History Major Makes History

Pitzer Alumna Dana Brozost-Kelleher ’16 Wins Pulitzer Prize

A history major who graduated from Pitzer in 2016, Brozost-Kelleher credits Associate Professor of History Harmony O’Rourke’s oral history class with sparking her interest in investigative journalism.

“Her class ignited my passion for storytelling,” she said.

Pitzer teaches you to read history from multiple perspectives and question everything you read—that has been very valuable in investigative journalism.

Brozost-Kelleher is a reporter with the Invisible Institute, an independent journalism production nonprofit on the South Side of Chicago that focuses on human rights issues, including police accountability. The Pulitzer-winning team included staff from The Invisible Institute, The Marshall Project, AL.com in Birmingham, AL, and the IndyStar.

The Invisible Institute became interested in the use of police dogs when one of its data reporters saw that the Indianapolis Police Department had reported an extremely high number of police dog bites. Brozost-Kelleher and colleagues investigated further, compared data with other police departments in the nation, and found Indianapolis had a much higher number of police dog bites than comparable cities. They reached out to the IndyStar to work on the story together. Then, they learned the Marshall Project, an online investigative operation named after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, was working on a similar story.

“We joined forces, brought our data and reporting together, and it became more of a national enterprise,” she said.

Brozost-Kelleher says she would not be where she is today without the history program at Pitzer.

“Pitzer teaches you to read history from multiple perspectives and question everything you read,” she said. “That has been very valuable in investigative journalism because it’s easy to just believe what you read. It’s much harder to question things.”