The 2016 Class of New America Fellows

Press Release
Sept. 8, 2015

Washington, D.C. – New America is pleased to announce the appointment of the following 2016 Fellows who will join us for year-long fellowships beginning this September:

Rania Abouzeid will write a book about the Syrian uprising. She has reported from the Middle East and South Asia for over a decade and is currently a freelance journalist based in Beirut. Her work has appeared in TIME magazine, The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, National Geographic, Politico, and other outlets, both print and television. She is the recipient of the 2015 Michael Kelly Award, the 2014 George Polk Award for foreign reporting, and the 2013 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism among other honors, which include fellowships at the European Council on Foreign Relations and Columbia University’s Dart Center. She has thrice been a finalist for the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents. Abouzeid is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, Australia.

David B. Auerbach will write a book on the impact of algorithmic and computational methods on public policy and social life, to be published by Pantheon. He currently writes the weekly Bitwise column on technology for Slate, for which he was nominated for a National Magazine Award in Columns and Commentary in 2014 for a series of pieces on Previously he was a software engineer at Google and Microsoft for ten years, working primarily on server and systems infrastructure. He has also written on technology, politics, philosophy, and literature for n+1, Reuters, The Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, The American Reader, and elsewhere. Auerbach is a graduate of Yale University.

Andrew Bolden will write the libretto and compose the score for a new musical about NSA surveillance, anchored by the Edward Snowden narrative, exploring themes of privacy, power, and patriotism. He has worked at New America since 2008, with a hiatus for graduate studies. He holds master’s degrees in music from Converse College and Emory University.

Jesse Eisinger is writing a book on white-collar crime and (non)punishment, to be published by Simon & Schuster. He is a senior reporter at ProPublica. He writes a regular column for The New York Times’ Dealbook section. In April 2011, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of stories on questionable Wall Street practices that helped make the financial crisis the worst since the Great Depression. He won the 2015 Gerald Loeb Award for commentary. He has also twice been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, among other honors. He has a B.A. from Columbia College.

Franklin Foer, who joined as a New America Fellow in the spring, is writing a book about the threat that big technology companies pose to the future of thinking. Previously, Foer was the editor of The New Republic magazine. He has been a staff writer at Slate and New York. His book, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, has been translated into 27 languages. Sports Illustrated named it one of the most important books of the decade.

Jeff Goodell is working on a book about the impact of sea level rise on Miami, as well as other cities around the world, to be published by Little, Brown. He is currently a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone and the author of five books, including How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, which won the 2011 Grantham Prize Award of Special Merit. Goodell’s previous books include Sunnyvale, a memoir about growing up in Silicon Valley, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future.

Robin V. Harris, Ph.D., will write a book about the “godmother of school choice,” Annette “Polly” Williams, the Wisconsin state legislator who ignited a national movement by writing and sponsoring Milwaukee’s landmark school voucher program. Currently, Harris is the managing editor at The Education Trust, a national education advocacy and policy organization. Previously, she served as editorial director at Education Sector and associate editor of Diverse Issues in Higher Education, where she focused on issues facing students of color in K-12 and Higher Education. She is a graduate of Howard University and earned a master’s and doctorate in English literature from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Zaha Hassan will complete a novel, Die Standing Like Trees, which deals with a Palestinian-American woman’s search for answers twenty years after her mother’s violent death during the height of the Oslo peace talks. She is a human rights lawyer and former coordinator and senor legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team during Palestine’s bid for UN membership from 2010-2012. She received her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, an LLM in Transnational & International Law from Willamette University, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.A. in political science and Near East languages and civilizations. She has been cohost for the last two years of the Portland, Oregon radio show, One Land Many Voices, on KBOO 90.7 FM and is a contributor to the online magazine, The Civil Arab. Hassan will be a New America Middle East Fellow.

Kevin Huffman will write a book about the challenge of building a first-rate public school system in the face of modern political dysfunction. Huffman was Tennessee’s Education Commissioner from 2011 to 2015, as the state made the largest academic gains in the country. He began his education career as a first and second grade teacher, and later became an education lawyer and a senior executive at Teach For America. He also wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post, where he won the paper’s inaugural “America’s Next Great Pundit” writing competition in 2009. Huffman is a graduate of Swarthmore College and has a J.D. from New York University.

Greg Jacobs will co-direct a feature-length documentary film on the power and potential impact of quality early childhood education. Greg is the co-founder of Chicago-based Siskel/Jacobs Productions, which produced the landmark History Channel documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America, as well as the Emmy-winning National Geographic Channel special Witness: Katrina. He also co-directed the acclaimed documentary film Louder Than a Bomb. A graduate of Yale University, Greg has an M.A. in history from Ohio State and is the author of Getting Around Brown, a history of school desegregation in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

Trymaine Lee will write a book on the true costs of gun violence in America, in terms of lost dreams and wasted dollars, to be published by St. Martin’s Press. He is currently a national reporter for MSNBC. For more than a dozen years Lee has chronicled the role of race, violence, law enforcement, and politics in the lives of everyday Americans. Previously, Lee was a reporter at The Huffington Post where in 2012 he broke the Trayvon Martin story to a national audience. He has been a reporter at The New York Times and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans where he won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News as part of a team covering the fallout from Hurricane Katrina. Lee is a past recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists Emerging Journalist of the Year award and contributed reporting to The New York Times’ 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for its coverage of the Gov. Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. He is a graduate of Rowan University and has a B.A. in journalism. He will be an Emerson Fellow at New America.

Jay Newton-Small will explore Alzheimer’s disease and end of life care through a book she is writing about her father’s diagnosis and treatment. She is also researching the power of narrative on caregiving and how to build communities in long-term care homes. She is currently a correspondent for TIME magazine and author of the forthcoming book, Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way Washington Works. Previously, she was a reporter at Bloomberg News. She is a graduate of Tufts University and has an M.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Alexis Okeowo will write a book about ordinary people standing up to extremism in Africa, to be published by Hachette. She is joining The New Yorker as a staff writer. Okeowo was a finalist for the 2014 Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the 2014 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, and a recipient of a 2012 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship, among other honors. She grew up in Montgomery, Alabama and graduated from Princeton University.

Donna A. Patterson is writing a book on transnational drug consumption, distribution, and control in Senegal, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde. She is the author of Pharmacy in Senegal: Gender, Healing, and Entrepreneurship and she has forthcoming publications on entrepreneurial pharmacists and the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic. Patterson has published scholarly articles in the Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved and the Journal of Women's History, and has been a frequent commentator on global health and African affairs at The Huffington Post, Pacifica, NPR, and Global Health Now. She has held fellowships at the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, the West African Research Association, and Princeton University, and she has a Ph.D. in African history from Indiana University. Patterson will be a Carnegie Fellow at New America.

K. Sabeel Rahman will write a book about how democratic participation and civic power is vital to addressing long-term economic inequalities—from finance and corporate power, to urban inequality and community development, to economic insecurity and the gig economy. An Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, Rahman was a Special Advisor on economic development strategy in New York City from 2014-15, and currently serves on the New York City Rent Guidelines Board. Rahman is the Research and Design Director and part of the founding leadership team for the Gettysburg Project, a first-of-its-kind design and innovation lab that draws together leading community organizers and academics to foster new strategies aimed at rebuilding American democracy in the face of long-term challenges of economic, ecological, and social justice. Rahman is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied economic development and law as a Rhodes Scholar, and Harvard University, where he earned his A.B., J.D., and Ph.D. in political theory. His writings have appeared in venues like The Boston Review, The Nation, and Salon. His first book, Governing the Economy: Democracy, Domination, and the Administrative State (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), examines how Progressive Era political thought can inform contemporary democratic theory and debates in post-financial crisis administrative law and economic regulation.

Janell Ross is writing a book about the racial wealth gap and the truths about its real origins laid bare by the Great Recession. The book will be published by Beacon Press. Ross is a political reporter for the Washington Post. Previously, she has covered a range of social issues including race, politics, and immigration for The National Journal, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, The Tennessean, The News & Observer, and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. She is a graduate of Vassar College and earned a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Scott Silverstone will complete a book on the strategic complexities of preventive war and the enduring historical debate over British and French policy in response to the rise of German power in the 1930s. He is currently a Professor of International Relations and the Director of the International Relations program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Silverstone is the author of Preventive War and American Democracy, and Divided Union: the Politics of War in the Early American Republic. At the beginning of his career he was a U.S. Naval Officer flying with a P-3 Orion squadron in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean and he served as a crisis management officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. Silverstone will be a Carnegie Fellow at New America.

Bina Venkataraman will write a book about how our society of gamblers can forge tools to think about the future amid rapid technological change. She is currently the Director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, a lecturer at MIT, and an op-ed columnist. She is the former senior advisor for climate change innovation in the Obama White House, and a former science journalist for The New York Times and The Boston Globe. She is an alumna of Harvard's Kennedy School and Brown University, where she now serves on the University President's Leadership Council. A previous recipient of a Fulbright and a Metcalf Institute fellowship, Venkataraman was recently named a 2015 Young Leader by the French-American Foundation. She will be a Carnegie Fellow at New America.

Zheng Wang will write a book about how to think about China’s rise and future U.S.-China relations. The book aims to inform the policy community how to interpret and respond to China’s new diplomatic initiatives, maritime disputes with its neighbors, and nationalism. Zheng Wang is currently the Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies and an Associate Professor in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. His book Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations is the recipient of the International Studies Association’s the Yale H. Ferguson Award for the best book of the year. He has a Ph.D. in conflict resolution from George Mason University. He will be a Carnegie Fellow at New America.

Josephine Wolff will write a book about a series of cyber security incidents over the course of the past decade, tracing their economic and legal aftermath and their impact on the current state of technical, social, and political lines of defense. She received her Ph.D. from MIT in 2015 and is joining the Rochester Institute of Technology faculty in the public policy and computing security departments. She is also a faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Her writing has appeared in Slate, The Atlantic, Scientific American, The New Republic, Newsweek, and The New York Times’ Opinionator blog. She has an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University. She will be a New America Cybersecurity Initiative Fellow.

David Wood is writing a book on moral injury, the effects of war on those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on civilians at home who sent them. It will be published by Little, Brown in 2016. A staff correspondent for The Huffington Post, he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series on the severely wounded of those wars. He is a former conscientious objector who has covered the military and wars since 1977 as a staff correspondent for TIME, the Los Angeles Times, Newhouse News Service, and other publications. He will be a Future of War fellow at New America.

Joshua Yaffa will report and write on how Vladimir Putin has sought to redefine the pillars of his rule and legitimacy, and what this new age of Putinism means both for everyday Russians and Western governments. More specifically, he will work on a book that looks at the lives of several Russians and the inevitable accommodation they must reach with the system around them. He is currently based in Moscow, where he is a contributor to The Economist and The New Yorker, among other publications. For his work in Russia, he has been a finalist for a Livingston Award, a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, and received a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. He was previously an associate editor at Foreign Affairs. He is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and holds master’s degrees in journalism and international affairs from Columbia University.

New America is also pleased to announce the renewal of the following Fellows:

Brian K. Barber, Ph.D., who will continue writing and reporting his book narrating the lives of six men and their families from the Gaza Strip who he has interviewed regularly for the past 20 years since they emerged as youth from the first Palestinian intifada in 1993.

Jason DeParle, an Emerson Fellow, who will continue writing a book about the rise of global migration and its impact on both the advanced and developing world. A Good Provider is One Who Leaves: Migration in the 21st Century will be published by Viking and is based in part on an extended family of migrants from the Philippines that DeParle has followed for many years.

Andrea Elliott, an Emerson Fellow, who will continue writing her book about child poverty in the new gilded age, based in part on her award-winning New York Times series “Invisible Child,” to be published by Random House.

Virginia Eubanks, who will pursue a three-year research study into digital privacy, economic inequality, and data-based discrimination. Funded by the Digital Trust Foundation, this project engages a team of grassroots organizations—The Center for Community Transitions (Charlotte, North Carolina), Allied Media Projects (Detroit, Michigan), and Los Angeles Community Action Network/Stop LAPD Spying (Los Angeles, California)—to examine and address the collection, storage, and sharing of personal data in poor and working-class neighborhoods across the United States.

Mei Fong, who will continue reporting on issues related to U.S.-China relations and be promoting her forthcoming book, One Child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Social Experiment, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in February 2016.

Hua Hsu, who will continue his work studying immigrant culture and American ideas around diversity. His first book, A Floating Chinaman, will be published by Harvard University Press in spring of 2016.

Christopher Leonard, a Schmidt Family Foundation Fellow, who will continue researching, reporting, and writing his book about Koch Industries.

Yascha Mounk, a newly-appointed Carnegie Fellow, who will write a book about the crisis of liberal democracy, arguing that a recent rise in technocratic governance is already leading to a dangerous populist backlash in both North America and Western Europe.

Monica Potts, who will write a book about the dilemmas facing poor women and explore the idea of a second-chance society.

Levi Tillemann, an ASU Resilient Futures Fellow, will be researching, writing about, and developing projects on clean energy, synthetic markets, and the future of mobility.

Julian E. Zelizer, who will continue to work on his book about the scandal that brought down Speaker of the House Jim Wright in 1989 and continue to work on co-authoring a book about America since the 1970s.

New America is also pleased to announce the renewal of the following ASU Future of War Fellows:

Rosa Brooks, a Senior Fellow, who will continue writing about the changing nature of warfare, the changing role of the U.S. military, and the need to rethink the core assumptions about the laws of war.

David Kilcullen, a Senior Fellow, who is currently working on a book examining the future of unconventional warfare, and is developing his 2015 Quarterly Essay piece “Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State” into a full-length book to be published in early 2016.

Douglas Ollivant, a Senior Fellow, who will continue work writing his book on Hybrid Warfare.

Tom Ricks, a Senior Advisor with the International Security Program, who is in the early stages of a book growing out of the Future of War project examining the military transitions that accompanied the industrial revolution, and the lessons and parallels they might hold for our current transition into the information age.

Daniel Rothenberg, a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Future of War Program, who will write a book about the economic, political, and social costs of the post-9/11 wars.

About the New America Fellows Program

The New America Fellows Program supports talented journalists, academics and other public policy analysts who offer a fresh and often unpredictable perspective on the major challenges facing our society. New America Fellows are selected on a highly competitive basis, and serve — some full-time, some on an adjunct basis — for one or two years. New America provides them with a non-partisan intellectual community where they can pursue their individual research projects. The Fellows benefit from their engagement with each other, and with New America's various policy programs, while their presence adds to the intellectual verve of the institution and helps shape its longer-term agenda and focus.