Nora Magid Mentorship Prize

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize is given each year to a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who shows exceptional ability and promise in non-fiction writing and editing, and who would benefit most from combined mentorship of Nora's network of former students and their colleagues. The prize is $2000 to be used for transportation, lodging and meals as the student travels to New York, Washington and elsewhere to develop professional contacts at magazines, newspapers, publishing houses and broadcast networks. The winner also receives unparalleled access to a constantly growing network of Penn alumni in various media—including Nora's former students and their colleagues--who can assist in the student’s professional development. In this way, the student will get the kind of quality mentorship during the last semester of college and the first year out of school that Nora's students received when she was alive. After getting settled in their first jobs, prize-winners are expected to become part of the network and help other graduating seniors.

The Nora Prize is given in partnership with the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, the Daily Pennsylvanian and the Kelly Writers House.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the prize fund, go to http://www.philafound.org, click on "give now," choose to donate to a "specific fund" and type in "Nora Magid Mentorship Prize."

Visit our Alumni Mentorship Network or read more about Nora Magid.

Applying

Your application should include:

Nora Prize season begins in late September with an evening at the Kelly Writers House to discuss careers in media with a variety of Penn alums from the Nora board. Consult the KWH calendar for details. Applications will be accepted from then until November 1. The winner will be notified by January 15th.

Please send submissions to:

Nora Magid Mentorship Prize
c/o Eliot Kaplan
Hearst Magazines
300 West 57th Street, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10019

Advisory Committee

Where our winners are now

Past awards announcements

2014

The 11th annual Nora Magid Mentorship Prize has been awarded to Seth Zweifler.

A Penn senior studying Communication and Public Service in the Annenberg School, Zweifler is currently interning at the Philadelphia Inquirer and has been an intern at the Chronicle of Higher Education--where, last summer, he broke what became a national front page story concerning sexual harassment charges against star University of Miami philosophy professor Colin McGinn--and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC).

He has also been an award-winning reporter and editor at the Daily Pennsylvanian during his entire time at Penn, and is the only student journalist to ever win the Page One Award for best hard news/investigative reporting (for continuing coverage of a wrongful death lawsuit against a fraternity) and the Michael A. Silver Award for best writing (for a moving piece on a blind graduate student of music.)

The judges were especially impressed with his passionate, in-depth reporting and strong, evocative writing whether on deadline for breaking news or in longer stories--including a powerful feature on a 54-year-old med school professor's 13-year struggle with ALS.

A native of Paoli, PA and a graduate of Conestoga High School, Seth is a dogged, insightful reporter and writer, equally comfortable with breaking news and newspaper and magazine-style feature writing. He clearly has the passion, professionalism, ambition and depth that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers and editors.

Zweifler was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Carlin Romano, Visiting Professor at the Annenberg School. The other finalists for the award were Naomi Shavin, Zoe Kirsch, Sam Brodey and Shaj Mathew, who were recommended by Paul Hendrickson, Al Filreis, Anthony Decurtis and Stephen Metcalf respectively.

2013

The 10th annual Nora Magid Mentorship Prize has been awarded to Joe Pinsker.

A Penn senior studying English, Joe Pinsker has been an intern and researcher for Rolling Stone magazine and the managing editor of 34th Street, the weekly magazine of Daily Pennsylvanian. He began his writing career in high school as the co-author of a book about the experience of freshman year, "Been There, Survived That," and started writing for 34th Street when he arrived at Penn--eventually becoming music editor and then managing editor.

The judges were especially impressed with his arts and music writing, for Street and for his advanced non-fiction classes, including a haunting piece about the photojournalism of Dorothea Lange and the subject of her famous photo "Migrant Mother" in the 1930s. He was also highly recommended by the editors he worked for at Rolling Stone, during and after his RealArts at Penn internship there.

A native of San Carlos, CA in suburban San Francisco and a graduate of the Menlo School, Joe is a smart, insightful writer and a confident and generous editor and colleague—both at Street and in his non-fiction writing classes. He clearly has the passion, professionalism, curiosity and depth that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers and editors.(Nora also would have been delighted by the fact that Joe once worked as a child hand model for a board game company.) While his mentorship will begin immediately, he will receive his award at a reception in New York which is being organized for March.

Pinsker was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Anthony DeCurtis. The other finalists for the award were Michael Morse, Elizabeth Horkley, Maanvi Singh and Mike Wisniewski. Our thanks to all the Penn seniors who applied for the award this year, to the Penn faculty who wrote recommendations, and to everyone who has generously supported the prize fund.

2012

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2012 has been awarded to Jessica Goodman.

A Penn senior studying Creative Writing, with a minor in Gender, Culture and Society, Jessica Goodman has been an intern and researcher for Rolling Stone magazine and the editor-in-chief of 34th Street magazine and its blog, Under The Button. She began in journalism at Penn as a freshman copy editor at Street and later food editor, and she spent a summer at Estee Lauder working on a breast cancer awareness campaign. Then, as a junior, she won the prestigious RealArts@PENN internship—allowing her to work at Rolling Stone, and also do research for author and Inside Edition TV producer Charles Lachman. As editor of Street, she managed a staff of 30 and wrote features, including “There’s Something About Molly,” an excellent in-depth look at the use of the drug MDMA among college students.

A native of Muttontown, NY on Long Island and a graduate of Friends Academy in Locust Valley, Jessica is a dogged reporter, a stylish writer and a smart, intuitive and generous editor and colleague—both at Street and in her non-fiction writing classes. She clearly has the passion, professionalism and curiosity that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers and editors. While her mentorship will begin immediately, she will receive her award at a reception in New York which is being organized for March.

Goodman was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Anthony DeCurtis. The other finalists for the award were Katie Sanders, Brian Kotloff and Samantha Sharf. Our thanks to all the Penn seniors who applied for the award this year, to the Penn faculty who wrote recommendations, and to everyone who has generously supported the prize fund.

2011

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2011 has been awarded to Matt Flegenheimer A Penn senior studying Economics, History and Journalistic Writing, Matt Flegenheimer has been a regular contributor to the The Philadelphia Inquirer for the past 18 months, after completing internships on both the features desk and, more recently, the city desk (where he has covered everything from the tragic duckboat accident to a website that allows students to gamble on their own grades.)

He began his journalistic career as a Daily Pennsylvanian sportswriter and editor, winning Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Awards for sports features and commentary in 2009 and 2010, but now writes on a wide variety of subjects. He has contributed to the New York Times travel section and Obit Magazine (where he wrote a powerful piece about his grandfather's descent into dementia); he has written a column for the online newspaper The Faster Times; and recently won the Gibson Peacock Prize for Creative Non-Fiction by a Penn undergrad (for his thoughtful and revealing piece on his family and horse racing).

A native of New York City and a graduate of Friends Seminary in Manhattan, Flegenheimer is a bright, bold reporter and a provocative, stylistically ambidextrous writer, equally comfortable covering breaking news in print and online, and writing longer newspaper and magazine pieces. He clearly has the passion, curiosity and guts that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers.

Flegenheimer was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Dick Polman, writer-in-residence. The other finalists for the award were Jessica Goldstein, Maggie McGrath and Sean Whiteman.

Our thanks to all the Penn seniors who applied for the award this year, to the Penn faculty who wrote recommendations, and to everyone who has generously supported the prize fund.

2010

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2010 has been awarded to Jamie France.

A Penn senior studying English and Creative Writing, Jamie France is currently interning at The New Yorker, and commuting to campus to finish her last course before graduation. She has previously interned at Conde Nast's Brides magazine and, during a year abroad, was a contributing editor at the Australian edition of Rolling Stone. On campus, she has been head features writer for the Penn fashion magazine The Walk and a tutor for the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing.

A native of Plantation, Florida, and a graduate of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, France is a smart, instinctive reporter and a thoughtful, ambitious writer, equally comfortable in short or long-form newspaper and magazine journalism. She clearly has the passion, curiosity and bravery that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers.

France was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Dick Polman, writer-in-residence. The other finalists for the award were Julia Rubin, Bob Ma and Morgan Roper.

Our thanks to all the Penn seniors who applied for the award this year, to the Penn faculty who wrote recommendations, and to everyone who has generously supported the prize fund.

2009

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2009 has been awarded to Gabriel Oppenheim.

A Penn senior studying English and Creative Writing, Gabe Oppenheim spent last summer as an intern at the Style section of the Washington Post, where he published over a dozen feature pieces (on rhinoceroses, phlebotomists, baseball fans, filmmakers and even urologists). He has also been an intern at HBO in its documentary film unit, and at Esquire magazine. At Penn he has been an award-winning columnist at the Daily Pennsylvanian--recipient of three Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Awards and the DP Columnist of the Year prize--and a writer for 34th Street. Winner of the 2007 Creative Nonfiction Prize from Penn's Creative Writing Program, Oppenheim has been researching and writing a book on boxing in Philadelphia, "Only the Defeat is Permanent," as an independent study for the past two years.

A native of Scarsdale, NY, and a graduate of The Ramaz School, Oppenheim is a strong, creative reporter and an elegant writer, equally adept at creative nonfiction, political commentary, arts reviewing and humor. He has also written some award-winning short fiction, and has done quite a bit of broadcast work, as studio anchor for the radio broadcasts of Penn Quaker basketball games on WXPN and a morning anchor on the student radio station WQHS. He clearly has the bold personality, passion and infectious curiosity that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers.

Oppenheim was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Paul Hendrickson, professor of English. The other finalists for the award were Zoe Tillman, Tali Yahalom, Julie Steinberg and Sarah Cantin.

2008

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2008 has been awarded to Jessica Sidman.

A Penn senior studying English and an award-winning student journalist, Jessica Sidman has been an intern at USA Today and The Colorado Springs Gazette, and has already been hired by the Dallas Morning News for a three-month enterprise internship this summer. A prolific news and feature writer at the Daily Pennsylvanian, and an editor for 34th Street magazine, she is known for her wide range of talents in reporting and writing--her clip file teeming with everything from her incisive coverage of the murder trials of Wharton undergrad Irina Malinovskaya to her hilarious recent DP front page story "Red, blue—and yellow" about the 20-year history of students urinating on the campus statue of Ben Franklin, "Ben on the Bench." Her haunting 34th Street cover story about famed Philadelphia mural painter David McShane and how the anonymous subject of one of his murals found him after the mural had been destroyed, won the DP Alumni Association's Michael Silver Award, for the single best piece of writing in the paper.

A native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a graduate of William J. Palmer High School, Sidman was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Anthony DeCurtis, Lecturer, Creative Writing, at Penn's English Department, and longtime Rolling Stone, contributing editor. She clearly has the passion, heart, seemingly limitless curiosity and sense of journalistic camaraderie that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers.

2007

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2007 has been awarded to Jason Schwartz.

A Penn senior studying Creative Writing, History and Political Science, Jason Schwartz has been a freelance reporter for the Boston Globe and an editorial intern at Boston magazine and New England Cable News, as well as one of the most prolific writers at the Daily Pennsylvanian and 34th Street, with some 130 newspaper and magazine stories published over three years. He is best known for breaking the national story of the free speech debate at Penn over photos taken of a couple having sex through the window of their high-rise dorm room in the fall of 2005; in the fall of 2006 the DP sent Schwartz to New Orleans to report and write a five-part series on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. His most recent 34th Street cover story penetrated the world of Philadelphia's notorious "Madden underground," where video-game obsessed "ballers" compete for cash prizes (and wager thousands on the side) over the outcomes of Madden Football games.

A native of Newton, MA and a graduate of the Noble and Greenough School, Schwartz is a driven reporter and an engaging writer, equally adept at covering hard news on deadline, writing newspaper features and writing magazine stories. His combined interest in journalism and history bring his work a depth and texture rarely found in student writing, and he has a great eye for telling detail. He has written on subjects as diverse as the former Penn Ph.D. student who became a high-ranking official in Hamas, to Confederate War revisionists in the north, to how the murder of a Penn graduate student in 1958 forever changed the relationship between the University and the city. He clearly has the passion, heart, diversity of curiosity and dry wit that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers.

Schwartz was recommended to the Nora Magid Prize committee by Dick Polman, Journalism Instructor and Writer in Residence at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. The other finalists for the award were Benjamin Crair and Louise McCready.

2006

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2006 has been awarded to Melody Joy Kramer.

A Penn senior studying Creative Writing and the History and Sociology of Science, Kramer has been an intern at Esquire magazine (where she has also done some freelance writing), and was an award-winning columnist for the Daily Pennsylvanian. Her DP columns won the Columbia Gold Circle prize for best college column in the country, and she was also a finalist for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists college columnist of the year prize.

Kramer is a clever, engaging writer of both newspaper columns and magazine features, and has a rare ability to bring her strong voice and reporting skills to subjects serious and comic, public and personal. She clearly has the passion, heart and humor that Nora Magid so valued in non-fiction writers. A Cherry Hill native and graduate of Cherry Hill High School East, Kramer transferred to Penn from the University of Rochester, but immediately made up for lost time by getting involved in the DP, the Penn Band (where she plays trumpet and trombone), and college humor writing (she was editor of Punch Bowl magazine and wrote for collegehumor.com). She also served as a Peer Writing Tutor at the Center for Contemporary Writing and a research assistant at the Annenberg Rare Books Library.

2005

The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for 2005 has been awarded to Ashley Parker.

A Penn senior majoring in English and Communications, and a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, Parker has done internships at the New York Sun and the Gaithersburg Gazette, and has served as features editor and writer at both 34th Street and the Daily Pennsylvanian. She is a smart, thoughtful writer of both newspaper and magazine stories, and brings the passion and heart to non-fiction that Nora Magid so valued. A Bethesda native and graduate of Walt Whitman High School, Parker spent part of her junior year at La Universidad de Sevilla in Spain and is near-fluent in Spanish. She is also a point guard in Club Basketball.

Parker was recommended by Paul Hendrickson, professor of English

2004

The 2004 Nora Magid Mentorship Prize has been awarded to Dan Kaplan and Rebecca Rosner.

Dan Kaplan, a history major, former DP columnist and an editor at 34th Street, is our pure writer. He is a compelling, smart and sometimes wild wordsmith who is already writing at a professional (if offbeat) level, and we will encourage him in a magazine/alt-weekly writing track.

Rebecca Rosner, a creative prose major, DP columnist and intern at Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia Style, is a fine emotional writer but also has a lot of experience doing the kind of service journalism that should help her get a job at a more mainstream publication in New York or Philadelphia. She wrote what the judges considered to be the single best article submitted with the applications--a powerfully spare piece about the illness and recent death of her father.

Both were recommended by Paul Hendrickson, professor of English

Alumni mentorship network

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