He has traveled haphazardly. He looks forward to gainful employment one day.

Kyla Calvert is a Chicago native. Calvert most recently lived in San Francisco where she worked in marketing and was a contributing writer for her neighborhood newspaper. Covering community planning meetings piqued her interest in city policy and political reporting. When she isn’t working like crazy for school she likes to cook, run, and see good, cheap rock shows.

Originally from Los Angeles, Kai Carter is a Master in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. There she is a senior editor for the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy and served as a research assistant at the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy. Previously, she worked at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Ami Cholia has spent half her life in Mumbai, India and the other half in Texas. Before coming to Columbia she worked as a journalist in India for three years and as an online editor for a legal publishing house in San Francisco. Ami loves traveling, books and obscure cultural norms and hopes she can get paid for her love for journalism when she graduates in May.

Brad Davis hails from Omaha, Nebraska.  His father’s idea to send him early in life to an elite private school was quickly quashed by his populist grandparents, who insisted he attend public schools.  Brad has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  He has worked as a reporting intern for the Omaha World-Herald, a copy editing intern with the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, managing editor of the Daily Nebraskan and as a stringer for The Associated Press.

Alexandra Fenwick has worked as a reporter in daily newspapers in New Jersey and Connecticut for four years, including one year as an education reporter. She grew up on the Jersey shore, split her high school career between public school and private boarding school and later studied writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She had a happy childhood, rode her bike everywhere and rarely got detention. She is trying to replicate that experience as an adult.

Richie Gergel is a graduate student at Columbia University. His film, “A Mind to Stay Here,” on the impoverished children of high school drop outs in the poorest county in South Carolina, is currently in post production. He studied film production and art history at the University of Southern California, New York University, and the University of Ghana.

Heather Grossmann is a multimedia journalist who spent the past several years as an event producer in New York City. Most recently, Grossmann produced a policy debate series for national distribution on NPR®. Grossmann is originally from Oakland, CA and graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor or arts in English. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University with a concentration in Digital Media.

Antonina Jedrzejczak has lived, studied and worked in Poland, the United States, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Canada and Azerbaijan. She earned her BA in English Literature from McGill University. Immediately before beginning her MS in Journalism at Columbia University she worked with UNICEF in Azerbaijan on early childhood education.

Sharon McCloskey has been a practicing attorney in New York and New Jersey for more than 20 years, specializing in commercial and consumer litigation. She lives in Red Bank, New Jersey, and spends her free time in gyms around the country, watching her 3 children pursue their hoop dreams.

Elaine Meyer is a product of the public education system through high school and graduated with a degree in American History from Northwestern University. After that, she went to work at the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in Washington D.C., on cases involving all sorts of industries, from sub-prime mortgages, to green marketing to health supplements. Deciding that her passion was in writing and not the law, Elaine started reporting for the Huffington Post and went on to Columbia School of Journalism in the Fall of 2008. She has reported all over Brooklyn and Queens and currently lives in Morningside Heights in New York City.

Claire Moses, 22, is an international student from Amsterdam at the Journalism School. For education reporting she is stationed in the Bronx, where she has been reporting for half a year already. Before coming to Columbia she studied history at Brandeis University where she was also the news editor of the school paper.

Jamie Oppenheim is a multimedia journalism student at Columbia University. She has worked in print journalism for the past three years in the Bay Area. Prior to that, she had a number of odd jobs, such as grading standardized tests. She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2004 with a degree in Comparative Literature.

Paul Daniel Stephens was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgia, where he taught English in a small village near the Black Sea. He also taught pre-school and kindergarten at a bilingual school in Honduras before embarking on a career in journalism. Paul is a graduate of Wabash College.

Maura Walz studies multimedia reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She grew up in Richmond, Virginia and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago.  Most recently she worked as an editor of academic research databases outside of Washington, D.C.  She has also interned with WBEZ - Chicago Public Radio, Broadview Media and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Media programs, and she is a music staff writer for the website PopMatters.

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