DiPierro is a leader at WNR, an independent and award-winning journalism project at Swarthmore that puts a human face on the long-term causes and consequences of conflict.
“I feel grateful and humbled,” says the Honors history major and women’s soccer player from Park Ridge, N.J. “My colleagues at WNR do amazing work, so this is really an award for all of us.”
DiPierro joins a group of 201 student leaders from colleges across the United States. In keeping with their generation’s emphasis on networks over hierarchies, fellows are encouraged to share ideas and materials to further their work through an exclusive online community.
“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” says Richard Guarasci, president of Wagner College and board member of Campus Compact, which oversees the awards. “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can — and does — play in building a better world.”
DiPierro joined WNR as a freshman, drawn to its mission to bring voices otherwise absent from the media — civilians in combat zones, veterans of wars, survivors of violence, and solution-oriented experts — to their audience and the world.
“To talk to those people and put their stories in context is an incredible opportunity,” she says. “I’m always thinking about better ways to honor it.”
Last month, WNR announced a collaboration with Developing Radio Partners, a non-profit organization that helps radio stations in developing countries provide reliable information to those in need. DiPierro and her colleagues forged partnerships with radio stations from Africa and hope to one day host their reporters here on campus and travel to their countries.
DiPierro views her role at WNR as teaching the staff to listen closely and find solutions to polarizing conflicts while being mindful of the impact that such difficult subject matter can have on them personally.
“These facilitation and critical-thinking skills, cultivated in Swarthmore’s classrooms, have followed me into the WNR newsroom and even to Philadelphia’s public radio station, where I interned for a summer,” she says. “The values and strategies I have practiced while serving communities as close as the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and as far away as Baghdad will certainly direct me long after I leave campus.”
This summer, DiPierro will intern at the financial news site TheStreet in New York City, with support from the Dow Jones News Fund. Beyond that, her future is unknown, but not unguided.
“The ideals of War News Radio are a compass I will take with me wherever I land,” she says.