New America Announces National Fellows Class of 2019

Press Release
Sept. 5, 2018

Washington, D.C.—Today, New America announced its National Fellows Class of 2019.

New America’s Fellows Program invests in thinkers—journalists, scholars, filmmakers, and public policy analysts—whose work enhances public conversations about the most pressing issues of our day. The full roster of the 2019 National Fellows can also be found here.

The Class of 2019 marks three significant milestones for New America and the Fellows Program. In our 20th anniversary year, we have now welcomed our 200th National Fellow and marked the publication of our 100th Fellows Program-supported book. This class of fellows is comprised of 17 individuals who will pursue projects in areas including criminal justice, reproductive rights, race and activism, climate change, future of work, surveillance, cell-cultured food technology, school vouchers, as well as the future of war (North Korea and Yemen).

“The Fellows Program has been a core part of New America's identity for nearly 20 years,” New America President and CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter said. “We are proud to have provided an intellectual home to many talented writers and scholars over the years, supporting a new generation of public intellectuals writing, filming, communicating, photographing, and coding about important public problems in ways that appeal to a wide audience. Each class of Fellows faces ever stiffer competition in the selection process; I am thrilled to welcome this latest cohort to the New America family."

“Selected from more than 470 applications, this class honors the organization’s and program’s rich history, and introduces us to new voices that reflect a new America,” Fellows Program Director Awista Ayub said. “Their work has the capacity to broaden our understanding of pressing issues that can, oftentimes, be forgotten or go untold. This class represents a range of expertise that we are excited to support this year."

Learn about the more than 470 applications we received this year. Read our “Who Applied?: Class of 2019 National Fellows Program Applicants” report here.

New America’s Fellows Program thanks Eric & Wendy Schmidt, New America's board of directors, Emerson Collective, the 11th Hour Project, Arizona State University's Center on the Future of War, the Center for the Future of Arizona, Southern New Hampshire University, and New America’s Muslim Diaspora Initiative for their support this year.

The 2019 Class of New America National Fellows:

Rachel Aviv, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, has been a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine since 2013. She often writes about medicine, criminal justice, and education. She was a finalist for the 2018 National Magazine Award for Public Interest for a story about elderly people being stripped of their legal rights. As a fellow, she will report on people who use alternative models and vocabularies to understand and recover from psychiatric illness.

Assia Boundaoui, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is iterating her most recent hybrid work combining community storytelling, visual arts, and artificial intelligence: the Inverse Surveillance Project. An Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago, Boundaoui's work has been featured on BBC, NPR, PRI, Al Jazeera, VICE, CNN and HBO. Her feature-length debut film, The Feeling of Being Watched, a documentary investigating a decade of FBI surveillance in Boundaoui's Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the International Documentary Association, San Francisco Film Society, and the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab. Boundaoui has a master of arts in journalism from New York University and is fluent in Arabic.

Iona Craig, ASU Future of War Fellow, will be investigating U.S. counterterrorism and foreign policy in Yemen. She was previously based in Sanaa from 2010 to 2015 as Yemen correspondent for The Times (of London). Her work has won numerous awards, including the 2016 Orwell Prize for journalism, the United Kingdom’s most prestigious honor for political writing, and the 2014 Martha Gellhorn Prize, Britain’s leading investigative journalism award, for her reporting on America’s covert war in Yemen. Her investigation for The Intercept of a Navy SEAL raid in a remote Yemeni village won the 2018 George Polk Award for foreign reporting. In 2018 she was also the runner-up for the Overseas Press Club of America Roy Rowan Award for investigative reporting on an international story, as well as the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.

Jill N. Filipovic, ASU Future of War Fellow, will work on a series of stories about abortion access for rape survivors in conflict and crisis zones, examining the impacts of local law, abortion stigma, and U.S. foreign policy on reproductive rights. A non-practicing lawyer, she is a weekly columnist for CNN and a contributing opinion writer to the New York Times. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, TIME, and others. She is the author of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.

Cara Fitzpatrick, New Arizona Fellow, will write a book about the history of school vouchers, tracing the concept across six decades of American political life. Fitzpatrick is an independent education journalist in New York. Prior to that, she was an education reporter at newspapers in Florida. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting in 2016 for a series about school segregation. The Tampa Bay Times series was also honored with a Polk award and the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism, among others. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and she was a Spencer education reporting fellow at Columbia in 2018.

Masha Gessen, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is working on a book about imaginative political projects. Gessen's previous book, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, won the 2017 National Book Award for nonfiction. Gessen is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a John J. McCloy Professor at Amherst College.

Lisa M. Hamilton, National Fellow, will write a narrative nonfiction book centered on the world’s most important food: rice. Set in Fresno, California and the mountains of Laos, the story raises questions about identity, migration, and adaptation. It will be published by Little, Brown & Company in 2021.

Hamilton is a writer and photographer who has focused on agriculture and rural communities for more than two decades. She is the author of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, and her magazine features have been published in Harper’s,California Sunday, Virginia Quarterly Review,and elsewhere.

Sarah J. Jackson, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, will write a book on the relationship between the collective memory of the civil rights movement and #BlackLivesMatter and other contemporary racial justice efforts. This project centers the 21st-century interventions of Black media-makers and activists into the way we talk, and think, about race and activism in the United States. Jackson is an associate professor at Northeastern University, a fellow at the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School, and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She holds an MA from the University of Michigan, a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and an RYT200 yoga certification. She is the author of Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press and co-author of a forthcoming volume on hashtag activism.

Jonathan M. Katz, ASU Future of War Fellow, is writing a book about the forgotten wars that created America's empire in the early twentieth century, told through the life of a legendary Marine who fought in them all but came to struggle with his country's legacy. His first book, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction and won the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award for the year's best book on international affairs, and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. Katz is a former Associated Press correspondent who has reported from more than a dozen countries and territories around the world as well as Congress and the Pentagon. He was awarded the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism (since renamed for James Foley) for his coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times and other publications, and directs the Media & Journalism Initiative at Duke University's John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute.

Suki Kim, ASU Future of War Fellow, will be working on a narrative nonfiction book on war and its psychological consequences generations later, seen through North Korea's ruling class as a portrait of complicity, which will combine investigative journalism, and literary reportage. An author of New York Times best-seller Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korean Elite, Kim is the only writer ever to have lived undercover in North Korea for immersive journalism. Her novel The Interpreter was the winner of PEN Open Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her nonfiction has appeared in Harper’s, New York Times, New York Review of Books, and New Republic, where she is a contributing editor. She has been awarded Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Open Society fellowships, and her recent TED Talk has drawn millions of viewers. Her essay on fear appears in The Best American Essays 2018.

Karen Levy, New Arizona Fellow, will spend her fellowship year writing her book, Data Driven: Truckers and the New Workplace Surveillance, which investigates the emergence of digital technologies in the U.S. long-haul trucking industry. The book considers truckers as a case study to contribute to public debates about automation, data collection, and the future of work in the digital age. Levy is an assistant professor in the department of information science at Cornell University and associated faculty at Cornell Law School, where she researches the social, legal, and ethical dimensions of new technologies. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and a J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Reuben Jonathan Miller, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, will spend the fellowship year finishing Halfway Home, a book on what he calls the afterlife of mass incarceration. Drawing from over 15 years of research and practice with currently and formerly incarcerated people, Halfway Home reveals what it is like to live in a “supervised society” where criminal justice policy has changed the nature of American democracy one poor black family at a time.

Miller is an assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago where he is a faculty affiliate in the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and with the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. In 2016 he was selected as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in the School of Social Science in Princeton, New Jersey.

Chase Purdy, National Fellow, is reporting and writing on emerging cell-cultured food technology and the edible space race among a handful of global start-ups to get cell-cultured meat to market. His work will take him from Silicon Valley to Washington D.C., Amsterdam, Israel, and beyond as he seeks to understand and document the brains, science, money, and politics behind this nascent industry, as well as its potential impact on the culture of cuisine. Purdy is a staff writer at Quartz, where he covers the science, politics, and technology of food and nutrition. Previously, he covered U.S. food and agriculture policy for Politico. His work has also appeared in the New York Times.

Kevin Sack, Emerson Fellow, is writing a book, his first, about the 200-year history of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, site of the 2015 massacre of nine congregants by a young white supremacist. He is a longtime correspondent and senior writer with the New York Times, specializing in long-form narrative and investigative projects. He also has served as bureau chief in Atlanta and Albany and has written extensively on domestic politics and race relations. Sack has shared in three Pulitzer Prizes during a more than three decade career, which includes stints with the Los Angeles Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, attended Duke University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Melissa Segura, Emerson Fellow, is an investigative reporter with BuzzFeed News. Her reporting focuses on the intersection of justice, class and race. As a fellow, Segura will write a book detailing the major fault lines within the criminal justice system from arrest to conviction to appeal. The book builds upon her 2017 landmark investigation detailing how a group of predominantly working class, Latina women from Chicago uncovered evidence suggesting a police detective framed at least 51 of their sons, brothers, or husbands. Her series, “Broken Justice in Chicago,” has led to the exoneration of nine men who had each spent decades behind bars. In 2018, the series earned her the George Polk Award in Journalism for local reporting and recognition as a finalist for Harvard's Goldsmith Award. Before BuzzFeed News, Segura was a staff writer for Sports Illustrated. She received her B.A. in Spanish studies and communication from Santa Clara University.

David Wallace-Wells, National Fellow, is deputy editor of New York Magazine, where he also writes frequently about climate and the near future of science and technology, including his widely read and debated 2017 cover story on worst-case scenarios for global warming. He is working on a book about the meaning of climate change—not just what it will do to the planet but how it will shape our politics, our culture, and our emotional lives.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is the author of a memoir, Losing My Cool, and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. He has received support from Yaddo and MacDowell and is the recipient of a Berlin Prize. As a New America Fellow, he will complete a book of nonfiction stemming from his experience as the black American father of two white-looking children in Paris. It will concern itself with three deceptively simple questions: What, if anything, remains “black” in my blond-haired, blue-eyed children? What—if I’m a "black" man capable of having kids who look like this—does “race” as we construct it even mean? And what might all of our lives look like should we dare to see past the color line?