Contact: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259,

COLLEGE STATION – 2014 Student Media Grant Program recipients Michael Petriello and Ryan Vroegindewey recently showcased their travel grant projects during a recent reception at the AgriLife Center on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

The Student Media Grant Program is an annual photojournalism grant awarded to students interested in using innovative methods to research and chronicle issues facing fragile and conflict-affected nations, according to organizers.

The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students at an accredited university worldwide and offers up to $5,000 per project.

Petriello, a recreation, park and tourism sciences graduate student at A&M, presented his project, “Natural Resource Conflicts and Conservation Narratives in Nicaragua.” He was joined by Vroegindewey, a Michigan State University graduate student, who presented, “Profiling Chronic Food Insecurity in Mali.”

“The Student Media Grants Program is one of the exciting things we do and gives students the opportunity to interact worldwide,” said Dr. Edwin Price, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University, College Station. “The program was started by Howard Buffett, a photographer himself, who has documented the human condition all over the world, and he believed very strongly to get young people engaged in the very early part of the career in photojournalism related to conflict and development, that it would help frame their careers and continue to make contributions in this area.”

Other 2014 Student Media Grant winners from Texas A&M were Diana Juarez-Sanchez, agricultural leadership, education and communications; and DJ Katju and Amit Ghoshal, recreation, park and tourism sciences; Jessica Gilbert, wildlife and fisheries science, West Texas A&M; Immanuel Afolabi, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and Allyson Krupar, Penn State University.

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict and Development was established in 2010 at Texas A&M to support teaching, research, and service for the advancement of the welfare of communities enduring conflict or emerging from conflict.

In 2012, Texas A&M was selected as a member of the U.S. Agency for International Development Higher Education Solutions Network. Among approximately 500 applicants, the agency chose Texas A&M University to address the lingering, complex challenges at the intersection of conflict and development, according to officials.

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