Our Urbanist Journalism Fellowship is continuing this spring with two new faces: ThienVinh Nguyen and Natasha Riddle. Please welcome them to GGWash!

Remind me: What's the story behind the fellowship?

When DCist was shut down in November 2017 and the future of Washington City Paper looked uncertain, we were worried about the state of local journalism. Even though those two outlets are now thriving, there's still a dearth of opportunities for budding reporters to gain paid experience. And at GGWash, we frequently have ideas for in-depth stories and investigations that we simpy don't have the capacity to cover with existing staff and volunteer contributors.

So we decided to launch this fellowship to help local journalists build their careers, gain more of a background in urbanism, and provide our readers with an even richer array of stories. We also specifically wanted to lift up voices and perspectives that aren't as prevelant on the site. This fellowship is focused on urbanism through an environmental and equity lens, which are two of our editorial priorities.

AJ Earl and Christina Sturdivant Sani were our inaugural fellows, and now we're expanding the program to a spring and fall season. Without further ado, meet our spring cohort.

Welcome ThienVinh and Natasha!

Born in Vietnam and raised in California, ThienVinh is a Deanwood resident and urban studies researcher who recently completed her PhD on urban governance. She studied how city governments and citizen groups can push for inclusive urban development, and she's particularly excited to write about urban foraging, local businesses, and affordable housing in the District.

ThienVinh wrote about Asian American issues for UCLA’s Pacific Ties newsmagazine, interned for the “Green Page” at the burgeoning Huffington Post, and discussed the importance of walking to experiencing a city in Engaged Urbanism. Read a few of her pieces in The Sacramento Bee and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival blog.

Natasha is a Petworth resident who's passionate about writing, story-telling, and film. She's particularly interested in the intersection of city living, social justice, and environmentalism, and wants to explore issues related to the Central American community in DC, as well as the service sector’s influence on the urban environment.

She is a Salvadorian who grew up in Guatemala until she was 13, and then lived in Indiana before landing in DC to study Literature and Cinema Studies at American University. She's a server as well as an essay reader at The Rumpus; check out her piece there and in Medium. She's also critiqued films at the DC Shorts Film Festival.

We're partnering with the Urban Resilience Project and the Meyer Foundation

Our two incredible partners—Island Press and The Meyer Foundation—have helped make this possible.

Island Press, which partnered with us for the initial cohort, is a nonprofit publisher that seeks to better address the interrelated issues of environmental, economic, and social justice in cities, and specifically in the Washington area. Through their Urban Resilience Project, Island Press is exploring what it means for cities to be sustainable, equitable, and resilient into the future.

The Meyer Foundation aims to build a more equitable Washington region in which economically disadvantaged people thrive and in which systemic racism and its consequences no longer exist. It's working to achieve greater racial equity in housing, education, employment, and asset building. We're excited to be working with them!

Keep your eye out for the fellows' pieces in the coming weeks. If you have questions or story ideas for them, let us know in the comments.

Julie Strupp is Greater Greater Washington's Managing Editor. She's a journalist committed to building inclusive, equitable communities and finding solutions. Previously she's written for DCist, Washingtonian, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and others. You can usually find her sparring with her judo club, pedaling around the city, or hanging out on her Columbia Heights stoop.