History of the Medill cherub program

A look at notable alumni



Jim Klurfeld

Former vice president at Newsday; Pulitzer Prize winner

Jim Klurfeld was vice president and editorial editor of Newsday, where he worked for almost 40 years. Kurfeld was part of a team that won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for exposing government corruption on Long Island. In 1988, he won the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award for editorials about the Iran-Contra hearings. He is visiting professor of journalism at Stony Brook University.

Al From

Author of “The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” founder and former CEO of Democratic Leadership Council

After earning a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, From was deputy adviser on inflation to President Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1980. He was executive director of the House Democratic Caucus from 1981 to 1985.

From founded the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985, and was its CEO until April 2009. He played a prominent role in President Bill Clinton’s election and served as domestic policy adviser during the Clinton transition.

Barry Petersen

CBS News correspondent

After graduating from Medill, Barry Petersen started his broadcast career in Milwaukee. His reports aired on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Petersen joined CBS News as a reporter in 1978. Three years later, he delivered the first TV news report on AIDS.

In 2010, Petersen published his critically acclaimed book, “Jan’s Story,” about his wife as she battled Alzheimer’s disease.

Petersen received an Emmy Award for a CBS Evening News series on American-adopted Vietnamese orphans. He was awarded his second Emmy for a report on the Siege of Sarajevo. His CBS team’s reporting on Tiananmen Square received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and a George Foster Peabody Award.

Walter Mossberg

Longtime technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal; co-founder and editor-at-large of Recode

Walt Mossberg, now retired, was the principal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He was a co-creator and co-producer of “D: All Things Digital,” a tech conference in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, and the co-executive editor of AllThingsD. He also was co-founder and executive editor of Recode, a technology news and reviews site.

After graduating from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Mossberg worked as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. He covered national and international affairs for 18 years before becoming a technology columnist. He retired from the Journal in 2013.

Frank Rich

Essayist, writer-at-large for New York Magazine, executive producer for the HBO series Veep

After attending Harvard College, Frank Rich became a founding editor of The Richmond Mercury, a weekly newspaper. Before joining The New York Times as chief theater critic, Rich wrote about culture and politics for Time magazine, the New York Post and New Times Magazine. Among other things, he is well known for his work as an op-ed columnist for the Times starting in 1994.

Rich received the George Polk Award for his commentary in 2005.

In a 2013 email, Rich wrote: “I’ve long said that I learned all the basics I needed to know about journalism in my five weeks as a cherub at Medill — from the basics of reporting to meeting a deadline to learning the distinction between factual writing and opinion writing, between constructing a news story and an essay. It also was a lot of fun because of the chance to meet students with similar passions from all over the country, to discover the great city of Chicago, to get an advance taste of college campus life away from home, and to interact with such smart and dedicated young instructors, many of whom went on to stellar careers.”

Gloria Borger

Chief political analyst for CNN

At CNN, Gloria Borger covered the 2012 presidential election, the death of Osama bin Laden and President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy, among many other stories. Borger writes a weekly column that appears on CNN and Time’s websites. Before joining CNN, she worked as a contributing editor and columnist for U.S. News & World Report and as a national political correspondent for CBS.

She was nominated for an Emmy in 2010 for a profile she wrote on two D.C. attorneys.


Howard Reich

Chicago Tribune arts and jazz critic

Howard Reich joined the Chicago Tribune in 1983. He has written five books, including “Prisoner of Her Past: A Son’s Memoir,” which chronicles his mother’s experience during the Holocaust. This book inspired a PBS documentary, which Reich wrote and narrated.

Reich attended Northwestern University as a piano performance major and freelanced for the Chicago Daily News. He has served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in Music four times and has received several awards including Northwestern University’s Alumni Merit Award and an Emmy Award. He was named Chicago Journalist of the year in 2011 by the Chicago Journalists Association.

Reich spoke about his experience as a cherub in a 2016 interview. “For me, the cherub program was kind of opening the door to the world of journalism and work and ideas,” he said. “Up until I was in the cherub program, journalism was something I did in my high school, for my high school newspaper, so it was very much a student activity. For me, the cherub program was a bridge to professionalism.”

Martha Minow

Professor and former dean at the Harvard Law School

Minow became an assistant professor at Harvard Law in 1981 and a full professor in 1986. She has written 14 books and many scholarly articles published in journals of law, history and philosophy. Minow serves as vice chair to the board of Legal Services Corporation. President Obama nominated her for this position in 2009. She became dean of the Harvard Law School in 2009. As dean, she led the diversification of the Harvard faculty and student body. Minow stepped down as dean in June 2017 to return to the Harvard Law School faculty.

“When I think about good writing on a deadline or about a community devoted to vigorous discussion and fun, memories of my time as a cherub quickly come to mind,” Minow wrote in an email. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Harvard, a law degree from Yale and an honorary doctorate from Northwestern.

Matt Purdy

Deputy executive editor at The New York Times

Matthew Purdy worked as a reporter on the metro desk of The Times, then as a deputy editor and investigations editor before becoming the assistant managing editor. In 2014, he was named a deputy executive editor. Before The Times, he was a local reporter and Washington correspondent at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 12 years. In 1989, he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in national reporting. While attending Northwestern, he worked on The Daily Northwestern and majored in philosophy and English literature. He graduated in 1978.

Purdy wrote about his experience as a cherub in an email in 2014. “I remember talks we had with law and journalism professors about ethics, the First Amendment and the history of journalism,” he said. “Those talks, along with the Watergate scandal that was unfolding that summer, opened my eyes to the fact that journalism was not just fun but an essential force in the democracy. The cherub program ended up being my only formal journalism training, but it launched me on a rewarding career.”

Richard Eisenberg

Managing editor, money and work channels editor at Next Avenue; People Magazine book reviewer

Richard Eisenberg graduated from Medill in 1978. He has worked as an editor at Money Magazine and CBSMoneywatch.com, in addition to freelance writing, producing and editing. Eisenberg was Yahoo!’s front page finance programmer until November 2011.

In a 2014 email, he reflected on his summer at cherubs. “Being a cherub solidified my love of journalism and led me to a) apply to Medill early decision and b) pursue the career I’ve enjoyed since graduating,” he said.

M.G. Lord

Educator as well as former Newsweek and New York Times political cartoonist, novelist

After graduating from Yale University, M.G. Lord was hired at Newsday as an editorial cartoonist. She has since been a political cartoonist featured in The New York Times and Newsweek.

Lord teaches at USC in a creative writing masters program. She has written a number of books, including “Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll.”

In a 2018 email, Lord wrote, “The whole program was great — especially meeting my fellow cherubs and our terrific counselors. Martha Minow, who inspired me as a high school student, continues to inspire me. I loved being in an environment where braininess was okay. And I loved Chicago. I discovered Bill Mauldin’s work that summer; he became a mentor and wrote the introduction to my first collection of political cartoons (published in 1982 by Little, Brown). I also collaborated on an illustrated guide to the journalism counselors — which gave me confidence in my ability to draw caricatures that looked like their subjects.”

Paul Sagan

Executive in residence at General Catalyst Partners, former CEO of Akamai Technologies, ProPublica board chairman

After graduating from Medill, Paul Sagan worked at WCBS-TV in New York. In 1991, he joined Time Warner Cable to launch news channel NY1. He later rose to the position of president at Time Warner, where he oversaw online operations. He joined Akamai Technologies in 1998 and served as CEO from 2005 until 2013.

In 2010, he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. He became chairman of the board of ProPublica in 2017.

Sagan is a three-time Emmy Award winner and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He graduated from Medill and is a trustee of Northwestern University.

Joie Chen

Freelance writer, host of CNN’s “The Entree”

Joie Chen worked as a CBS News correspondent based in Washington, D.C. starting in 2002 and as a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning.

While with CNN, Chen received an Emmy for her reporting on the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She won a second Emmy for her coverage of the Beltway sniper attacks in Washington, D.C. Chen is a member of Medill’s Hall of Achievement.

In 2013, Chen became an Anchor for Al Jazeera America’s daily primetime news program “America Tonight.” Since Al Jazeera America’s shut down in 2016, Chen has worked as a freelance writer and hosted CNN’s “The Entree,” a branded-content show developed with KPMG Advisory.

Michael Slackman

New York Times international editor

Michael Slackman has written for Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. He has been posted as bureau chief in Cairo, Berlin and Moscow.

In 1997, Slackman was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Newsday in spot news reporting. The team reported on the crash of TWA Flight 800 and its aftermath. He also won the 1997 National Award for Education Reporting. Since 2003, Slackman has worked for The New York Times and held various positions ranging from metropolitan desk reporter to Berlin bureau chief to, most recently, international editor.


Jeff Zucker

President of CNN Worldwide

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Harvard, Jeff Zucker went to work for the Today show on NBC and eventually was named executive producer of Today. He became president of NBC Entertainment in 2000. He was later named CEO and president of NBC Universal. In 2012, he was appointed president of CNN Worldwide. Zucker has overseen the rise in viewership at CNN and its coverage of the 2016 election.

Jonathan Eig

Award-winning author and sports journalist

Jonathan Eig’s most recent book, “Ali: A Life,” won numerous awards. They include the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, best book of the year by Sports Illustrated and best overall book in British Sport book awards and an NAACP Image award. “Ali” was Eig’s fifth book. He is working on a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a documentary on Muhammad Ali with Ken Burns. Eig appeared in two other Burns documentaries: “Prohibition” and “Jackie Robinson.” He was also on “The Daily Show” and “Fresh Air.” Eig has written for The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The Dallas Morning News, Chicago magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

Eig credits his cherubs for initial passion for journalism.

“I loved getting thrown into the deep waters of student journalism and finding out I could swim,” Eig wrote in an email. “I remember the thrill of chasing the all-day story, the horror of misspelling a source’s name, the anxiety around doing interviews at the Fourth of July parade in Evanston. I had a pretty good idea when I arrived that I wanted to be a reporter, but the cherub program cemented it for me.”

Glenn Geffner

Play-by-play announcer for the Miami Marlins

Glenn Geffner began his broadcast career at Northwestern calling baseball, football and basketball games before graduating in 1990. He started his baseball announcing career as the voice of the Rochester Red Wings and has done play-by-play for Boston Red Sox Minor League baseball and served as a host and reporter for the Red Sox and the San Diego Padres. In 2008, he returned to his hometown of Miami, where he remains part of the Marlins radio team.

Geffner said cherubs “certainly helped me nail down what I wanted to do and exactly how I was gonna get there. It was a remarkable summer.”

Lisa Pollak

Pulitzer winner, independent reporter and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism

Lisa Pollak won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing when she was a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. She told the story of a family who lost a son to a genetic disease and had to live with the knowledge that their other son shared the same disease.

She was also a radio producer at WBEZ radio program “This American Life.” Since January 2014, Pollak has been an independent reporter, reporting stories for various podcast outlets including NPR and WNYC.

Pollak also won the Ernie Pyle Award for human-interest writing.

Mary Lou Song

Executive chairwoman of FuelX, an advertising technology company

Mary Lou Song joined eBay as its third employee in 1996, just five years after graduating from Medill. After leaving eBay, she joined another startup, Friendster. She later launched Tokoni, a story-sharing site, and Ongo, a news aggregator.

Song is a Medill graduate and a former Northwestern University trustee. She talked about her experience as a cherub in 1986.

“At cherubs, I learned the one lesson that shaped my entire career, and it started with the quote from Confucius, and that was ‘choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day,’” she said. “That quote has guided me ever since.”

Karen Ferguson Fuson

Educator, Medill Hall of Achievement Member, Former Gannett Company executive

Karen Ferguson Fuson was a cherub in 1987, determined to become a reporter and writer. During her sophomore year at the Medill School of Journalism, she worked at the Medill Newspaper Management Center, discovering that a career in publishing could combine her passion for both content and business.

Upon graduating in 1992, Ferguson Fuson worked in advertising sales at the Gary Post-Tribune. She was soon promoted to consumer sales manager. In 1995, she joined Gannett as a manager at the Tennessean in Nashville. From 2003 to 2010, Ferguson Fuson helped lead the Arizona Republic, eventually serving as vice president of sales and strategic planning. In 2010, she became president and publisher of the Indianapolis Star, where she led the newspaper’s coverage of Indiana’s divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In 2015, Gannett appointed Ferguson Fuson group president of the western region, with her overseeing 60 newspapers from Ohio to Guam.

In March 2018, she joined Indiana University as an educator.

Zara Cooper

Associate surgeon of the Trauma Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School

Zara Cooper received her undergrad degree from Northwestern University and her medical degree and Master of Science in Community Medicine from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Cooper began working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2008. Her work focuses on improving end-of-life care for patients, and she received the BWH President’s Young Investigators Award and the BWH Faculty Development Award.

Pradnya Joshi

Trade & agriculture editor at Politico

Pradnya Joshi graduated from Medill School of Journalism in 1993 and worked at the Los Angeles Times as a business reporter. She later worked at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a reporter and as a senior writer at Newsday. In 2003 and 2009, she was chosen for the Asia Foundation’s Freeman Fellowship to Southeast Asia to discuss the political, economic and educational ties between the United States and that region. Joshi now edits the DealBook for The Times. From 2006 to 2017 Joshi worked as the Assistant Business Editor for the New York Times.

In a 2016 message, Joshi spoke about her time in the Medill cherub program in 1988. “The cherub program was a fun, real-world experience in reporting and writing,” she wrote. “It helped a glimpse into what days [and nights] would be like as a journalist. And of course, I had a lot of great friends who ended up at Northwestern and became journalists.”

Cynthia Wang

Features editor for TV Week, Australia

Cynthia Wang began her magazine writing career at the Medill School of Journalism, where she wrote feature stories for The Daily Northwestern and contributed to the student magazine Campus Voice. Upon graduating in 1992, she worked at People magazine and became an assistant editor in 2007, reporting stories on television personalities and athletes. She covered five Olympics and every major award show during her 18-year career at People magazine.

She moved to Sydney with her husband in 2011, continuing her magazine career at WHO magazine, People’s sister publication in Australia. She writes entertainment, human-interest and celebrity features stories.

In August 2018, she joined Australia’s TV Week as a features editor.

She said she learned the importance of accuracy, brevity and clarity as a cherub in 1988.

“If you aim for those things, you will focus your writing,” Wang wrote in an email.


Daniel Roth

Executive editor and editor-in-chief at LinkedIn

Daniel Roth is one of the founding members of Wired magazine, where he worked as a senior writer. He started his journalism career at the Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. A year later, he moved to Forbes magazine and then to Fortune magazine, where he worked as a reporter and editor for eight years. Roth’s story about the creators of Skype was named the Best Story on Entrepreneurship at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards in 2005. He is now the executive editor and editor-in-chief of LinkedIn.

Daniel Roth is married to former cherub Lisa Fingeret.

Jeff McMillan

Enterprise editor for the East region of The Associated Press

Jeff McMillan has been at the AP since 2005, where he has worked as national desk editor, then assistant East editor, and as of 2015, Eastern U.S. enterprise editor. He previously worked as a graphics and copy editor at Newsday and a copy editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Aimee Agresti

Author of young adult novels “Illuminate” and “Infatuate”

Aimee Agresti previously worked as a staff writer at Us Weekly. Her work as an entertainment journalist has appeared in People, Premiere, DC Magazine, The Washington Post, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer, among other publications. She has also appeared on Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel.

In a 2014 email, Agresti wrote about her summer at Northwestern. “I had an absolute blast that summer!” she said. “Every day I felt like I was becoming a better writer, editor and interviewer. It was so exciting to work with Roger and so many Medill professors. And I had never worked so hard! Best of all, my cherub roommate actually became a great lifelong friend — we roomed together freshman year at NU and we later worked together at Us Weekly.”

Rachel Nichols

Sports journalist, ESPN host

Sports Illustrated called 1990 journalism cherub and 1995 Medill School of Journalism graduate Rachel Nichols “the country’s most impactful and prominent female sports journalist.” Nichols is known for the hard-hitting questions she asked the NFL commissioner after the Ray Rice scandal and for her tough questioning of Floyd Mayweather concerning domestic violence. She currently hosts “The Jump,” a daily half-hour show on ESPN. Nichols has also contributed to “Sports Center,” “Sunday NFL Countdown,” “Monday Night Countdown” and “E:60.” She briefly worked at Turner Sports. Before ESPN, she wrote for The Washington Post and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Bret Begun

Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek

Bret Begun graduated from Medill in 1998. He worked at Newsweek magazine for 13 years after that, where he covered three Olympics and was national affairs editor during the 2008 presidential election. He was also a cherub instructor for 15 years. He is the former Articles editor at Conde Nast Magazine.

Begun spoke about how his summer as a cherub shaped his career.

“If I hadn’t been a cherub, I probably would not have thought to go into this field at all,” he said. “So, in many ways, it was really my entry point into the field.”

He also talked about how he has seen the program change since 1993.

“In a lot of ways it has changed a lot and in a lot of ways it hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “There’s much more of an emphasis on the web. There was no Internet when I was a cherub, so that’s obviously a big difference.”

Adam Rittenberg

ESPN college football reporter

Adam Rittenberg began his career in sports journalism at ESPN and Daily Herald as an intern from the Medill School of Journalism. He wrote articles on college football and basketball throughout college and joined Daily Herald as a staff reporter upon graduating in 2003. He joined ESPN as one of its first sports journalism bloggers in 2008. He now reports stories on national college football for ESPN.

He has worked as an adjunct professor at DePaul University since 2014 and at Northwestern University since 2017.

As a cherub in 1998, Rittenberg said he still remembers going through rotating rewrites with his friends, from which he learned the importance of accuracy and newsworthiness.

“The best thing was definitely the people,” said Rittenberg.

Tomoko Hosaka

Economics editor at The Associated Press; co-director at the Asian American Journalism Association Media Institute

After graduating from Medill, Tomoko Hosaka worked as a staff writer at The Oregonian for two years before getting a degree in international relations from Waseda University in Tokyo. She worked as an editor for Dow Jones Newswires and as a Tokyo-based reporter for the AP.

She was later the news and politics manager at Ustream. She was COO of Plympton and a governing board member of the Asian American Journalists Association until spring 2014. She is a former UNITY Journalists for Diversity board member.

Jeremy Gilbert

Director of strategic initiatives at The Washington Post

Before joining The Post in July 2014, Jeremy Gilbert worked at National Geographic as deputy digital editor. He was associate clinical professor and director of technology and space design at Medill in 2013 and an assistant professor of media product design at Medill for five years before that. He has been an editor at Poynter and sports design director for the St. Petersburg Times.

Gilbert graduated from Medill in 2000 and was a guest instructor at cherubs from 2011 to 2013.

Tommy Craggs

Freelancer and former political editor for Slate

After attending Medill, Craggs covered the cops and crime beat in New Orleans. As editor-in-chief of Deadspin, Craggs was part of a team of journalists who broke the Manti Te’o story. After investigating Te’o and the death of his girlfriend Lennay Kekua, the Deadspin team proved in a January 2013 article that she never existed at all.

Before he worked at Deadspin, Craggs reported for the business section of The Wall Street Journal, SF Weekly and Slate Magazine. Craggs was executive editor of Gawker Media and the political editor of Slate Magazine from March 2016 to February 2017.

Julie Hirschfeld Davis

White House reporter for The New York Times

Julie Hirschfeld Davis began her journalism career in 1997 as a writer for Congressional Quarterly. After reporting on government and politics for the Baltimore Sun, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News, she joined The New York Times in 2014 and currently serves as the Times’ White House correspondent. She also appears regularly on PBS.

In 2009, Davis won the National Press Foundation’s 2009 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress by a print reporter for her coverage of the federal response to the 2008 financial meltdown. She is a graduate of Yale University.


Brian Orloff

Director of product management at Penguin Random House

Brian Orloff was an associate editor at People Digital for six years, then worked as mobile news editor until 2013. He was also the product manager at CBS Interactive until August 2016 and then the editorial product manager at Shutterstock. Before that, he was an online assistant editor and contributing writer at Rolling Stone and a feature writer at the St. Petersburg Times. Orloff has been the director of product management at Penguin Random House since February 2017. He graduated from Medill in 2006.

Orloff wrote about his cherub experiences in a 2014 email. “Some of my favorite memories were having long, late-night conversations in and around the dorm—we were in CRC—and feeling inspired to come home and start my senior year and get more involved in my school paper,” he said. “I feel like being a cherub pushed me to remember to always ask lots of questions—and to always be motivated by curiosity.”

Simon Rich

Novelist and contributor to the Shouts & Murmurs section of The New Yorker; executive producer of “Man Seeking Woman” and the host of a BBC Radio 4 Series

Simon Rich has written five books, including the Thurber Prize-nominated humor collection “Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations.” He is a former television writer for Saturday Night Live, where he was the second youngest writer hired.

Rich and the staff of SNL were nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Series three times. He was also a writer for Pixar’s “Inside Out.”

Rich is currently executive producer of the comedy “Man Seeking Woman.” His BBC Radio 4 series, “The World of Simon Rich,” premiered in June 2017.

Francesca Jarosz Brady

Vice president, VOX Global, Indianapolis

Francesca Jarosz Brady is a vice president at VOX Global, a public relations firm with offices across the country. Based in Indianapolis, Jarosz Brady develops communications strategies for clients, with a focus on media relations.

Prior to joining VOX, Jarosz Brady worked for The Mind Trust, a nonprofit in Indianapolis that focuses on K-12 education. She began her journalism career at The Indianapolis Star, covering Indianapolis city government and public safety.

Jarosz Brady also covered state and local government, banking and finance for the Indianapolis Business Journal, and delivered a weekly TV business report on Indianapolis’ FOX affiliate station.

She graduated cum laude from Northwestern University in 2007 with a degree in journalism and was a cherub in 2002.

In a 2017 email, Jarosz Brady wrote, “I gained so much from my time at cherubs – from valuable insights that have stuck with me throughout my career, to new friendships, including my freshman year roommate, who remains a close friend today. Applying for the program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It shaped the course of where I went to college and helped me hone a passion for learning and writing that I still apply in my job every day.”

Kate Ward

Editor-in-chief at Bustle

Kate Ward graduated from Medill in 2007. She went on to write and edit for the print and online publications of Entertainment Weekly. Before becoming editor-in-chief for the online news site Bustle.com, Ward was executive editor of Hollywood.com.

In 2015, Ward was named one of Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in Media.

On Medill’s alumni page, Ward wrote that her time as a cherub gave her “the confidence to start in journalism.”

Emily Glazer

Banking reporter focusing on J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo for The Wall Street Journal

Emily Glazer previously covered bankruptcy and restructuring and has written about consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble for the Journal. She interned at Dow Jones Newswires, The New York Sun and the Austin American-Statesman.

Glazer graduated with honors from Medill in 2010 and lives in New York City.

Callie Schweitzer

Chief content officer at Thrive Global; former editorial director for audience strategy for Time Inc.

Callie Schweitzer graduated from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2011. Her work has appeared in Time, The New York Times, Mashable, The Huffington Post and People magazine, among other publications. She previously worked as director of marketing and communications at Vox Media and deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo. In October 2014, Schweitzer became the editorial director for audience strategy for Time Inc. She became chief content officer at Thrive Global in April 2017.

In 2012 and 2013, she was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in media and one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women in Tech Under 30.

In a 2014 email, Schweitzer wrote about her time as a cherub in 2006. “The highlight of my cherub experience was being surrounded by passionate people—both other cherubs and instructors—who chose to spend their summers nerding out about journalism,” she said. “I owe so much of my career to cherub instructor Cynthia Wang, who put in a good word for me at People when I applied for an internship the summer after cherubs.”

Tania Karas

Independent journalist

Tania Karas graduated from Medill in 2011 and then covered U.S. immigration and New York courts for the New York Law Journal. In 2015-16, she was a U.S. Fulbright Fellow and went to Greece as an independent freelance writer to cover the country’s refugee and financial crises. Her work has appeared in Refugees Deeply, IRIN Humanitarian News, Foreign Affairs Online, among others. In 2017-18, she is enrolled in a graduate program in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford.

In a 2017 email, she wrote about her experience as a cherub in 2006. “Being a cherub taught me the power of storytelling, both to hold public officials accountable and to help people understand each other,” She said. “Cherubs gave me invaluable advice on writing, interviewing and ethics that I use every single day in my career.”

Charlotte Alter

Staff writer at Time; co-host of Sirius XM Radio show “Alter Family Politics”

After graduating from Harvard University in 2012, Alter worked at Time Magazine, where she wrote two cover stories. At Time, she covered the 2016 election and wrote that year’s Person of the Year Runner-Up story about Hillary Clinton.

Alter also co-hosts the Sirius XM Radio show “Alter Family Politics.” She has been published in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In a 2017 message, Alter wrote, “My cherubs experience was really tough but it was also my best and only formal training in journalism.”

Katie Glueck

Senior political correspondent for McClatchy DC

Katharine (Katie) Glueck graduated from Medill with honors in 2012 and went on to publish work in The Wall Street Journal, Washingtonian magazine, and the Austin American-Statesman. She worked as a reporter at POLITICO for five years. In that time, she covered the 2016 presidential campaign and was recognized for her coverage by The New York Times. Since 2017, Katie has been covering the Republican Party as a senior political correspondent for McClatchy DC.

In a 2017 email, Glueck wrote about her experience as a cherub in 2007. “I learned so much from my summer as a journalism cherub—lessons that remain with me a decade later, from how to handle irritated sources to cultivating the crucial practice of double-checking everything (or in cherub parlance: If your mother says she loves you, check it out!) I remember my cherub summer as a very inspiring period that solidified my interest in pursuing journalism, and I’m so glad I attended!”

Ian Kullgren

POLITICO journalist; shared in award from the Associated Press

Reporter on POLITICO’s employment and immigration team, part of a team that won the Associated Press Media Editors grand prize for news reporting in 2017.

While earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Michigan State University, Ian Kullgren interned at Scripps Howard Foundation Wire and covered politics for The Columbus Dispatch. Kullgren was a reporter for The Oregonian before joining POLITICO’s employment and immigration team in Washington, D.C., in April 2016. At The Oregonian, Kullgren was part of a team that earned the Associated Press Media Editors grand prize for news reporting in 2017 for covering a 41-day standoff with armed militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

In a 2018 email, Kullgren wrote, “It’s hard to think of an experience that prepared me more for journalism than Cherubs. I learned the fundamental theory of journalism and met so many wise, tenacious people, many of whom I’m still friends with. There are a few of us here in D.C. and we still hang out. For a kid from a small town in the Midwest, it was totally transformative. My life would be totally different without Cherubs.”


Kendall Ciesemier

Opinion producer at Mic; creator and organizer

In 2004, Kendall Ciesemier, then only 11 years old, founded the volunteer organization Kids Caring 4 Kids, which raises money to improve the lives of children and families in sub-Saharan Africa. She became one of the Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals Top 10 young volunteers. In 2013, she co-founded OWN IT, which holds conferences and summits for young women to become and learn from female leaders.

President Bill Clinton visited Ciesemier in 2007 and took her to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where he presented her with half a million dollars, courtesy of a friend, for Kids Caring 4 Kids.

Ciesemier was given the Daily Point of Light Award for volunteer service and in 2014, she was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women for her volunteer work. She received a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 2015.

Ciesemier is an opinion video producer at Mic, where one of her stories was Kim Kardashian West’s successful appeal to President Donal Trump to commute the felony drug sentence of Alice Marie Johnson. Ciesemier worked as an assistant producer for CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell until Dec. 2016. 

Some of the reporting and writing for this story was done in 2013-2017 by Sammy Norrito, Caitlyn Rosen, Emily Kim, Natasha Roy, Jonathan Rolfe, Julia Jacobs, Kirsty Jacobs, David Fishman, Kelly Martinek, Caroline Nash and Sam Heller.