KNIGHT SCIENCE JOURNALISM (MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY) -- After finishing high school, Dearen went to San Francisco State University, where he worked as a clerk at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. The first in his family to go to college, he graduated and joined internet startup Yack.com as a content developer. But when the dot-com boom went belly up in the early 2000s, he applied to Columbia University and moved to New York City to pursue a master’s in journalism.
Most recently, Dearen has worked as a Florida-based correspondent at the Associated Press. He says the last two years there have been intense: He reported on the sinking of El Faro, the inundation of toxic waste sites during two hurricanes, the Parkland shooting, the shooting at Pulse night club, and executions. “That was a lot of death and destruction,” he said.