Spring/Summer 2021 MIL Team

Madison Muller
Reporter, Photographer, Social Media Coordinator and Fact-Checker

Madison Muller is a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism specializing in Social Justice and Investigative journalism. She also received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Medill in 2020. Madison is based in Washington, D.C., where she has covered protests, politics and the pandemic for Sojourners, United Press International (UPI) and The Grio. Madison is also a frequent contributor to South Side Weekly and her work has been featured in The Intercept. She currently works as a research assistant for The Washington Post and will continue to report for the Investigative Lab as a Barbara M. Reiss Fellow this summer. You can read her work here.

Jacquelyne Germain

Jacquelyne Germain is a sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism, legal studies and integrated marketing communications. Germain currently serves as an Assistant Campus Editor with Northwestern’s award-winning student-run newspaper, The Daily Northwestern. She is also a Senior Editor for BlackBoard Magazine, Northwestern’s premier Black student publication, and the Vice President of Northwestern’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Germain previously worked as a staff writer for North by Northwestern, an award-winning student-run news magazine, where she reported on topics ranging from the Billboard music charts to racial disparities in standardized testing scores. She is interested in reporting on stories that explore the intersections of race, class and gender and hopes to pursue a career in investigative reporting. View her work here and here.

Daisy Conant

Daisy Conant is a junior at Northwestern University studying journalism and American studies with a focus on law, culture and the media. She has served as a senior staffer and editor for Northwestern’s award-winning student run newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, covering national politics, social justice, and sexual misconduct/Title IX. She has also worked as a breaking news intern for MSNBC and served as a research fellow for the Deportation Research Clinic, and will be working as a reporting and production intern for the Rachel Maddow Show this summer. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago and the Society of Professional Journalists, and she hopes to pursue investigative or longform reporting on sexuality, immigration and LGBTQ+ rights in a transnational context. You can read her work here and follow her on Twitter @daisy_conant.

Yilun Cheng

Yilun Cheng is a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism specializing in social justice and investigative journalism. She is also a Report for America corps member covering immigration for The Columbus Dispatch. Cheng received a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University, both in political science. She has written for Slate, The Chicago Reader, South Side Weekly and Borderless Magazine on a variety of immigration and racial equity topics. Cheng is currently contributing to multiple reporting projects at The Washington Post and will continue to report for the Medill Investigative Lab as a fellow this summer. Follow her on Twitter @ChengYilun to view her work.

Kira Leadholm

Kira Leadholm is earning a master’s degree in social justice and investigative reporting at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She’s based in Chicago, where she has reported on the city’s missing and murdered women for South Side Weekly and contributed research for an investigation into Illinois Medicaid for the Better Government Association. Outside of Medill, Kira is the co-editor-in-chief of Redacted Magazine, which publishes in-depth stories about Chicago issues. Prior to graduate school, Kira lived in Kazakhstan and covered international stories including the climate crisis in Siberia, LGBTQ+ rights in Kazakhstan, child trafficking in Ghana and labor issues in Thailand. She has a B.A. in creative writing and visual arts from the University of Chicago. Read her work here and follow her on Twitter @LeadholmKira

Ashley Capoot

Ashley Capoot is a junior at Northwestern University studying journalism and international studies with a minor in Spanish. She is currently the print managing editor of STITCH magazine, a student fashion publication on campus. In this role, she runs a team of 20 hand-selected reporters and oversees all the editorial content that appears in the quarterly print magazine. Capoot has also worked as a writer for the TODAY show where she wrote more than 20 articles that were published across eight different verticals on the show’s website. She has also written for Denver Life Magazine and the award-winning student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern. Follow her on Twitter @ashleycapoot to read her work.

Diamond Palmer

Diamond Palmer is a graduate student at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, where she is specializing in Video and Broadcast. Palmer currently serves on the Medill Investigate Lab team for video production. In addition, Palmer works on the Medill Reports team as a digital reporter and on the Medill Ambassadors team providing opportunities for incoming Master of Science in Journalism students. Palmer hails from Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she did her undergraduate studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Electronic Journalism and a Minor in Communication Studies. Palmer has worked for three years in the broadcast television industry at PBS affiliate WSIU-TV and ABC affiliate WSIL-TV.  Diamond is set to graduate from Northwestern University in Summer 2021. After graduation Diamond will be working for Spectrum News 1 Kentucky. You can read her work here and follow her on Twitter @diamondpalmertv.

Rebecca Holland

Rebecca Holland is a freelance journalist and graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in Social Justice and Investigative Reporting. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2010 with degrees in Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies. She then worked in communications for humanitarian aid organizations in Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy before switching to freelancing. She has spent the last six years writing about food, travel and human rights issues in Chicago, Iraq, Lebanon, and the UAE for publications including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, and more.  She currently works as a research assistant for the Washington Post and will continue to report for the Investigative Lab as a fellow this summer.

Monique Beals

Monique Beals is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Prior to Medill, she graduated cum laude from UCLA where she studied Communications and Global Studies. Beals has previously interned for The Orange County Register, THV11 News and CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper. At Medill, her work has centered around government and politics including the 2020 election, gun violence and prison reform. She has also contributed as a research assistant for The Washington Post and will continue that work as a Barbara M. Reiss fellow this summer.

Irene Chang

Irene Chang is a graduate student at Northwestern University studying Social Justice and Investigative Journalism. She also spent her undergraduate years at Northwestern, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a double major in Psychology in December 2020. Irene has previously worked at CBS San Francisco Bay Area (KPIX), AsAmNews, Sunset Magazine and the Facebook Journalism Project. Most recently, she finished an investigative reporting internship at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, during which she filed over 120 FOIA and open records requests and wrote two profiles of Milwaukee men who died of COVID-19. She also contributed to research and reporting for a longform investigative story about trends in Wisconsin COVID cases that was published in the Journal Sentinel.

Valli Perera

Valli Perera is a graduate student studying journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill school of journalism. Perera is in the Social Justice and Investigative specialization.  Prior to journalism, Perera was a partner at Deloitte, a global consulting firm, where she served international clients.  Passionate about furthering diversity and inclusion in the workplace, she contributed to Deloitte’s leadership development programs and provided actionable guidance and perspectives focused on harnessing the power of differences and unique qualities to enhance strong teams and individual growth.


At Medill, she has focused on education, immigration and narrative writing.  She also contributed to the Medill-Tea Project collaboration.  The Tea Project organizationally offers counter-narratives to disruption caused by war and detention. As part of the Medill Investigative Lab, Perera was part of a team that reported investigative stories for The Washington Post.

Rachel Baldauf

Rachel Baldauf is a junior at Northwestern University studying journalism and philosophy. She has worked as a research assistant for the Medill Investigative Lab since 2019. She has been published in the Washington Post where she wrote about breakdowns in nursing home care in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She will continue to report for the Investigative Lab as a fellow this summer.

Cadence Quaranta

Cadence Quaranta is a rising senior at Northwestern University majoring in Journalism and International Studies. On campus, she has served as the Features Editor for North by Northwestern, a student-run news magazine, and as a beat reporter for the Daily Northwestern. Last year, Quaranta joined the Medill Investigative Lab, where she spent seven months documenting the lives of nursing home residents who passed away to covid-19 for the Washington Post, and most recently contributed to an investigative project on immigration and law enforcement. This summer she will intern with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. View her work here, or follow her on Twitter @CadenceQuaranta.

Michael Murney

Michael Murney is a reporter and graduate student at Northwestern University. He joined the Dallas Observer as one of Voice Media Group’s 2021 reporting fellows. Before joining the Observer, he worked as a freelance journalist for South Side Weekly and the Chicago Reader. His investigations of displacement near the Obama Center and Chicago’s surveillance camera network ran as cover stories in South Side Weekly in March and June respectively, and his story on the conditions in group homes for formerly incarcerated people during the pandemic ran in the Chicago Reader last month. He was interviewed on Chicago’s WGN radio about his surveillance camera investigation in June. Before arriving at Medill, Murney worked as a playwright and as a senior immigration paralegal for a national employment law firm. His original play was produced Off-Broadway in 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @MurneyMichael.

Imani Sumbi

Imani Sumbi is a rising fourth-year student at Northwestern University double majoring in journalism and Asian American studies. She has a passion for reporting on issues of race, education, and social justice through feature writing and investigative reporting. During the summer of 2019, she was an editorial intern at the Los Angeles Sentinel, where she produced 1-3 articles weekly. Sumbi served as the editor in chief of BlackBoard Magazine, Northwestern’s only Black student-interest publication, from March 2020 to June 2021. She has also written for NU Asian, Northwestern’s Asian interest publication. View her work here

Emmanuel Kizito

Emmanuel Kizito is a reporter and graduate student of journalism for Northwestern university. He normally focuses on race, public policy, and economic inequality. He most recently reported on the initiative to remove policing from mental health first response. You can follow him @Anansi000 on Twitter for future work.

Kelly Milan

Kelly Milan is a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She currently is a contributing writer for the Hyde Park Herald. She has investigated Chicago Transit Authority’s insufficient mask policy and published numerous stories on the fight to save Mercy Hospital. You can follow her @KellyMilan5 on Twitter.

Copy Editor: Bernadette Kinlaw, Medill alum (1988)

Medill Reports Fellow: Rikki Li 

Graphic Designer: Worth Chollar

Debbie Cenziper

Debbie Cenziper is an associate professor and the director of investigative reporting at Medill. She also oversees the Medill Investigative Lab. Besides teaching, Cenziper is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and nonfiction author who writes for The Washington Post. She spent three years at The George Washington University before joining the faculty of Medill.

Over the years, Cenziper’s investigative stories have exposed wrongdoing, prompted Congressional hearings and led to changes in federal and local laws. In her classes at Medill, Cenziper and her students focus on social justice investigative reporting.

Cenziper has won dozens of awards in American print journalism, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for reporting about human rights and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting from Harvard University. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 at The Miami Herald for a series of stories about corrupt affordable housing developers who were stealing from the poor. A year before that, she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for stories about dangerous breakdowns in the nation’s hurricane-tracking system.

Cenziper is a frequent speaker at universities, writing conferences and book events. Her first book, “Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality,” (William Morrow, 2016) was named one of the most notable books of the year by The Washington Post. Her second book, “Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America,” was released by Hachette Books in November 2019.

Cenziper is based on Medill’s Washington, D.C. campus, working with undergraduate and graduate students on investigative stories.