Specialization Students

These are Medill graduate students participating ian the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative’s unique new reporting specialization program. Also included are students who completed the program and are now National Security Journalism Specialists. (Stories by the students are in the specialization program).

Current Specialization Students

Muhammed Enes Calli

Muhammed Enes Calli is pursuing a master’s degree at Medill with a specialization in Politics and National Security. His works focuses particularly on Mideast politics. He grew up in Izmir, Turkey, before moving to Kocaeli to get his bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration at Kocaeli University in 2012. He most recently worked as an editor and interviewer in the Turkish media in Istanbul. After he completes his M.S. from Medill, he hopes to work as an international journalist in the United States.

Kate Cimini

Kate Cimini is a writer and photographer earning an Master’s of Science in Journalism at Medill, studying politics and national security. She recently embedded with the U.S. Army and Army National Guard to report on relief and aid efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and previously spent several years covering sports and the sports industry. Her work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, Sports Illustrated, espnW, Women’s Running Magazine, The Golfer’s Journal, VICE, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic and other outlets.

Casey Egan

Casey Egan is a master’s candidate at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he is specializing in politics and national security. He earned a B.A. in political science and communication from the University of Washington. He has spent the last four years working in energy and environmental policy.

Oyin Falana

Oyin Falana is a print and broadcast reporter focusing on the military, foreign policy and national security.  She’s currently a master’s candidate at Medill. She studied media studies and political science at the City University of New York, from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016.


Yingjie Gu

Yingjie Gu is a graduate student at Medill, specializing in politics and national security. She reports bilingually in English and Mandarin on current U.S. foreign policy issues involving Asian countries. She previously interned for Chinese Radio Seattle, her hometown newspaper and Seattle nonprofits.


Gerald Harris

Gerald Harris is a graduate reporter at Northwestern University covering politics and national security for the Medill News Service. Gerald previously interned at ABC WKRN News 2 and CBS News Channel 5, local news stations in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. He has received three student Emmy Awards from the National Association of Science and Technology (Mid-South).


Jini Hernandez

Jini Hernandez comes to Medill’s graduate program with six years of experience in broadcast television. She has previously worked as an assistant director at WGN Adelante, a floor director at WGN News, an associate producer on “Judge Mathis” and a news coordinator at Telemundo Chicago. Jini holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and is fluent in Spanish.


Jasmine Khayami

Jasmine Khayami is a graduate student at Medill studying journalism, concentrating on broadcast and multimedia reporting, and focusing on politics and business. She graduated from Cornell University in 2017 with a degree in industrial and labor relations, and minors in law & society and applied economic management. She interned at the Howie Carr Radio Show and previously worked on Massachusetts Charlie Baker’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Kevin Schmidt

Kevin Schmidt is native of St. Louis and graduated from Indiana University Southeast in 2010 with a B.A. in journalism. He previously worked as managing editor for Vital Voice Magazine, a LGBT life-and-style publication based in St. Louis. He is currently a master’s candidate working as a political reporter at the Medill News Service. His interests lie in digital media and television, with a long-term goal of working as a national correspondent for a major broadcast network.

Elizabeth Strassner

Elizabeth Strassner is studying politics and national security journalism at Medill. She previously worked for Bustle.com, ABC News and the BBC. Elizabeth graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University with a degree in political science. She is a native of St. Louis, Missouri.


Matt Sussis

Matt Sussis is an M.S. candidate at Medill, currently working in its Washington bureau. He focuses on print and broadcast journalism, and his reporting beats are immigration and tax policy. He previously worked as a financial analyst for Credit Suisse in New York. As an investment banker, he covered packaged food and agribusiness stocks. His research included analysis of regulatory and policy issues impacting these areas, like tariffs, agricultural subsidies, immigration visas and U.S. corporate tax policy. A New Jersey native, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in 2016.

National Security Specialists

(have completed the program)

Shahzeb Ahmed (Class of 2016-17)


Mackenzie Allen (Class of 2013-14)

Mackenzie Allen

She now works for ABC/FOX Montana.

Stories by Mackenzie Allen

Elizabeth Atkinson (Class of 2014-15)


She currently works as the Restaurants and Bars Editor at Chicago Magazine.

Adam Banicki (Class of 2014-15)

Adam Banicki

He now works as a senior producer at VICE Media.

Michael Bacos (Class of 2015-16)


He now works as the communication coordinator at Northwestern University’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies.

Talia Beechick (Class of 2015-16)

Talia Beechick
Talia currently works as an investigations analyst at Hillard Heintze.

Mallory Black (Class of 2013-14)

Robert Andersson

She now works as a communications manager at the StrongHearts Native Helpline.

Stories by Mallory Black

Aryn Braun (Class of 2015-16)


She is now interning at Congressional Quarterly, focusing on foreign policy and national security.

Siri Bulusu (Class of 2015-16)


She is currently working in India for Bloomberg BNA.

Daniel Brown (Class of 2014-15)

He now works as a military & defense reporting intern at Business Insider.

Tobias Burns (Cass of 2014-15)

Tobias Burns

He now works as the assignment editor at Al Jazeera English.

Carolyn Talya Cakir  (Class of 2016-17)


She now w0rks as a producer at WGME in Portland, Maine.

Yu-Ning “Aileen” Chuang (Class of 2016-17)


Mary Cirincione (Class of 2014-15)

Mary Cirincione

She now works as a senior account executive and content specialist at Baker Public Relations in Albany, N.Y.

Eric Cortellessa (Class of 2014-15)


Eric currently works as The Times of Israel’s Washington correspondent.

Marina Cracchiolo (Class of 2013-14)

Marina Cracchiolo

She now works as an associate producer at CNN in Washington.

Stories by Marina Cracchiolo

Vishakha Darbha (Class of 2016-17)


Kayla Daugherty (Class of 2015-16)


Kayla now works as a News Producer for the Lansing State Journal.

Bian Elkhatib (Class of 2016-17)


Marisa Endicott (Class of 2015-16)


Evan Garcia (Class of 2014-15)


He currently works as an Associate Producer for Chicago Tonight on WTTW/Chicago PBS.

Taylor Hall (Class of 2014-15)

Taylor Hall

She now works in investor relations at Oasis Management Company Ltd. in Hong Kong.

Ashley Hickey

She now works as a vice president in the Strategic Communications division of the Glover Park Group in Washington.

Matt Higgins (Class of 2013-14)

Matt Higgens

He now works as a freelance reporter.

Alix Hines (Class of 2014-15)

Alix Hines

Alix Hines is a video journalist for Circanews.com in Washington.

Amina Ismail (Class of 2014-15)

Amina Ismail

She now works as a correspondent for Reuters News Agency in Cairo.

David Jordan (Class of 2016-17)


He will be working as an intern at the Dallas Morning News beginning in January 2018.

Ezra Kaplan (Class of 2015-16)


He now works as a field producer with NBC News in Boston.

Guy King (Class of 2016-17)


He now works as communications director for Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Kristin April Kim (Class of 2013-14)

Kristin April Kim

John Kuhn (Class of 2013-14)

John Kuhn

He now is a teacher at Magic Johnson Academy in Englewood, Illinois.

Stories by John Kuhn.

Niccole Kunshek (Class of 2014-15)

Niccole Kunshek

She now is a weekend anchor and investigative reporter at KVII in Amarillo, Texas.

Holly LaFon (Class of 2014-15)

She now works as editorial director at GuruFocus, an online financial publication, where her work is syndicated by MarketWatch, Forbes and Nasdaq, among others.

Ashley Lapin (Class of 2013-14)

Ashley Lapin

She now works as an associate editor at Kitchen and Bath Design News in Chicago.

Stories by Ashley Lapin

Eliza Larson (Class of 2014-15)

Eliza larson

She now works as a reporter for WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vermont.

Beth Lawrence (Class of 2014-15)

Beth Lawrence

She now works as an anchor and reporter at NCTV17 in Naperville, Illinois.

Wen-Yee Lee (Class of 2016-17)

She now works as an intern with the Medill Justice Project.

Xuan Lei (Class of 2014-15)

Xuan Lei

He now covers Asia’s insurance market for S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Katherine Lonsdorf (Class of 2015-16)


She now works as a production assistant at NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Iacopo Luzi (Class of 2015-16)

He now works for Voice of America in Washington.

Nikita Mandhani (Class of 2016-17)


She now works as a video editor at the Washington Post.

Patrick Martin (Class of 2015-16)

Patrick Martin

He now works as a video editor at the Washington Post.

Nikki McGee (Class of 2015-16)

Nikki McGee
She currently works as a multimedia journalist with the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Ashesha Mehrotra (Class of 2015-16)


She now works as IBM’s content director for the US public sector.

Rachel Menitoff (Fall 2014)

Rachel now is a reporter at WVIR NBC29 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jasmine Minor (Class of 2016-17)


She now works as a reporter at WFTX Fox 4 in Fort Myers, Florida.

Megan Morris (Class of 2015-16)


She is now interning with Deutsche Welle (Germany’s public international broadcaster) in Bonn, Germany, working in radio and online as part of their news and current affairs department.

Neil Murthy (Class of 2015-16)

Neil Murthy Photo

He now works as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the CDC and serves as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Hayato Norimine (Class of 2013-14)

Hayato Norimine

She now works as an associate editor and Publicola News reporter at the Seattle Met.

Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory (Class of 2012-13)

Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

She now works as the Digital Editor at Defense & Aerospace Report.

Stories by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

Megan Pauly (Class of 2013-14)

Megan Pauly

She now works as a reporter and youth media producer at Delaware Public Media.

Stories by Megan Pauly

Steven Porter (Class of 2015-16)


He now works as a fellow at ChristianScienceMonitor.com in Boston.

Nia Prater (Class of 2016-17)


Aditya Prakash (Class of 2015-16)

He now works as a supervising producer at Network18 Media & Investments Limited in Noida, India.

Will Racke (Class of 2015-16)


He now works as a freelance journalist with American City Business Journals, where he covers small business, government regulations and more for ACBJ’s Digital Cities websites.

Lydia Randall (Class of 2015-16)


She now works as a short-form video team researcher at VICE Media.

Lucy Ren (Class of 2014-15)

Lucy Ren

She now works in international equity sales at CICC.

Melanie Saltzman (Class of 2014-15)

Melanie Saltzman

She now works for PBSNewsHour in New York City.

Maryam Saleh (Class of 2016-17)


She now works as an associate editor at the Intercept in Washington.

Hammad Sarfraz (Class of 2016-17)

He now works as a lecturer at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism in Karachi, Pakistan.

Matthew L. Schehl (Class of 2014-15)

Matthew L. Schehl

Christen Simeral (Class of 2013-14)

Christen Simeral

She now works as a web producer at KSWB (Fox 5 San Diego).

Stories by Christen Simeral.

Ajai Sreevatsan (Class of 2013-14)

Ajai Sreevatsan

He now works with The Wall Street Journal’s Mint.

Nona Tepper (Class of 2016-17)


She now works as a reporter and editor at the Forest Park Review in Oak Park, Ill.

Tammy Thueringer (Class of 2014-15)

Tanmara Thueringer

She now works as a producer at C-SPAN in Washington.

Stories by Tammy Thueringer

Meghan Tribe (Class of 2013-14)

Meghan Tribe

She currently works as a Law Firm Reporter at The American Lawyer magazine.

Chris Walljasper (Class of 2014-15)

Chris Walljasper

He now works as a digital content manager at Farm Journal Media.

Noor Wazwaz (Class 2014-15)

Noor Wazwaz

She now works as a producer, director and journalist for NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Up First.”

Rachel White (Class of 2014-15)


She now works as a production associate at Nightline.

Matt Yurus (Class of 2014-15)

Matt Yurus

He now works as a Digital Anchor at CBS Local Digital Media.

Yichen “Sophie” Zhang (Class of 2015-16)

Shu Zhang (Class of 2013-14)

Shu Zhang

She currently works as a China Finance Correspondent for Reuters News.