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Inaugural Award Winner

Recipient of the first award Richard and Marylee Salomon Endowment Fund for Journalists.

Jessica Glenza ’11 (journalism), reporter for The Guardian U.S., is the first recipient of an award from the Richard and Marylee Salomon Endowment Fund for Journalists created by Andrew Salomon, associate professor of journalism, in honor of his parents.

A native of St. Petersburg, FL, Glenza plans to use the grant to scrutinize water management policies in her home state. The unique environment found there is the result of natural springs penetrating the land’s limestone base—it’s thought to have the highest concentration of natural springs in the world—creating an unusual ecosystem for all kinds of wildlife. But these areas are also an escape for Floridians.

“Not only is it an amazing and unique ecology, but it’s also this incredible place where Florida natives go to cool off and relax when it’s 102 degrees with 100% humidity in the summer,” Glenza says. “These were places we went as children to go and explore and be part of nature and relax and get away from people.” Both her appreciation for this natural phenomenon and her fear for its future drive her interest in covering the story.

“Jessica is in many ways the ideal first recipient,” says Salomon. “She was an outstanding student at Purchase College; she has done impressive work at every place she has been and is working on a subject—water—about which Richard Salomon was a zealot. And, like Marylee Salomon, she balances her keen intelligence and genuine warmth with an inability to suffer fools gladly.” 

“It’s an honor to get this award,” says Glenza. I want to live up to the journalistic values that Professor Salomon imparted when I was at Purchase College and to the ideals of a life that he obviously learned from his parents.” 

It’s a bit serendipitous that Richard Salomon had a keen interest in water. According to Glenza, “It does feel like there’s a bit of a connection there. It makes me feel like this is the right time and the right project to really get this grant going and set as high a bar as possible for everybody in the future.” 

Glenza has been a reporter at The Guardian U.S. since 2014. Promoted to health reporter there in 2017, she now investigates transnational tobacco companies and health inequality with an international perspective on America’s patchwork healthcare system. In 2019, she plans to publish a new quarterly magazine, South of the South, “to reveal another side of Florida that you might not have seen in tourist ads or yachting magazines. We’re hoping to really show the diversity and the wildness and the genuine bizarre curiosities of the state.”

She currently lives in Jersey City, N.J.

Learn more about the award or apply here.

—Kristi McKee