HAMPTON, Va. (April 9, 2020) – Hampton University student Sara Avery has won a Pulitzer Center Fellowship. As a Fellow, Avery will undertake an international reporting project that she proposed, which involves traveling to Haiti to talk to locals about their 3D printed homes. Pulitzer Center staff and journalists will advise her throughout the process and act as mentors. Her final project will be featured on the Center website, with publication in other news media outlets such as The Washington Post and The Atlantic.
“We are incredibly proud of Ms. Sara Avery for winning this prestigious Fellowship from the Pulitzer Center. Her proposal to report on the 3D printed homes for Haitians was insightful and will bring to light the technological advances that are helping people all over the world. We know that Ms. Avery will continue to Dream no Small Dreams as she continues to pursue academic excellence,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Avery is a sophomore journalism student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications from Raleigh, North Carolina. For the Pulitzer Center Fellowship, Avery proposed reporting on the problem of the homeless in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. In her proposal, Avery said: “One company, Icon, is working to combat the problem by providing 3D printed homes to those communities that are still adversely affected. I want to shadow the company as they build one of these homes. Afterwards, I want to speak with families who live in the homes and ask them about upkeep of the houses in the long run.”
The fellowship is through the Campus Consortium, which is a network of partnerships between the Pulitzer Center and universities and colleges to engage with students and faculty on the critical global issues of our time. Their aim is to connect international reporting supported by the Pulitzer Center directly with communities across the U.S., to expand knowledge of the world, spark conversations across disciplines and inspire individuals to expand their horizons. Hampton University recently became a Campus Consortium partner.
Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Assistant Professor Lynn Waltz helped guide Avery to apply for the Fellowship. “Professor Waltz sought me out and asked me to apply,” Avery said. “I would never have applied for it without her pushing me and I’m glad she did.”
Professor Waltz said: “Sara is a top-notch student and excellent reporter and writer. I'm very excited that she has earned this amazing opportunity.”
The Dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, Ms. B. Da’Vida Plummer, is excited about Avery paving the way for future journalism students. "We are very grateful to the Pulitzer Center for availing this international reporting opportunity to the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. Sara is a top performer who will shine as the first SHSJC Pulitzer 'fellow' charting the global waters for the other ‘Scrippas' who will follow in her very worthy footsteps," Dean Plummer said.
Currently, due to the world pandemic, travel has been put on hold, but Avery will be paired with a professional journalist and editor and will begin preparing for the time when she is able to travel to Haiti. “Once I can travel, I will stay in Haiti for up to three weeks,” Avery said. “While I’m there, I will visit with families and interview them about taking care of the 3D printed homes, what problems may arise in the long run and asking about resources that will be needed to sustain these homes. When I return to Hampton, I will write the story and once it goes through a rigorous editing process, it will be posted on the Pulitzer website.”
Kem Sawyer, Contributing Editor at the Pulitzer Center and Director of its Campus Consortium reporting fellow program, said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Sara. She chose an important subject—using 3D technology to provide housing for the displaced in Haiti—and she submitted an excellent proposal—fresh, original, and well-written.”
Avery is very excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I’m looking forward to working with the Pulitzer Center to bring this idea to life,” Avery said. “Initially, when I got the email saying I won, I was shocked. I was at a loss for words, which I rarely am. I’m just excited to get the process started.”
After Avery graduates from Hampton University, she wants to pursue a dual master’s in journalism and J.D. program, with the end goal of working as a producer or investigative journalist. She also might attend law school, which is something she has wanted to do since she was very young.