Moriah Ratner, an undergraduate student at Syracuse University, won both the Rich Clarkson and the Reid Blackburn scholarships. This is the first time that a student has won two scholarships since the Clarkson scholarship was implemented.

Ross Taylor’s Image Deconstructed article in the March-April, 2018, News Photographer magazine features Ratner and her photo essay, “Live Like Lola.”

Click on the image below to read the article used here by permission.

Ratner’s essay was featured in the June 4, 2018, Washington Post.

Moriah Ratner, Syracuse University
  • Eddie Adams Workshop
  • Michel du Cille Award for Commitment in Storytelling, The Fall Workshop 2017, Syracuse University
  • Virginia News Photographers Association, George Smith Memorial Scholarship 2017 recipient
  • 2017 Bertram J. Davis Scholar Award, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
  • 2017 ACP Photo Excellence Awards, Honorable Mention in General News Photo
  • 2017 Hearst Journalism Awards Program, 7th place in Photojournalism Picture Story
  • 2017 NPPA Student Quarterly Contests, 1st place in Picture Story/Essay, 1st quarter of 2017
  • 2016 NPPA Student Quarterly Contests, 2nd place in General News, 3rd place in Picture Story/Essay, 3rd quarter of 2016 2nd place in Picture Story/Essay, 1st place in Portrait/Illustration
  • Press Photography Intern, The Hill, Washington, D. C. May- August 2016.  On assignment covering press conferences, hearings, and breaking news on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
  • Intern, Annie Leibovitz Studio, New York, N. Y. July 2016. Researched location and shoot concepts as well as prospective clients. Maintained gear. Assisted with administrative tasks.
  • Assistant Photo Editor, The Daily Orange, Syracuse, N. Y. August- December 2015. Selected, toned and edited images for both print and web publication. Gave photo assignments and managed staff photographers.
  • Staff Photographer, The Daily Orange, Syracuse, N. Y. January 2015-present. On assignment covering university and Syracuse related events.
Extended Project

The scholarship will provide the means needed to complete my long-term, self-initiated project on a 13-year-old with terminal brain cancer.

Lola Muñoz, 13, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma on August 26, 2016. This is an inoperable tumor on the brainstem. The average life expectancy is 9-12 months; fewer than 10% of children with DIPG survive within two years from diagnosis. There is no known cure and has been no progress in treatment in over 40 years. After participating in an experimental trial for five months, Lola stopped the trial, a decision based on quality of life. An August MRI revealed progression and growth. Her mother is newly pregnant with her 5th child and is due in April.

My goal is to raise awareness not only on Lola’s rare form of cancer, but also defy stereotypes associated with childhood cancer that are falsely represented in the media. I believe that there is a disconnect from the actual experience of childhood cancer in that the media presents a sanitized version of what it is like for a family to face a diagnosis. Lola deserves to be remembered and I have made it my duty to do her story justice. I hope one day the story will provide a mirror by showing people what they can’t see for themselves.

The scholarship will fund grief counseling, equipment rentals, and travel expenses, including gas and airfare. Lola’s family currently lives 90 minutes north of Syracuse on Fort Drum, a military base in Watertown, N. Y. The family plans on moving to Chicago for Lola to be closer to her extended family as her condition progresses. The funeral will be held in Chicago. I will also be traveling to meet with editors to pitch the story for publication. Frequent visits to NIH will occur to follow up on current research regarding the drugs Lola was on during her trial.

Career Goals

  • Expand how I think and increase my perceptions of the world
  • Use my photos to share stories with the world and make a difference by bringing attention the plight of communities
  • Make a global impact with my photography; change the way people see the world through my photography
  • Have my photos motivate people to act
  • Understand what it takes to make compelling imagery and do whatever it takes to achieve that
  • Strive to tell unique stories
  • Be among the highest achievers
  • Be proactive, not competitive
  • Continue to evolve as a visual storyteller in working environments that allow and encourage such growth


Click on pictures to see stories.


A collection of moments.

Live Like Lola

Lola Muñoz, 13, is learning to grapple with how her battle against DIPG, a terminal brain cancer, has become a limitation on her childhood.

Capitol Hill

In the heart of Washington, D.C. sits the home of the action-packed political scene that is Capitol Hill.

Election 2016

The United States reacts in an uproar to the results of the 2016 Election, leaving a divisive nation in unrest.

Growing Within

Syracuse Hebrew Day School opened 56 years ago with one English teacher and one Hebrew teacher off of the belief that the survival of Judaism relies on educating young Jewish children. The school now has 43 students.

Unapologetically Abby

After being adopted at 13 months, Abby Anderson, 10, was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Her ability to defy any limitations posed by her disability epitomizes perseverance through defeating stereotypes. Being bound by braces does not impose fear for Abby, but rather further stimulates her desire to participate amongst able-bodied peers. Despite the frequent doctor’s visits, Abby’s courageous spirit inspires those around her. Though small in stature, her fierce nature shines through her positive outlook on the world.