Each O'Brien fellow is teamed with two to four Marquette student interns who receive real-world reporting experience in the field. This reporting is published by the respective fellows' news organizations. At the end of the yearlong internship, there is also an opportunity to spend the summer as an intern with one of the fellows at their news organization.
Click on the images below for a sampling of our students' work.
Zoë Comerford (junior), Grace Connatser (senior) and Jenny Whidden (senior), 2019-2020
Zoë 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.
Wisconsin saved Plymouth’s rail line, but drivers at risk because of inadequate safety measures
John Steppe, 2018-2019 (junior year)
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.
Wisconsin's Green Bay sees dead zones, too
Mark Lisowski, 2018-2019 (second-year graduate student)
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.
Many Minnesota farmers disagree with buffer mandate
Diana Dombrowski, 2017-2018 (second-year graduate student)
Diana 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.
It was a whirlwind campaign for Danica Roem, Virginia's first transgender legislator. Now the real work begins.
Amelia Jones, 2017-18 (senior year)
Amelia 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.
Pete's Hamburger Stand
Rebecca Carballo, 2017-18 (senior year)
Rebecca 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.
For understaffed Hampton Roads Regional Jail, help could be on the way
Maggie Glynn, 2017-18 (senior year)
Maggie 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.
Little House Wayside Cabin
Alexandria Bursiek, 2017-18 (senior year)
Alexandria 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.
Virginia's mental health care system is "chaotic" and must be addressed, says Sen. Deeds
McKenna Oxenden, 2016-2018 (junior and senior year)
McKenna 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?"
Can math be used to predict an outbreak?
Ryan Patterson, 2016-17 (senior year)
Ryan 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.
Infectious disease collides with changing climate
Devi Shastri, 2015-2017 (junior and senior year)
Devi 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.
Pathway to Peril
Wyatt Massey, 2015-16 (senior year)
Wyatt 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.
Shoot to Kill Chapter 1
Sarah Hauer, 2013-2016 (junior and senior year, and first-year graduate student)
Sarah 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.
1) From teacher 'free agency' to merit pay, the uproar over Act 10 turns into upheaval in Wisconsin schools
2) In wake of Act 10, fears rise about growing divide in arms race for teachers
Schools face tougher task in finding teachers