Here are the bios for the terrific group of 13 Howard Center for Investigative Journalism fellows at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
Our existing fellows — Torrence Banks, Fatema Hosseini, Greg Morton, Stephanie Quinn, Sarah Siock and Abby Wallace — are joined by Sapna Bansil, Aidan Hughes, Mennatala Ibrahim, Cait Kelley, Adriana Navarro, April Quevedo and Caley Fox Shannon.
Torrence Banks is a 2021 graduate of Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Journalism and Sports. At Morehouse, he served as the managing editor and news editor of the college’s newspaper — The Maroon Tiger. In the summer of 2020, Banks worked as a sports fellow with NBCUniversal, where he assisted with an episode of NBC Sports’ "Sports Uncovered."
Last summer, he wrote a story about a lynching that occurred in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1909 for the Howard Center’s “Printing Hate” project. In the fall of 2021, he started working full time with WSMV4 in Nashville as a digital content producer. This summer, he is working with the Miami Herald as part of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting's internship program.
In the future, Banks plans to pursue a career in journalism and media relations. He believes that investigative journalism is a powerful tool that can be used to dispel myths and provide justice. He looks forward to working with the Howard Center For Investigative Journalism to enhance his investigative reporting and storytelling skills.
Sapna Bansil is a second-year graduate student who is pursuing a new career in journalism after working for 10 years in health care and pediatrics as an occupational therapist. Bansil was driven to change careers by her lifelong passion for sports and her desire to elevate and bring a new perspective to sportswriting and reporting. Drawing from her unique background and personal experiences, she hopes with her new career to write thoughtful, data-informed stories about the way sports intersect with issues such as health, race, politics and LGBTQIA+ identity.
Bansil holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tufts University, where she spent four years writing for The Tufts Daily. She has also freelanced for The Baltimore Banner and Baltimore Fishbowl, interned with The Philadelphia Inquirer and contributed to the data desk at The Diamondback, the independent student newspaper at the University of Maryland. Born and raised in New Jersey, Bansil has proudly lived for the last 10 years in Baltimore, where she loves going to Camden Yards and hosting Baltimore Ravens watch parties.
Fatema Hosseini is a journalist and a graduate student from Bamyan, Afghanistan. She received her bachelor of Liberal Arts from the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, with a major in Politics, Philosophy, Economics. She returned to Afghanistan in 2019 and began working as a journalist for Etilaat Roz, a major Afghan newspaper based in Kabul. In April 2021, she began to write on a freelance basis for USA Today, despite the difficult climate for women reporters in Afghanistan. Hosseini fled Afghanistan in August 2021 when the Taliban took over the capital of Kabul after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
She has chosen to pursue her master's in Journalism at the University of Maryland to illuminate corruptions, discriminations and inequalities, and persecution of Hazaras and other minor ethnicities in Afghanistan. Hosseini is eager to learn and boost her skills in reporting, writing and investigating by exchanging her knowledge and experiences with her classmates and teachers, and to learn from them as well.
Aidan Hughes is a first-year graduate student with a background in data, politics, and peace and conflict studies. He earned a B.A. in International Studies and Creative Writing from Virginia Tech in 2017, followed by an M.A. in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen’s University Belfast. Hughes’ time in post-conflict Northern Ireland, coupled with his professional experience as a data scientist, fueled his interest in harnessing the strengths of both storytelling and data analysis to examine social issues.
He is excited to study data journalism to identify meaningful patterns across complex data sets while preserving the human context and nuance behind them. Hughes ultimately hopes to use a hybrid of quantitative and qualitative methods to report on political violence, disinformation and elections. In his free time, he enjoys backpacking, finding the best gluten-free food in Washington, D.C., and the emotional turmoil of cheering for the Hokies.
Mennatala (Menna) Ibrahim is an Egyptian American, Muslim woman that spent the majority of her formative years moving from one place to another across a post-9/11 America. Despite the diversity between each region, she was quickly introduced to what it meant to live in a world that misrepresented, marginalized and antagonized her intersecting identities. This fall, Ibrahim is a first-year graduate student in the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. She ultimately hopes to refine her reporting and storytelling skills to amplify the voices of marginalized people in the media. She also hopes to expand the reach of this field into communities like hers with limited participation.
In 2022, Ibrahim earned bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Community Health from the University of Maryland. The intersection between her undergraduate degrees, as well as her personal experiences and a 2021 science journalism internship at Science Magazine, spurred an interest in covering science and health through storytelling.
Cait Kelley grew up on a hobby farm with goats and horses outside of Northfield, Minnesota. But her studies and love of travel have taken her across the world to live, study and work in Chile, Tunisia and Spain. She studied political science and Hispanic studies as an undergrad at Oberlin College. After graduating in 2020, she spent two years teaching English in Basque Country in Spain, and then working as a special education paraprofessional and teacher in her hometown.
Even before turning to journalism, Kelley began to develop her interviewing skills. She completed an independent interview project during her time at Oberlin that highlighted the voices and experiences of 50 campus dining and custodial staff, and she presented her findings to the college president and administrators.
Then, in 2022, an internship with her local radio station, KYMN Radio, cemented her decision to pivot to journalism and apply to graduate programs. Kelley loves investigative and documentary podcasts, such as "This Land" from Crooked Media and "The Trojan Horse Affair" from The New York Times and Serial Productions. She is motivated by highlighting underrepresented voices and figuring out the truth, whatever that may be. She’s excited to develop her investigative skills at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism as a Howard fellow and dreams of one day being on an investigative podcasting team.
Greg Morton is a graduate student and data reporter from Prince George's County, Maryland. His passion for journalism grew out of a desire to help people understand the invisible forces that govern so many facets of our lives. The pursuit of that understanding led him to an economics degree, which he earned from Howard University in 2021. There, his studies focused primarily on inequality and data analysis.
While at Howard, Morton worked as a freelancer for Strikewave, an independent labor publication, where he got the opportunity to tell stories about both the state and history of the labor movement in America. At Strikewave, he wrote stories about the history of the organized labor movement in the NBA and the COVID recession's impact on the already-tenuous situation faced by Alaska's public school teachers.
Morton also worked with ProPublica's data and newsapps team as an intern, and later as a freelancer, assisting with data analysis on a number of long-term investigative projects.
At the Howard Center, Morton hopes to file lots of FOIAs and focus on further strengthening his data analysis, investigative and data-visualization skills in the hopes of becoming a reporter equally adept at covering data and the human stories behind them.
Adriana Navarro is a digital journalist from Charlotte, North Carolina. At the start of her career, she worked in the weather industry and reported on everything from live coverage of severe weather outbreaks to large data projects following disaster recovery efforts at AccuWeather. Some of her past articles focused on Hurricane Dorian survivors as they rebuilt from the deadly Category 5 hurricane while also dealing with the recent onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; mapping out the timeline of the forecasts for Hurricane Ian and Lee County’s late response to it; and exploring the role LGBTQ+ centers play in preparing a population for potentially life-threatening weather. In the future, she hopes to focus on investigative and data journalism to examine and publicize the inequities of disaster recovery and intersectional climate solutions.
Navarro graduated with a degree in journalism from Ohio University in 2018 with a specialization and certificate in women, gender and sexuality studies. She was a Dow Jones
News Fund intern in the data track the following summer at AccuWeather, where she later joined the team as a digital journalist and helped to write the company’s inclusive style guide. In her spare time, she loves to read, embroider and convince anyone she can to add cheese to their hot chocolate.
April Quevedo is a first-year graduate student and new Howard fellow. She graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois Chicago. She began her career in the supply chain and transportation industry, working for one of the world’s largest third-party logistics providers, C.H. Robinson. During her time at Robinson, she learned the importance of interpreting and using data to tell a story and influence stakeholders. Over the last seven years, she has supported a handful of midsize and enterprise-level accounts, which has given her many opportunities to build consultative partnerships, analyze data and gain market share.
Quevedo hopes to use investigative journalism to hold elected officials and those in other positions of power accountable to effect change in underrepresented communities similar to the one she grew up in on the northwest side of Chicago. She looks forward to developing her reporting skills at the University of Maryland.
Stephanie Quinn is a graduate student from Frederick County, Maryland. She developed a deep affinity for research and writing as a doctoral student and later postdoc working on the history of migrant labor, decolonization and political claim-making in urban Namibia during apartheid. She spent many happy hours in Namibia and South Africa showing up at offices, houses and homesteads, asking questions, sifting through archival documents, and looking for the stories that illuminate structures of inequality and movements for a more equitable society.
As a journalism student and Howard fellow, Quinn looks forward to applying investigative techniques to tell stories that will reach broader audiences and help hold the powerful accountable. She is also excited to learn to use new tools and platforms for data analysis and storytelling. In her free time, she enjoys cultivating her chill through yoga, hanging out with dogs and playing her clarinet in ensembles.
Caley Fox Shannon
Caley Fox Shannon joins the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism after nearly five years working as a documentary film producer. After obtaining her degree in French from Carleton College, she began her career in film at Breakwater Studios in Los Angeles. There, she contributed to “Almost Famous” and “Cause of Life,” two short documentary series that premiered on The New York Times Op-Docs platform. She also co-produced “A Concerto Is A Conversation,” which was nominated for Best Documentary, Short Subject at the 2021 Academy Awards.
Shannon is currently producing her first feature documentary, "Fire Department, Inc.," which focuses on a small firefighting union’s battle against privatization on her home turf in suburban Chicago. She also co-produces "Rough Cut," a podcast about nonfiction filmmaking presented by The Video Consortium. Shannon is passionate about food security, worker’s rights and social justice. At Merrill College, she looks forward to reporting on domestic politics, economic indicators and the legal system.
Sarah Siock is a graduate student from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2022, she received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Rider University. At Rider, Siock was dedicated to the university’s student newspaper, The Rider News, and served as the paper’s executive editor for the 2021-22 school year. During her undergraduate years, she wrote about Title IX allegations against faculty members as well as Rider’s financial straits. She also completed internships at local newspapers in her home county.
All of Siock's past journalism experiences have led to her passion for storytelling. She recognizes the power of investigative journalism as it aims to shine a light on social injustices. She is looking forward to developing her investigative reporting skills as a Howard fellow.
Abby Wallace is a graduate student and environmental journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with some West Virginian roots. She graduated from The George Washington University in the spring of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Environment. Wallace double-minored in Sustainability and Journalism and Mass Communication. She studied clean energy, environmental science and wildlife ecology in Iceland, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Tanzania and Kenya.
Wallace also authored several feature pieces for Planet Forward. Topics ranged from a neurological disease that kills eagles to rising ocean temperatures disrupting white shark migration patterns. She interned with the National Aviary and Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, conducting behavioral research, and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team as a radio network engineer.
Additionally, Wallace was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award four times for outstanding community engagement and public service. After graduating, she served one year with City Year, an AmeriCorps academic program, in Washington, D.C. As a student success coach, she co-taught six high school geometry classes and ran an after-school tutoring program. At the Howard Center, Wallace intends to meld teaching, investigative reporting and environmental storytelling. Outside of writing, Wallace enjoys reading, scuba diving and movie marathons.