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Student Media Grant: Past Projects

2023 Current Projects:

2022:  Weaving Together Broken Communities 

Garrett Brogan, a Texas A&M University student from the Department of Agricultural Leadership Education and Communications, is in East Africa completing his SMGP program. His project and research seek to investigate how the artisan sector is being used to weave broken communities together and, more specifically, how artisan cooperatives are being used to help empower one of the most marginalized groups worldwide... women. Through photostories, he hopes to highlight how developing the artisan sector can transform a woman's life and her community, country, and the world. Read his blogs here: Weaving Together Broken Communities


2022:  Post-Conflict Development in Action: Lithium Mining in Bolivia 

Joseph Bouchard, a student from The Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, traveled to Bolivia to complete his SMGP project Post-Conflict Development in Action: Lithium Mining in Bolivia. His photojournalism project illustrates the various components of the development of Bolivia’s lithium mining industry through the lens of conflict and development. The themes of his project were post-conflict reconciliation, natural resources, economic and energy development, and great power competition. MORE

2022:  Refugees in Their Own Country: Plight of the Indian Kashmiris

Amit Kumar Ghoshal, a Doctoral Alumni from Texas A&M University's Department of Recreation Park and Tourism Sciences, traveled to India in 2022 to complete his project entitled Refugees in Their Own Country: Plight of The Indian Kashmiris. He used photographs and videos for interviewing and analyzing the local Kashmiri viewpoints in parts of Kashmir valley that have experienced sectarian violence and those who live as refugees in and around Jammu and New Delhi. He also  photographically chronicled the critical issues faced by the Kashmiri communities, brought about by the conflicts and the refugee situation, along with its impacts, especially on the women and youth.  MORE 

2021:  Tired of Begging: Devotion to Santa Muerte 

Rodrigo Salido-Moulinie, a student from The University of Texas at Austin, completed his project in the Mexico City.  In this project, Rodrigo intended to photograph believers of  Santa Muerte, the Mexican folk "narco-saint." His photograhs depicted these poorly understood objects and spaces of devotion: the statuettes, the ink on their skins, the public shrines and paintings. The Tired of Begging project used Santa Muerte as a common thread to connect a diverse set of stories of conflict, violence, displacement, poverty and urban marginalization. Rather than framing her as merely a narco-saint (as the Mexican and US media and security agencies usually do), these intimate portraits highlighted the wide range of uncertainties, conflicts, and policy outcomes that give Santa Muerte her power and allure.

2021:  There is No Land for Settlers: Indigenous Peoples Land Struggles in the Northern Coast of Nicaragua

Ruth Matamoros, a student from The University of Texas at Austin, traveled to Nicaragua in the Summer of 2021 to complete her Student Media Grant Program. Through her photostory project, Ruth illustrated the political, territorial, sociocultural, and environmental resistance that indigenous communities of the Moskitian, in the Northern Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua are leading against extractivism and colonization of their lands. Her blog aims to serve as a space where indigenous people can amplify their voices and showcase their struggle for survival. 

2020:   Food Justice: Looking at the Brazos Valley Food Supply through a Cultural Lens 

Nicaise Sheila Sagbo, a recent graduate from University of Kentucky, worked with food pantries and food banks on her Food Justice project. Her project's primary goal was to document food insecurity and racial inequities in food access through photographs. To do so, the project examined the cultural appropriateness of food offered by charitable food assistance programs such as food banks and pantries. Also, the project documented food diversity in a grocery store in different neighborhoods. Food is such an essential attribute of cultural identity that providing culturally appropriate food will help grocery stores, food banks, and pantries better serve their clients. For the food banks and pantries, this will help them better combat food insecurity as well as racial inequities. 

2019: Colombia: A Wounded Land

Alexis Aubin, a student from University of Montreal, documented the impact of landmines on survivor's from the Colombian war. Through his project, he aims to raise awareness about the collateral damages and long-term effect of war in Colombia and how wars affect people in many ways and for many generations after the cessation of hostilities. MORE

2019: Curanderas: Mayan Women's Voices and Bodies in Resistance

Through her photojournalism project, Nathalia Hernandez, a student from The University of Texas at Austin, explored how healing is conceptualized, felt, practiced and lived from the perspective of Maya Kaqchikel women who have chosen theater as their tool for social transformation.  MORE

2019: Where Dreams and Nightmares Meet

Jorge Choy, a student from The University of Texas at Austin, completed his project in the Mexico-Guatemala border entitled “Where dreams and nightmares meet: Central American, African, and Asian migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico’s Southern Border” MORE

2019: Living in Neglect: The People of the Hill

Daoud Qamar, a Texas A&M University student and freelance filmaker, traveled to Brazil to produce a docu-series providing an inside look to the people living in Rio de Janeiro's favelas, which are notoriously some of the most unsafe neighborhoods in the world. Each episode features a specific community member and a narrative to the good they are doing in the absence of government intervention. MORE

2019: Memory and Sustainability for Peace and Reconciliation in Transitional Colombia

Colombia. Ricardo Velasco, a student from The University of Texas at Austin, explored the links between culture, reparation and reconciliation in the context of Colombia’s transitional justice process. He traveled within Colombia to Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Islas del Rosario (Rosario Islands), to document different cultural initiatives using symbolic strategies to promote peace, memory construction and reconciliation. MORE

2018: Photo with Coffee Project in Guatemala

Maryanna Nascimento, a student from Brazil, conducted photography workshops in schools and vulnerable neighborhoods in Guatemala so that children could tell their own stories. Kids used handcrafted cameras and caffenol – a blend of coffee, sodium carbonate and vitamin C to turn negatives into images! She documented the reality of children living in precarious areas and gave them the opportunity to see their situation through art. MORE

2018: Living with Fear: The War Inside Brazil

Plinio Luis Pereira and Gustavo Queiroz worked on a photojournalism project that unveiled the reality of the Brazilian “favelas,” poor communities that find themselves in a vulnerability status and at social risk. Their pictures represent how the violence that happens in these spaces interferes – or not – with the daily life of favela residents. MORE

2017: Turkey: The Struggle for Women’s Rights

This Student Media Grant project seeks to document the ongoing struggle for women’s rights in Turkey. Özge Sebzeci began her project by covering the International Women’s Day march in Istanbul before moving on to the Anatolia region of this vibrant country. Throughout her homeland, she will interview child brides, victims of violence, and other females who continue to fight for their rights. MORE

2017: Kenya: Closing Dadaab

The camp hosts a population of 350,000 refugees, nearly 80% of whom are Somali. It has also served as a breeding ground for the Al Shabaab terrorist group, whose members have been unleashing terror on Kenyans through their extremist activities. We intend to spend time in the camp documenting refugee life through photography, with a focus on learning how the camp’s imminent closure affects their view of their present circumstances. We will also delve into how refugees from various politically unstable, war-torn countries compare and contrast with one another. MORE

2016: Ethiopia: Fighting for Childhoods

Ethiopia is one of many countries known for an absolute poverty that has resulted in disastrous human catastrophes: poor health care, high levels of illiteracy and devastating child care systems, among others. For this project, Student Media Grantee Menychle M. Abebe toured his native Amhara region, often described by international media as one of the poorest places in the world—a peculiar hotspot for terrible situations. MORE

2016: UAE and Nepal: The Plight of the Labor Migrant

Purushottam “Puru” Shah used the Student Media Grant to document the nexus between poverty, unemployment and labor migration in both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and southern Nepal, drawing upon his photojournalism experience to capture the stories of labor migrants through photographs and video interviews. MORE

2015: Bangladesh & India: Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Sundarbans

In December 2015, Student Media Grantee Amit Kumar Ghoshal traveled to the Sundarban forests of Bangladesh and Eastern India to chronicle conflicts between humans and wildlife in the area, along with the effects of human incursion on this fragile environment. MORE

2015: Haiti: Rural Food Security through a Woman’s Lens

From January-April 2015, Student Media Grant winner Diana Juárez-Sánchez from Texas A&M University led a home garden project in Haiti. This initiative empowered rural families through training and education, equipping them with the knowledge necessary to sustain their gardens which, in turn, enabled them to provide food for their families. MORE

2015: Peru: Land Use in Protected Areas

In 2015, Student Media Grantee Jessica Gilbert from Texas A&M University conducted a photojournalism project to document land use issues in protected areas of Perú, with a focus on community use within Huascarán National Park. As part of her project, she produced a series of photographs depicting her work. MORE

2015: India: Ethnic Conflict and Forest Governance in Assam

In 2015, Texas A&M graduate student DJ Katju used the Student Media Grant to study and photograph ethnic conflict and forest governance in Assam, India. MORE

2015: Kenya: Learning Empowerment as a Refugee

As a recipient of ConDev’s Student Media Grant, Ally Krupar conducted research in Kenya on adult and youth education. She is also interested in human rights, peace education and the role of technology in education in conflict-affected environments where formal education is unreliable or inaccessible. MORE

2015: Peru: Land Use in Protected Areas

In 2015, Student Media Grantee Jessica Gilbert from Texas A&M University conducted a photojournalism project to document land use issues in protected areas of Perú, with a focus on community use within Huascarán National Park. As part of her project, she produced a series of photographs depicting her work. MORE

2015: Nigeria: Boko Hazards

Student Media Grant winner Immanuel Afolabi spent 104 days in Northeastern Nigeria living with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled Boko Haram. Upon his return, he crafted a 130-photo photoessay sharing the stories and experiences of these individuals. MORE

2014: Mali: Markets and Household Food Security

In Summer 2014, Ryan Vroegindewey used the Student Media Grant to travel to Mali, where he chronicled the relationship between rural food security and market participation through stunning photography. MORE

2013: Nicaragua: Natural Resource Conflicts

As a student at Texas A&M University, Michael Petriello traveled to Nicaragua to conduct research and complete his photojournalism project entitled Natural Resource Conflicts and Conservation Narratives in Nicaraguan Forests.  MORE

2013: Ryan Vroegindewey in Mali

Ryan’s SMGP project is a mixed methods research drawing on past experiences and current pursuits as a photographer, researcher, and development worker to examine the issue of household food insecurity in Mali. He will be examining the determinants and indicators of household food insecurity in different livelihood zones of Mali. Ryan will explore and document these issues through photography and household interviews this summer. Following this fieldwork, he will synthesize his photographs and findings by developing “farmer household profiles,” which will aim at telling a true story about the food security risks and related realities that Malian households courageously weather from year to year. MORE

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