New America Announces National Fellows Class of 2020

Press Release
Sept. 5, 2019

Washington, D.C.— Today, New America announced its newest class of National Fellows.

The Class of 2020 consists of 15 talented individuals who will pursue projects varying in form and approach. In New America’s 20th anniversary year, the Fellows Program will be supporting 12 books, two films, and its first podcast project. This class of National Fellows includes writers, educators, artists, filmmakers, doctors, editors, and scholars who are dedicated to enhancing conversations around the most pressing issues of our time. The full roster of 2020 National Fellows can be found here.

New America’s Fellows Program invests in thinkers who generate big, bold ideas that have impact and spark new conversations. The Class of 2020 will pursue projects on a wide array of topics, including the legacy of slavery, immigration, mass incarceration, Chinese surveillance, terrorism, medical caregiving, the refugee experience, and more.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, the New America Fellows Program is an essential bridge between our past and our future,” New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter said. “The idea of finding and supporting a new generation of public intellectuals who could engage broad audiences on the most important issues of America's future animated our founders and continues today. This latest class of National Fellows is an exciting group of big thinkers and creative storytellers, including many new voices who represent the America we are becoming and reflect the power and possibility of renewal. I am proud and happy to welcome the Class of 2020 to New America."

“Every year, we receive hundreds of applications, all worthy of a fellowship, but those projects that stand out are ones that challenge us to think deeply and thoughtfully about pressing social issues,” Fellows Program Director Awista Ayub said. “This year's class continues to push their form, whether as a writer, filmmaker, or artist, to tell the stories that force us to stop, take notice, and act.”

Learn more about the nearly 400 applications we received to the program this year. Read our “Who Applied?: Class of 2020 National Fellows Program Applicants” report here.

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

The 2020 Class of New America National Fellows:

Trevor Aaronson, ASU Future Security Fellow, is working on a book and a podcast series about Americans who joined the Islamic State. Aaronson's previous book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism, documented how federal law enforcement uses informants and sting operations in Muslim communities. His TED Talk about the FBI's counterterrorism practices has been viewed more than 1 million times and translated into 23 languages. Aaronson is a contributing writer at the Intercept and a co-founder of the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera English, and the Miami Herald. He was previously a fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica Bruder, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is an associate adjunct professor at the Columbia Journalism School and the author, most recently, of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century (W.W. Norton & Co., 2017). Her long-form narrative writing has appeared in WIRED, New York Magazine, Harper's, the Nation, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other publications.

Her upcoming book focuses on the tight-knit community of East Africans working at an Amazon facility in Shakopee, Minnesota. Most are Somali Muslims. Many are refugees. The book follows their rise to the forefront of the American labor movement, examining their struggles through the prism of race, immigration, economic inequality, and anti-Muslim sentiment in the modern American workplace.

Josh Chin, National Fellow, is writing a book that examines China's drive to build the world's first surveillance state and what it reveals about state use of data for social control. Chin has spent more than a decade covering China for the Wall Street Journal in print and video. He led a team that won the 2018 Gerald Loeb Award for international reporting for a series exposing the Chinese government's pioneering embrace of digital surveillance.

Molly Crabapple, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is an artist and author of two books Drawing Blood and Brothers of the Gun with Marwan Hisham, which was longlisted for a 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Her reportage has been published in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, the Paris Review, Vanity Fair, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere. Her art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art. She is currently working on a book about the forgotten history of the Jewish Labor Bund.

Josie Duffy Rice, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is president of the Appeal, a news publication that publishes original journalism about the criminal justice system. As a journalist, Duffy Rice has primarily focused on prosecutors, prisons, and other criminal justice issues. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Slate, among others. She is working on a book about the fundamental impulses and instinctive emotions that drive mass incarceration. Duffy Rice also co-hosts the podcast “Justice in America,” which will begin its third season in fall of 2019. She is a 2019 Type Media Fellow, and a 2019 Civic Media Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Patricia Evangelista, ASU Future Security Fellow, is a Manila-based trauma journalist covering disaster, conflict, and human rights issues. She was a fellow at the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and the Logan Nonfiction Fellowship. Her reporting on armed conflict as well as on the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan was awarded the Kate Webb Prize for exceptional journalism in dangerous conditions.

Evangelista was a staff reporter for the Philippine news agency Rappler for seven years, where she produced documentaries and long-form multimedia reportage. She led the investigative team behind the Rappler series “Impunity,” covering President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. The series is a recipient of the Human Rights Press Award, three Society of Publishers in Asia Awards, and was a 2018 finalist for the Osborn Elliott Prize for Journalism. Evangelista is writing a book on the Philippine drug war.

Suzy Hansen, ASU Future Security Fellow, is working on a book about life in one Istanbul neighborhood. The project will focus on the neighborhood's experience with the Syrian refugee crisis, the long history of internal and external migration in Turkey, and the dramatic changes in Turkish politics and social and urban life during the years of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and the author of Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World, which was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction and the winner of the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award for best nonfiction book on international affairs.

CJ Hunt, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is producing The Neutral Ground, a feature-length documentary about New Orleans' fight over Confederate monuments and America's codependent relationship with the Lost Cause. Hunt is a biracial comedian currently working as a field producer on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah. He was also a field producer on BET's “The Rundown” with Robin Thede and a staff writer on A&E's “Black and White.” With a degree in Africana studies and a career in finding humor at the edge of tragedy, Hunt believes satire is perfect for capturing the absurdity of a losing army erecting self-congratulatory statues that are protected for a century as "our history." He is an alumnus of the New Orleans Film Fest's Emerging Voices program and a fellow with Firelight Media's Documentary Lab. His work is supported by ITVS, the Center for Asian American Media, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

Daniela Lamas, New Arizona Fellow, is a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Brigham & Women's Hospital and faculty at Harvard Medical School. Following graduation from Harvard College, she went on to earn her M.D. at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, where she also completed an internship and residency. She then returned to Boston for her subspecialty fellowship. Her first book, You Can Stop Humming Now: A Doctor's Stories of Life, Death, and in Between, was published by Little, Brown in 2018. She is also a staff writer for the Twentieth Century Fox medical TV drama The Resident. She is interested in writing about loneliness, caregiving, and the unseen stories of critical care.

Vann R. Newkirk II, 11th Hour Fellow, is a staff writer at the Atlantic, where he covers civil rights, environmental justice, and politics. He has covered the battles for voting rights since the 2013 Shelby County Supreme Court decision, the fate of communities on the front lines of climate change and disasters, and the black vote in the 2018 and 2020 elections. He is working on a book on the fates of some of the oldest black communities in the United States in the paths of climate catastrophes, and also on a podcast for the Atlantic about Hurricane Katrina.

Julia Ott, New Arizona Fellow, is a scholar, teacher, and public intellectual. She investigates how financial institutions, practices, and theories influence American political culture and how, in turn, policies and political beliefs shape economic behavior and outcomes. Her current book project, Wealth Over Work: The Origins of Venture Capital, The Return of Inequality, and the Decline of Innovation, examines the history of venture capital as a concept, as an industry, and as a form of political mobilization. At present, she is collaborating with FICTILIS (artist-curators Andrea Steves and Tim Furstnau) to install the Museum of Capitalism in Kellen Gallery at The New School, to open October 2019. Ott is an associate professor in the history of capitalism at the New School, co-founder of the Robert L. Heilbroner of Capitalism Studies, and a member of the editorial board of Dissent.

Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, is a Mexican immigrant filmmaker, cinematographer, and multimedia creator. His work intersects contemporary art, political documentary, and visual ethnography to explore themes of belonging and alienation in immigrant communities. His feature-length film Border South follows the migrant routes from southern Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border. The result is a close-up, nuanced, and highly original view of the migrant experience, one fraught with risk and danger but also comradery, ingenuity, and humor. Border South had its world premiere at the 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest in the U.K. Paz-Pastrana is a Princess Grace Awards Special Project Grantee, an Art Matters/Jerome Foundation Cassis France Arts Fellow, a Tribeca Film Institute All Access grant recipient, a 2018 IFP Filmmaker Labs fellow, a 2018-20 Firelight Media Documentary Lab Fellow, and a 2018-19 Ford Foundation, JustFilms grantee.

David Rohde, ASU Future Security Fellow, is the executive editor for news of and a global affairs analyst for CNN. As a fellow, he will work on his book, In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s Deep State, which examines growing fears on the left and right of an American "Deep State," the effectiveness of government oversight of the bureau and the agency, and Donald Trump's use of the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, he is a former reporter for Reuters, the New York Times, and the Christian Science Monitor. The author of three books, he lives in New York with his wife and two daughters.

Matthew Shaer, Emerson Fellow, is a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine. He is working on a book, due out in 2021 from Metropolitan, about the criminalization of poverty in the United States. Tentatively titled The Worst Poverty: Debt and Profit in the Other America, the book will look at the various criminal justice mechanisms—from fines and court fees to privatized probation—that help keep the most impoverished Americans trapped in brutalizing cycles of debt. The book project grew out of a 2019 Times Magazine article about the re-emergence of debtor's prisons in the South. A 2014 National Magazine Award finalist, and a regular contributor to outlets like the Atlantic, Harper's, and New York Magazine, Shaer lives in Atlanta with his family.

Clint Smith, Emerson Fellow, will complete his book, How The Word is Passed, a narrative nonfiction project that explores the relationship between place and public history, in which he travels to different sites throughout the country examining how each of them reckon with or fail to reckon with, their relationship to the history of slavery and Jim Crow. The book will be published by Little, Brown.

Smith’s essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New Republic, Poetry Magazine, the Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere. His debut collection of poetry, Counting Descent, won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, and was selected as the 2017 One Book One New Orleans book selection. He lives in greater Washington D.C. and is currently completing his Ph.D. at Harvard University.