IWMF Alumni represent all media platforms including, print, broadcast, online and multimedia. These talented news professionals work with the IWMF as Mentors, Fellows, or Grantees. They are based around the world and are united in their pursuit of under-reported stories that are essential in shedding light on global issues. The IWMF is proud to support this community further develop their on-the-ground reporting skills through training, grants, mentoring, and reporting trips.

Kavitha Surana -- Foreign Policy Magazine

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Editorial Fellow Foreign Policy Magazine

Kavitha Surana is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy magazine in Washington D.C., where she produces breaking news and original reports. Previously, she was a fellow at New York magazine’s Bedford + Bowery blog, and freelanced from Italy and Germany for publications like Quartz, Al Jazeera America, OZY, Global Post/PRI, and Civic Idea. Much of Surana’s recent reporting has focused on migration policy, Syrian refugee issues, and European populism. In the past, she was awarded a Fulbright trip to Germany, as well as a grant from the Heinrich Boell Foundation. Surana also was selected for a grant from the Bureau for International Reporting to contributed to producing a special report for PBS NewsHour on religious education in Senegal. Surana studied history at Columbia University and holds a master’s degree in journalism and European studies from New York University.

Nastasya Tay -- Freelance

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Freelance Journalist Independent

Nastasya Tay is an independent broadcast journalist, writer and multimedia producer based between Southern and East Africa, covering breaking news, but with a passion for telling in-depth stories. She has reported from more than fifteen countries, specializing in issues affecting Africa, the environment, health and development. Her work has appeared in publications including The Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, Marie Claire magazine, The Economist, The Independent, the Washington Post, and every major South African newspaper. Nastasya also reports and produces for the Associated Press, BBC, ITV (UK), Nine Network Australia, RTE (Ireland), Public Radio International and eNews Channel Africa, as well as having worked with NBC Dateline. Her work as the Features & Investigative Reporter at Eyewitness News in South Africa was nominated in 2011 for the country’s most highly regarded radio documentary award.

She sits on the board of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Southern Africa.

Sarah Topol -- Freelance

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Freelance Journalist Independent

Sarah A. Topol has been based in the Middle East since 2008. Her writing has been published in the Atlantic, Businessweek, Esquire, Foreign Policy, GQ, Harper’s, Newsweek, The New Republic, Popular Science, Slate, and Vice, among others. Topol lived in Cairo for four and a half years, where she blogged for The New York Times, before moving to Istanbul in 2013. Topol reported on the Arab uprisings from Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and the Syrian border with Turkey. She won the 2012 Kurt Schork Award for International Journalism for her coverage of the civil war in Libya.

Dana Ullman -- Freelance

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Photojournalist Freelance

Dana Ullman is a New York-based freelance photojournalist and writer whose work focuses on humanizing statistics and social issues through storytelling. Her work has been published by The New York Times, TIME, CNN, and The Atlantic, among others. In 2014, Ullman received a grant from the Puffin Foundation to continue her project “Another Kind of Prison”, which documents the effects of incarceration on women and communities. In 2015, she received a Community Health Reporting Fellowship from the International Center for Journalists to produce a two-part series on older immigrants in New York City and the challenges they face in accessing social services and healthcare. She attended the Danish School of Journalism’s International Photojournalism Program and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University.

Anna Valmero -- LOQAL.ph

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Assistant Producer LOQAL.ph

Anna Valmero is an assistant producer with LOQAL.ph, an online magazine in the Philippines. She started her professional career in journalism in 2006 as a copy editor with Electronic Engineering Times Asia. Valmero also worked as a multimedia reporter with INQUIRER.net in 2008 before joining LOQAL.ph in 2010. She writes, takes photos and produces video content for stories that center on politics, health, science, travel and small and medium enterprises.

As one of the reporters covering science and technology in 2011, her media organization won the Gawad Jose L. Guerrero Media Award from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Read more about Anna Valmero.

Rhodina Villanueva -- The Philippine Star

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Environmental Journalist The Philippine Star

Rhodina Villanueva is a reporter for a daily newspaper, the Philippine Star, where she covers the Environment and Natural Resources Department, the Agrarian Reform Department and the Commission on Human Rights. A former reporter for broadsheet newspaper Today, Villanueva aims to use her writing as an instrument to inspire, inform and set people to action, especially on critical issues such as climate change.

Read more about Rhodina Villanueva.


“The fellowship helped me realize that there are venues we can maximize to share important information, and to heighten the public’s awareness on environmental issues.”

Kelly Virella -- Freelance

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Freelance Journalist Independent

Kelly Virella is a freelance journalist who has worked as an investigative reporter for the Chicago Reporter. She has 13 years of journalism experience.

She has been awarded the 2012 Sigma Delta Chi for magazine investigative reporting into the sexual abuse of New York State female prisoners by prison staff, two Chicago Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Chicago Bar Association award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting and the H.F. Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting. She has also won an Academy for Alternative Journalism Fellowship to study at Northwestern University. The IWMF grant is helping Virella work on her new startup, LongView Magazine, a tablet magazine of ambitious long-form writing for urban writers.

Virella has a bachelors degree in Political Science from Stanford University as well as a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Malavika Vyawahare -- Freelance

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Journalist Freelance

Malavika Vyawahare is a New York-based science journalist who started her career at The New York Times bureau in her native India. There she covered a range of issues, including politics and health. She completed a master’s degree in science, environment, and health reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2015, where she was the Robert Wood Johnson fellow. Vyawahare has reported extensively on health issues in India and on climate change in the U.S. She tries to bridge the gap between narratives about the environment in the developed and developing worlds through the written word, data, and multimedia.

She is currently working on a long-form climate change story in the U.S. with a grant from the Society for Environmental Journalists. Her reporting on maternal and child health won the Global Health Reporting Contest administered by the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C.

Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla -- Freelance

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Freelance Journalist Independent

Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla, a freelance journalist focusing on science and development, has worked in radio, print and online media. While studying for a Bachelor of Science, she volunteered at a community radio station, presenting a youth talk show. Radio seduced her, and after a stint at another community radio station, she pursued a career in media. She established herself in mainstream South African media by presenting a current affairs program at SAfm, South Africa’s national talk radio station. She left SAfm to move to Egypt, after being asked to start an internet radio service for Islamonline.net. She later corresponded for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) from Egypt. Her work has appeared on The Guardian, Al Jazeera, SABC, Nature Middle East, IPS, SciDev and Daily News Egypt.

Wadvalla is a mentee in the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) SjCOOP mentorship programme. A Reuters health reporting fellowship affirmed her commitment to report on science, and further motivated her to dedicate coverage to women’s health and HIV/AIDS.

Portia Walker -- Freelance

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Freelance Journalist Independent

Portia Walker is an independent journalist who works for BBC World News and other outlets. She’s reported from across the Middle East and North Africa for outlets including The Economist, The Washington Post, The Independent and Foreign Policy. From 2007 – 2010 she was a producer for “Frost Over the Word” at Al Jazeera English where she made television programmes from Afghanistan, India, the Middle East and the US. She studied Arabic Language in Fez, Morocco and English Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Kim Wall -- Freelance

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Multimedia Journalist Freelance

Kim Wall is a freelance multimedia journalist writing about popular culture, gender, policy and environment. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and Vice News, among others. Originally from Sweden, Wall has reported from the Marshall Islands, North Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Myanmar, Hong Kong and India. She holds graduate degrees in international affairs and journalism from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. She is currently based in New York.

Tennessee Jane Watson -- The Educational Video Center

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Co-Director The Educational Video Center

Tennessee Jane Watson and her team are awarded a grant of $36,000 to complete an audio documentary examining childhood sexual abuse in the United States. Watson is a documentary artist and educator who has produced nationally distributed radio features, award-winning films, oral histories, public sound installations and youth media projects. Across disciplines her practice is defined by a collaborative and community-based approach.

Alexia Webster -- Freelance

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Photojournalist Freelance

Alexia Webster is a South African documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Johannesburg. From creating family portrait studios in refugee camps to documenting youth culture in South Africa, her work explores intimacy and identity across the African continent. Her photographs have been featured in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, WIRED, and CNN, among others. She has received a number of awards including the Artraker Award for Art in Conflict, the POPCAP award for Contemporary African Photography, and the Frank Arisman Scholarship at the International Center of Photography in New York.

Loretta Williams -- Freelance

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Freelance Journalist

Loretta Williams is a freelance radio journalist based in Los Angeles. She is currently a freelance editor for I See Change, a climate change journalism project that connects citizen observations to science-driven data.  She started her radio career in Boston and eventually moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a producer for NPR’s Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Sunday. Between NPR stints she produced and edited science documentaries for SoundPrint and SoundVision Productions. Williams has taught advanced skills in story development, writing, and production to early career journalists, many of whom went on to become regular contributors to national, regional, and local public radio programs. Her work as an editor and producer has been honored with two George Foster Peabody Awards, a Columbia-DuPont Silver Baton, and several other awards.

Venus Wu -- Reuters

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Video Journalist Reuters

Venus Wu is a video journalist with Reuters News Agency based in Hong Kong. For the past four years she has covered political and general news in the former British colony as it grapples with issues related to democracy. In her current post, Wu films a range of political and general news stories in Hong Kong, from mass protests to fake iPhones. Conservation is also a top theme in her coverage.

Wu attended Cornell University and cut her teeth on journalism at its student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun.

Shamiso Yikoniko -- The Sunday Mail

Photo of Shamiso Yikoniko The Sunday Mail
Journalist The Sunday Mail

Shamiso Yikoniko is an award-winning journalist for The Sunday Mail, a Zimbabwe weekly newspaper. She has reported on issues of empowering rural communities and public health. In 2014, she was awarded the National Arts Merit Award for Outstanding Print Journalist by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. Yikoniko holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications from Midlands State University in Gweru, Zimbabwe. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international relations.

Daniella Zalcman -- Freelance

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Photojournalist Freelance

Daniella Zalcman is a freelance documentary photographer based in London and New York. She began her career while studying architecture as an undergraduate at Columbia University, freelancing for the New York Daily News between classes. After several years working as a daily assignment photographer primarily for the Daily News and then for The Wall Street Journal, she moved to London where she now focuses on long-term projects that explore the legacy of western colonization. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Han Zhang -- 21st Century Business Herald

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Reporter 21st Century Business Herald

Zhang Han is a print reporter with the Chinese financial newspaper, 21st Century Business Herald. Her reports focus on China foreign policy and international affairs. Based in Beijing, she is frequently sent on overseas assignments and has reported major international events such as missing Malaysia Airline MH370, G20 summit, World Economic Forum. Han studied international politics in a top mainland China university and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Hong Kong University. 21st Century Business Herald is a leading business newspaper in China with a reputation for investigative journalism.The paper is known as the Chinese equivalent of the Financial Times.

Ariel Zirulnick -- East Africa correspondent

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East Africa correspondent The Christian Science Monitor

Ariel Zirulnick is the East Africa correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and its global intelligence and research service, Monitor Global Outlook. She arrived in the region in September 2014 after two years as Middle East editor with the Monitor and earlier stints as Europe editor and a swing editor. Zirulnick’s reporting from her Nairobi base on the fraying of Christian-Muslim relations in Kenya and on African-led peacekeeping efforts has been supported by the Ford Foundation. She has previously reported from Chad, Ethiopia (with the International Reporting Project), Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel and was a 2011 Fulbright fellow in Berlin. She has previously reported for the Carnegie and Knight Foundations’ News21 project, Jerusalem Post and Atlantic Media. Zirulnick holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also spent a semester at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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