Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Humanities Emerging Journalist Fellowship Provides $135k in Support for Community College Journalists

Emerging Journalist Fellowship 2023_new

For Immediate Release 
Media Contact:  Kerri Young, Communications Manager, 

March 30, 2023—(Oakland, CA)— California Humanities is pleased to announce awards for the 2023 Emerging Journalist Fellowship program. Presented in partnership with California community colleges, this statewide initiative provides financial support, training, and mentorship to student journalists as they conduct in-depth reporting projects on subjects and issues of importance to their campus and community. 

Through a competitive application process, California Humanities has awarded $135,000 in support of 36 Emerging Journalism Fellows enrolled at nine community colleges.  

Participating campuses for 2023 are: 

  • Chaffey College (Rancho Cucamonga)
  • City College of San Francisco 
  • El Camino College (Alondra Park) 
  • Fullerton College 
  • Los Angeles City College 
  • Los Medanos College (Pittsburg) 
  • Riverside City College 
  • San Diego Mesa College 
  • Sierra College (Rocklin)
Photo grid of portraits of students smiling.
Top row from left to right: Julianne Le, Maria Odenbaugh, Elizabeth Munoz. Middle row: Consuelo Hernandez, Peter Gibbs, Renee Bartlett, Luis Antonio Carreon. Bottom row: Henry Lopez, Juan Mendoza, Ryder Bouck.
Photo portrait of a woman with curly red hair and black top.
“Thank you for this opportunity and for giving journalism students a voice and a medium. Your encouragement and dedication mean a lot to the next generations of Pulitzer winners.”

– Sorina Szakacs, 2023 Journalist Fellow, Los Angeles City College 

During the nine-month fellowship period, students receive mentoring from Joaquin Alvarado, former Executive Director of the Center for Investigative Reporting and founder of Studio To Be, as they develop, pitch, and produce reporting projects about underreported regional California stories.  

The 2023 Fellowship launched in January with a kick-off media summit for fellows and faculty advisors from all participating campuses. Throughout the spring, fellows will receive opportunities for enhanced training in areas such as data research, community engaged reporting, podcasting, video production, and more. Throughout, the program is designed to incorporate the insight and perspective of journalism and the context and inquiry of the humanities, to help develop critical skills, encourage media literacy and civic engagement, and to provide a springboard for California’s next generation of journalists. 

Portrait of a woman with black hair and grey sweater.
“In recent years, public trust in journalism has drastically changed, making it more important than ever for student journalists to tell the necessary stories factually and objectively to rebuild the trust lost.”

– Aliyah Ramirez , 2023 Journalist Fellow, Los Medanos College

First launched in 2019 as part of the national Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Emerging Journalist Fellowship program has since grown to include partnerships with community college campuses throughout the state. Student fellows from prior rounds brought to light important local stories, such as the impact of repeated natural disasters on Sonoma County residents, the experiences of a DACA student living in far Northern California, the history and future of the Salton Sea, and uncovering the effects of the fentanyl epidemic on rural California communities, to statewide—and in some cases national—audiences.  

To date, fellows have produced podcasts distributed nationally by NPR; articles and op-eds published by the Bakersfield Californian, Shasta Scout, and KQED; interactive data-driven websites; documentary video and photography, and long-form investigative articles that have won awards from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the Associated Collegiate Press. 

“There is a pressing need to support journalism at this level in order to make sure important local stories aren’t overlooked,” according to President & CEO Julie Fry. “The Emerging Journalist Fellowship is crucial in empowering student journalists to tell these stories in communities across the state, keeping us informed and helping democracy flourish.”  

California Humanities, a statewide nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation, and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit, or like and follow on  Facebook, Twitter, and  Instagram

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2023 Emerging Journalist fellows. Top row from left to right: Nicole Hayek, Ethan Cohen, Poupy Gaelle Kenfack Nguetsop. Middle row: Alexa Topacio, JT Wildfeuer, Sierra Mickelson. Bottom row: Ellen Yoshitsugu, Ethan Yamaguchi, Alondra Montez.

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