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School Stories is a publication produced by students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The site is overseen by LynNell Hancock, who teaches a semester-long seminar on education reporting. The course weaves together history with current issues and reporting strategies, while navigating past the bureaucratic catacombs of public education in America, burrowing into real classrooms with the kids. Besides time reporting and learning in seminar, students spend the semester inside one New York City public school, building unique relationships with kids, teachers and administrators.

Mary Plummer

Mary Plummer is a multimedia journalist living in New York City. Her work has been published in The Huffington Post, The Orange County Register and The Yomiuri Shimbun.  Mary graduated with honors from Chapman University in 2007. During her tenure as editor in chief for the campus paper, she was selected as the 2006 Orange County Register Journalism Student of the Year. Mary was born in Anchorage, Alaska and enjoys traveling and learning about peoples’ lives. She is currently a graduate student in broadcast journalism at Columbia University. She covers charter schools for the website and is embedded this semester at Democracy Prep in Harlem.

Taylor Kate Brown

Taylor Kate Brown is a multimedia journalist and digital media student at Columbia. Originally from Connecticut, by way of Washington, D.C., her work has been published in FEN Magazine, The GW Hatchet, and the Connecticut Post. Last fall, she covered Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for City Beats and will be spending her time this semester at Manhattan International, as well as covering issues related to LGBT students. Having grown up around teachers, she’s looking forward to covering New York City’s school system.

Connor Boals

Originally from Michigan, Connor Boals graduated from the University of Vermont, where he was the managing editor of his college weekly, The Vermont Cynic, as well as the founding editor of the online lifestyle magazine phoebe. He covers transportation and safety issues and is embedded in Aspirations Diploma Plus High School. He can be reached at

Vadim Lavrusik

Vadim Lavrusik is a digital journalist working on social media at the New York Times and studying digital media at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is also building NYC 3.0, a news site covering tech startups. He’s reported for publications like the Star Tribune, The Minnesota Daily, the Mpls./St. Paul Business Journal,, and Poynter Online’s E-Media Tidbits. He is reporting on immigrant student issues and embedded in Manhattan International High School at the Julia Richman Complex.

Sarah Butrymowicz

Sarah Butrymowicz studied political science and communications at Tufts University where she worked as a news editor and managing editor for the Tufts Daily. She interned at both the Green Bay Press-Gazette in Wisconsin and at USA Today. She covers special education in charter schools for School Stories and is embedded at Democracy Prep Charter School. She can be reached at

Nushin Rashidian

Nushin Rashidian is a student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she is concentrating on magazine journalism. Prior to that, she co-created the Oral History Project at AIDS Services Foundation Orange County for which she interviewed clients and wrote how their lives changed from the moment they knew they were infected. She earned her B.A. in Literary Journalism from the University of California, Irvine.

Alec Johnson

Alec Johnson graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in political science. Last year, he was editor-in-chief of The Dickinsonian, a weekly college newspaper. He has interned at the Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, N.Y. He covers juvenile justice for School Stories and is embedded in World Journalism Preparatory School. He can be reached at

Susan Sawyers

Susan Sawyers covers youth culture and technology in education for School Stories and is observing Central Harlem’s Democracy Prep Charter School. She is the former director and curator of Los Angeles’ Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, worked for Christie’sand taught French and English. In addition to California and New York, she has lived in France, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Iowa and France. She currently lives with her husband and their two children not far from Central Park. She knows she’s lucky. She can be reached at

Scott Sell

Originally from Orange, Conn., Scott received his B.A. in English, with a concentration in writing, from Goucher College in Maryland. He spent a graduate semester with the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, writing about the lives of the lone, aging couple on a small Maine island. Most recently, he taught creative writing and journalism classes to San Francisco high school students. Since arriving at Columbia, Scott’s work has appeared in the Queens Chronicle and The New York Daily News. He covers youth and technology for School Stories and is embedded in World Journalism Preparatory School. He can be reached at

Mariah Summers

Mariah Summers, 23, was born and raised just outside of Portland, Ore. in the suburb of West Linn. She attended the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in Eugene for her undergraduate degree, where she majored in News/Editorial Journalism. During college, Mariah wrote for the student newspaper, The Oregon Daily Emerald, and had internships at two newspapers in Portland: The Portland Tribune and the alternative weekly paper Willamette Week. She spent a summer at Dateline NBC in New York and currently interns at the New York Daily News. During her time with, Mariah will be covering early childhood education and is embedded in the Ella Baker School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Alex Berg

Born and raised in Philly, Alex Berg graduated from Cornell University last May where she was a senior news writer for the Cornell Daily Sun and wrote for magazine and The Ithaca Journal.  She covers early childhood education for School Stories and is embedded at the Ella Baker School. She can be reached at

Rachael Horowitz

Rachael Horowitz is a former NYC middle school teacher. She is a graduate student at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Rachael is covering sex education and credit recovery for School Stories and is embedded in Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School.

Scott Olster

Scott Olster covers immigrant student issues for School Stories and is embedded in Urban Academy High School. A public school graduate and native of East Northport, New York, he is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in Brooklyn. He can be reached at

Megan Gibson

Megan Gibson is a writer and freelance journalist from western Canada studying at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has studied English literature in Canada and political science in South Africa. While in New York she has worked as a freelance writer and is also currently working at The New York Times Syndicate as a fact-checking and research intern. She is covering dual language schools and bilingualism for School Stories and is embedded at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Eno Alfred

Eno Alfred is from London and is a 2009 graduate of the London School of Economics where she earned a degree in government and politics. Eno wrote for the news section of her university’s paper, read the news for the university’s radio station, and interned at Family History magazine and ITV News. In her second year, she was selected to do a report for BBC news on the low number of black students in top universities and is currently interning at BBC America. Eno is covering youth culture for school stories and is embedded at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. She can be reached at

Rob Sgobbo

Rob Sgobbo is a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in the New York Daily News, The Huffington Post and the Village Voice. He covers community colleges and high school credit recovery programs for School Stories, and is embedded in Fannie Lou Hamer High School in the South Bronx. He can be reached at

Althea Fung

Brooklyn native, Althea A. Fung received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the State University of New York College at New Paltz. She has written for the Jersey Journal and Beyond Race Magazine. She also interned at Uptown Magazine, and Metro US Newspaper. Fung covers tweens and community colleges and is embedded in Aspirations Diploma Plus High School. Fung can be reached at

Paige Rentz

Paige Rentz is a reporter for a chain of community newspapers in Westchester County. As a part-time M.S. student at Columbia, she is covering Educational Neglect and LGBT student issues in the New York City school system and is embedded in Urban Academy, a transfer high school in the Julia Richman Educational Complex. She graduated in 2007 with her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied literature and creative writing. She can be reached at

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