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Heartland 2013

April 21-23, 2013

One in four children in the United States are immigrants or the child of immigrants. The Immigration in the Heartland fellowship program will explore the economic and educational challenges these children face and how immigration policies have deeply impacted them, even though about 88 percent are U.S. citizens.

The conference will include talks by experts, hands-on data and investigative reporting training and field trips. “Our program will provide journalists with information, context and reporting techniques so they can produce richer stories about immigrant children and families in their communities,” said Phuong Ly, IJJ’s executive director.

As part of their applications, journalists must propose an enterprise project on immigrant children to be undertaken through the fellowship for publication or broadcast. Each fellow will receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the story project.


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April 21-23, 2013
University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Communication

An error occurred while creating a map for University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Communication

Please use this link to view location on a map: 395 W. Lindsey, Norman, OK 73019.

University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Communication

395 W. Lindsey

Norman, OK 73019 [directions]

What We Learned

This was the first year that our training has focused on children and families, and the emphasis gave a more human dimension to our immigration discussion, moving beyond politics and policy.

Sociologist Joanna Dreby, who has followed groups of immigrant families for three years, said that some children have internalized the negative politics so much that the term “illegal” has become a slur they use. We visited Santa Fe South Schools, where students talked about how they are coping and thriving despite the limbo and fear that many families face.

Our visit to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial was particular poignant this year, coming soon after the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Immigrants and particularly Muslims were accused and interrogated after the Oklahoma tragedy in 1995, and it was later learned that the bombing was the work of two white native-born Americans. Yet even to this day, said speaker Imad Enchassi of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Muslims are not invited to the annual interfaith service that honors Oklahoma bombing victims.

I filled notepads with new story ideas and issues I hadn’t thought to look into before. I walked away with a long list of resources and the names of several journalists to take inspiration from.

Andrea Castillo
Heartland Fellow

"Reporters at my paper are seldom given the opportunity to complete longer investigative projects, and this fellowship helped inspire me to look into the issues and spend more time with my sources than I normally could."

Kalyn Belsha
Heartland Fellow

The IJJ training helped me to think in a more personal way about the day-to-day experiences of immigrant families, not just looking at the headline-grabbing protests surrounding immigration reform.

Serena Maria Daniels
Heartland Fellow
ScheduleDROPDOWN
Who's Involved
Phuong Ly
Phuong Ly
Executive Director

Phuong has been IJJ’s executive director since 2012. She was a 2011 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University, where her projects included developing ways for journalists to better connect with nonprofits serving immigrants. As a reporter for the Washington Post, she wrote award-winning stories about immigrant communities. Phuong also has worked as a consultant to nonprofits and as a contributor to the Stanford Social Innovation Review and Poynter.org. She is a double Southerner — born in South Vietnam and raised in the American South.

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Warren Vieth
Warren Vieth
Heartland Mentor

Warren is director of IJJ’s Immigration in the Heartland program. He is an associate editor of Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit for investigative journalism, and previously worked as a professor at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Until 2005, Warren worked at the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau in a variety of roles, including White House correspondent, national economics correspondent and assistant national editor. A native of Kingfisher, Okla., he previously worked for newspapers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Dallas and Orange County, Calif.

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Martha Mendoza
Martha Mendoza
Heartland Mentor

Martha, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Associated Press, teaches investigative reporting workshops at IJJ training programs. Her stories have won numerous awards and prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations and White House responses. She won a Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting in 2000 as part of a team that revealed, with extensive documentation, the decades-old secret of how U.S. soldiers killed hundreds of civilians at the No Gun Ri bridge during the Korean War. She was a 2001 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2007 Ferris Professor for Humanities at Princeton University.

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Dan Kowalski
Dan Kowalski
Heartland Mentor

Dan serves as a legal resource for IJJ and teaches immigration law at IJJ training programs. Based at the Fowler Law Firm in Austin, he has been practicing immigration law since 1985, representing clients ranging from rich multinational corporations to impoverished asylum seekers. He is editor of Bender’s Immigration bulletin, a subscription technical journal, and Bender’s Immigration Bulletin Daily Edition, a free public web site. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at the University of Texas in Austin and a law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. He has taught at the law schools of the University of Colorado and the University of Washington.

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Dianne Solís
Dianne Solís
Heartland Mentor

Dianne, a senior writer at the Dallas Morning News, teaches database reporting at IJJ training programs. Her stories have taken her to post-Katrina New Orleans, inside families fractured by addiction to starter heroin, immigration courts for children, and a mosque where the Ramadan fast was broken with a FBI agent. She has also covered immigration for the Wall Street Journal from Houston and Mexico City and written for public radio and television. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she was raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, where all her grandparents settled after fleeing the violence of the Mexican Revolution.

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Kari Lydersen
Kari Lydersen
Heartland Mentor

Kari is a Chicago-based journalist and author. A 2012 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, her work explores the intersection of environmental, immigration and labor issues. A former reporter for the Washington Post, her work also has appeared in The Economist, People magazine and the New York Times. She is the author of three books, “Out of the Sea and Into the Fire: Latin American-US Immigration in the Global Age” (Common Courage Press, 2005), “Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun” (City Lights, 2008), and “Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Factory Takeover and What It Says About the Economic Crisis (Melville House Press, 2009).

Kalyn Belsha
Kalyn Belsha
Heartland Fellow

Kalyn covers education for The Beacon-News, a part of the Sun-Times Media Group based in Aurora, Ill. She previously covered courts and demographics for The Beaumont Enterprise in Texas. With the help of a 2011 award from the Chicago Community Trust, Belsha published an investigative series about a dual-language education initiative in Chicago Public Schools. She teaches an undergraduate journalism course at Loyola University Chicago and holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

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Andrea Castillo
Andrea Castillo
Heartland Fellow

Andrea is an immigration and Latino affairs reporter for the Oregonian, where she also created and maintains a Spanish-language news blog of her translated articles. A graduate of Washington State University, she was the second-ever backpack journalism fellow in Nicaragua for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. While in college, her writing appeared in The Seattle Times, NBC News and The Spokesman Review. She also interned at the Times of India in Pune.

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Chase Cook
Chase Cook
Heartland Fellow

Chase is a contributor to Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit organization that produces investigative journalism on state public policy issues. A 2012 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has interned with the Tulsa World and worked as a reporter and editor at the Oklahoma Daily. He is a winner of a News21 fellowship, a program based at Arizona State University, where he will report on post-9/11 veterans’ issues.

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Serena Maria Daniels
Serena Maria Daniels
Heartland Fellow

Serena is a reporter for the Detroit News, focusing on the region’s immigrant community. She previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, where she documented the experiences of immigrant youth and the impact that escalating drug cartel violence had on families from the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Before moving to the Midwest, Serena worked at the Orange County Register and other California newspapers. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in journalism.

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Daysha Eaton
Daysha Eaton
Heartland Fellow

Daysha is a reporter at KSKA Alaska Public Media. She got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations KPLU and KUOW. She also has worked for Northwest Cable News and KING5 TV. Before coming to KSKA, she reported for KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska. Eaton has received the Goldie Award from the Alaska Broadcasters Association Division 2 in the “News Feature” category, for her article “Why Alaskan Fish Processing Jobs are Now Done By Foreign Laborers.” She has a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College and a master’s from the University of Southern California, where she was an Annenberg Fellow.

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Ruxandra Guidi
Ruxandra Guidi
Heartland Fellow

Ruxandra has over a decade of experience working in public radio, magazines and multimedia. A native of Venezuela, she has reported throughout the United States, the Caribbean and South and Central America. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002, Ruxandra worked as a reporter and producer for NPR’s Latino USA and for the BBC daily public radio news program The World. She has also produced magazine features and radio documentaries for the BBC World Service, NPR, the Walrus Magazine, Guernica Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, the Atlantic and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Marketplace radio. She was an immigration reporter for KPCC in Southern California.

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Jordana Gustafson
Jordana Gustafson
Heartland Fellow

Jordana is a reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting News. She began her radio career at WBUR in Boston and has reported and produced for numerous outlets, including NPR, Marketplace and This American Life. She was a member of the WUNC-Chapel Hill team that won the 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast News Award for the series, “Understanding Poverty.” In 2010, she and her colleagues were awarded the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for their documentary series, “The Arab World’s Demographic Dilemma.”

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Mirela Iverac
Mirela Iverac
Heartland Fellow

Mirela is a reporter for WNYC Radio in New York, where she covers immigration. Prior to joining WNYC in 2011, she was a contributor to the New York Times’ metro desk. She also reported for Time magazine, the New York Daily News and Forbes. In 2013, Mirela won a Gracie award for outstanding reporter/correspondent. Previously, she was recognized as Best New Journalist in the New York metropolitan area and has won awards for crime, feature and multimedia reporting. She holds master’s degrees in journalism from Columbia University and in international affairs from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

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Peggy Lowe
Peggy Lowe
Heartland Fellow

Peggy is the Public Insight Network analyst for Harvest Public Media, where she also runs social media, community outreach and regularly reports for NPR. She returned to the Midwest in 2011 after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she worked as a multimedia producer and writer at The Orange County Register. In Denver she worked for the Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the Columbine massacre and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. She is from O’Neill, the Irish capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City.

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Mary Beth Meehan
Mary Beth Meehan
Heartland Fellow

Mary Beth Meehan teaches documentary photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and directs the “Documenting Cultural Communities” program at the International Charter School in Rhode Island. A former staff photographer at The Providence Journal, Meehan has also contributed to The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. She received the 2012 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography. Her current project, City of Champions: A Portrait of Brockton, chronicles her hometown, a post-industrial Massachusetts city. The series won a “Crisis, Community and Civic Culture” grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, and was exhibited as a large-scale public exhibition. Meehan’s work from Brockton has been published in 6Mois Magazine and Le Monde (France), Bird Magazine (Japan), and featured on New York Times: LENS, as well as in solo exhibitions at Smith College and at the Griffin Museum of Photography; at the Ring Cube Gallery, in Tokyo; and in two New England Photography Biennial exhibitions at the Danforth Museum of Art. Meehan graduated from Amherst College and earned a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri.

 

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Zaidee Stavely
Zaidee Stavely
Heartland Fellow

Zaidee is the network news producer for Radio Bilingüe, the Latino Public Radio, where she produces a daily news show, a weekly news magazine and a daily newscast. She previously worked as an environmental reporter at Radio Bilingüe. Feature news stories she has produced include the health effects of an immigration raid on the residents of a small agricultural town in California’s San Joaquin Valley and an in-depth investigation of an unusually high number of birth defects in the mostly Latino town of Kettleman City in California’s Central Valley. She has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and she previously worked as a journalist in Mexico City.

Abbie Swanson
Abbie Swanson
Heartland Fellow

Abbie covers agribusiness for Harvest Public Media and is based at KBIA Radio in Columbia, Missouri. Previously, she reported on arts and culture for WNYC Radio in New York. Her work has won awards from the Online News Association, the Associated Press and the Garden State Journalists Association. Reporting fellowships have taken Abbie to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, India, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium to cover the World Cup, the Muslim Brotherhood’s use of social media, and sex workers overturning a law that criminalized being gay. She’s filed stories for the New York Times, the Patriot Ledger, KALW Public Radio, PRI’s The World and Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Eileen Truax
Eileen Truax
Heartland Fellow

Eileen is an award-winning journalist with over 18 years experience in Mexico and the United States. Born in Mexico City, Eileen moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and joined La Opinión, a daily Spanish-language newspaper, as an immigration and Mexican communities reporter. In 2010 she was promoted to online information editor for Impremedia. Currently, she writes a weekly column, “Si Muero Lejos de Ti,” for Huffington Post Voces, contributes to several Spanish-language publications and serves as Los Angeles correspondent for Gatopardo Magazine. Her first book, “Dreamers,” about undocumented students in the United States, was published in 2013.

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Sam Vega
Sam Vega
Heartland Fellow

Sam is a multimedia producer at Hoy, a Spanish-language daily in Chicago, where he shoots and edits video content, reports for the web and helps manage multiple media platforms. He was born in Chicago and raised in Humboldt Park, a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood. After spending several years as a self-employed DJ, playing a bit with theater and teaching podcasting classes to high school youth, he taught himself multimedia and communication skills. He was awarded a Pritzker Journalism Fellowship by Chicago Public Media and was recognized for his work at Hoy with the Jones Beck Leadership Award.

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Luis Argueta
Film Director

Luis is a film director and producer whose work spans features, documentaries, shorts and episodic TV. He has also worked as commercial director, lecturer and teacher in the United States, Europe and throughout the Americas. Born and raised in Guatemala, Luis is a U.S. citizen and has lived in New York City since 1977. His film, “The Silence of Neto,” is the only Guatemalan film ever to have been submitted to the Academy Awards competition, and he is the only Guatemalan director to have received a CLIO. In April 2009, the British newspaper The Guardian, listed Luis as one of Guatemala’s National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and singer/songwriter Ricardo Arjona. Luis’ most recent documentary is “abUSed:The Postville Raid,” about the effects of US enforcement policies on families. The film premiered on the PBS World program “America Reframed” in 2010, won “Best Documentary Audience Award” at Cinemaissi Film Festival in Finland and has been presented at nearly 200 venues.

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Jose Arreola
Educators for Fair Consideration

Jose is an outreach manager for Educators For Fair Consideration, a California-based nonprofit that helps undocumented young people achieve their education and career goals. He was born in Durango, Mexico and came to the United States when he was four years old. He studied political science, history and ethnic Studies at Santa Clara University, where he received a full scholarship. Jose was an outspoken leader on campus around issues of racism, inequality, and oppression. He has worked as executive director of the Multicultural Center at Santa Clara University and was trained as a community organizer for racial and economic justice by the Center for Third World Organizing in Oakland, Calif. As an undocumented student, Jose says he uses his experiences to help empower and support other “Dreamers” across the country.

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Chris Brewster
Santa Fe South Schools

Chris is superintendent of Santa Fe South Schools in Oklahoma City. He has served in public education for nearly 20 years and began work with these charter schools as founding principal in 2001. Born in Kansas City, he was a child of missionaries and was raised in five states and two countries. He graduated from high school in the Philippines. Earning his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University, he entered the public education field serving as a music teacher and coach in the inner city of Oklahoma City. Chris completed his master’s in education from the University of Oklahoma and is currently working on his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Christi. They have seven children (three recently adopted) who all attend Santa Fe South schools.

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Sue Lin Chong
Annie E. Casey Foundation

Sue Lin is the public affairs manager at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in Baltimore, Maryland. She is responsible for developing public affairs and media relations activities that maximize the Foundation’s mission to build brighter futures for children and families and manages the public affairs/public relations activities related to the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book and other KIDS COUNT publications. Sue Lin was most recently the co-chair and a director of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a philanthropic affinity group that advises foundations on funding opportunities in the immigration and refugee area. She is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She served as a trustee and director on the board of the Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association for over 10 years at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Sue Lin received a bachelor of arts degree in art history at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Hawaii at the University of Hawaii.

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Joanna Dreby
University at Albany, State University of New York

Joanna is an ethnographer whose research focuses on the ways migratory patterns and families’ decisions about work and child care affect children. She has been an assistant professor of sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York since 2011 and received her doctorate from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007. She is author of the book “Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children” (University of California Press 2010), which describes the lives of mothers, fathers and children who are separated during international migration. “Divided by Borders” received the Goode Book Award and the Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association. Her current research explores the experiences of young children growing up in Mexican immigrant households in Ohio and New Jersey.

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Imad Enchassi
Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City

Imad Enchassi is the imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City and chairman
of Islamic Studies at Oklahoma City University.

Ashley Moore
Ashley Moore
Catholic Charities, Oklahoma City

Ashley is the director of family support services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Her responsibilities include supervising and developing Catholic Charities’ client case management programs, including family HOPE, disaster recovery, transitional housing, and emergency assistance. She also works closely with other social service agencies to coordinate and expand services to the community. She studied at the University of Denver, earning a master’s in international studies, focusing on various international and domestic policy issues that led her toward a career in social services.

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Nina Rabin
University of Arizona

Nina is associate clinical professor of law and director of the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program at the James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona. She is also director of border research at the university’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women. During the 2012-2013 academic year, she is on leave from the University of Arizona while visiting Yale Law School as the senior fellow in residence with the Liman Public Interest Program. Her work focuses on the impact of immigration and border policies on women and children’s rights, and she has written extensively about immigrants’ parental rights and the treatment of domestic violence victims at the border. She directs projects that provide legal and social services to low-wage immigrant workers and women in immigration detention facilities.

Robert Ruiz
Robert Ruiz
Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Robert is president of the board for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and a commissioner on the Norman Human Rights Commission. He is a partner of Enye Media, the largest Hispanic marketing firm in Oklahoma, and partner of Enye Music, a music management and production company. Ruiz serves on the Board of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and is a past chairman of the Norman Music Festival. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, and came to Oklahoma in 1997 as a National Scholar at the University of Oklahoma

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Laura Speer
Annie E. Casey Foundation

Laura is the associate director for policy reform and data at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has primary responsibility for the National KIDS COUNT Project including annual publications, the KIDS COUNT Data Center and social media presence. Having spent a number of years doing state- and local-level child advocacy work, Laura is now a key liaison and resource person for the KIDS COUNT network of state advocates in the U.S., as well as a growing number of child advocates in Latin America interested in data-based advocacy. Laura has a bachelor’s of arts degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University. She is a regular blogger on momsrising.org and tweets at @laurabmore on twitter.

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Monica Tellez-Palmer
Monica Tellez-Palmer
Catholic Charities, Oklahoma City

Monica is the director for clinical services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. As a bilingual therapist, she has been providing services to the Latino community for more than 20 years. She is a licensed professional counselor and licensed professional counselor supervisor. Palmer received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and earned her master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Oklahoma in 1992. She was born in El Paso, Tex., and moved to Oklahoma in 1984. She and her husband, Ron, have two children, Ryan and Megan.

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