Northeastern Grad Follows Nicholas Kristof Trip With Separate New York Times Summer Fellowship

Aneri Pattani is skyrocketing through the summer

Northeastern University is today celebrating the summer accomplishments of College of Arts, Media and Design 2017 graduate Aneri Pattani. As this year’s winner of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff’s annual “Win a Trip” contest (the essay she submitted related her experience of interviewing residents in unincorporated areas of Texas near the Mexico border), she spent a week in June alongside the Pulitzer Prize winner in Liberia. And her learning experience continues:

Since returning from her trip to Liberia, Pattani has been working on The New York Times’ health and science desk as part of her James Reston Reporting Fellowship—another prestigious opportunity she applied for and received separate from her reporting trip with Kristof. …

Pattani’s work as part of her fellowship, which concludes Sept. 1, runs the gamut. One day she might be working collaboratively on a data project, another she might be focusing on one of her own stories. “There’s a lot to learn,” she said, adding that the Times’ extensive editing process is forcing her to think more critically about her own reporting and improve her writing by anticipating questions her editors might ask.

In terms of Pattani’s published writings about Liberia, one article that stands out for Fishbowl is her highlighting of seven individuals who inspired her during her travels across the African country. Here’s just one of those stories:

Ruth Zawolo was a kindergarten dropout. Her teacher beat her with a stick for failing to pay attention, traumatizing her and leading her to flee school. “I was afraid of her and I didn’t want to go back,” she recalled.

Years later, Ruth enrolled in a new school, beginning first grade at age 11. In her new class, the teacher didn’t use corporal punishment. Ruth enjoyed herself and excelled.

Now in third grade, Ruth is the top of her class and dreams of being the first in her family to attend college. She plans on becoming a computer engineer.

Another one of Pattani’s pieces, under the fellowship rainbow, was published this week in the NYT Opinion pages.

In her essay for the Kristoff contest, Pattani wrote, ‘Through journalism, I hope to eradicate my own ignorance and hopefully enlighten a few others too.’ In the case of Fishbowl and the latter portion of that mission statement, consider it fulfilled!

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.