Immigration in the Heartland: Children and Families

University of Oklahoma
April 21-24, 2013


Sunday, April 21 — WELCOME

  • 6:40 p.m. – Vans depart Sooner Suites for Legends Restaurant. The vans will be in the parking area to the west of the Suites (this will make sense when you see the area).
  • 7 p.m. – Dinner, Legends Restaurant, 1313 W. Lindsey St., Norman.


All events will be held at Gaylord Hall, 395 West Lindsey St. Gaylord is within easy walking distance of Sooner Suites. For those who do not want to walk, a van will be available in the parking area of the Suites to leave no later then 8:45am. Coffee and water will be available in the meeting room in Gaylord Hall.

Online map:

  • 7:00-8:45 a.m. – Breakfast for Sooner Suites guests at Couch Restaurants
  • 8:45 a.m. – Vans depart Sooner Suites for Gaylord Hall
  • 9:00-9:30 a.m. – Housekeeping/intro, Room 2025 Gaylord Hall.
  • 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. – Sociologist Joanna Dreby, SUNY-Albany; presentation on the lives of immigrant children; research based on three years of following Mexican immigrant families in rural Ohio and urban New Jersey and how they differed.
  • 11:00-11:15 a.m. – Break
  • 11:15-12:30 p.m. – Ashley Moore and Monica Palmer of Catholic Charities and Robert Ruiz of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. Panel discussion on the challenges faced by families and how policymakers have or have not responded.
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch, Special Events Classroom, first floor Gaylord Hall.
  • 1:30-3 p.m. – Workshop on data on children, computer lab, Room 1030 Gaylord Hall. Presentation from Laura Speer, associate director of research at Annie E. Casey Foundation; workshop will be interactive.
  • 3-3:30 p.m. – Wrap-up, housekeeping issues/evaluations.
  • 7 p.m. – Dinner and speaker, Room 3160 Gaylord Hall. Jose Arreola, Educators for Fair Consideration, based in California. Jose will speak about his experiences as a Dreamer and about the efforts of teachers and other educators to help undocumented students and their families (school support groups, scholarships, etc. for Dreamers).

Tuesday, April 23 — FOCUS ON EDUCATION

  • 7:00-8:45 a.m. – Breakfast for Sooner Suites guests at Couch Restaurants
  • 8:45 a.m. – Vans depart Sooner Suites for Santa Fe South High School, 301 SE 38th St., Oklahoma City.
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. – Fellows pair up with Santa Fe students; opening Q&A with Superintendent Chris Brewster and other administrators, high school auditorium.
  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. – Fellows attend fourth-hour classes with student escorts.
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Steel band performance, catered lunch, one-on-one conversations between fellows and students, Santa Fe Schools Community Center, 4712 S Santa Fe Ave., Oklahoma City. (Several blocks from high school; we can walk or drive, depending on weather.)
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. – Q&A with Santa Fe teachers and administrators, high school auditorium. Possible participants include ESL director Terry Payne, instructors Mandy Skimbo, Kari Allison and Chauncey Shillow, community outreach director Reyna Font, superintendent Chris Brewster, assistant superintendant Raul Font, principal Lance Seeright, assistant principal Mike Graham.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. (tentative) – Q&A with parents, high school auditorium.
  • 3:30 p.m. – Vans depart Santa Fe South High School for Oklahoma City National Memorial.
  • 3:45-5:30 p.m. – Visit to the Oklahoma bombing memorial. Imad Enchassi of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City will give a brief talk about the impact of the bombing on the Muslim community, including his own interrogation by police.
  • 5:30 p.m. – Vans depart Memorial for Sooner Suites, via Bricktown.
  • Dinner on your own, Bricktown or Norman.

Wednesday, April 24 — ENFORCEMENT POLICIES

All events will be held at Gaylord Hall, 395 West Lindsey St. Gaylord is within easy walking distance of Sooner Suites. For those who do not want to walk, a van will be available in the parking area of the Suites to leave no later then 8:45am. Coffee and water will be available in the meeting room in Gaylord Hall.

Online map:

  • 7:00-8:45 a.m. – Breakfast for Sooner Suites guests at Couch Restaurants
  • 8:45 a.m. – Vans depart Sooner Suites for Gaylord Hall
  • 9-9:30 a.m. – Housekeeping issues, Room 2025 Gaylord Hall
  • 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Lawyer Dan Kowalski, editor of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, presents the ever popular Immigration Law 101.
  • 10:45-11 a.m. – Break
  • 11-12:30 p.m. – Nina Rabin, University of Arizona law professor, presentation about the impact of enforcement policies on families and how the child welfare system has failed to serve the U.S. citizen children left behind.
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Computer lab, Room 1030 Gaylord Hall. Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza and senior Dallas Morning News reporter Dianne Solis lead a FOIA and TRAC training (computer lab needed). Can go over time if needed.
  • 3:30-4 p.m. – Wrap-up, evaluations needed.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Dinner, Room 3150, Gaylord Hall. Luis Argueta talks about "Postville," showing snippets from the documentary and his follow-up on five years after the largest immigration raid in U.S. history.

Thursday, April 25

  • 7:00-8:45 a.m. – Breakfast for Sooner Suites guests at Couch Restaurants.


Arrival at airport:
On Airport - Baggage Claim Level - go outside toward parking area and look for vans with "Airport Express" on the side. Go to the first van in line and tell the driver you are with the "OU - Immigration in the Heartland Conference" and give your name. The driver will contact the dispatcher who will confirm you are on the list. If you do not provide this information, they may charge you $36 for the trip. A list has been provided identifying which lodging location you will be taken to and the address, so you do not need to memorize that information.

Speakers are staying at La Quinta, 930 Ed Noble Pkwy, Norman, Okla.

Fellows and the IJJ team are staying at Sooner Suites, 1775 Maple Ave, Norman, Okla., on the university campus.

Driving a car and staying at Sooner Suites? A parking permit is required and must be obtained from the Sooner Suites office. It is only good in the area where the suites are located and will not prevent a citation anywhere else on campus. You must ask for a parking permit when you pick up your room key.

Getting around campus
Sessions on Monday and Wednesday will be held at Gaylord Hall, 395 West Lindsey St. Maps of campus are available when you check into Sooner Suites. Gaylord is within easy walking distance of Sooner Suites. For those who do not want to walk, a van will be available in the parking area of the Suites to leave no later then 8:45am. Coffee and water will be available in the meeting room in Gaylord Hall.

Online map:


For those staying at La Quinta
There is a free breakfast at the hotel every morning.

For those staying at Sooner Suites
A list of individuals staying in the Sooner Suites has been provided to OU Food & Housing Services. Each morning, beginning at 7:00 a.m., Couch Restaurants will be open for breakfast. Couch Restaurants is the round building located a short walk northeast of the Suites (about one block, located on 3rd Street). The entrance is located on the North side of the building.

Upon entrance, you will tell the cashier that you are with the "Gaylord College of Journalism, Immigration in the Heartland Conference." They will check the list and mark off your name. Wearing your conference name badge will help greatly. Breakfast is the only meal that has been arranged this way.

Readings and Resources

Speaker Joanna Dreby, a socioglist, wrote in the Journal of Marriage and Family about the impact of deportations on Mexican immigrant families. The 2012 article is based on her interviews with 91 parents and 110 children.

Joanna's power point presentation:

Laura Speer's presentation on data about immigrant children:

Speaker Nina Rabin, a law professor, will talk about the consequences for U.S. citizen children when their parents are deported and the systematic failures of the child welfare and immigration enforcement systems. Her research was published in a 2011 report.

Wall Street Journal reporter Miriam Jordan, a previous Immigration in the Heartland Fellow, wrote about Santa Fe South High School, which we'll be visiting during the conference.

Dan Kowalski, editor of Bender's Immigration Bulletin, will give an Immigration 101 session.
Some useful documents he recommended:
A primer on visas —
Facts about the E-Verify system:

A shortlist of Dan's resources:

A roundup of good, in-depth stories about immigration:

Reporting resources on the IJJ website (Dianne's list):



Luis Argueta is a film director and producer whose work spans features, documentaries, shorts and episodic TV. He has also worked as commercial director, lecturer and teacher in the United States, Europe and throughout the Americas. Born and raised in Guatemala, Argueta is a U.S. citizen and has lived in New York City since 1977. His film, "The Silence of Neto," is the only Guatemalan film ever to have been submitted to the Academy Awards competition, and he is the only Guatemalan director to have received a CLIO. In April 2009, the British newspaper The Guardian, listed Argueta as one of Guatemala’s National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and singer/songwriter Ricardo Arjona. Argueta's most recent documentary is "abUSed:The Postville Raid," about the effects of US enforcement policies on families. The film premiered on the PBS World program "America Reframed" in 2010, won “Best Documentary Audience Award” at Cinemaissi Film Festival in Finland and has been presented at nearly 200 venues. moc.liamg|diarellivtsopehtdesuba#moc.liamg|diarellivtsopehtdesuba


Jose Arreola is an outreach manager for Educators For Fair Consideration, a California-based nonprofit that helps undocumented young people achieve their education and career goals. He was born in Durango, Mexico and came to the United States when he was four years old. He studied political science, history and ethnic Studies at Santa Clara University, where he received a full scholarship. During his college career, Arreola was an outspoken leader on campus around issues of racism, inequality, and oppression. He has worked as executive director of the Multicultural Center at Santa Clara University and was trained as a community organizer for racial and economic justice by the Center for Third World Organizing in Oakland, Calif. As an undocumented student, Arreola says he uses his experiences to help empower and support other "Dreamers" across the country. gro.cf4e|esoj#gro.cf4e|esoj


Chris Brewster is superintendent of Santa Fe South Schools in Oklahoma City. He has served in public education for nearly 20 years and began work with these charter schools as founding principal in 2001. Born in Kansas City, Brewster was a child of missionaries and was raised in five states and two countries. He graduated from high school in the Philippines. Earning his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University, he entered the public education field serving as a music teacher and coach in the inner city of Oklahoma City. Brewster completed his master’s in education from the University of Oklahoma and is currently working on his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Christi. They have seven children (three recently adopted) who all attend Santa Fe South schools. gro.htuosefatnas|retswerbc#gro.htuosefatnas|retswerbc


Sue Lin Chong is the public affairs manager at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in Baltimore, Maryland. She is responsible for developing public affairs and media relations activities that maximize the Foundation’s mission to build brighter futures for children and families and manages the public affairs/public relations activities related to the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book and other KIDS COUNT publications. Chong was most recently the co-chair and a director of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a philanthropic affinity group that advises foundations on funding opportunities in the immigration and refugee area. She is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She served as a trustee and director on the board of the Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association for over 10 years at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Chong received a bachelor of arts degree in art history at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Hawaii at the University of Hawaii. gro.fcea|gnohcs#gro.fcea|gnohcs


Joanna Dreby is an ethnographer whose research focuses on the ways migratory patterns and families’ decisions about work and child care affect children. She has been an assistant professor of sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York since 2011 and received her doctorate from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007. She is author of the book "Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children" (University of California Press 2010), which describes the lives of mothers, fathers and children who are separated during international migration. "Divided by Borders" received the Goode Book Award and the Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association. Dreby’s current research explores the experiences of young children growing up in Mexican immigrant households in Ohio and New Jersey. ude.ynabla|yberdj#ude.ynabla|yberdj


Dan Kowalski of the Fowler Law Firm in Austin has been practicing immigration law since 1985, representing clients ranging from rich multinational corporations to impoverished asylum seekers. He is editor of Bender’s Immigration bulletin, a subscription technical journal, and Bender’s Immigration Bulletin Daily Edition, a free public web site, tweeting @dkbib. Kowalski earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at the University of Texas in Austin and a law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. He has taught at the law schools of the University of Colorado and the University of Washington. As a senior fellow at IJJ, he serves as a legal resource and teaches immigration law at training programs for journalists. moc.mrifwalrelwofeht|ikslawokd#moc.mrifwalrelwofeht|ikslawokd, 512.826.0323


Martha Mendoza, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Associated Press, teaches investigative reporting workshops at IJJ training programs. Her stories have won numerous awards and prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations and White House responses. She won a Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting in 2000 as part of a team that revealed, with extensive documentation, the decades-old secret of how U.S. soldiers killed hundreds of civilians at the No Gun Ri bridge during the Korean War. She has reported for the Associated Press since 1997, was a 2001 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2007 Ferris Professor for Humanities at Princeton University. She lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., with her husband and four children.||azodnemm

Ashley Moore is the director of family support services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Her responsibilities include supervising and developing Catholic Charities’ client case management programs, including family HOPE, disaster recovery, transitional housing, and emergency assistance. She also works closely with other social service agencies to coordinate and expand services to the community. Moore studied at the University of Denver, earning a master's in international studies, focusing on various international and domestic policy issues that led her toward a career in social services. gro.koseitirahccilohtac|erooma#gro.koseitirahccilohtac|erooma


Nina Rabin is associate clinical professor of law and director of the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program at the James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona. She is also director of border research at the university’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women. During the 2012-2013 academic year, she is on leave from the University of Arizona while visiting Yale Law School as the senior fellow in residence with the Liman Public Interest Program. Rabin’s work focuses on the impact of immigration and border policies on women and children’s rights, and she has written extensively about immigrants' parental rights and the treatment of domestic violence victims at the border. She directs projects that provide legal and social services to low-wage immigrant workers and women in immigration detention facilities. ude.anozira.liame|nibar#ude.anozira.liame|nibar


Robert Ruiz is president of the board for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and a commissioner on the Norman Human Rights Commission. He is a partner of Enye Media, the largest Hispanic marketing firm in Oklahoma, and partner of Enye Music, a music management and production company. Ruiz serves on the Board of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and is a past chairman of the Norman Music Festival. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, and came to Oklahoma in 1997 as a National Scholar at the University of Oklahoma. moc.eyne|eziurr#moc.eyne|eziurr


Dianne Solis, a senior writer at the Dallas Morning News, teaches database reporting at IJJ training programs. Her stories have taken her to post-Katrina New Orleans, inside families fractured by addiction to starter heroin, to immigration courts for children, and to a mosque where the Ramadan fast was broken with a FBI agent. She has also covered immigration for the Wall Street Journal from Houston and Mexico City and written for public radio and television. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she was raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, where all her grandparents settled after fleeing the violence of the Mexican Revolution. ten.labolgcbs|silos.d#ten.labolgcbs|silos.d


Laura Speer is the associate director for policy reform and data at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has primary responsibility for the National KIDS COUNT Project including annual publications, the KIDS COUNT Data Center and social media presence. Having spent a number of years doing state- and local-level child advocacy work, Speer is now a key liaison and resource person for the KIDS COUNT network of state advocates in the U.S., as well as a growing number of child advocates in Latin America interested in data-based advocacy. Laura has a bachelor’s of arts degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University. Speer is a regular blogger on and tweets at @laurabmore on twitter. gro.fcea|reepsl#gro.fcea|reepsl

Monica Tellez-Palmer is the director for clinical services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. As a bilingual therapist, she has been providing services to the Latino community for more than 20 years. She is a licensed professional counselor and licensed professional counselor supervisor. Palmer received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and earned her master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Oklahoma in 1992. She was born in El Paso, Tex., and moved to Oklahoma in 1984. She and her husband, Ron, have two children, Ryan and Megan. gro.koseitirahccilohtac|remlapm#gro.koseitirahccilohtac|remlapm



Kalyn Belsha covers education for The Beacon-News, a part of the Sun-Times Media Group based in Aurora, Ill. She previously covered courts and demographics for The Beaumont Enterprise in Texas. With the help of a 2011 award from the Chicago Community Trust, Belsha published an investigative series about a dual-language education initiative in Chicago Public Schools. She teaches an undergraduate journalism course at Loyola University Chicago and holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She lives in Chicago and grew up on Long Island in New York.


Andrea Castillo has been an immigration and Latino affairs reporter since May 2012 at The Oregonian, where she created and maintains a Spanish-language news blog of her translated articles. She graduated from Washington State University, where she became the second-ever backpack journalism fellow in Nicaragua for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. She previously interned at The Times of India in Pune. While in college, her writing appeared in The Seattle Times, NBC News and The Spokesman Review.


Chase Cook is a contributor to Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. Cook earned a degree on online journalism from the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications in December 2012. He has interned with the Tulsa World and worked as a reporter and editor at the Oklahoma Daily. He is a winner of a News21 fellowship, a program based at Arizona State University, and will spend part of this spring and the summer researching and reporting on post-9/11 veterans’ issues.


Serena Maria Daniels is a reporter for The Detroit News, covering a range of issues regarding the city’s transformation. This includes a focus on the region’s immigrant community, among the fastest-growing demographic groups in metro Detroit. Her recent stories include the state of Michigan’s controversial directive to deny drivers licenses to immigrants who have been granted legal presence under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals federal policy. Daniels previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, where she documented the experiences of immigrant youth and the impact that escalating drug cartel violence has had on families from the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Before moving to the Midwest, Daniels worked at The Orange County Register and other California newspapers. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in journalism.


Daysha Eaton is a reporter at KSKA public radio in Alaska. She got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations KPLU and KUOW. She also has worked for Northwest Cable News and KING5 TV. Before coming to KSKA, she reported for KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska. Eaton has received the Goldie Award from the Alaska Broadcasters Association Division 2 in the “News Feature” category, for her article “Why Alaskan Fish Processing Jobs are Now Done By Foreign Laborers;” and she was an Annenberg Fellow in 2008-2009. With a bachelor's degree from Evergreen State College and a master's from the University of Southern California, Eaton says she got into public radio because it has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them care about issues they might ordinarily overlook.


Ruxandra Guidi has over a decade of experience working in public radio, magazines and multimedia. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she has reported throughout the United States, the Caribbean and South and Central America, including a focus in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region. Currently, she is KPCC Public Radio's immigration and emerging communities reporter in Los Angeles. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002, Ruxandra worked as a reporter and producer for NPR's Latino USA and for the BBC daily public radio news program The World. Throughout her journalism career, Guidi has also produced magazine features and radio documentaries for the BBC World Service, National Public Radio, The Walrus Magazine, Guernica Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Atlantic and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Dispatches and Marketplace radio programs.


Jordana Gustafson is a freelance producer and reporter based in Portland, Oregon, with much of her work airing on Oregon Public Broadcasting/Northwest News Network. She began her radio career at WBUR-Boston and has reported for NPR, Marketplace and the Boston Globe. She was a member of the WUNC-Chapel Hill production team that won the 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast News Award for the series Understanding Poverty.  In 2010, she and her colleagues were awarded the Sigma Delti Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for their documentary series, "The Arab World's Demographic Dilemma," for which she reported from Jordan and from Dearborn, Mich. Gustafson has lived in Sweden, Vietnam and Mexico, and recently rode her bike from Slovenia to Spain. She was born and raised in Ojai, Calif., and is a graduate of Connecticut College.


Mirela Iverac is a reporter for the New York City NPR member station WNYC, where she covers immigration. Prior to joining WNYC in 2011, Iverac spent a year at the New York Times’ metro desk as a freelance contributor. She also reported for Time Magazine, The New York Daily News and Forbes, among other publications. In 2013, Iverac won a Gracie award for Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent. Previously, she was recognized as Best New Journalist in the New York metropolitan area and has won awards for crime, feature and multimedia reporting. She holds master's degrees in journalism from Columbia University and in international affairs from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.


Mary Beth Meehan teaches documentary photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and directs the "Documenting Cultural Communities" program at the International Charter School in Rhode Island. A former staff photographer at The Providence Journal, Meehan has also contributed to The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. She received the 2012 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography. Her current project, City of Champions: A Portrait of Brockton, chronicles her hometown, a post-industrial Massachusetts city. The series won a "Crisis, Community and Civic Culture" grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, and was exhibited as a large-scale public exhibition. Meehan’s work from Brockton has been published in 6Mois Magazine and Le Monde (France), Bird Magazine (Japan), and featured on New York Times: LENS, as well as in solo exhibitions at Smith College and at the Griffin Museum of Photography; at the Ring Cube Gallery, in Tokyo; and in two New England Photography Biennial exhibitions at the Danforth Museum of Art. Meehan graduated from Amherst College and earned a master's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri.


Peggy Lowe is the Public Insight Network analyst for Harvest Public Media, where she also runs social media, community outreach and regularly reports for NPR. Lowe returned to the Midwest in July 2011 after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she worked as a multimedia producer and writer at The Orange County Register. In Denver she worked for the Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the Columbine massacre. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-2009. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City.


Ray Parker is the K-12 education and LGBT reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune. In the past 13 years, he has been a reporter or editor at five newspapers, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Lincoln Journal Star (Neb.), Naples Daily News (Fla.), and the Arizona Republic. He attended the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, studying English and political science and the University of Nevada-Reno, where he earned enough class credits for a master's in English, but just needs to finish that darn dissertation. Before journalism, Ray worked as a school bus driver, yoga instructor and blackjack dealer.


Jeremy Adam Smith is a writer, editor and web producer and the author of "The Daddy Shift" (Beacon Press, 2009). He is also the co-editor of three anthologies: "The Compassionate Instinct" (W.W. Norton & Co., January 2010); "Are We Born Racist?" (Beacon Press, August 2010); and "Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood" (PM Press, 2011). His essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, San Francisco Bay Guardian,, San Francisco Chronicle, Utne Reader, Wired and numerous other periodicals and books. In 2010-11, Smith was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. Before going to Stanford, Smith was the founding editor of and senior editor of the print edition of Greater Good magazine. In November 2011, he rejoined the Greater Good Science Center as the editor of its website and producer of special projects such as, an interactive, shareable gratitude journal that also serves as a tool for gathering scientific data about gratitude. He currently serves on the board of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Public Press.


Zaidee Stavely is the network news producer for Radio Bilingüe, the Latino Public Radio, where she produces a daily news show, Linea Abierta; a weekly news magazine, Edicion Semanaria; and a daily newscast, Noticiero Latino; all in Spanish. She previously worked as an environmental reporter at Radio Bilingüe. Feature news stories she has produced include the health effects of an immigration raid on the residents of a small agricultural town in California's San Joaquin Valley and an in-depth investigation of an unusually high number of birth defects in the mostly Latino town of Kettleman City in California's Central Valley. She has a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and she previously worked as a journalist in Mexico City.


Abbie Fentress Swanson covers agribusiness for Harvest Public Media and is based at KBIA Radio in Columbia, Missouri. Until 2012, she reported on arts and culture for WNYC Radio in New York. There she worked on the teams that won an Online News Association award in 2012 and an Associated Press award in 2010 for outstanding digital news coverage. In 2011, she won the Garden State Journalists Association "Best Radio Feature" award for “Music Therapy Helps Vets Control Symptoms of PTSD.” Reporting fellowships have taken Abbie to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, India, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium to cover the World Cup, the Muslim Brotherhood’s use of social media, and sex workers overturning a law that criminalized being gay. She’s filed stories for The New York Times, The Patriot Ledger, KALW Public Radio, The World and Virginia Quarterly Review. Swanson has a master's in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.


Eileen Truax is an award-winning journalist with over 18 years experience in Mexico and the United States. She has served as Mexican Congress correspondent and has covered Mexican politics, US-Mexico relations and immigration issues. Born in Mexico City, Eileen moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and joined La Opinión, a daily Spanish-language newspaper, as an immigration and Mexican communities reporter. In 2010 she was promoted to Online Information Editor for Impremedia, a position that she held until December 2011. Truax earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico. She has received fellowships from the Scripps Howard Immigration Training Program in Washington and the Inter-American Development Bank Training for Latin-American journalists in Cartagena, Colombia. She writes a weekly column, “Si Muero Lejos de Ti,” for Huffington Post Voces, contributes to several Spanish-language publications and serves as Los Angeles correspondent for Gatopardo Magazine. Her first book, "Dreamers," about undocumented students in the United States, is due for publication in May 2013.


Samuel J. Vega is a multimedia producer at Hoy, a Spanish-language daily in Chicago, where he shoots and edits video content, reports for the web and helps manage multiple media platforms. Vega was born in Chicago and raised in Humboldt Park, a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood. In high school he excelled in technology courses such as the radio & television program and graphic design class. After spending several years as a self-employed DJ, playing a bit with theater and teaching podcasting classes to high school youth, he was able to fuse his strengths to teach himself multimedia and communication skills. During his lifelong, non-linear education he has been awarded the Pritzker Journalism Fellowship (2011) by Chicago Public Media and was recognized for his work at Hoy with the Jones Beck Leadership Award (2012).


Jarrel Wade, a staff writer for the Tulsa World, worked the police beat for several years before moving to the World's enterprise team. Currently, he covers the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, tribal issues and immigration issues;he’s had an ongoing focus on corruption in the Tulsa police department. Jarrel started working at the Tulsa World in 2008 after graduating from the University of Oklahoma. In 2009, he did a stint at the Tulsa County News covering southwest Tulsa before returning to the World.

IJJ Team


Phuong Ly became executive director in September 2012 after serving as a senior fellow coordinating and developing IJJ’s Immigration in the Heartland program. She was a 2011 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University, where her projects included founding California Immigration Journalists, a networking group of more than 80 members, and developing media training for nonprofits serving immigrants. As a reporter for the Washington Post, she wrote award-winning stories about immigrant communities. She also has worked as a consultant to nonprofits, including Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, and as a regular contributor to the Stanford Social Innovation Review and, a media site for journalists. She is a double Southerner – born in South Vietnam and raised in the American South.


Warren Vieth is an IJJ senior fellow and helps coordinate the Immigration in the Heartland conference. He also serves as a contributing writer and editor of Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, and is a professor at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Until 2005, he worked at the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau in a variety of roles, including White House correspondent, national economics correspondent and assistant national editor. A native of Kingfisher, Okla., he previously worked for newspapers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Dallas and Orange County, Calif.


Kari Lydersen, a Chicago-based journalist and author, helps coordinate IJJ programs and mentors fellows. A 2012 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, her work explores the intersection of environmental, immigration and labor issues. She currently works as a research associate for the Medill Watchdog Project at Northwestern University and contributes to Midwest Energy News and In These Times magazine. A former reporter for the Washington Post, her work also has appeared in The Economist, People magazine and the New York Times. She is the author of three books, "Out of the Sea and Into the Fire: Latin American-US Immigration in the Global Age" (Common Courage Press, 2005), "Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun" (City Lights, 2008), and “Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Factory Takeover and What It Says About the Economic Crisis" (Melville House Press, 2009).

University of Oklahoma


Charles C. Self is director of the Institute for Research and Training of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also a professor and the Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Chair of Journalism and Mass Communication. He has been at OU for 11 years and was dean of the Gaylord College from 2001 until 2005. He previously was associate dean of liberal arts at Texas A&M University, chair of journalism at the University of Alabama and president of several national academic communication associations. His current research is focused on media and civil society and international communication technology policymaking and its impact on media industry concepts, structure and practices and their relations to world policy development. He holds a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Iowa, where he focused on communication theory-building.


IJJ is thankful for the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.



Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License