UNM students report on the Central American refugee crisis for prestigious American think-tank

Departmental News

Posted: September 22, 2021

The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. taps UNM for international reporting bootcamp

(Washington, D.C.) – A team of UNM students specializing in journalism and international relations has successfully concluded an intensive mid-year training camp conducted by The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), one of the most respected think-tanks in the world.

The dozen students not only learned about foreign reporting but they worked closely with the trainers and international experts at CSIS to produce an in-depth account of a timely topic with serious foreign policy implications.

The multimedia report, “From Disaster Relief to Resilient Futures in the Northern Triangle,” explains the human tragedy resulting from hurricanes Eta and Iota after they pummeled Central America in late 2020. The story explains how climate-change is one of the underlying factors, as are corruption, violence, and failures in the international humanitarian response.

The effects of the disaster are still playing out as refugees continue to seek safety and passage at the U.S. southern border. 

csis-zoom-screenshot_michael-marcotte.pngThe bootcamp participants in a video meeting. Top row, l-r: Adam Evarts, Ennedith Lopez, Ashley Varela, Gordon Payne. Middle row: Brandon Carroll, Annya Loya, Tomide Oloruntobi, Yolanda Lucero. Bottom row: Toyosi Olola, Professor Mike Marcotte.

“This training project was very well designed and expertly led,” said C&J Professor of Practice Michael Marcotte, the faculty advisor to the student team. “CSIS not only draws on the skills of their media trainers, but also on the vast expertise of their faculty and international connections.”

In a first-time partnership between two UNM departments – Communication & Journalism and International Studies – the selected students worked as one team, but also performed in small groups that focused on writing, video production, audio production and data visualization. The result was the multi-faceted report published on the CSIS bootcamp website.

The UNM students completing the bootcamp were

  • Annya Leticia Loya Orduno, CJ
  • Adam Evarts, CJ
  • Ennedith Lopez, ISI
  • Tomide Oloruntobi, CJ
  • Ashley Varela, ISI
  • Gordon Payne, CJ
  • Yolanda Lucero, ISI
  • Toyosi Olola, UND
  • Brandon Carroll, CJ

The bootcamp is normally conducted at the Washington D.C. headquarters of CSIS. However, due to the pandemic, the 2020-2021 program is being conducted virtually.

The mission of the bootcamp is to connect rising journalists with policy experts to tell pressing stories from around the globe. Each year, five universities are invited to bring a select group of students to complete an intensive week of workshops that allow them to gain a meaningful understanding of global issues and the nuances of international reporting in an evolving media landscape.

UNM would like to thank the CSIS team leaders

  • Christine Kovach
  • Joel Martinez
  • Sarah Grace
  • Mark Donaldson
  • Tucker Harris
  • Laurel Weibezahn
  • Matthew Funaiole
  • Ben Connors
  • Ali Corwin

According to CSIS, The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1962. Voted the world’s number one defense and national security think tank for the past eight years, CSIS is one of the preeminent international policy institutions focused on defense and security, regional stability, and transnational challenges ranging from energy and climate to global development and economic integration.