Staff 2020

School Stories is edited by LynNell Hancock. Pete D’Amato provided technical and data journalism support.

Lifelong New Yorker Cayla Bamberger is a M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School and a graduate of Emory University, where she hosted a weekly radio show. Her writing has appeared in Paste Magazine and Manhattan Magazine, among other publications. @cayla_bam | Email

Penelope Blackwell is a Washington, D.C. native and an M.S. student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Morgan State University in 2019. During her time at Morgan State, she served as the editor-in-chief of the MSU Spokesman, the university’s student newspaper. Blackwell has also produced content for Carnegie-Knight’s News21, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and WEAA 88.9 FM. @p_blackwell | Email

Claire Bryan is a journalist and fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. Before coming to Columbia, she worked as a fact-checker for Harper’s Magazine and Vanity Fair and as a freelance reporter published in Politico, CityLab, and The Queens Daily Eagle. She graduated from The University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and Political Science. She’s been an educator herself and seen first-hand the benefits of strong learning groups for students. She is committed to reporting on education because she cares deeply about better education for all. This spring she is embedded at Pathways in Technology High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. @claireab320 | Email

Jessica Campbell is an educator and writer in New York City. She is currently working on her doctorate in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she is researching the ways in which students experience writing instruction. She has taught middle and high school English in city public schools, is a proud public school parent, and has taught first-year composition at local colleges. Her education writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Village Voice, and Chalkbeat, where she was a reporting intern during the 2011-2012 school year. In 2015, she was a founding staff member of Chalkbeat’s development team, helping to find sustainable means to support their nonprofit journalism.  @jessicarobyn88 | Email

Connie Foong is an M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School. She graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia with double degrees in Music and Arts, majoring in English Literature and Political Science. Before coming to New York, she was a public school teacher with Teach For Malaysia and led Closing The Gap, a university access program for underrepresented students in Malaysia. This spring, she is embedded at Brooklyn International High School in downtown Brooklyn. @conniefpy | Email

Claire Fox is an M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School and recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she studied fiction and poetry writing. Prior to moving to New York City, the Bay Area native served as a senior staff writer at The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, guest reporter at The Yonsei Annals in Seoul, South Korea, and editorial intern at Tokyo Journal. This spring she is embedded at William E. Grady Career and Technical High School in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Email

Kara Grant is a journalist, audio producer, and current M.S. student at Columbia Journalism School with a focus on education reporting. The Los Angeles native graduated from Barnard College in 2017 with a degree in Women’s Studies. Kara has been embedded at QIRT — Queens High School for Information, Research, and Technology — in Far Rockaway. There, she’s reporting on the expansion of AP classes, student voter registration, and school attendance during a global pandemic. Email

Jenna Gyimesi is a journalist and graduate student at the Columbia Journalism School. She is from Staten Island, NY and has a special interest in education and science reporting. Jenna graduated from Oberlin College in 2019 with a degree in politics, philosophy and cognitive science. @GyimesiJenna | Email

Kio Herrera is a fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University. Before coming to Columbia, she was a Spanish-language editor at Penguin Random House and a reporter for TIME Magazine for Kids. Most recently, she was an intern for CNN Investigative Unit. She graduated from Fordham University in New York with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing. This spring she is embedded at Park Slope Collegiate, a 6-12 public school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. @KioHerr | Email

Carter Johnson is an M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School and a graduate of Brown University, where he majored in political science and wrote for the student politics magazine. Carter has been embedded at the Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology, where he has reported on AP class expansion and the Computer Science for All initiative in NYC. @hcarterjohnson | Email

Elize Manoukian is a print and audio reporter from Mountain View, CA. She’s reported for local newspapers in California and Oregon, and internationally for the Armenian Weekly and Hetq, in Armenia. Before moving to New York, Elize taught and coached in elementary schools in southeast and southwest D.C. with Americorps. @emanouks | Email

Kasturi Pananjady is a graduate student in data journalism at Columbia University. Her work has previously appeared in The Wire, The Hindu and the Brown Daily Herald.  @kpananjady | Email

Anya Schultz, a multimedia journalist, grew up outside San Francisco and studied history at UC Berkeley. Before coming to Columbia Journalism School, Anya was an editor at The Daily Californian and interned at Slate and KQED News. She’s spent six summers living and working at a summer camp near Yosemite National Park.  @anyaviolet | Email

Kyra Senese is a journalist and fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. Before attending Columbia Journalism School, she worked as a business reporter in Chicago. She also freelanced for the Chicago Tribune, where she reported on local news in the suburbs. She earned her B.A. in Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where she was editor of the Columbia Chronicle, the college’s weekly student-run paper. @Kyra_Senese | Email