July 18, 2013
Free Spirit Alumni

Photo: Tracy Jan of The Boston Globe (left), and A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of Radford University (right), listen to Greg Linch, a Free Spirit alumni who is an editor at The Washington Post. (Newseum/Maria Bryk)

Free Spirit Alumni Pave Way for 2013 Class

WASHINGTON — Fifty one high school journalists from across the country and the District of Columbia met at the Newseum July 13-18 for the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual academic and scholarship program designed to inspire and prepare students to pursue journalism careers.

Many alumni of the Free Spirit program have gone on to do impressive work at news organizations around the world, while others have used their qualities as a "free spirit" to build careers in a variety of fields.

Here's a look at a few notable alumni:

  • Josh Sundquist (Virginia, class of 2000) is a best-selling author, motivational speaker and Paralympic ski racer. A multi-season athlete, Sundquist is the only person in history to have been named to both the U.S. Paralympic ski team and the U.S. amputee soccer team. He founded LessThanFour.org, the world's largest social networking website for amputees.
  • Greg Linch (Florida, class of 2005) is local innovations editor at The Washington Post, where he works with reporters, editors, designers and developers on a wide array of topics to create technology and data projects for the paper's local desk. He is a presenter at the 2013 conference.
  • Mary Pilon (Oregon, class of 2004) is a sports reporter for The New York Times. She previously worked at The Wall Street Journal covering various aspects of personal finance and the financial crisis in print and online. Pilon is currently working on a book about the history of the board game, Monopoly.
  • Cyrus Moussavi (Iowa, class of 2005) is a video journalist for NowThis News in New York. He hosts Raw Music International, a show he started that explores underground music in overlooked corners of the world. Moussavi spent much of his youth visiting family in Iran, and after studying at Columbia University he spent a year in Amsterdam on a Fulbright grant.
  • Angel Brock (District of Columbia, class of 2011) is a winner of the White House Correspondents Association's $25,000 Jack Donaldson Memorial Scholarship. She is now a student at Pennsylvania State University.
  • Rick Rojas (Texas, class of 2006) is a regional reporter covering Orange County for The Los Angeles Times. He previously covered local news for The Washington Post and was a stringer for The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News. Rojas also was a summer intern at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., as part of the Newseum Institute's Chips Quinn Scholars program.
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