Introducing the 2021 Kroc Fellows : NPR Extra NPR's 2021 Kroc Fellowship Program

Introducing the 2021 Kroc Fellows

NPR's 2021 Kroc Fellows - Michelle Aslam, Mia Estrada and Taylor Jennings-Brown NPR hide caption

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NPR's 2021 Kroc Fellows - Michelle Aslam, Mia Estrada and Taylor Jennings-Brown

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Learn more about the Kroc Fellowship from host, Sam Sanders and production assistant, Isabella Gomez Sarmiento.

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NPR is proud to welcome this year's Kroc Fellows to NPR: Michelle Aslam, Mia Estrada, and Taylor Jennings-Brown. They will spend the next year receiving training in audio and digital journalism, including writing, reporting, producing and editing. Their work and study experiences include both print and audio, with a stint at Member station KERA.

APPLY FOR NEXT YEAR

Applications are accepted only between August 31 and November 15 each year.

The NPR Kroc fellowship originated in 2003 through a bequest from the estate of philanthropist Joan Kroc. The program was designed to identify and develop the next generation of exceptional public radio talent. Each year, three fellows are chosen from a pool of recent graduates — no previous journalism experience required. Once selected, the fellows work with various teams at NPR to learn how to pitch stories, find sources, operate production facilities and foster their journalistic voice. The program has trained more than 40 fellows in the past 15 years, many of whom have gone on to continue working in public media, including NPR's own Ailsa Chang (Host, All Things Considered), Hansi Lo Wang (National Correspondent) and Sam Sanders (Host, It's Been a Minute.)

After spending the first two weeks with the Training team, Taylor will start with Weekend Edition, Michelle will start with the National desk, and Mia will start on the Culture desk.

Meet the 2021 Kroc Fellows

Michelle Aslam - NPR 2021 Kroc Fellow Cristin Espinosa hide caption

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Cristin Espinosa

​​Michelle Aslam recently graduated from Southern Methodist University's Human Rights Program. While in school, she was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Campus, where she won regional and state-wide awards for her in-depth investigation into campus sexual assault proceedings and her reporting on racial justice demonstrations. Before graduation, Michelle worked as an intern for the North Texas NPR member station, KERA, and also had the opportunity to cover education for the Dallas Morning News, where she wrote about the pandemic's detrimental impact on low-income students. This summer, she is reporting on social issues in Texas for the nonprofit news publication, The Texas Observer.

Mia Estrada - NPR 2021 Kroc Fellow Samuel Gomez hide caption

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Samuel Gomez

Mia Estrada - NPR 2021 Kroc Fellow

Samuel Gomez

Mia Estrada was born in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. She is a graduate of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. In 2021, she was selected for The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, where she reported on racial justice under the guidance of Times journalists. She is an arts and culture contractor and former intern at KERA, the Dallas NPR and PBS member station. While there, her work was featured statewide on Texas Standard and the regional NPR Consider This podcast. She was named the 2017 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Two-Year Reporter of the Year and was the first high school student to win the award. She is a proud member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In her free time, she loves to watch Tiny Desk, bike ride and play video games with her brothers.

Taylor Jennings-Brown - NPR 2021 Kroc Fellow Sierra Stewart hide caption

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Sierra Stewart

Taylor Jennings-Brown - NPR 2021 Kroc Fellow

Sierra Stewart

Taylor Jennings-Brown is a thoughtful writer from Durham, North Carolina. She is a spring 2021 graduate from the University of South Carolina, where she received her bachelor's degree in mass communications and anthropology. Her lifelong passion for storytelling and advocacy brought her to journalism through her university's official student magazine, where she began as a writer and worked her way up to managing editor. Although writing is her first love, Taylor has since become an audio storytelling enthusiast. A social butterfly in nature and creative at heart, she enjoys laughing with friends or doing arts & crafts in her free time.