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Elissa

Elissa Nadworny

Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.

Nadworny uses multiplatform storytelling – incorporating radio, print, comics, photojournalism, and video — to put students at the center of her coverage. Some favorite story adventures include crawling in the sewers below campus to test wastewater for the coronavirus, yearly deep-dives into the most popular high school plays and musicals and an epic search for the history behind her classroom skeleton.

Before joining NPR in 2014, Nadworny worked at Bloomberg News, reporting from the White House. A recipient of the McCormick National Security Journalism Scholarship, she spent four months reporting on U.S. international food aid for USA Today, traveling to Jordan to talk with Syrian refugees about food programs there.

Originally from Erie, Pa., Nadworny has a bachelor's degree in documentary film from Skidmore College and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.