Marquette University Diederich College of Communication announces 2024-25 O’Brien Fellows in Public Service Journalism

April 29, 2024

MILWAUKEE — The J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University has announced the next class of journalists joining the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.

The fellowship teams up Marquette student journalists with reporters for nine-month investigations into complex national and local issues, including those around criminal justice, education and climate change.

The incoming fellows for the 2024-25 academic year are:

  • Sylvia A. Harvey, independent journalist and author; New York
  • Joe Hong, independent reporter experienced in education coverage; Brooklyn, New York
  • Abigail Kramer, independent investigative reporter; Brooklyn, New York
  • Rory Linnane, education reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sylvia Harvey
Joe Hong
Abigail Kramer
Rory Linnane
Sylvia A. Harvey
Joe Hong
Abigail Kramer
Rory Linnane

Since 2013, the O’Brien Fellowship has helped journalists produce in-depth public-service journalism projects for their home news organizations or other outlets. This program was the result of an $8.3 million gift from Peter and Patricia Frechette in honor of Patricia’s parents, Marquette alumni Perry and Alicia O’Brien. In 2021, the fellowship received an additional $5 million from the Frechette Family Foundation to expand the program’s reach. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel co-founded the fellowship.

The fellowship seeks projects aimed at exposing injustice, uncovering potential solutions and igniting change. Journalists propose the topics.

“We are thrilled that these talented journalists emerged from the deepest applicant pool in the history of the fellowship. They are ready to move the conversation forward on big issues,” said Dave Umhoefer, O’Brien Fellowship director.

Fellows receive a $75,000 salary stipend, assistance from Marquette journalism students, and access to funds for reporting travel and research. Sponsoring news organizations get an in-depth reporting project and a summer intern following the fellowship.

About the 2024-25 fellows

Harvey, also known as “SAH,” is an award-winning journalist, speaker and author of “The Shadow System: Mass Incarceration and the American Family.” Her research and reporting explore how culture, politics, history, policy and economics impact society. She examines how key social institutions  —  the criminal legal system, the child welfare system and the education system  —  exacerbate the collateral effects of mass incarceration. Her work is utilized in university coursework and cited by lawmakers calling for criminal justice reform.

Harvey’s work and commentary has appeared in Elle and on National Public Radio, The Nation, Politico, Vox, The Marshall Project, The Root and Cheddar News. The Oakland native turned New Yorker holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Columbia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Hong is a Brooklyn-based reporter who has been writing about education since 2017. He recently completed a Spencer Fellowship at Columbia University where he spent a year conducting research and reporting for a book about how Asian American students and parents have shaped math education in the U.S. He started his career covering historically Black colleges and universities for the magazine Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, and later went on to cover schools for The Desert Sun, the daily newspaper in Palm Springs, California, and KPBS, San Diego’s public radio station.

Hong’s reporting has led to policy changes surrounding juvenile justice and dyslexia screening. He earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of California, Irvine and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He’s a proud graduate of California’s public schools.

Kramer is an investigative reporter who writes about public policy and its impact on people’s lives. Most recently, she spent two years investigating New York State’s mental health care system for children and adolescents. Her stories, which were published by ProPublica and THE CITY, led to an inquiry by the state attorney general and multiple initiatives by the New York City Council. Previously, her reporting on child welfare, juvenile justice, policing and education led to several reforms and increased oversight of social services in New York City.

Kramer’s recognitions include a Deadline Club Award and a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.

Linnane is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where she covers K-12 education. In previous roles with USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, she has reported on a range of public health topics, specializing in youth mental health and solutions-oriented journalism. Beginning in 2015, she was the lead reporter on the network’s “Kids in Crisis” series, which examined barriers to mental health care and highlighted programs with strong evidence of success. Linnane was a 2018–19 fellow with the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Program, which supported her in co-producing a documentary and educational toolkit about mental health in collaboration with Milwaukee PBS.

Linnane graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in journalism and international studies. As a student, she worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Madison Magazine, The Daily Cardinal and Shorewood Ripples.

The current class of O’Brien Fellows includes independent journalists Pamela K. Johnson, Linda Lutton, Lindsay Muscato and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer and videographer Angela Peterson.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or