Overseas Press Club

Overseas Press Club Foundation
Encouraging the next generation of foreign correspondents

40 West 45 Street, New York NY 10036 USA| 201.493.9087 | foundation@opcofamerica.org

Previous Winners
1992 - 2003

2012 Scholars
Left to right: Sophia Jones. Georgia Wells, Eva Dou, Elisa Mala, Beibei Bao, James Jeffrey, Catherine Ryan Gregory, Max Seddon, Lauren Rosenfeld, Rachel Will, Jia Feng, Lauren Zumbach, Lauren E. Bohn, and Nizar Manek

The 2012 OPC Foundation Scholars

Lauren Zumbach, Princeton University

Lauren spent last summer at the Jakarta Globe where she covered, among other topics, Indonesia’s mismanaged emergency care system.  In her winning essay, the Princeton undergrad discussed how its ineffectiveness was harming not only its residents but also its plans for global development.  Fluent in French, Lauren has the OPC Foundation’s first internship with Forbes magazine and will spend the summer with Forbes-India in Mumbai.

James Jeffrey, University of Texas at Austin

James has already led the life of a foreign correspondent.  As the son of a British Army dentist he grew up in various locations throughout Europe, a trend that continued when his own time as an army officer took him to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places.  An inveterate traveler, his winning essay discussed what he gleaned on a month-long study abroad trip to China, chief among them, the frantic energy and momentum both on the city streets and in the countryside.

Sophia Jones, George Washington University

While only a college junior, Sophia has extensive experience as a freelance journalist in the Middle East and Africa.  This summer she has an internship in the Reuters bureau in Ramallah.  Currently studying Arabic in Cairo, Sophia aims for a career as a war correspondent.  Her winning essay detailed the chilling story of a bus ride through an Israeli checkpoint where her burka-clad seatmate hid under her feet and prayed.

Nizar Manek, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Nizar’s passion is Africa. With a law degree from the London School of Economics, he would like to cover, among other stories, Nigeria’s scrapping of fuel subsidies and the potential for civil unrest in the country. His winning essay was about South Africa’s Protection of State Information Bill, a clear attempt by the ruling African National Congress to inhibit whistle-blowers and a free press.

Catherine Ryan Gregory, University of Oregon

Catherine’s winning essay was about the tragic fate of women accused of witchcraft in Ghana, a story she covered as a reporter for The Accra Mail.  Ghanese women are subject to violence and exiled to witch camps for “looking at a neighbor the wrong way or angering a co-wife.”  A graduate of the University of Oregon now pursuing a master’s degree in literary nonfiction, she hopes to return to Ghana to cover this and other stories of African life for Western audiences. 

Lauren E. Bohn, American University in Cairo

Lauren is currently in Cairo studying Arabic as part of her Fulbright grant and combing the countryside for stories of the aftershocks of the Arab Spring.  A graduate of NYU with a master’s degree from Northwestern, she wrote about the plight of Egypt’s Coptic Christians who fear their minority status in a Muslim country is now even more imperiled, a story she first covered for GlobalPost. A multimedia journalist, Lauren has an OPC Foundation internship in the AP bureau in Jerusalem.

Max Seddon, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Fluent in Russian, Max took a year off his studies at Oxford to spend a year at the Moscow Times where he became, surprising even himself, the only English-speaking art critic in Moscow.  His winning essay was about a Belarusian artist and nationalist, ironically named Alex Pushkin, and his quixotic crusade against collective farm fascism.  Also proficient in French, Max will return to Moscow as an OPC Foundation intern in the AP bureau.

Georgia Wells, Stanford University

When the protests turned into revolution in Egypt, Georgia “couldn’t bear to not be in Tahrir Square.”  She took some time off her graduate work in journalism at Stanford and flew to Cairo, a city where she had previously studied Arabic.  Now fluent, she worked her sources to find the spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood and endured his rants to get a story, the subject of her winning essay.  Georgia also has her undergraduate degree from Stanford. 

Jia Feng, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

In her winning essay, Jia makes a compelling argument that if China accedes to American pressure and appreciates its currency, the impact would be harmful to the American economy.  With both undergraduate and master’s degrees from Nanjing University, she is especially interested in the inner workings of the financial world and their effects on peoples’ lives.  She has an OPC Foundation internship in the Reuters bureau in Beijing. 

Beibei Bao, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and School of International and Public Affairs

Pursuing dual graduate degrees in journalism and international finance policy, Beibei intends to devote her career to producing quality business news, the kind that benefits the public by improving market transparency.  She has an OPC Foundation internship in the Reuters bureau in Shanghai.  In her essay, the graduate of Peking University wrote about the under-reported issue of Chinese debt, both at the local and national level, and the risks it poses to China’s economic health.

Elisa Mala, Columbia University

The daughter of Thai immigrants and Jewish converts, Elisa by the age of five was already fluent in English, Thai and Hebrew.  While still determined to graduate from college, she has already collected 300 bylined articles in 15 countries on three continents.  Her essay described her coverage of the terrorist bombing in Oslo that led to her first front page story in The New York Times:   Elisa has an OPC Foundation internship in the AP bureau in Bangkok.
Eva Dou, University of Missouri

As a former Reuters intern in the Beijing bureau and an exchange student at Shih Hsin University in Taipei, Eva is confident she has the language and cultural skills to succeed as a correspondent in China. Fluent in Mandarin and conversant in French, the college senior wrote about high unemployment among China’s recent college graduates and the largely ineffective measures China has taken to combat the issue, if only to limit the potential of political unrest. 

Rax Will, University of Southern California

Having already interned in Hong Kong and Jakarta, the college senior will next travel to Malaysia where they have an OPC Foundation internship in the Reuters bureau in Kualar Lumpur. Rax fell in love with this part of the world from the first “sticky-humid-exhilarating breath.” In their essay, they wrote about China’s “stadium diplomacy,” specifically in Costa Rica, where it has now contributed to the building of 85 sports facilities, including the $100 million national stadium.

Lauren Rosenfeld, University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

From the first documentary she created in Chili with little more than the equipment she was able to carry, Lauren has had a love affair with Latin America. Fluent in Spanish, the Georgetown graduate wrote about the Voices of Kidnapping radio show, where the families of Colombian kidnap victims send messages of hope and maintain some semblance of contact with loved ones. A video producer and multimedia journalist, she is able to produce content across all platforms.




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