Kristina Abovyan, Missouri School of Journalism international student, named 32nd Kaplan Fellow

Kristina Abovyan

By Austin Fitzgerald

COLUMBIA, Mo. (Dec. 14, 2023) — Missouri School of Journalism master’s student Kristina Abovyan has been named the 32nd David Kaplan Memorial Fellow, earning a $10,000 stipend and a paid, full-time position at the ABC News Washington Bureau in the spring.

The prestigious fellowship will allow Abovyan to rotate through several roles and departments at the bureau over the course of the spring semester.

“Kristina joins in the tradition of a long line of Kaplan Fellows who have gone on to do great things in the field of journalism and journalism education dating back to the late 1990s,” said Professor Amy Simons. “I can’t wait to see her take her place among these distinguished alumni as she rounds out her graduate studies at the School of Journalism.”

Past fellows have worked with shows including “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and “Good Morning America,” assisted ABC reporters with breaking news in the field and written digital stories.

Last year’s fellows, Ella McCarthy and Leah Vredenbregt, have already landed positions in the industry since graduating. McCarthy is now a city government reporter for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, while Vredenbregt opted to stay in Washington as a politics producer for Gray Television’s Washington Bureau.

Sometimes, I’m just doing my daily tasks and then I’ll start randomly smiling because I remember, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to Washington, D.C., and going to work for ABC News. I am over-the-moon excited — it’s unbelievable.

Kristina Abovyan

Abovyan has already gained a variety of on-the job experience in her time at the School of Journalism, currently serving as the editor-in-chief of Vox Magazine and previously reporting for the Columbia Missourian. Nor will this be her first time in the nation’s capital: earlier this year, she took part in a hands-on journalism bootcamp in Washington under the guidance of Professor Kathy Kiely.

“She seems like a great fit for our newsroom, especially with the diversity of experiences that she brings,” said Audrey Taylor, director of bureau planning and strategy at ABC News.

Still, Abovyan’s previous experience has not dampened her excitement.

“Sometimes, I’m just doing my daily tasks and then I’ll start randomly smiling because I remember, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to Washington, D.C., and going to work for ABC News,” Abovyan said. “I am over-the-moon excited — it’s unbelievable.”

She is going all-in on the experience, opting to make the move to Washington a permanent one for now — she will graduate with her master’s degree upon the conclusion of the Kaplan semester in May 2024 and plans to indulge her passion for national reporting in the capital. It’s a passion that first ignited during the journalism bootcamp experience this past May, when she found in Washington a reminder of her hometown of Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia and one of the oldest cities in the world.

“Out of all the cities that I’ve been to in the U.S., D.C. felt the most cozy, the most like home,” Abovyan said. “It’s really a life-changing experience to be a Kaplan Fellow as someone who comes from a very small country 6,000 miles away. To be here and to say ‘I’m from Armenia’ when people ask me where I’m from — it just really means a lot.”

About the David Kaplan Fellowship

The David Kaplan Fellowship honors the memory of David Kaplan, who was a producer for ABC’s Sam Donaldson. Kaplan was killed while on assignment for ABC News in 1992 in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Donaldson, a 40-year veteran reporter, correspondent and anchor for ABC News, created the program with funds that he and his colleagues donated to honor Kaplan.

The Missouri School of Journalism was chosen to award the fellowship due to its renowned reputation for hands-on training of both reporters and producers.

Updated: December 14, 2023

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