Interested in becoming a Chalkbeat Student Voices Fellow? Here’s how to apply.

This paid essay-writing fellowship is open to students in NYC and Newark.

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others thinking and writing about public education.

A year ago, Chalkbeat launched our Student Voices Fellowship because we wanted to hear directly from teens about how their school journeys shaped them.

Our first class of fellows wrote powerful essays that challenged ideas about city schools, explored the immigrant student experience from multiple angles, revealed how they found passion and purpose in their studies and extracurricular pursuits, and looked ahead with hope. You can read all of their published essays here.

Chalkbeat is thrilled to offer this paid fellowship opportunity again during the 2022-23 school year. We’re seeking applicants who attend public high schools in New York City and Newark, New Jersey, and are eager to publish personal essays on Chalkbeat.

During this extracurricular program, fellows will become a part of Chalkbeat’s dynamic and diverse newsroom. They’ll learn from professional journalists and writing coaches about what makes a strong personal narrative and how to turn their experiences into publication-ready pieces. Fellows will also learn some journalism basics and best practices. Over the course of a semester, participants will work toward publishing two original essays on Chalkbeat.

Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend.

We will select a total of six fellows during the 2022-23 school year, four from New York City and two from Newark. We are offering the fellowship in the fall and again in the spring. Applicants should state their semester preference if they have one.

More information and the application are below. If you have any additional questions, please email me at

Fellowship requirements:

  • You are a high school student in New York City or Newark interested in journalism and storytelling.
  • You can manage your time, meet deadlines, and are willing to commit at least an hour a week to the fellowship for about three months.
  • You have compelling personal stories to share and are willing and able to share them on Chalkbeat under your byline. (First Person does not publish anonymous or pseudonymous pieces.)
  • You are collaborative and eager for feedback on your writing.

Student Voices fellows will:

  • Pitch, write, edit, publish, and promote personal essays.
  • Brainstorm, outline, and workshop your pieces alongside Chalkbeat journalists.
  • Attend Zoom sessions with journalism educators and Chalkbeat staff about the craft of reporting and writing. You will also have access to a library of recorded journalism lessons from reporters and editors.
  • Improve your storytelling ability across formats and platforms.

The fellowship will be virtual, with opportunities to meet in person with staff members of our New York City and Newark bureaus.

Applications are due Friday, August 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

About Chalkbeat:

Chalkbeat is the nonprofit news organization committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to quality education. We are mission-driven journalists who believe that an independent local press is vital to ensuring that education improves. Currently in eight locations and growing, we seek to provide deep local coverage of education policy and practice that informs decisions and actions, leading to better schools. Read more about our mission and values. We are committed to a diverse newsroom. Read our antiracism statement.