New America Media and the California Education Policy Fund are pleased to announce this year’s 2012 Education Reporting for Youth Fellows. Selected from a statewide pool of applicants, our 6 fellows represent some of California's most underrepresented areas and communities. Ranging in ages from 16 to 24, fellows will produce stories on education-related issues, connecting hyper-local issues to the larger discussion revolving around California’s education system and related policies.

The 3-month fellowship runs from September to December, and aims to foster both experience and passion in education reporting among young and aspiring journalists. It comes at a critical time as California considers further reductions to an education budget already reeling from massive cuts.


Each fellow will work closely with one of three NAM editors, who will provide editorial guidance, as well as direction in locating sources, tracking down data and connecting with core issues. The editors are:

    Vivian Po -- NAM Education Reporter/Chinese Media Monitor

    Jacob Simas -- NAM Editor/Youth Hub Coordinator

    Peter Schurmann -- NAM Editor/Korean Media Monitor/Education Reporter


Funded by the California Education Policy Fund, the 2012 Education Reporting Fellowship for Youth Journalists will provide journalists with a $300 stipend toward completion of their written projects.


Here is a list of the 2012 Education Reporting Fellowship for Youth Journalists:



Caie Kelley, 16, is a high school freshman in the Bay Area suburb of Orinda. New to journalism, Kelley has already gotten her feet wet with two stories for New America Media, one dealing with access to healthy school meals for high school students who can't afford other options, and another on the stigma of fat for young people at a time when the war on obesity has taken on renewed vigor.


Marlo Custodio, 23, is a student at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he is double majoring in Film and Digital Media studies and Political Science. A native of San Jose, Custodio has spent the past six years working as a documentary filmmaker with NAM's youth-led media hub Silicon Valley DeBug. A longtime social activist, his work has focused on cultural events pertaining to community organizing, campaigns for social justice, and informative workshops.


Stephanie Espinoza, 23, is a youth reporter for New America Media’s youth-led publication South Kern Sol located in Lamont, CA. Her reporting has focused on health, education, and other issues important to residents of South Kern County. Espinoza grew up in the small agricultural community of Buttonwillow in Kern County. She is a recent graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Spanish. While in college, she worked two years for the Educational Talent Search Program as an office assistant and peer advisor, where she helped students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursue higher education. She one day hopes to pursue a Master's Degree in journalism.


Sharee Lopez, 20, currently attends Long Beach City College, where she serves as president's ambassador, helping to connect members of the campus community to school staff and administration. A native of Long Beach, Lopez comes from a mixed Mexican-Filipino heritage, and says her background is part of the inspiration beind her academic success. Besides attending college, Lopez also works two jobs to cover tuition and support her family. Her reporting interests involve the struggles that students of color face in academia and the ways in which they overcome them.


Caroline Xiong, 16, is a junior at Edison High School in Fresno, California, and a reporter with The kNOw, a youth-led media hub in the Central Valley. Xiong's reporting interests lie in covering the high school dropout rate in and around Fresno, including exploring the reasons behind the high number of high school dropouts and programs that work to reverse the trend.



John Oliver Santiago, 18, currently attends Long Beach City College, where he is majoring in Economics and Political Science. For the past year he has been a contributing writer to New America Media's youth-hub Voicewaves, located in Central and Westside Long Beach. Santiago has previously written on the experiences of Asian American students and the DREAM Act. He has a special interest in highlighting the ways in which the ongoing economic turmoil and the debate surrounding immigration are impacting education in California.