Alumni Corner: Fall 2020

The fall 2020 issue of the Update newsletter features Hopkins alum Mara Hvistendahl.
October 26, 2020

Mara Hvistendahl
1998 Graduate

Stats: B.A. from Swarthmore College • M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Fun Facts: Hvistendahl is a wellrespected investigative journalist who has testified before Congress, been a keynote speaker at conferences, and appeared on various radio and television media outlets. She was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for her first book, "Unnatural Selection."

After high school, Hvistendahl studied Chinese as a minor. She moved to China to work as a journalist for eight years and often writes about China to this day, including her most recent book "The Scientist and The Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage."

Q: What Hopkins teacher made a difference?
I took AP European history with Ann Jurewicz, and she helped shape my critical-thinking skills. It's hard to cram so much content into one year and keep the course engaging, but she managed to do it by emphasizing social and art history, so that we really got a sense for what it was like to live in other eras.

Q: How did Hopkins prepare you for the future?
I took Chinese at Hopkins the first year it was offered. There were only four students in my class, and the course was conducted through cable access, which meant that the teacher taught in person every third or fourth day and we watched her on television the other days. It was an early experiment in distance learning, but it lit a spark for me.

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