Meet the 2014 fellows

Rachael Bale


Media organization: The Center for Investigative Reporting

Destination country: Mongolia

Rachael Bale is a reporter and researcher at The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization in the Bay Area, where she covers issues ranging from immigration to adults with developmental disabilities. She occasionally freelances for KQED, San Francisco's NPR affiliate, and she previously worked at the Center for Public Integrity, another investigative journalism nonprofit in Washington, D.C., where she covered campaign finance in the 2012 election. A California native, she has a bachelor's degree in political science from Reed College and a master's degree in journalism from American University.

Project Description: Mongolia is the world’s fastest growing economy, and it is home to some of the world’s biggest untapped deposits of copper and coal. The development of mines, over the next five year, driven in large part by foreign companies, could turn the country known as “Minegolia” into an economic powerhouse, and in the process, it could destroy the traditional nomadic life and devastate the environment. North American mining companies in Mongolia have made many promises to protect and preserve, but anecdotes and audits suggest these companies are not following through. She plans to explore how the development of one particular mine, Oyu Tolgoi, may contribute to water scarcity, desertification of the landscape, and the disintegration of the nomadic culture in the Gobi Desert.

Zachary Goelman


Media organization: Reuters

Destination country: Israel

Zachary Goelman is a multimedia journalist working for Reuters in New York. He is part of the team that produced the award-winning "Child Exchange" investigative series uncovering the online underground market for adopted children in the U.S. Prior to joining Reuters, Zachary covered police and crime for two New York City tabloids. He got his start in journalism in Jerusalem writing for an English-language magazine covering Israel and Jewish affairs.

Project Description: Zachary will shoot, edit, and produce a short documentary report on Israel's policies toward "unrecognized" Bedouin villages and government efforts to evict, relocate, and concentrate its Bedouin citizens.

Aaron Nelsen


Media organization: San Antonio Express-News

Destination country: Mexico Aaron Nelsen is a senior reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. He covers Texas' Rio Grande Valley and the border region for the Express-News and Houston Chronicle. Previously he was a freelance reporter and the TIME Magazine correspondent in Chile. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and Global Post.

Project Description: Nelsen will report on the role of the church in matters of immigration and violence in Mexico.

Aine Pennello



Destination Country: Israel

Aine Pennello is a multimedia journalist living in New York City. Her videos and online stories have been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, NBC News and GlobalPost. Aine is a graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism where she focused on international reporting. Aine reported from Israel and the Golan Heights during the summer of 2012 for popular Israeli news site, Ynet News.

Project Description: Aine will report on a community of Syrian brides who are marrying into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights due to a mixture of love and political self-sacrifice. The children of former Golan Heights residents, the brides hope their presence will put pressure on Israel to return the Syrian territory.

Zachary Pincus-Roth


Media organization: L.A. Weekly

Zachary Pincus-Roth is the deputy editor at L.A. Weekly, overseeing arts and culture coverage. He also has written about arts, entertainment, business, and technology for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, WSJ magazine, Slate, Los Angeles magazine, Newsday, Variety, and other publications. Zach wrote the official companion book to the hit Broadway musical “Avenue Q,” and teaches journalism at Loyola Marymount University. He contributed research for the Fox TV drama "Lie to Me," and performs standup comedy.

Project description: Zachary will be traveling to India to report on how entertainment is becoming a force for social justice.

Ann Maria Simmons


Media organization: Los Angeles Times

Destination country: Russia

Ann Simmons is currently a video journalist for the Los Angeles Times but has served as a metro reporter and national and foreign correspondent. She was based in Russia for Time Magazine where she reported on the aborted coup against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the rise to power of Russian president Boris Yeltsin and the breakup of the USSR. As bureau chief in Kenya and South Africa for the Los Angeles Times she covered conflicts, politics and social and economic issues in more than 30 African nations and she has also served assignments in Bosnia, Haiti and Iraq. She was part of the team of LA Times reporters whose coverage of wildfires in Southern California won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 2004. As a national reporter for the Times she covered Hurricane Katrina and was subsequently based in New Orleans where she chronicled the city’s rebuilding. Simmons, who was born in London, England, holds double honors Bachelor of Arts degrees in Russian and Norwegian and a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School Journalism. She was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 2003.

Project Description: Simmons will examine “The Black Experience in post-Soviet Russia” by exploring the growing plight of people from Sub-Saharan Africa and assessing the status of Russian-born black citizens.

Maria Zamudio


Media organization: The Commercial Appeal

Destination country: Central America

Zamudio is an award-winning investigative journalist with The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Before joining the Appeal, she worked with the Chicago Reporter. Prior to that, Zamudio spent three years in California working for daily newspapers. She’s a bilingual reporter and blogger with experience producing radio stories. She has been awarded many prestigious fellowships, including the 2013 NY Times fellowship, 2012 Justice in Journalism fellowship among others. Her work has appeared in National Public Radio, NBC 5 Chicago, Telemundo, Univision among others.

Project description: Her story will be about the sexual exploitation Central American migrant women face in Mexico while traveling North to the United States.