Austin Bachand Recommendation
Submitted by: William Schneider
Other Phone: (740) 593-4897

January 24, 2014

NPPF Scholarship Selection Committee:

This is a recommendation for Austin J. (“AJ”) Bachand who is currently enrolled as a photojournalism major here at Ohio University. He has applied for the 2014 NPPF Scholarship offered by the foundation.

I had AJ as a student in a digital imaging class where he learned the use of Photoshop extensively, and later in an independent study class in which he was interested in learning about shooting film and processing it. This highlights how curious AJ is about his photography, and it shows in his portfolio. He is technically adept, and brings that skill to bear in his photos. He explores lighting issues and loves the challenge of photographing in dim light. He also seeks difficult-to-photograph subjects, and shows them differently than most photo students whose work has crossed my desk.

AJ doesn’t ignore the task of recording significant content. It shows in his pictures, and a viewer also sees things differently because he loves to explore. AJ is curious about the world and about his craft, and that makes a potent combination for showing things uniquely. He loves to photograph too, and that will provide motivation for his continued growth.

After this spring term concludes in May 2014, AJ has one additional semester left next year to complete his last photojournalism class. He intends to graduate one term early and should enter the workforce in early 2015. (He had many advanced placement (AP) courses that provided transfer credit for many of his liberal arts requirements.)

AJ will likely provide his grade record to you to show diligence in his academic work, but I can state that he is doing fine in his studies. There are no academic issues to be concerned with.

Personally, I like AJ a lot. He stops into my office to share his latest experiences in photography – whether it be the last rolls of film shot for his own pleasure (not for class), to show some very long exposures and ask about how to reduce noise, to ask about subjects that might make a good story, or wherever his curiosity has taken him. He’s very personable, and I enjoy talking with him.

I’d be very pleased to see AJ Bachand receive assistance from your foundation. I believe that the support would really help him grow. He has the motivation and desire to learn, and this would greatly benefit him.

William Schneider
Associate Professor
School of Visual Communication
301 Seigfred Hall
Ohio University
Athens OH 45701

Darryl Smith Recommendation
Submitted by: James Kelly
Cell: (812) 929-9755
Other Phone: (812) 855-9247

I’m happy to recommend Darryl Smith to you for a NPPF Scholarship. Darryl is often referred to as a “non-traditional” student because he’s a bit older than the typical college undergraduate. He’s the first person in his family to go to college and it’s been a struggle. From what he’s told me, his grade school and high school education was regularly interrupted by family problems. His mother barely got by and there seemed little prospect that Darryl would go off to college. Ever.
But now he is in his third year at Indiana University. He already has an associate’s degree from a community college where he studied Applied Science in Visual Communications. He’s supporting himself while in school by freelancing his photography and renting a couple properties he managed to buy a few years ago in Evansville. I don’t have many students who have worked as hard just to get to college as Darryl has. And over the last two decades of teaching at university, I’ve not had more than a handful of students who have worked as hard as Darryl once they arrived.
Darryl took my introductory photojournalism class in the fall of 2012 and produced a portfolio far stronger than anyone else in the course. And why not? He’d already completed an internship with the Evansville Courier & Press. He had good craft skill, but he struggled with source relationships and was awkward working with others. I continued to meet with him regularly and he became increasingly good at gaining subject trust. He worked for months on a story about a class of rookie firefighters taking a training course and as a result, he learned a lot about how to convince subjects to open up.
Last semester I invited him to join a rather innovative class that I team-teach with Tom French (former St. Petersburg Times) and Bonnie Layton (former Sun-Times). We put eight photographers, eight writers and eight multimedia students together into eight teams for the semester and they did two long-form stories in multimedia format. By the end of the course, Darryl had not only learned how to work with partners, he had been granted the leadership role in team. The main story was his idea and he located the primary subject. The writer was very strong too and together they created a compelling story about the food insecurity cycle and how it is lived by a mother of three in Bloomington. He gained excellent access and made some strong images that form a clear narrative. There were a lot of challenges working with a woman who was fundamentally embarrassed about her situation, but Darryl coaxed her through and the story made an impact.
We often say scholarship awards should consider financial need. Darryl is alone in his college mission. He has real need. But he also has real potential for professional success that is backed up by a nice range of publications. Look at his resume and you can see a student making good progress. I wanted to tell you that it has taken an extra degree of determination to achieve it and I believe a scholarship from NPPF would be an appropriate acknowledgment of the work ethic we want to encourage.

Caitlin O’Hara Recommendation
Submitted by: James Kelly
Cell: (812) 929-9755
Other Phone: (812) 855-9247

I highly recommend Caitlin as a student with great potential and considerable financial need.
I first met Caitlin in the spring of her sophomore year. She and I were seated at the same table for the School’s scholarship awards ceremony. I got to meet her mother and father and talk with her about her aspirations to become a photojournalist. She was smart, passionate and confident. I recommended she drop by to show me her portfolio soon. She did. I was impressed and suggested she sign up for the basic photojournalism in the fall. She was in the front row on that first day and by December she was the best student in the class. She carefully read the assigned texts and applied their lessons to the weekly photo assignments. By the end of the semester she had a small, but strong portfolio of images and my attention. She worked as the picture editor for the Indiana Daily Student that semester and then the next semester took a study abroad course in Seoul, South Korea. While there, I worked with her as she documented a young man who as an infant had been adopted from Korea into an American home. As a young man he had returned to Korea to volunteer his time at an orphanage. Caitlin’s photo story was intimate and emotionally powerful.
Her story convinced me that I should invite her to join the very special class being team taught by Tom French, our Professor of Practice and former St. Petersburg Times Pulitzer Prize winner, Bonnie Layton, Lecturer and former Chicago Sun-Times designer, and me. We call it Words & Pictures and we assembled eight teams of writer/photographer/designer who spent the semester working on two long-form news feature stories. Caitlin and her teammates covered the David Camm trial in Lebanon, Ind. She photographed all of the principle and most of the secondary characters on both sides of this 13-year series of three murder trials.
A former state trooper, Camm was accused of murdering his wife and two children and had twice been convicted. This was the third trial in the appeal process. Caitlin obtained access to the parents and other relatives that no other photojournalist had. She and her team published an impressively comprehensive and detailed report about the trial and the impact the entire saga has had on the small rural community where the Camms were killed. It ran two and a half pages in the IU student newspaper. This was exceptional for undergraduate students. All three of them worked equally hard and it was a true team effort, but the truly impressive thing about Caitlin’s role is that she was photographing a story about a murder that happened 13 years ago and a trial that allowed no camera access. She told the story through the faces of those who were living the story and it’s as compelling as it is difficult. Her closing image was of David Camm, in his home with his father for the first time in 13 years. She was the only photographer allowed in the house that day.
Last summer she did an internship at the Daily Journal in Franklin, Ind. and her photo stories graced A1 four times. She worked very well with reporters on her daily work, and worked there again over winter break.
She has the potential to be an outstanding journalist and a scholarship from the NPPF would greatly assist her in completing her degree. Thank you.

Daniel Rader Recommendation
Submitted by: Marcy Nighswander
Cell: (740) 707-3104
Other Phone: (740) 593-4896

Daniel Rader NPPF recommendation letter.

Dear Selection Committee,

This is a letter of recommendation in support of Daniel Rader. Daniel is an undergraduate in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. I have known him for two years. He was a student of mine in one of the first photojournalism classes he took. Daniel is taking Picture Story class with me this semester and is doing an excellent job.

Daniel is very intelligent as you can tell because he had his scholarship application sent in very early and did not wait until the last minute. And he is a talented photographer as you can see from his portfolio.

The class I teach has weekly assignments. He has to do research and photography. This requires finding a new subject for every assignment. Daniel never misses a deadline and is doing very well in the class.

I am the faculty advisor to the student chapter of the National Press Photographers Association. Ohio University has a very active chapter. Though he was not an officer, he attended many of the lectures, workshops, and critiques the group organized. He made the effort to add to his knowledge of visual communication.

Other extracurricular activities include his leadership role in several student publications you can see listed on his resume. These enterprising undertakings show that he works well individually and in a group.

He is a very-mannered individual and gets along well with other students and faculty. Just this morning we had a guest speaker and he came to listen, even though it was not required of his class. Not only did he attend but he came early and helped set up the room by dragging in chairs. We really like students that help.

The School of Visual Communication is internationally known for the quality of students who graduate from the program. Daniel will continue to be an excellent representative of our school and university.

Daniel is an excellent student and worthy of an NPPF Scholarship.


Marcy Nighswander
School of Visual Communication
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 45701

Katelyn Lorentzen Recommendation
Submitted by: Thomas Price
Cell: (765) 749-6856

Katelyn Lorentzen is about halfway through the journalism program at Ball State University. I have found her to be one of the most energetic students in the program at this time. She is that student who remains after class to find out how she can do it better.

She is active in student media through our daily newspaper and the online features magazine.

She is an honors student with a wide range of activities outside of her studies.

I have found her to always be reliable, honorable and ethical.

She has a good eye and is imaginative, always striving to do best job possible.

I know that she is paying for her education herself without family help. She works part-time while school is in session.

She has leadership roles in several campus organizations and a least five honor societies.

She is well thought of within the Ball State academic community.

Viktorija Mickute Recommendation
Submitted by: Brian Kratzer
Cell: (573) 356-2347


Dear National Press Photographers Foundation,

Please accept this high recommendation for visual journalist Viktorija Mickute, a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism. I’ve worked with her on several short documentaries in which she researched, conceived and produced pieces for the Columbia Missourian.

Viktorija approaches her work with vision and a high level of respect for the source. She researches ideas, finds the right sources and helps them tell their stories. You can see in her portfolio how intimate and open people become around her.

Her documentary on the soldier with PTSD is part of a larger project she is trying to pursue about how people handle life after trauma. This is a topic of growing importance. Support for Viktorija would go far toward helping others understand the difficult and tragic changes people experience.

I hope you share my enthusiasm for Viktorija’s work and the topic she is exploring. Support for her work would be greatly appreciated.


Brian Kratzer
Director of photography
Assistant professor
Columbia Missourian
Missouri School of Journalism

Cassidy Johnson Recommendation
Submitted by: James Kenney
Cell: (270) 991-9447
Other Phone: (270) 745-6307

Feb. 22, 2014

To The NPPF Scholarship Selection Committee:

Cassidy Johnson is a reminder to me about why I decided to go into teaching.

Soon after joining WKU’s Photojournalism program a year and a half ago, Cassidy made an immediate positive impression on both her peers and her teachers. She has accomplished this not so much because she has the combination of character, intellect, energy, leadership and talent every teacher could wish for in a student, but more because she is one of those rare individuals who uses these qualities to their fullest extent.

I first heard about Cassidy from a fellow faculty member who had her in his Introduction to Photojournalism class. He raved about a project she was working on about a young girl who was being raised by her aunt due to abuse issues with the child’s parents. She continued the story in my Introduction to Multimedia class the next semester. It would have been a difficult story to gain access to with any level of experience, but the ability to do so in the early stages of her photojournalism career confirms that this is an innate quality in Cassidy.

Cassidy impressed the faculty as a whole so much that she was awarded WKU’s Larry Powell Scholarship last year. This scholarship rewards students who have not only succeeded in their photography but also in their citizenship and contribution to the photojournalism program. Cassidy has worked for both the student newspaper and yearbook, and for the past two years she has been a lab assistant for the Mountain Workshops. Though she is focused on improving herself as a photojournalist, she has not forgotten the importance of sharing her time and talent with others.

This servant’s heart played a big part in Cassidy’s decision to accept an internship documenting a camp for kids in New Mexico last summer. This experience allowed her to combine her photography skills with her desire to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Cassidy has somehow managed to accomplish all of this while maintaining a 3.87 GPA and Honors College status at WKU. This is no small feat considering the time demands and high expectations of the photojournalism program. Cassidy’s academic prowess is matched only by her extraordinary character.

Even if I can be just a small part of Cassidy’s continued development, I will consider it a privilege. Our profession needs more people like her.

I appreciate your consideration of Cassidy’s application. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.


Professor James H. Kenney
Photojournalism Program Coordinator
Mountain Workshops Director
Western Kentucky University

Sara Lewkowicz Recommendation
Submitted by: Marcy Nighswander
Cell: (740) 707-3104
Other Phone: (740) 593-4896

Recommendation letter for Sara Lewkowicz

February 25, 2014

Dear Selection Committee,

I am happy to write this recommendation letter in support of Sara Lewkowicz’s application for a NPPF Scholarship. She is a second year graduate student studying photojournalism in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. She will be returning in the fall to complete her class work.

Sara was a student in the Editorial Photography class I taught to all photojournalism graduate students We are a tough program, and she was one of the better photographers. She is very thoughtful and asks excellent questions. Other faculty members enjoy having her in their classes.

Since I last wrote a support letter for Sara, she has won numerous national and international awards for a story she started in the Editorial Photography class. She won lst prize stories, Contemporary Issues in World Press Photos just a few days ago. Here is the link:

The layout of her pictures won Time magazine a lst place in POYi a few days ago too. Her resume is full of recent honors. She has been on a roll this last year. It is amazing work done by a graduate student.

This is a great scholarship opportunity, and she is certainly deserving of the money and honor. She has represented our School well and would be a deserving scholarship recipient.

Highest Regards,

Marcy Nighswander

Ana Maria Rico ` Recommendation
Submitted by: Susan Dooley
Cell: (631) 807-0151
Other Phone: (516) 572-7162

February 26, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

It gives me great pleasure to recommend Ana Maria Rico for the National Press Photographers Foundation Scholarship. She is an extraordinarily talented photographer and videographer, adept at story telling through the use of any tool at her disposal.

Ana Maria was a Communications Media major at Nassau Community College and started enrolling in Photography classes because of her interest and intuitive eye. As a student in my Photojournalism class, I immediately became aware of her innate talent, her energy and enthusiasm and her affinity for photojournalism. Needless to say, she excelled in my class and, as a result, I bent a number of rules regarding our Art Internship class so that Ana Maria could enroll in it. Her internship placement was at Newsday on Long Island where she excelled both as a still photographer and as a videographer. She is still freelancing for Newsday as she continues her photographic education at NCC.

What I feel is equally important to address here is Ana Maria’s tenacity. Coming from an immigrant background, she has managed to put herself through school. Once she progressed through the remedial classes necessary to succeed, she has excelled while working to pay for her schooling. She is extraordinarily responsible and self motivated, When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island and Ana Maria lost her job because the restaurant at which she was employed flooded, she turned adversity into opportunity by producing an amazing multimedia piece on the storm and its effects on the community of Long Beach, NY. She then managed to secure a loan to register for the next semester until her employment resumed.

Ana Maria approaches life with a positive attitude and is a pleasure to know. Her clear sense of purpose and direction and her respect for those around her, have a profound impact on all those who know and work with her. She is highly talented, totally reliable, and committed. My fear is that she will not be able to continue her studies without the support of scholarships such as this, as she will not be able to afford the price of a 4-year institution of higher learning which would be so beneficial to her and her career.

Susan Dooley
Chair, Art Department

Alexis Hitt Recommendation
Submitted by: Rita Reed
Other Phone: (573) 882-3746

I am pleased to recommend Alexis Hitt for a National Press Photographers Foundation scholarship. Alexis, not only, set the undergraduate curve in my Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism course last semester, but her work also topped that of all but one of six graduate students also enrolled in the class.
Bright and intellectually curious, Alexis is a motivated and committed learner. She pushed herself on each and every assignment, consistently pursuing journalistic subjects for routine class assignments and often seeking out multiple situations to gain additional practice with an assigned technique. She revealed her understanding of law and ethics by standing her ground when her 1st Amendment right to make images was challenged.
She takes critical input well and puts it to use quickly to improve both her journalistic content and photographic technique. Her work ethic and habits are impeccable. Her organizational skills are excellent. She is always punctual and never fails to follow thorough. Her contributions to class discussions and critiques were incisive, insightful and succinct, but always constructive and her participation in small group assignments and projects was consistently collegial.
Alexis’ interest in photography grew into a passion for photojournalism a bit too late in her undergraduate program for her to switch her emphasis area from visual design for strategic communication and still graduate on the schedule required by the scholarships, grants and student loans funding her undergraduate education. Determined to pursue what she now sees as her calling, she will enter the Missouri photojournalism program as a first year masters student this summer.
She has a need for financial assistance and will not be eligible for a teaching or research assistantship until the fall semester. I urge you to lend this young woman the Foundation’s support and help; she is talented, hard working and well on her way to being a very successful young photojournalist. She will soon be delight for anyone in the industry to work with. I can recommend her to you without reservation.

Gabriel Perez Recommendation
Submitted by: Donna De Cesare
Other Phone: (512) 471-1980

Feb 27, 2014

Dear NPPF Committee,

I am writing to give my strongest possible endorsement for Gabriel Perez, a highly talented photojournalist and videographer in the MA Journalism program at the University of Texas at Austin, whom I have taught in class and supervised as a TA for a year and a half.

Gabriel is that rare gifted student—whose visual talent is matched by emotional intelligence and an extremely nuanced critical mind. Gabriel is a voracious reader who loves to write almost as much as he loves photography and filmmaking. He takes on big challenges and enjoys the process of problem solving. He is ambitious but also extremely generous with his peers always offering encouragement or assistance and support if he sees someone struggling.

Those qualities and his emotional maturity have made him an inspired teaching assistant. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gabriel as my lab instructor for a seminar video production class and also as an instructor for an especially challenging large video production class of beginnerundergraduates. Gabriel’s patience and constancy are extraordinary. He never talks down to students who are less technically proficient and he never becomes impatient with students who repeatedly try to shortcut the trial and error phase needed to make learning stick. He’s always ready to encourage. He has a rare ability to make the most abstract concepts visual and concrete and he always displays restraint and wisdom when handling the tensions that sometimes arise among our younger undergraduate students when working in teams.

When Gabriel arrived in the fall of 2012, he immediately took on a leadership role in the UT NPPA student chapter. It was a challenging moment for our program. Some of our students were feeling discouraged by the tight job market. Gabriel’s can do optimism helped to restore morale and the sense of community and mutual support that makes such a crucial difference to successful learning.

Gabriel will have told you himself about his financial challenges. He genuinely needs and deserves NPPF support based on all the selection criteria. I guarantee that an investment in Gabriel is an investment in a consummate professional who is destined to produce work that truly matters. I could write a great deal more about his interests and projects but you will see his work first hand. I urge you to award Gabriel Perez the highest level of support you are able to give. He is an exceptionally deserving candidate and I’d be happy to provide further information about Gabriel if you have any further questions.

Most sincerely,

Donna De Cesare
Associate Professor Documentary Photography
2013 Maria Moors Cabot Award for Journalism contributing to Inter American Understanding

Zachary Wittman Recommendation
Submitted by: Kent Miller
Cell: (989) 750-4658
Other Phone: 9898922121

As the leading photojournalism professor at Central Michigan University, I have had the
pleasure of knowing Zachary Wittman for the past two years. I would like to take this
opportunity to recommend Zack for an NPPA scholarship.

Zack has won numerous state and national awards recognizing him for his talent as a photojournalist. Zack recently placed second in the nationally coveted Hearst Journalism Awards Program for his News and Features entry. There were 108 entries from 59 different schools. His second place win vaulted the CMU program to fifth in the nation. His win garnered him, and The Department of Journalism, a $2,000 award each. Hearst awards have been likened to the Pulitzer Prize for college students.

On February 22, 2014, Zack won College Photographer of the Year for the second straight year from the Michigan Press Photographers Association. This is the first time a CMU student has been awarded the honor two years in a row. Last year, Zack achieved 4th place in the nation for the National Press Photographers Association’s student quarterly clip contest. So far this year, during the first quarter of entries, he has already surpassed his previous point total.

In my ten years as the leading photojournalism professor, there have only been a few students with Zack Wittman’s caliber as a photographer and student. Zack is the president of our NPPA offiliate, Central Press Photographers Association. He is unsurpassed in his leadership skills and his passion to help fellow students become better photographers. His time and advice is a key element to the continued success of the CMU photojournalism program.

Zack’s photojournalism experience began at CM-Life almost two years ago. Since then, he has worked as an intern for, a conglomerate of 15 weekly newspapers in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He has free-lanced for The Midland Daily News, and has been an intern for The Flint Journal. Zack is currently working as a photographer intern for CMU’s University Communications. Zack has secured an internship with The Boston Globe this summer, which is a nationally regarded and highly competitive internship. I look forward to watching Zack rise to the top of the photojournalism industry.

Alex M Sanchez Recommendation
Submitted by: John Freeman
Cell: (352) 562-9792
Other Phone: (352) 392-0430

Alexandra Sanchez is the most involved and dedicated photojournalism students I’ve had in the past five years. She reinvigorated our NPPA student chapter after several years and now holds bi-weekly meetings. Last fall she volunteered to drive a group of student volunteers up to the Atlanta PJ Seminar and she repeated that effort again this spring with a group that attended the Southern Short Course in Charlotte NC. Because of Alexandra, our NPPA group is acknowledged on the digital signage boards that circulate with College news though our building. Of course, she is the president. As a further example of her unselfish leadership, Alexandra established a Tumblr blog which all UF students can submit material to, and she posts as editor. It’s been another great way to tie together the beginning students with the more advanced ones. In addition to her involvement with NPPA, Alexandra goes the right thing to give herself distinction. In 2012 she participated in my study-abroad class to Berlin, Germany, where for two weeks students worked on a Soundslides picture story for the web. Later that summer, she ventured with another photojournalism major across Nicaragua, seeking offbeat situations to photograph. Alexandra also secured a photo internship last summer at one of the state’s largest newspaper, The Miami Herald, where we learned alongside veteran photographers and also developed an interest in video. Needless to say, being bilingual (English and Spanish) is an asset to any student photographer. Finally, let me address Alexandra’s enthusiasm. During times of diminishing photo staffs and sometimes bad news about the profession, Alexandra carries on undaunted. She motivates herself and the other students in our program in an admirable way. She navigates through the waters of student cliques and competitive egos well. I know a scholarship that rewards her work ethic and dedication would inspire her even more, and I recommend her highly for this honor.

Yi-Ke Peng Recommendation
Submitted by: Marcy Nighswander
Cell: (740) 707-3104
Other Phone: (740) 593-4896

Recommendation letter for Yi-Ke Peng

Dear Selection Committee,

I am very happy to write this recommendation letter for Yi-Ke Peng in support of her application to receive a NPPF Scholarship. Yi-Ke is a first year graduate student in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University.

Yi-Ke took her first graduate photojournalism class last semester. I was the professor. She was an outstanding student in the class. I set very high standards for students to reach to have success in the course. Yi-Ke always met and exceeded what was required for each weekly photographic assignment. She is by far one of the best, and possibly the best, all-round student in her class. Her passion for photojournalism is evident in everything I have seen her do since she came to OU. She is outstanding.

Our graduate program is very selective, and we get excellent students. That she rose to the top of the class shows her real passion for the profession. She is very mature, and has talked about what goals she has set for herself while in school. She understands the strengths and weaknesses in the profession and knows she needs to be one of the best to have a career. Yi-Ke is very determined to reach her goals.

Yi-Ke has already been offered two newspaper internships for this summer. She is going to the Courier Journal. They will get an excellent photographer with a good personality. I am one of her references, and because of her drive it was very easy to reassure them they are getting a photographer that will do her best on every assignment.

Please help Yi-Ke fund her education by giving her a NPPF Scholarship.

Highest Regards,

Marcy Nighswander
Professor of Visual Communication
Ohio University

Al Drago Recommendation
Submitted by: Charles Piland
Cell: (336) 675-6753

I’ve known fellow Eagle Scout Al Drago for about four years now and he has asked me to write a recommendation on his behalf. I am happy to do so since I believe Al is an up and coming photojournalist. Al is mostly self-taught and we know how beneficial it is for those who want to know things, figure them out. After his three years of college courses to round him out and an upcoming study abroad opportunity, I feel Al has the makings of a photojournalist with great potential.

Currently I am his academic advisor and have been in tandem with him and his goals. Even without a degree available in photojournalism Al has worked hard to get all the hands-on experiences possible through the school newspaper during the academic year and with internship each of the three summers since coming to Elon. He was on a staff of 12 volunteer photojournalist covering the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. The photographers generated daily photo coverage of the event, lasting 10 days, which went out on a dedicated Flickr site. This site hit more than 8.5 million page views. I was his photo chairman there and saw how hard he works to get terrific pictures while keeping a highly motivated energy level that was contagious. He performed remarkably well and knew the workflow and helped others there.

After the summer of an internship and staff photographer at the National Scout Jamboree, Al return to campus for his fall semester and to lead the NPPA chapter as the newly elected president. His many hours of manning the organizational fair interest booth for the chapter, planning meetings, and organizing trips to Photo Night at UNC shows his love for this career path by sharing with others.

In October 2013 he then attended the Mountain Workshops in Owensboro, Kentucky. This prestigious workshop challenged Al to do his best and he did. Working with Pulitzer Prize winning Barry Gutierrez, formerly at the Rocky Mountain News, as his photo coach yielded Al’s photo story as one of the top three projects featured at the closing program. Since then Al has placed in several regional competition likes the NCPPA where he competed with newspaper professionals in the Southeast. He placed in multiple categories.

Having said all this hopefully reinforces my support of Al for this scholarship. His unmatched personality, knowledge of his craft and the decisive moment, and experience makes him an ideal candidate. Please let me know if you need further information.

Randy Piland
Senior Lecturer
Elon University

Kara Frame Recommendation
Submitted by: Susan Sterner
Cell: (703) 963-5147

Dear NPPA,

I would like to offer you my highest recommendation for CCAD New Media Photojournalism student Kara Frame. I have known Kara for two years. She began studying at the Corcoran in June, 2013, and has excelled with each challenge. She is constantly working to improve and bring nuance to her visual story telling skills and approaches. In so doing, she challenges her peers; raising the bar with each project. Additionally, Kara has emerged as a team builder and natural leader — pushing for students to work with the greater D.C. community, reach out to photojournalism professionals and explore the value of photojournalism through traditional and nontraditional venues. She brings incredible energy to the program and her ability to continue to study here will be invaluable not only for her, but for her peers and the faculty alike.
Please contact me should you have further questions.
Susan Sterner, Chair New Media Photojournalism
Corcoran College of Art + Design
703-963-5147 text

Caroline Lacey Recommendation
Submitted by: Susan Sterner
Cell: (703) 963-5147

Dear NPPF Review Committee —

I would like to bring to your attention the extraordinary photojournalism student, Caroline Lacey. I have known Caroline for three years and recommend her without reservations and with my full confidence for NPPF support. I support her not only because she has an extraordinary eye for composition, texture and moment — but also because she has three critical characteristics that will make her a visual storyteller of note. Caroline has an insatiable sense of curiosity about the world around her and the worlds that are hidden from our daily view. She seeks out individuals on the margins in all senses — in class, in society, in narratives. She brings to each interview and project a deep compassion and dedication to listening that is extraordinary in a person so young. And finally, Caroline is capable of understanding issues in both the macro and micro contexts which means her work is often very intimate while relevant on more global levels.

Caroline is a natural leader — pulling together students and community. She leads by example through her work and work ethic. And in this ever-changing media atmosphere she is very mindful of ways to get projects in front of fresh audiences and to create dialogue and awareness. She definitely lives the spirit of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

Support for Caroline to continue her studies and projects will be of incredible value to her , but even more so to her peers and the greater visual storytelling community. She will make the NPPF as proud as she has already made the Corcoran.

Please contact me should you have further questions.

Susan Sterner , Chair New Media Photojournalism
Corcoran College of Art + Design
7039635147 text

Evan Ortiz Recommendation
Submitted by: William Snyder
Cell: (214) 215-7422

To The NPPF Scholarship Selection Committee 3/2/14

I am writing to recommend Evan Ortiz for an NPPF Scholarship.

Evan is my best student. He is intelligent, curious, works very hard and his photography improves every week.

Evan came to RIT from circumstances unlike most of our students: Both parents are custodial workers in Brooklyn; he doesn’t have a car and works a couple of jobs at school to pay his living expenses. Despite these circumstances, he works harder than many of my other students on his photography and storytelling.

When Evan came to my “Narrative, Editorial and Documentary” class last year, he was taking pictures that appealed to him in a purely visual way. He didn’t really understand the concept of visual story telling. As the year progressed, so did Evan’s photographs and his understanding of the power of photojournalism.

Over the last two years Evan has blossomed into a fine visual storyteller and PJ student. Here is a list of some of his accomplishments:
• Selected two years in a row as a student volunteer for the Northern Short Course.
• Volunteered past two years to man our PJ Lab in the evening to help build a sense of community, lend a critical eye and technical help to other PJ students.
• Chosen by RIT’s PJ faculty for the Paul and Louise Miller Scholarship based on his work and financial need.
• Selected to attend the NY Times Student Journalism Institute.
• Assistant Studio Manager for RIT’s Production Services

Evan’s work and accomplishments since joining our photojournalism program along make him worthy of consideration for a scholarship, but the most important reason for Evan to be selected for a scholarship is that it will enable him to work on the story of his family in Brooklyn.

The story is how a family struggles against poverty to maintain that sense of “family” and “love”. Evan has shown that he can tell the story but because of his financial situation he doesn’t have the appropriate equipment or the travel resources to complete the story over the next year. He needs equipment for the summer that he normally uses from RIT’s equipment cage and he’ll need to travel back and forth from Rochester to Brooklyn next year to continue working on it during his senior year.

I ask that the Selection Committee to please give Evan’s application serious consideration for a scholarship.

If you need any further information about Evan, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your consideration.


William Snyder
Professor, Chair of Photojournalism Program

Carly Laurent Recommendation
Submitted by: Melanie Mozingo
Cell: (651) 270-4179
Other Phone: (651) 270-4179

March 1, 2014

RE: Ms. Carly Laurent

To Whom It May Concern:
I am privileged to write in support for Ms. Carly Laurent. She studied within my classroom in a through her work in beginning and advanced photography studies. I have known her since 2011.
Carly studied in my classroom very intently through during beginning level photography and continued to grow in her artistic and conceptual development through a variety of studies of media techniques and investigation processes. She worked to explore different viewpoints and worked to support her investigation and deepen her knowledge related to the visual arts and beyond.

Her development as a leader was evident not only in her work within the classroom, but her connection to ideas outside of school. Over the time I have known her I have observed a high level of motivation, emotional maturity and self-discipline within her work and demeanor.

Carly has an acute sense of responsibility, understanding of the “big picture,” self-discipline, and ultimately, a wonderful sense of reflection about her work and progress within multiple contexts. She works to understand solutions to a level unique to someone of her age and it has served her well as she has emerged to help other students, both inside and outside school.

She is an incredibly motivated, hard working, enthusiastic, and emotionally intelligent students who would benefit from further studies within the field of photography. I unequivocally recommend her for the 2014 National Press Photographers Foundation Scholarship.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns regarding this letter and I would be delighted to provide additional information. I can be reached via e-mail at or via phone at 651-270-4179.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns regarding any information.

Melanie A. Mozingo
Visual Art Educator, Minnetonka High School, Minnetonka Public Schools
Visual Art Educator, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Akash Ghai Recommendation
Submitted by: Steven Rubin

Dear Committee:

I am writing this letter to give my highest possible recommendation for Mr. Akash Ghai, who is applying for the National Press Photographers Foundation Scholarship.

Akash has been a student in two of my photography courses at Penn State University – Photographic Narratives (in Fall 2013) and Photography: Fact & Fiction (in Spring 2014). These are two of the most advanced courses taught in photography at Penn State, and he has excelled in both courses. Akash is one of my most outstanding students with a keen mind, a great work ethic, a growing command of technique and an enduring desire for learning.

Akash is the rare student who already has strong ideas about what he wants to do and what he wants his imagery to be about. He challenges and pushes himself — critically and creatively examining his work, developing his strategies, refining and improving his projects. The consistently high quality of work he has produced for my class clearly reflected the time he puts into the course and the commitment he has made to his photography. His contributions to class – in the images he produces and the critiques and discussions to which he contributes – are of the highest caliber.

I have come to know Mr. Ghai as a focused and exceptionally committed young photographer. This current semester I am working with Akash in an independent study – something I reserve only for the most capable and talented of students. Akash is proving to be just that. He clearly works well both within the more structured classroom format, and outside and more freely as an independent study student – an ability that will serve him well in his future career in photojournalism.

I have had the pleasure of working with many fine photography students over the span of my teaching career (here at Penn State University, as well as previously at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the University of California at San Diego). Of all my many students over the years, Mr. Ghai is among a select group who stand out. Akash is that kind of rare student who lives and breathes photography.

I feel very fortunate to have had Akash as a student. All teachers should be so lucky.

It has been a rewarding experience to work closely with Akash over the course of the past year. I remain impressed by his determination and evolution as a photographer, and I am increasingly captivated by the growing sophistication of his ideas and imagery. In my estimation he is highly motivated and exceptionally well qualified and would make an excellent and worthy recipient of your esteemed Foundation’s Scholarship. I recommend him without reservation.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns.


Steven Rubin
Assistant Professor of Art / Photography
School of Visual Arts
8 Borland Building
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802

Rugile Kaladyte Recommendation
Submitted by: William Snyder
Cell: (142) 157-7422

To The NPPF Scholarship Selection Committee 3/2/14

I am writing to recommend Rugile Kaladyte for an NPPF Scholarship.

Evan is one of my best students. She works very hard, is an “active learner” and her storytelling improves every week.

Rugile began the year deeply ensconced in the sports photography world. She worked as a photographer at the RIT Sports Zone and covered sports for the campus magazine, The Reporter. And then last semester she was introduced to the idea of visual storytelling and its power. At first, it was difficult for her to grasp but as the semester progressed the idea that photographs had to “say something” began to make sense to her.

Part of our program here at RIT is the “Senior Project” where students research and propose a long-term project to the PJ faculty in their junior year. Rugile’s initial proposal on urban bee keeping was solid. It’s an important subject, for sure, but with little visual potential. One day I was having a conversation with her about her home country of Lithuania. She mentioned in passing that it has the highest suicide rate in the world! I had never heard about that. Now that is a story!

I quickly convinced Rugile to look deeper into it as a possibility for her Sr. Project. When she went home for break, she discovered from her mother that she had a personal connection with the story; her birth father had tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire and driving off a bridge. And there were other friends and family members with equally tragic stories. She was hooked. She had done a tremendous amount of research and continues through this spring.

Rugile will go to Lithuania this summer and stay with family and family friends across Lithuania. But, as with most young students today, money is an issue. She will have to work for the first part of the summer to support the trip.

This is, of course, where NPPF comes in. Rugile has the ability, the contacts, the stories to succeed – all she needs is the financial support to have a greater chance of success if she were awarded one of the NPPF scholarships.

In addition to the project, here is a quick list of Rugile’s accomplishments since arriving at RIT:
• Multiple quarters on Dean’s List
• Chosen for Paul and Louise Miller Scholarship for her work and financial need
• Interned at Velo Magazine
• Selected as Photo Editor for RIT’s student magazine, The Reporter
• Staff member of RIT Sports Zone

Rugile’s work and accomplishments since joining our photojournalism program make her worthy of consideration for a scholarship, but the most important reason for Rugile to be selected for a scholarship is her Senior Project on suicide in Lithuania.

I ask that the Selection Committee to please give Rugiles’s application serious consideration for a scholarship.

If you need any further information about Rugile, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your consideration.


William Snyder
Professor, Chair of Photojournalism Program

Emily Rhyne Recommendation
Submitted by: Pat Davison
Cell: 9195998612
Other Phone: 9195998612

To whom it may concern,

It is my pleasure to recommend Emily Rhyne for an NPPF scholarship.

I have taught Emily in Advanced Photojournalism and Documentary Multimedia Storytelling. She is an outstanding student. Emily is smart, talented, mature, and engaged. She has strong interpersonal skills, work ethic and character. Emily is proactive, manages time well, makes all deadlines and never complains. She is a “low maintenance” problem solver who finds a way to make every situation work.

As a visual journalist, Mary has an excellent eye and a strong understanding of storytelling principles in both stills and video. She is a talented shooter who is constantly improving. Emily won runner-up NC Press Photographers Association Student Photographer of the year this year. I have every reason to believe she will be successful on a professional and personal level.

I believe Emily is an excellent candidate for your scholarship.. Her skills, her curiosity, and her hunger to learn will make Emily a valuable contributor to our craft as she continues to grow.


Patrick Davison
Associate Professor, Visual Communication
University of North Carolina

Niki Walker Recommendation
Submitted by: Jenn Poggi
Cell: (202) 510-1079

March 1, 2014

Re: Recommendation for Niki Walker

Dear National Press Photographers Foundation,

I am writing to support the application of Niki Walker, a Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) junior photojournalism major, for a National Press Photographers Foundation scholarship. Niki made an immediate impression on me during my first days at RIT last August. She is smart, focused and has a tenacious sense of curiosity for the world around her. I am convinced these qualities play a tremendous role in Niki’s burgeoning abilities as a photojournalist and are what will ultimately make her a standout in our industry.

For a photojournalism major, first semester junior year at RIT is a “PJ” boot camp of sorts. Students take their first advanced course in photojournalism, an introduction to multimedia storytelling, a class on developing and pitching documentary photo projects, and study journalism ethics and law. Niki did more than survive last semester – she thrived. I have now worked with her in three classes – Foundations of Photojournalism, Multimedia for Photojournalism I and Multimedia for Photojournalism II. At this moment, Niki is an absolute sponge and her visual aesthetic is evolving daily as she applies the concepts being learned in the classroom to both her assignment and personal work. It is exciting to watch.

One of the traits I appreciate most about Niki is her ability to recognize and capture the subtle moments in a situation. One example is her project on Rebecca Zacherl, a teacher at School #10 in Rochester, N.Y. Niki’s pictures initially focused on the daily rigors of the classroom setting and on being an educator in a challenging school district. However, what evolved more prominently in her work were the quiet, and often more telling, moments happening each day in the classroom. The images depict the nurturing relationships Zacherl is fostering with her students, moments which are likely transparent to those outside the classroom. Similarly, Niki has been working on a multimedia project about a man and woman, each previously married, involved in a long-term relationship and raising their six children together. Through audio, video and still photography, Niki is capturing an evolving definition of family and peeling back the layers of the traditional familial structure. I am certain that it is Niki’s ability to capture these kinds of moments that will make her a successful visual journalist moving forward.

Niki is a talented and highly motivated student who has an insatiable desire to explore the world with a camera in hand. She is exactly the kind of young talent we need to attract and nurture in order to ensure the future of our industry. I could not think of a stronger candidate to consider for an NPPF scholarship.


Jenn Poggi
Visiting Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

Ethan Backer Recommendation
Submitted by: David Sutherland
Other Phone: (315) 446-1144


I had to choose eight teaching assistants from 33 grad student applicants for the freshman multimedia classes at Syracuse University’s communications school. Ethan Backer was obviously one of the most qualified. I selected Ethan who taught one of the eight sections of the course in the fall semester. When it came time to select teaching assistants for the current spring semester, I had no hesitation about assigning him to the duties again. This semester, in addition to teaching his lab sections, Ethan has been assigned to teach special sessions of Final Cut Pro X. I did not choose him for this extra duty — he was chosen by another division of the school who also recognized his strengths as a multimedia producer and teacher.

Ethan was also a student in my photojournalism class in the fall. He has a strong work ethic, is responsible and reliable, and has strong visual skills.

Ethan is young, but is more mature than some of my students if the same age. That probably has something to do with the fact that he is married and has a toddler son.

Ethan is supporting his family and going to school which also means he really needs any financial assistance he can get, if that is of any consideration to the foundation.

Thanks for considering Ethan for your scholarship.

David Sutherland

Sarah Ann Jump Recommendation
Submitted by: William Snyder
Cell: (142) 157-7422


To The NPPF Scholarship Selection Committee 3/2/14

I am writing to recommend Sarah Ann Jump for an NPPF Scholarship.

Sarah is one of my best students. She is smart, inquisitive and works very hard to balance her class work with her duties in the RIT Honors Program and her sorority.

Sarah has quietly achieved quite a record over the last couple of years here are RIT:
• Selected works chosen for both the RIT School of Photographic Arts Honors Show and the RIT PJ program’s What We Do contest/exhibition.
• Alexia Foundation Award of Excellence student grant and Alexia Foundation Gilka Award.
• Chosen for the Presidential Scholarship, the Honors Program Scholarship and the Cavallaro Cleary Visual Art Foundation Scholarship.
• Selected as an Honors Program Representative and voted by her sorority to be VP of Academic Affairs and then President.
• Chosen as a student volunteer for the Northern Short Course.

Part of our program here at RIT is the “Senior Project” where students research and propose a long-term project to the PJ faculty in their junior year. Sarah’s project is to cover the first year in the lives of a brand new immigrant family here in Rochester – the same proposal that was chosen by the Alexia Foundation.

Sarah has begun the project and has done a very good job of documenting a Somali family’s introduction to their first winter in Rochester. But she is faced with a financial situation that will require her to work full- time this summer in order to help pay her tuition and expenses next year and this will severely impinge on the time she has available for her project. If she were to be awarded an NPPF Scholarship it would allow her to concentrate on her story this summer and use the scholarship for her tuition/expenses next fall.

Sarah’s work and accomplishments since joining our photojournalism program make her worthy of consideration for any scholarship, but the most important reason for Sarah to be selected for a scholarship is that it will help her pursue her Senior Project on a new immigrant family.

I ask that the Selection Committee to please give Sarah’s application serious consideration for a scholarship.

If you need any further information about Sarah, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your consideration.


William Snyder
Professor, Chair of Photojournalism Program
Rochester, Institute of Technology

Maureen MacGregor Recommendation
Submitted by: William Snyder
Cell: (142) 157-7422

To The NPPF Scholarship Selection Committee 3/2/14

I am writing to recommend Maureen MacGregor for an NPPF Scholarship.

Maureen is a very good student and has grown considerably over the last year. She manages to balance her job in the School of Photographic Arts & Sciences office with her schoolwork and her job as President of the Student Chapter of the NPPA.

As President she brought about some much needed change and organization to the group that resulted in them raising over $10K in the annual SPAS Holiday auction of which $5000 will be donated to the Chris Hondros Fund. The NPPA will take the rest of the money to run their annual What We Do Lecture, Contest and Exhibition and a large project Maureen is spearheading for the chapter to shoot in the Niagara Falls area.

Part of our program here at RIT is the “Senior Project” where students research and propose a long-term project to the PJ faculty in their junior year. Maureen’s multimedia project is to document the lives of several girls in the Young Mother’s and Interim Health Academy, which is a part of the Rochester City School District. It is a program to help girls stay in school during their pregnancies and get the pre/post natal car their children need.

An NPPF Scholarship would allow Maureen to purchase some equipment, software and pay for some web development for her project.

I ask that the Selection Committee to please give Maureen’s application serious consideration for a scholarship.

If you need any further information about Maureen, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your consideration.


William Snyder
Professor, Chair of Photojournalism Program
Rochester Institute of Technology

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone Recommendation
Submitted by: Torsten Kjellstrand
Cell: (503) 828-5078

Dear NPPF,

Please let me add my voice to those encouraging you to help Kathryn Boyd-Batstone with a scholarship as she continues her studies here at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communications.
Among the many fine students we have here in the School of Journalism and Communications, Kathryn stands out as hard-working, smart, talented and enthused as she works to master the skills and sensibilities needed to be an effective storyteller in multiple media. Professors here universally enjoy having Kathryn in class. She is also the kind of person I most appreciated when I worked in newspaper newsrooms and with other journalists when in the field on freelance projects.
You should know that I am a visiting assistant professor at the University of Oregon this year. That means that I cannot compare Kathryn to students who have come through this school, or any other, over the years.
That said, I can say that Kathryn approaches her work with more maturity than you would expect from a college student. She balances confidence in her approach and vision with a willingness to listen to instruction. This means that her work has a distinct point of view, but that her pride doesn’t block her from growing within her work.
Kathryn also doesn’t wait for opportunities to come to her. She creates them for herself. As a freshman, she helped found an environmental journalism publication. She also served as photo editor and photographer for two publications linked to our school. The folks at Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland tell me she took that experience to their internship and set a new standard for student workers.
Last, I must mention that Kathryn is simply a pleasant person to be around. I think it shows in her photographs and films that people trust her and allow her into their lives, and I know it makes her a welcome addition to any class or discussion.
Thank you for continuing to your support for the next generation of visual storytellers. They need you.


Torsten Kjellstrand
Visiting Assistant Professor
School of Journalism and Communications
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97402

Amina Ismail Recommendation
Submitted by: Nancy Youssef
Cell: (202) 257-7660
Other Phone: (202) 383-6000

1 March 2014

To whom it May Concern:

It is with great enthusiasm that I recommend Amina Ismail for an NPPF Scholarship. As her supervisor for the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work side by side with her as we have covered the nuanced, complicated post-revolutionary period in Egypt. We have reported together on historic presidential elections, the subsequent ouster of the president, violent clashes, the statewide crackdown and stories that speak to the everyday Egyptian experience. As our chief photographer here, Amina has proven to be a thoughtful photojournalist who is committed to telling Egypt’s story. Through my experiences working alongside her, I have come to believe Amina is the epitome of the kind of up and coming photographer most deserving of an NPPF Scholarship – a bright, fearless, inquisitive student who is eager to better herself so that she can then use those skills to improve her home country.

Amina has been awarded a full scholarship that covers her tuition expenses to attend Northwestern University’s graduate Medill school program, where she will specialize in photo and video journalism. But living expenses are still cost prohibitive to her. Should she be awarded the NPPF Scholarship, she plans to apply it toward her education, which I believe is the best of use for such a prestigious scholarship. It would allow her to better report the kinds of stories the honorees of the award dedicated their careers to. It is Amina’s intent to use her education to return to Egypt and be a better photojournalist. Given that Egypt is experiencing a free press for the first time in its modern history, an American education on that power and responsibility would be particularly helpful to someone like Amina.

I first met Amina in May 2012 when she applied to be a correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, the third-largest American news company. We hired her immediately and that day she volunteered to cover clashes in front of the Ministry of Defense. Her reporting was so thorough, she earned a byline on her first day on the job. She quickly became critical to our news operation. She took the initiative to search for news and photo stories from a myriad of angles. She constantly sought means to capture events in Egypt photographically, never leaving home without her camera. And with every event she captured, her photos improved. She welcomed any challenge, always giving her best effort. For example, when security forces violently stormed a sit in being held on behalf of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Amina immediately ran to the scene, even as the fighting was ongoing and took one of the defining photos of that event, featuring men walking by a river a blood. The photo was reproduced around the world. And in the Sinai, she was the last reporter to safely enter and photograph the military crackdown. Beyond breaking news, Amina has an eye for features as well. She has beautifully captured how everyday Egyptians are adjusting to the economic woes that have consumed the post-uprising period.

In addition, she is street savvy in a nation where the social dynamics are constantly changing. She knows how to get us into press conferences we are not invited to, to convince reluctant Egyptians to be photographed and to make those unfamiliar with the press feel comfortable. She connects with everyone she meets, handling the toughest situations with grace and patience.

Very simply, Amina has something to say to the world about Egypt. But having never experienced a free press, she spends much of her time teaching herself the skills needed to be a better storyteller. It is an incomplete education, constantly interrupted by the breaking news of the day. She is at a point, I believe, where she is ready to step back and focus on honing her craft. An NPPF Scholarship would give her an opportunity to access to some of the best programs in the world, to take all the innate talent and couple it with educational training. She is eager to bring those skills back to Egypt and, through visual media, tell local and international readers and viewers alike about what is happening here. With so few journalists here professionally trained, I believe she has the potential to improve the lives of both fellow journalists and news consumers. It is my hope you will give her – and Egypt—such an opportunity.

Thank you for considering Amina for the NPPF Scholarship.

Nancy Youssef

Nancy A. Youssef
Middle East Bureau Chief
McClatchy Newspapers