Journalists Named To 2021 Higher Education Media Fellowship

Fourth Class Of Journalists Named To Higher Education Media Fellowship

NEWS RELEASE September 16, 2021
CONTACT: Jay Geneske | Chief Communications Officer |


PRINCETON, NJ (Thursday, September 16, 2021) – The Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly known as the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation) is pleased to announce its fourth class of journalists named to the Higher Education Media Fellowship, supported by ECMC Foundation. The fall 2021 cohort comprises eleven outstanding journalists representing a variety of outlets, media, and interests.

The Higher Education Media Fellowship aims to increase the number of journalists equipped with tools and networks to provide more comprehensive coverage of postsecondary education, particularly career and technical education (CTE).

The fall 2021 cohort includes Hilary Burns (The National Observer Higher Education), Lee Gardner (The Chronicle of Higher Education), Naomi Harris (PublicSource), Mila Koumpilova (Chalkbeat Chicago), Yana Kunichoff (The Arizona Republic)Lindsay McKenzie (Freelance), Maria Mendez (Austin American-Statesman), Patty Rasmussen (Freelance), Jacob Sanchez (Fort Worth Report), Alexandra Starr (Freelance), and TaMaryn Waters (Tallahassee Democrat).

The experiences of the Fellows range from producing feature-length documentaries to serving as an immigration correspondent for the National Public Radio, working with the White House Correspondents’ Association, and receiving numerous regional and national awards such as the Sidney Hillman Award, the Bynum G. Shaw Award for excellence in journalism, and an award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Each ECMCF Fellow receives an award of $10,000—a $5,000 stipend and $5,000 to support a special CTE reporting project. Fellows will attend an in-person symposium this fall focused on topics related to postsecondary CTE and professional development. Following the symposium, Fellows will complete a CTE reporting project, such as a special report or series.

“As our nation continues to adjust to changes the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused, a critical look at career and technical education has never been more important,” said the Institute for Citizens & Scholars president, Rajiv Vinnakota. “With an ever-changing economy, we have to continue examining and accessing postsecondary opportunities we’re offering students so they can train for careers and flourish as active members of society.”

The fourth CTE symposium will be held November 3-5 in San Diego, CA, and will include dedicated activities for professional and network development. In order to foster a strong and collaborative community, a number of Fellows from the third class will be present at this fall symposium. The symposium has been designed to provide a deep fellowship opportunity—a robust experience that will support Fellows’ personal and professional development; give Fellows the opportunity to develop and deepen relationships with one another; bolster their connections to those working in the CTE field; and provide one-on-one mentoring and additional workshops.

The funding for this program is a part of ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative, an initiative focused on bringing together diverse perspectives and equipping CTE leaders with the tools, resources, and skills needed to advance postsecondary CTE. The fourth class of Fellows will publish and broadcast their projects throughout the remainder of 2021.

“Today’s students are faced with challenging questions as temporary federal safety nets come to an end, college campuses reopen, and an increasing number of adults seek skills to provide more permanent economic stability,” said Jennifer Zeisler, Career Readiness Senior Director, ECMC Foundation. “The Institute for Citizens & Scholars has selected another fantastic cohort of ECMCF Fellows who will undoubtedly educate the public on these pressing challenges facing postsecondary education and hold decision makers accountable to finding viable solutions. The announcement of this fourth cohort of ECMCF Fellows couldn’t have come at a better time.”

More information about the ECMCF Fellows of the Higher Ed Media Fellowship, eligibility requirements, and the application process for the next cohort can be found at


About the Institute for Citizens and Scholars
Formerly the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars ( is a 75-year-old organization that has played a significant role in shaping American higher education. Now, with an expanded mission, Citizens & Scholars prepares leaders and engages networks of people and organizations to meet urgent education challenges. The overarching goal is to shape an informed, productively engaged, and hopeful citizenry.

About the ECMC Foundation
ECMC Foundation ( is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group ( enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential.

Stay Engaged

Get More News

Join our mailing list to get more news like this to your mailbox.

Support Our Work

Help us invest in the talent, ideas, and networks that will develop young people as effective, lifelong citizens.

Ways to Support Us