Each O'Brien Fellow is teamed with Marquette student interns who receive real-world reporting experience in the field. This reporting is published by the respective fellows' news organizations or other outlets. At the end of the yearlong internship, O'Brien selects students to work a summer internship at those news organizations.

Click on the images below for a sampling of our students' work.

Sarah Lipo (senior) and Rachel Ryan (first-year graduate student), 2020-2021

Sarah LipoSarah Lipo and Rachel Ryan worked with 2020-21 O'Brien Fellow Ashley Nguyen to investigate maternal health issues across the U.S. For their four-part doula series in The Lily, a publication of The Washington Post, the students interviewed doulas from Oregon and Minnesota about the challenges they are facing. To help people better understand what doulas do, the student pair wrote a piece as a part of the four-part series with answers to commonly asked questions.

 

Rachel RyanFor a second story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the students interviewed Wisconsin organizations supporting parenting and reproductive health to find out how they have weathered
COVID-19. They found that many organizations were forced to shift their practices to help families with stress and financial burdens. Similarly, the student duo interviewed midwives about challenges brought on by the pandemic for a story in The Lily. They revealed that midwives were scrambling to meet an overwhelming demand for home birth, often working overtime.

Wisconsin reproductive and parenting organizations

What is a doula? And other answers to common questions 
How Wisconsin organizations supporting reproductive health and parenting weathered the pandemic
Home birth requests ‘went through the roof’ when the pandemic hit. Are they here to stay?


 

Sophie Bolich (senior), 2019-2020

Sophie BolichSophie Bolich worked with 2019-2020 O'Brien Fellow Katelyn Ferral to reveal years of retaliation by the National Guard against sexual assual survivors. For her story, Bolich interviewed proponents of and survivors who participated in an Austrailian program leading the way for sexual assault reparation. The program provides counseling, confidentiality, reparation payments and apology meetings for survivors. In the story, which ran in the Capital Times, Bolich explored whether this type of program could be applied to the U.S. Guard.

Australian Guard

How one country offered reparations, restorative justice to military sexual assault survivors


 

Sydney Czyzon (senior), 2019-2020

Sydney CzyzonSydney Czyzon worked with 2019-2020 O'Brien Fellow Katelyn Ferral on her investigation into the National Guard's handling of sexual assault allegations. Czyzon reviewed documents and interviewed National Guard members and various attorneys about the Guard's confusing records system. The story in the Capital Times revealed that survivors can wait up to two years to get their records, harming their ability to obtain justice for their assault. 

 

National Guard

A maze leading nowhere: National Guard's convoluted records system hinders justice for sexual assault survivors


 

Zoë Comerford (junior), Grace Connatser (senior) and Jenny Whidden (senior), 2019-2020

 Zoe Comerford, Grace Connatser and Jenny WhiddenZoë Comerford, Grace Connatser, and Jenny Whidden (pictured clockwise from upper left) worked with 2019-2020 O'Brien Fellow Payton Guion to investigate unsafe railroad crossings. For one story, the students went to Plymouth, WI, where they interviewed residents and city officials about the dangers and what it would cost the city to increase the safety measures. The story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recounted several close calls that have occurred at a specific railroad crossing which had been out of commission until four years ago.

 Plymouth, WI rail line

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wisconsin saved Plymouth’s rail line, but drivers at risk because of inadequate safety measures


 

John Steppe, 2018-2019 (junior)

John Steppe

John Steppe worked with 2018-19 O'Brien Fellow Erin Jordan on her series "Treading Water," which investigated states' efforts to address pollution washing from farm fields and industries into the Mississippi River. For his independent byline piece, Steppe interviewed Green Bay residents and researchers from the University of Wisconsin system about how agricultural waste is contaminating drinking water and causing summer dead zones in Green Bay. He also joined Jordan on a trip to Louisiana, and photographed shrimpers whose livelihoods are being threatened by the dead zone on the gulf coast.

John Steppe Story

Wisconsin's Green Bay sees dead zones, too


 

Mark Lisowski, 2018-2019 (second-year graduate student)

Mark Lisowski

Mark Lisowski worked with 2018-19 O'Brien Fellow Erin Jordan on her series "Treading Water," which investigated states' efforts to address pollution washing from farm fields and industries into the Mississippi River. For his independent byline piece, Lisowski traveled to Minnesota to interview farmers and a government environmental expert about a state law that requires farmers to use buffer strips to prevent agricultural nutrient runoff.

Mark Lisowski Story

Many Minnesota farmers disagree with buffer mandate


 

Diana Dombrowski, 2017-2018 (second-year graduate student)

Diana DombrowskiDiana Dombrowski spent one year of her graduate studies working with 2017-18 O'Brien Fellow Gary Harki from the Virginian-Pilot on his project about the treatment of mentally ill prisoners. She traveled to Virginia and reported on Danica Roem, Virginia's first transgender legislator.

Diana Dombrowski Story
It was a whirlwind campaign for Danica Roem, Virginia's first transgender legislator. Now the real work begins.


 

Amelia Jones, 2017-2018 (senior)

Amelia JonesAmelia Jones worked with 2017-18 O'Brien Fellow Andy Soth on his "Purple River Project," investigating the change in political affiliation from Democrat to Republican in rural Wisconsin towns along the Mississippi River. She reported, wrote and edited her own stories and received over 8,500 views on her second story about "Pete's Hamburgers Stand," in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.

Amelia Jones Story
Pete's Hamburger Stand 


 

Rebecca Carballo, 2017-2018 (senior)

Rebecca CarballoRebecca Carballo spent her last year at Marquette working with 2017-18 O'Brien Fellow Gary Harki on his project about mentally ill prisoners in Virginia prisons. Rebecca went on a reporting trip to Virginia, and she received her own byline for her reporting for The Virginian-Pilot.

Rebecca Carballo Story
For understaffed Hampton Roads Regional Jail, help could be on the way


 

Maggie Glynn, 2017-2018 (senior)

Maggie GlynnMaggie Glynn worked alongside Wisconsin Public Television reporter Andy Soth in her last year at Marquette, reporting on his project the "Purple River Project," investigating the change in political affiliation from Democrat to Republican in rural Wisconsin towns along the Mississippi River. She covered the Laura Ingalls Wilder days in Pepin, Wisconsin.

Maggie Glynn Story
Little House Wayside Cabin


 

Alexandria Bursiek, 2017-2018 (senior)

Alexandria BursiekAlexandria Bursiek spent her last year at Marquette working with 2017-18 O'Brien Fellow Gary Harki from the Virginian Pilot on his project about the treatment of mentally ill prisoners in Virginia prisons. Her reporting work earned her a byline for the Virginian-Pilot about how Virginia's mental health care system is "chaotic" and must be addressed.

Alexandria Bursiek Story
Virginia's mental health care system is "chaotic" and must be addressed, says Sen. Deeds


 

McKenna Oxenden, 2016-2018 (junior and senior)

McKenna OxendenMcKenna Oxenden began her O'Brien intern work when she was a junior at Marquette working with 2016-17 O'Brien Fellow and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Mark Johnson on his series, "Outbreak." She received a byline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for her story "Can math be used to predict an outbreak?"

McKenna Oxenden Story
Can math be used to predict an outbreak?


 

Ryan Patterson, 2016-2017 (senior)

Ryan PattersonRyan Patterson spent his senior year working with 2016-17 Fellow Mark Johnson from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on his project, "Outbreak." Patterson even traveled to Brazil with Johnson to report on climate change and its effect on the spread of diseases. He received a co-byline in the Journal Sentinel for his reporting.Ryan Patterson Story
Infectious disease collides with changing climate


 

Devi Shastri, 2015-2017 (junior and senior)

Devi ShastriDevi Shastri spent her senior year at Marquette working with 2016-17 O'Brien Fellow and Pulitzer-Prize winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel journalist Mark Johnson on his series "Outbreak." She received a byline credit for her solo reporting trip to the Florida Keys about the debate on genetically engineered mosquitoes.

Devi Shastri Story
Pathway to Peril


 

Wyatt Massey, 2015-2016 (senior)

Wyatt MasseyWyatt Massey worked with 2015-16 Fellow and Baltimore Sun Reporter Justin George on his series "Shoot to Kill," investigating why Baltimore is the most lethal city in America. He received end credit on the five-part series published in the Baltimore Sun. Massey also was chosen as the Baltimore Sun summer intern in 2016.

Wyatt Massey Story
Shoot to Kill Chapter 1


 

Sarah Hauer, 2013-2016 (junior, senior, and first-year graduate student)

Sarah HauerSarah Hauer worked alongside Pulitzer-Prize winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dave Umhoefer on his project "Act 10," investigating the uproar Act 10 caused in Wisconsin schools. She received three co-bylines for her work with the yearlong project and was the recipient of the Journal Sentinel O'Brien Fellowship summer internship for 2017.Sarah Hauer Story
1) From teacher 'free agency' to merit pay, the uproar over Act 10 turns into upheaval in Wisconsin schools

Sarah Hauer Story
2) In wake of Act 10, fears rise about growing divide in arms race for teachers

Sarah Hauer Story
Schools face tougher task in finding teachers