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Fellowship Program – Meet Our Fellows 2021

By November 28, 2021May 4th, 2022News

Military Veterans in Journalism is hosting seven paid fellowships lasting about six months each. These fellowships allow our members to build portfolios of journalistic work and form a network of peers. All of this year’s fellows have already been placed in the newsrooms of their choice.


Before we introduce this year’s fellows, we would like to thank our funders who help make this possible. Four of our fellowships are thanks to generous support from the Knight Foundation, two are thanks to generous support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the last is thanks to generous support from the Wyncote Foundation.

Without further ado, here are our seven fellows for 2021.

The Knight Foundation – Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program

Noelle Wiehe, Coffee or Die Magazine

Noelle is an Army veteran and the first responder/military beat for Coffee or Die Magazine.

“I’m so excited to join the team and contribute content to this organization. To be a part of Coffee or Die is an excellent step in my career and one that I know will take me to new heights. To anyone considering a fellowship, you don’t have to work those tiny bottom-of-the-totem-pole jobs, MVJ can help you get your foot in the door of where you want to be. I’m so thankful I am a part of this community.” – Noelle Wiehe


Drew Lawrence, CNN

Drew is an Army veteran who is passionate about soldier and veteran mental health care. He is MVJ’s operations manager and podcast co-host of Sword & Pen. Drew has been placed with CNN, as part of their News Associate Program and Jake Tapper’s The Lead. He will be doing script writing, teleprompter operations, graphics, and research.

“Over the last month, I have had the honor of working with some of the best in media at CNN because of the MVJ Fellowship. The anchors, reporters, operations team and tech managers have all been incredibly welcoming and I’m grateful to learn from their collective expertise.” – Drew Lawrence


Melissa Martens, Philadelphia Magazine

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Melissa Martens has been placed with Philadelphia Magazine and will be producing digital content.

“I am feeling great about this fellowship opportunity and ready to hit the ground with Philly Magazine working with the digital marketing team on creating content for their blog and managing social media. For those considering the fellowship, it is a sure way to gain valuable experience, develop new skills, and push you outside your comfort zone to explore new opportunities.” – Melissa Martens


Brandon Wheeldon, Military Times

Brandon served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Student Leadership Cohort and is pursuing his Bachelors of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Anthropology. He has been placed with Military Times as a Military Editor Fellow.

“So far in my fellowship, I have been learning the ropes with social media layouts, site management regarding the data and stats for stories, social media management, story layout and writing, and reviewing stories posted to see how they’re performing. The fellowship has allowed me to learn how newsroom and social media works behind the scenes by using programs like socialflow,, AP Newsroom, DVIDS, Sailthru, canva, and many other programs. The fellowship will help build a solid foundation for understanding the inner workings of the newsroom and the outside operations of the newsroom. MVJ has helped me tremendously grow as a journalism student and journalist.” – Brandon Wheeldon


The Newmark-Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program

Tim Lenard, The Nevada Independent

Meet military veteran Tim Lenard, who is building the video department from scratch at The Nevada Independent.

“The flexibility of the MVJ fellowship is allowing me to take a chance on creating something that I desperately want to see in the world: local video news aimed at an internet audience. The project is ambitious and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how it will all turn out, but I’m humbled I was given the opportunity to try. If you have a desire to see something and the work ethic to make it happen, the MVJ fellowship is a fantastic opportunity.” – Tim Lenard 


Alonzo Clark, CNN

Alonzo is an Army veteran who completed his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. He’s since worked as a reporter, news anchor, illustrator, and photojournalist. Alonzo has been placed with CNN as part of their News Associate Program.

“My gratitude towards the Military Veterans in Journalism network is unmeasurable. It’s an exciting feeling to know my hard work is recognized as a good cause to work as a news associate at CNN.

So far, I’ve completed my third day as a fellow, and I’ve gained knowledge on how news production works on a national level. From learning several news softwares, setting up accounts, and meeting new faces, I can say my experience is bound to be a fun rollercoaster full of spontaneity. I am 100% confident the experience will lead me to a level of growth professionally and personally.” – Alonzo Clark 


The Wyncote Foundation-Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program

Thomas Hengge, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Thomas is an Army veteran who has recently completed a Master of Arts in Journalism from NYU. He has done documentary photography and video journalism work, covering breaking news and producing long-form photography and video projects like his ongoing series “Left Behind,” documenting families in the aftermath of losing a loved one to COVID-19. Thomas was awarded a 2020 Editor and Publisher “EPPY” Award for best photojournalism for a college website. He has been placed with The Philadelphia Inquirer as a photographer.

“I am beyond grateful I was selected for the MVJ fellowship. It has given me a vehicle to do exactly what I want to do, and that is priceless. There aren’t a lot, if any, veteran specific resources in this industry, so to have MVJ in our corner is incredible. I think any veteran thinking of pursuing an MVJ fellowship for next year absolutely should. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.” – Thomas Hengge 

In addition to our funders, we would like to thank CNN, Philadelphia Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nevada Independent, Military Times, and Coffee and Die Magazine for taking these vets in, and giving them a chance to jumpstart their careers in media.