2015 OPC Foundation Scholarship Winners

The Following is a list of the 2015 scholarship and fellowship recipients, affiliations, prize received, presenter and description of the winning application. The
winners emerged from a highly competitive selection process consisting of 170 applicants from around 60 different colleges and universities.

Click here to read a story from Charles Sennott of GroundTruth about keynote speaker Sebastian Junger’s advice to early career journalists about the perils of conflict reporting. 

Kyle Walker
University of Tulsa
Sponsored by the Schweisberg Family;
presented by David’s brother, Matthew Schweisberg

As a journalist, Kyle intends to cover national conflicts and societies in transition. In his essay, he wrote about Holy Week traditions on the Dalmatian island of Korcula where groups of local men lead a Good Friday procession singing, as they have for centuries, medieval Croatian hymns.  With a double major in physics and philosophy, Kyle, a college senior and Rhodes finalist, is editor-in-chief of his student newspaper.

Max deHaldevang

Columbia University Harriman Institute


Sponsored by Reuters and funded by The Correspondents
Fund; presented by David Rohde of Reuters

A Russian major at Cambridge University, Max has traveled extensively throughout the former Soviet Union. He wrote about how the government of Kyrgyzstan does not recognize the existence of novostroikas and thus denies basic services and resident status to desperate villagers. He is also fluent in Spanish and French.  Max has an OPC Foundation fellowship with Reuters.

Eilís M. O’Neill

Columbia University
Graduate School of Journalism

in memory of I.F.STONE

Endowed by John R. MacArthur and the Pierre F. Simon
Charitable Trust; presented by Rick MacArthur, publisher, Harper’s Magazine

A former freelance reporter in Argentina, Eilís intends to return to South America, this time as an environmental reporter to cover the pressing issues that plague the entire continent, including specifically the clean-up of the Riachuela River in Buenos Aires. A graduate of Oberlin College, she is fluent in Spanish.  In her essay, she wrote about the problems caused by the “soy revolution” in Argentine agriculture.

James Reddick

University of California at Berkeley Graduate
School of Journalism


Endowed by the Scripps Howard Foundation; presented by Jack Howard-Potter of the Pamela Howard Family Foundation

James was already working as a journalist in Beirut when the Arab Spring erupted in 2011.  He wants to return to take stock of the region’s collective loss and document the next chapter. Fluent in French with some Arabic, the Lewis & Clark graduate wrote about Nakba, the day Palestinians and Lebanese sympathizers make an organized annual march to the Israeli border via the reverse route taken by fleeing Palestinians in 1948.

J.p. Lawrence

Columbia University Graduate
School of Journalism


Funded by the Gamsin family and sponsored by family and friends; presented by Sharon Gamsin

J.p. was a military
photojournalist with the U.S. Army National Guard in Iraq when he first met the Ugandan soldiers employed by American private contractors. He is intent on
telling their stories and the price they paid to fight in America’s wars.  In his essay he wrote how U.S aid to Uganda supports a corrupt and abusive regime.  A graduate of Bard College, J.p. has an OPC Foundation fellowship with the Associated Press in Uganda.

Mariam Berger

Oxford University


Endowed by the Swinton Family; presented by Helen Swinton, Stan’s wife

Possessing an
extensive background reporting and studying in the Middle East, Miriam wrote about media politics in the region and the pressing need to cover the stories
that go beyond terrorism.  An Arabic speaker with some Hebrew and Persian skills, she is now earning a degree in Modern Middle Eastern studies.  A former
Fulbright Scholar in Egypt and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, Miriam has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the AP bureau in Jerusalem.

Ben Taub

Columbia University
Graduate School of Journalism


Endowed by family; presented by Alix Freedman, Manny’s
daughter and Ethics Editor, Reuters

Ben got hooked on foreign
correspondence when he took a year off from Princeton to learn more about the freelance world and found his way to Kilis on the Turkey-Syrian border.  In his essay, he wrote about his last encounter in Kilis with American Steve Sotloff who was soon kidnapped and later beheaded by ISIS.  Proficient in Italian
and Dutch and learning Arabic, Ben has also a keen interest in immigration and has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Jerusalem.

Fatima Bhojani

Columbia University Graduate
School of Journalism


Sponsored by donations
from family and friends; presented by Theo’s friend, Roz Massow

Born in
Karachi at a time when political turmoil claimed the lives of many family members and raised in Islamabad, Fatima is no stranger to the chaos caused by
violence, a subject she covered in her poignant essay about children in northwest Pakistan living with the constant threat of drone attacks.  An aspiring national security and military affairs correspondent, Fatima is also fluent in Urdu and Hindi and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Tusha Mittal

Columbia University Graduate
School of Journalism


Endowed by family, friends and admirers; presented by Roy

Already an accomplished journalist in her native India, Tusha wrote about “India’s hidden civil war,” the Maoist conflict in eastern India, and its brutal human toll.  In her essay, she discussed a prisoner exchange involving 14 innocent indigenous women. Born and raised in Calcutta, she is a graduate of DePauw University and speaks Hindi and Bengali.  Tusha has an OPC Foundation fellowship with the GroundTruth Project.

Makini Brice 

New York University


Endowed by the Pierre F. Simon Charitable Trust;
presented by Jackie Albert-Simon, Flora’s friend

a BFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California, Makini is now pursuing a joint Master’s degree in Journalism and French Studies and is focusing on the ways migration is shaping Europe.  In her essay, Makini wrote about the plight of unaccompanied child migrants in France who lose the protections of the child
foster care system when they turn 18. Fluent in French, she has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Senegal.

Katerina Voutsina

The Fletcher School,
Tufts University

Endowed by Standard & Poor’s; presented by Natalie Evertson, S&P Capital IQ

Majoring in European political
economy, Katerina is focused on policy making in the EU, its history and politics of institutions.  In her essay, she questioned whether Jean-Claude Junker is the right choice to lead the European Commission.  A native of Greece, she is a graduate of Panteion University with a master’s from Boston University. She has an OPC Foundation fellowship with the Wall Street Journal in Brussels. 

Timothy Patterson

Columbia University Graduate
School of Journalism


Endowed by family and friends;
presented by Kate McLeod, Jerry’s wife

After eight years in the U.S. Navy, the Annapolis graduate spent two years on a motorcycle on a 28,000-mile trek from the top of Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina, learning Spanish and Portuguese en route. Having volunteered to go to Afghanistan as a combatant, Tim wrote about his investigations of corruption within the Afghan National Police.   Intent on a career as a conflict reporter, he has an OPC Foundation fellowship in an Associated Press bureau in South America.

Ted Andersen

University of California at Berkeley Graduate
School of Journalism


Funded by Daimler and
Supported by CBS News and friends; presented by Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews; Vice President, CBS News

Ted became
fascinated with Latin America via a 3,000 mile, 23-state trek through Mexico.  A graduate of UC-Santa Barbara with an M.A. in international relations from San Francisco State University, Ted wrote about the economic and environmental problems posed by the 172-mile Nicaragua Canal.   A multimedia journalist, he has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Bangkok bureau of the Associated Press.

Jenny Starrs



Endowed by the Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper Family Foundation; presented by Steve Sadicario, N. S. Bienstock 

In her essay, Jenny wrote about Election Day in South Africa and its impact on immigrants trying to build lives and attain citizenship, a story she covered for the City Press in Johannesburg.  A college senior, she has experience both in print and visual media and is looking to expand her coverage beyond the African continent.  She speaks intermediate French.   She has an OPC Foundation fellowship in multimedia journalism with the GroundTruth Project.

Alexander Saeedy

Yale University

Endowed by Anne and Larry Martz; presented by Larry

Pursuing a combined bachelor/master degree in economic history in four years, Alex is intent on a career in business journalism.  Fluent in French and learning German, he analyzed the explosive growth of low-cost airline carriers in Europe and the rest of the world and asked why their growth has not been as great in the U.S.  He has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Brussels.