For immediate release
July 11, 2006
Chad Campbell, NPR: | (202) 513-2304

NPR Names Three Graduates for Joan B. Kroc Fellowships for Public Radio Journalism

Students from Cherry Hill, NJ; Spartanburg, SC, and Springfield, VA Chosen for Year-Long Broadcast and New Media Training Program

Washington, D.C. -- NPR has chosen the three 2006-2007 participants in the Joan B. Kroc Fellowship, a yearlong intensive training program designed to bring exceptional graduates into public radio and journalism. Melody Joy Kramer of Cherry Hill, NJ; Thomas Pierce of Spartanburg, SC; and Monica del Carmen Villavicencio of Springfield, VA will begin their term on Monday, August 21, 2006.

The program provides hands-on experience working in all aspects of public radio journalism, including writing, reporting, producing and editing. Based at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., they are actively involved in such NPR programs as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as NPR News' National Desk. Additionally, Kroc Fellows will gain experience with an NPR Member station and NPR's Digital Media Division, which oversees and the NPR Podcasts.

Launched in 2005, the Fellowships are made possible by a 2003 bequest to NPR from Joan B. Kroc, the philanthropist and widow of McDonald's Corporation founder Ray A. Kroc. The program is focused on identifying and training the next generation of journalists and continuing public radio's commitment to public service.

This year, more than 150 recent graduates applied for the three openings. Applicants came from over 40 states and seven countries. Recipients are chosen based on a record of achievement and initiative, exceptional potential and an interest in journalism and public radio.

Kevin Klose, President and CEO, NPR, noted, "The three young people chosen from among an impressive group of applicants have demonstrated a passion for news and public service and have distinguished themselves through commitment to achievement."

The Kroc Fellows for 2006-2007 are:

Melody Joy Kramer, a native of Cherry Hill, NJ, recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with B.A. in English. She was also an Op Ed columnist for the university's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Additionally, Kramer has been a humor columnist, a writing tutor and an editorial intern at Esquire, where she researched, fact-checked and wrote articles.

Thomas Pierce, a native of Spartanburg, SC, recently graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg with B.A. degrees in History and English. Pierce was also honored as Wofford's 20th Presidential International Scholar, for which he spent his senior year visiting and researching developing countries around the world. Additionally, Pierce has published a novella, acted in college theater, performed in a bluegrass band and filmed and directed a documentary.

Monica del Carmen Villavicencio, a native of Springfield, VA, is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A. in English) and the London School of Economics. She is Nicaraguan-Filipina, and contributed a chapter to the book Waking Up American: Coming of Age Bi-Culturally. She has also written for the Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, taught English at a high school in Japan and written and edited the student site Sirens Zine at Columbia.

Last year's class of Kroc Fellows participated in such activities as reporting for Morning Edition, Weekend All Things Considered, NPR Newscasts, and member stations. Each Fellow had their own unique experience with some of the highlights including: attended confirmation hearings for Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, interviewed Pulitzer Prize winning author Marilynne Robinson, produced an NPR Member station's cultural affairs program, covered Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the U.S., and worked at the NPR News China bureau.

Information about the 2007-2008 Fellowship and the deadline for applications is available at

Since its launch in 1970, NPR has evolved into a leading media company, primary news provider and dominant force in American life. In partnership with more than 815 public radio stations, it attracts 26 million listeners to the nearly 150 hours of broadcast programming it produces and distributes weekly. A privately-supported, non-profit membership organization, NPR is also active in digital media through, its successful NPR Podcasts, two 24/7 NPR channels on Sirius Satellite Radio and five 24/7 multicast music channels for HD Radio, a technology in which it has led industry research and development. NPR Worldwide serves nearly 150 countries with a full schedule of programming offered through terrestrial, satellite and digital radio; national cable, and American Forces Network.