Our Team

Sara Shipley Hiles

Associate Professor, Executive Director

Hiles manages grant operations. She is an award-winning journalist and journalism educator with almost 30 years’ experience in the field. She specializes in environmental and investigative reporting and is a recognized journalism teacher and editor with a dozen years of teaching experience. She has won awards and recognition for teaching, feature writing, digital journalism and investigative reporting. Hiles also directs the Smith/Patterson Science Journalism Fellowship and Lecture Series and serves on the board of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Dr. Earnest Perry

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research

Dr. Perry serves as a project advisor. He served as coordinator of the School’s doctoral teaching program for six years and as chair of journalism studies from 2005-2011 and again during the 2013-14 academic year. He worked for nearly 10 years as a journalist for newspapers in Illinois, Connecticut and Texas. He currently serves as chair of the Publications Committee for the Association on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Ryan Famuliner

News Director, KBIA; Associate Professor

Famuliner serves as a project advisor. He previously worked as a general assignment reporter and videographer at WNDU-TV in South Bend, Indiana, and as a reporter and anchor at the Missourinet radio network in Jefferson City, Missouri. He’s overseen or contributed to numerous collaborative projects across the Missouri School of Journalism newsrooms, including the short documentary project “My Life, My Town” and partnerships with Vox Magazine and Missouri Business Alert. He’s also overseen KBIA’s participation in numerous external partnerships, including the multi-state, multi-station NPR reporting collaborations Harvest Public Media and Side Effects Public Media. KBIA, under Famuliner’s guidance as news director, also won the General Excellence Award in the Online News Association’s Online Journalism Awards in 2015, and the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in 2020.

Tegan Wendland

Tegan Wendland

Editorial Director

Editorial Director Tegan Wendland has more than a decade of experience reporting on issues in the Mississippi River Basin, from the shores of Lake Superior to the Louisiana Delta. Her work has aired nationally and internationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Planet Money, Reveal, BBC and CBC and has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, Cap Times and The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, among other print and radio outlets. Wendland brings an in-depth knowledge of the environmental, agricultural and economic issues in the Basin, informed by her rural upbringing in Wisconsin and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Communication from UW-Madison. She has led multimedia collaborations and has experience editing print and radio, managing a daily newsroom, and teaching undergraduate journalism courses. For the past seven years, she reported on Louisiana’s disappearing coast for NPR station WWNO in New Orleans, where she covered the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change.

Senior Advisors and Expert Journalists

Ag & Water Desk Expert Journalists and Senior Advisors bring decades of experience covering agriculture, policy, land and water use, energy, industry, and coastal issues. They have won some of the highest awards in the field, including the Pulitzer Prize and the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism.

Our experts serve as mentors and project leaders for our 10 Report for America Corps Members and help determine the editorial direction of the Desk.

Mark Schleifstein

Senior Advisor

Mark Schleifstein is an environment reporter for The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate | NOLA.com, and a member of its four-person environment reporting team. Schleifstein contributed to the award-winning “Polluter’s Paradise” series on the state’s petrochemical industry, published in the paper and online on NOLA.com and ProPublica. His stories on Hurricane Katrina were among the Times-Picayune’s stories honored with 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News Reporting. He’s the co-author of the 2006 book Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms,” about Katrina.

Erin Jordan

Senior Advisor

Erin Jordan is an award-winning investigative reporter for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa, where she covers topics that include water quality, agriculture, state government spending and gender equity in sports. She was a 2018-19 O’Brien Fellow In Public Service Journalism at Marquette University with a project focused on water quality in the Mississippi River watershed. Before joining The Gazette, Erin was the Iowa City Bureau reporter for the Des Moines Register from 2003 to 2009.

Georgina Gustin

Expert Journalist

Georgina Gustin covers climate change and food systems for Inside Climate News, based in Washington D.C. Previously she wrote about Congressional and regulatory actions on food and agriculture for CQ Roll Call, and the biotech and farming industries for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Her work has won numerous awards, including the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, and has been published in The New York Times and National Geographic’s The Plate, among others.


Bryce Gray

Expert Journalist

Bryce Gray is the energy and environment reporter for The St. Louis Post Dispatch. Since taking the position in 2016, highlights of his work include coverage of more frequent flooding, disputes over controversial herbicides, and examining why Missouri’s electric grid still burns so much coal — more than any state except Texas. Before coming to the Post-Dispatch, he worked at High Country News and at a weekly newspaper in Polson, Montana.

DTN/The Progressive Farmer

Chris Clayton

Expert Journalist

Chris Clayton is the policy editor for DTN/The Progressive Farmer, an agricultural news organization offering daily markets, weather and news reports, as well as analysis for commodity farmers in the United States and other major export countries. Chris worked for newspapers and business journals in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska before joining DTN in 2005.

Sarah Bowman

Expert Journalist

Sarah Bowman is an investigative environmental reporter for the Indianapolis Star, where she covers a variety of topics including agriculture, climate change, natural resources, pollution, energy and more. She regularly uses data and public records in her reporting. Bowman has written projects about water pollution, redlining along waterways, the impacts and potential of carbon markets for farmers, and more. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the London School of Economics, she joined the Star in 2017.

Halle Parker

Expert Journalist

Halle Parker is an environment reporter for WWNO, New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans Public Radio, she covered Louisiana’s environment for the Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and down the bayou for the Houma Courier. She also worked for the National Audubon Society. Some of her past reporting has centered on environmental justice issues and the state’s coastal land loss crisis.