28 young journalists, communicators named as Handa Fellows in Interreligious Communication

COLUMBIA, MO. — More than two dozen young professionals and students were named this week to the 2015–16 class of Handa Fellows in Interreligious Communication, among a strong field of 60 applicants.

This marks the inaugural year for the joint program between the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) and the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA). The fellowships are funded by a grant to RNA’s Foundation from the New York-based International Shinto Foundation. The program seeks to foster greater religious literacy in faith-based communication and mainstream religion reporting.

“These recipients show that the future of the religion beat and religious communication is in good hands,” said Debra L. Mason, executive director of RNA’s nonprofit foundation. “Never has the world had a bigger need for knowledgeable professionals who can tell engaging and accurate stories about faith.”

Over the next year, fellows will be divided into RCC and RNA cohorts for immersive programming tracks and mentoring in their field, as well as joint training sessions from industry experts and leaders.

“Interfaith understanding and engagement is crucial in today’s world,” said Shirley Struchen, executive director of the Religion Communicators Council. “We are thrilled with the 12 RCC Handa Fellows who bring a fresh and diverse perspective to our continued work in religious literacy.”

RNA Handa Fellows

  • Dawn Araujo-Hawkins, Global Sisters Report
  • Melissa Binder, The Oregonian
  • Sarah Breger, Moment Magazine
  • Darcy Coulter, Columbia University
  • Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News
  • Carol Kuruvilla, The Huffington Post
  • Jacob Lupfer, Georgetown University
  • Holly Meyer, The Tennessean
  • Corrie Mitchell, OnFaith/FaithStreet
  • Michael Schulson, Freelance Writer
  • Betsy Shirley, Sojourners
  • Adela Suliman, Columbia University
  • Sara Weissman, University of California at Berkeley
  • Johanna Willett, Arizona Daily Star
  • Katie Zavadski, The Daily Beast
  • Dina Zingaro, CBS News

RCC Handa Fellows

  • Jonathan Ammons, LDS Church Public Affairs
  • Adriana Cansino, University of Edinburgh
  • Jacqueline Fuller, Executive Producer, Interfaith Connections
  • Esteban Garcia, Bread for the World
  • Sean Hennigan, Texas Impact
  • Margaret Krueger, The Pluralism Project at Harvard University
  • Sarah Mangum, Deily
  • Tom Morse, Global Ministries, Disciples of Christ
  • Melissa Riley, LDS Church Public Affairs
  • Tasha Sargent, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Simran Jeet Singh, Trinity University, The Sikh Coalition
  • Emma Snyder, Episcopal Diocese of California


About the program partners

Religion Communicators Council
is an interfaith association of religion communicators at work in print and electronic communication, marketing and in public relations. It promotes excellence in the communication of faith and values in the public arena and encourages understanding among religious and faith groups.

Religion Newswriters Association is the world’s oldest and largest association for professional journalists writing about religion, faith and values. It encourages coverage of religion that is accurate, balanced, civil and fair through its repository of reporting tools and resources, trainings, contests and annual conference.

The fellowships are named after the global humanitarian Dr. Haruhisa Handa.