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Merrill College

UMD Howard Center, NPR Partner to Launch Fellowship Program

COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and NPR have launched the NPR Howard Fellow program, which will allow one student from the Howard Center to work on the NPR investigative team every summer.

Allison Mollenkamp
Allison Mollenkamp

The Howard Center, housed at the UMD Philip Merrill College of Journalism, will fund the position while NPR will choose the fellow. NPR selected Merrill College master’s student Allison Mollenkamp as its inaugural NPR Howard Fellow this summer.

“We are thrilled with this partnership,” Howard Center Director Kathy Best said. “NPR’s investigative work is first rate. Working with their team will catapult our students into the professional job market."

The fellow will serve as a full member of NPR’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations team, responsible for telling complicated and important stories that make a difference. Investigative journalism is a key component of NPR’s public service mission, and the student will play an essential role.

“We learned pretty quickly that the Howard Center was a valuable partner and that their students could help make us better. I’m excited to continue the partnership,” said Robert Little, NPR’s Senior Supervising Editor, Investigations, and an adjunct lecturer at Merrill College.

Mollenkamp, a member of the Howard Center’s second cohort, is a radio reporter and multimedia journalist from Jefferson City, Missouri. She worked extensively to cover COVID-19 and the 2019 floods for Nebraska Public Media, the NPR member station in Lincoln. 

She graduated in 2018 from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in English. She spent much of her time at the university as an intern for Alabama Public Radio. She previously worked for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and for KDLG, a small public radio station in Dillingham, Alaska. 

At Merrill College, Mollenkamp was one of three students who produced the Howard Center's first podcast on COVID-19 risks faced by airport workers. She is currently serving as host and editor of Offbeat, a podcast from The Diamondback student news outlet.

The Howard Center, launched in 2019, gives Merrill College students the opportunity to work with news organizations across the country to report stories of national or international importance to the public.

The center previously partnered with NPR on “Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide,” an innovative investigation into the inequitable effects of climate change. The collaboration yielded six major professional journalism awards.

The Howard Center is generously funded by $3 million from the Scripps Howard Foundation and honors the legacy of Roy W. Howard, former chairman of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain and a pioneering news reporter.

About NPR:

NPR, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is widely known for its rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (, and now it's easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, "Play NPR," and you'll be tuned into your local Member station's live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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