Beenish Ahmed is a writer and reporter who most recently covered education and transportation for WNYC in New York City. In the last year, Beenish has reported on race and the city’s specialized high schools, including stories on who who finds out about test prep (link is external) and the lasting impact of being one of the only black students admitted (link is external).

Her previous work has aired or appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, NPR and other outlets. Beenish reported from Haiti on how Vodou how Vodou offers sanctuary for queer people (link is external); from Kenya on why tribal elders have been why tribal elders are being brutally attacked by family members (link is external) and from Malawi on a grassroots effort to stop a sexual rite-of-passage for young girls (link is external). A Pakistani-American, she also spent two years reporting in Pakistan, covering topics including a smartphone-based scheme to combat a dengue fever epidemic (link is external) and a beauty salon that employs acid burn survivors (link is external).

Beenish founded THE ALIGNIST, (link is external) a venture that connects international novels to international news. She was a Kroc Fellow at NPR and a Fulbright Scholar (link is external) to the United Kingdom. Her dissertation charted how the experiences of Indian students at elite universities and law schools made them forego promising careers in the British Raj to instead call for an end to colonial rule. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Beenish plans to use her Spencer Fellowship to report on NYC school inequality, connecting school desegregation policies to affirmative action in higher education.