Nieman News

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (April 6, 2004) — Michael M. Grynbaum and Stephen M. Marks will report on Harvard College admissions policies and processes through a fellowship awarded by The Christopher J. Georges Fellowship Fund. Grynbaum covers local and national politics, and Marks covers the university administration as members of The Harvard Crimson staff.

“‘The Harvard Mystique’ is a powerful force in society. With a Harvard diploma in hand, graduates find doors opened to them that they didn’t know existed. But how does one obtain access to Harvard’s hallowed halls and all of the advantages that come with it?” the two wrote in their proposal. How have admissions policies evolved, “what factors affect the committee’s decisions and what effects do these decisions have?”

The project, to be published in The Harvard Crimson upon its completion, will provide what the two reporters say is a long overdue look into one higher education institution’s admissions practices.

Gigi Georges, chair of the fellowship fund’s board, praised all of the proposals for their depth and thoughtfulness. “Grynbaum and Marks put together an ambitious but well thought-out proposal,” she said. “This is particularly timely as Harvard President Lawrence Summers is shaking things up and putting his imprint on Harvard.”

The fellowship includes a $2,500 award that the two will split, along with the printing costs to publish the project in The Crimson.

Grynbaum is a freshman at Harvard College from Hartford, Conn. He graduated as valedictorian from William H. Hall High School in West Hartford where he was a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He has worked as an intern for The Hartford Courant. He is planning to concentrate in American history.

Marks is a sophomore economics concentrator at Harvard College from Bethesda, Md. He’s a graduate of the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., where he was captain of the math and tennis teams and a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He’s worked as an intern for The Northern Virginia Journal, The New Republic and Washingtonpost/Newsweek Interactive — the Web site for The Washington Post newspaper and Newsweek magazine.

The Christopher J. Georges Fellowship Fund was established at Harvard and is awarded annually to enable young journalists to engage in research and writing that exemplifies Chris Georges’ commitment to in-depth reporting on issues of enduring social value that document the human impact of public policy.

Chris Georges was executive editor of The Harvard Crimson and an honors graduate of Harvard College. Following graduation he joined The Wall Street Journal as a reporter. He died in 1998 at age 33 from complications related to lupus. He worked in The Journal’s Washington Bureau covering politics, economics and budget issues. His stories on the welfare system in 1997 were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The fellowship is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. A selection committee appointed by the fellowship fund’s executive committee and the Nieman Foundation reviewed the proposals and selected the students to receive the award and carry out the project.

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