Amy Morona - journalist

Hi! I'm currently a reporter for Crain's Cleveland Business, where I cover Northeast Ohio's colleges and universities. I'm also part of the Open Campus network of local reporters. Open Campus is a national nonprofit news organization focusing on higher education.

Before returning to my adopted hometown of Cleveland (go Browns!), I spent several years in Washington, D.C., including stints as a reporter/producer for the cable channel Newsy and as a producer for the roundtable show Washington Week.

I'm a curious person by nature -- just ask my husband, who pre-pandemic frequently had to pull me away from conversations I started with strangers at the grocery store, on the subway, and many, many other places. When I'm not working, I enjoy training for half marathons, reading, and spending time with the people in my life who make me laugh the most.

Clips

Take a look at some of my clips from Crain's Cleveland Business / Open Campus, Newsy, Washington Week, and other outlets. 

What it's like to be a university's point person on pandemic logistics

For many years, Eric Green’s family vacations kicked off a routine. Arrive at the hotel, jump in the elevator, go to the room, turn around, leave again. Back in the hallway, he’d instruct his daughter and son, young at that time, to look for the stairwells. They needed to know where the emergency exits were located before the fun began. After all, he said, it’s good to have a plan. You never know when you’ll need it. That still rings true for Green, 50, today. In fact, it’s part of his job. H

How higher education is failing Black Americans in the Midwest

Roughly 17,500 students enrolled at the University of Chicago this past fall. Eight hundred and twenty eight of that group, just 4.7% of its total population, are Black, including Claire Shackleford. The 21-year-old detailed an experience where required reading lists lean heavily into works by white male authors. There are fewer professors of color, so students instead befriend Black cafeteria workers or custodians for support. It’s common, she said, to be the only Black student in a classroom.

College career services look different for Cleveland State during pandemic

Another semester at Cleveland State was winding down for the executive director of the university’s career services office. Her team’s calendars were packed with more virtual office hours and weekly events with employers. Some staff had Google phone numbers, allowing students to text or call them directly. “We really had turned ourselves inside out to make sure we were just absolutely, completely available to students,” she said. “But it was almost too much.” College career services profession

Ashland University's prison program at the center of national controversy

As Ashland University’s traditional enrollment has decreased, the number of students in its prison education program has been on a steady rise. Kristen Haley Theriot made her first and only visit to the campus of Ashland University in December 2018. She left with a purple blanket, a portfolio with the school’s logo and an associate’s degree. The 33-year-old’s classes were completed far from the small campus, though. Theriot took them from a Louisiana prison, where she was serving time for arme

Ohio's colleges navigate limited amounts of coronavirus-related relief

When colleges got billions of federal dollars back in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, many leaders hoped it was just the beginning. But institutions have received only that first round of money so far, leaving some Ohio schools to stretch parts of those grants out as the virus and its impact rages on. “We knew that this was going to get a lot worse before it got better, and we also didn’t know whether there would be additional money coming from the government,” said Dr. Forrest Fais

Ohio colleges and universities receive $13.5 million to offer more mental health support for students

Baldwin Wallace University‘s counseling center added a new line to the paperwork students are tasked with filling out ahead of their initial sessions this year, asking students how COVID-19 has impacted them. Nearly 75% of the students completing the forms noted the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, said the university’s counseling center director, Sophia Kallergis. Students also reported feeling like they’ve missed experiences, are more isolated, or that their academics hav

Pandemic Upends Voter Engagement Playbook for College Students

During a normal year, college campuses can be buzzy places in the weeks before a presidential election. But as the country navigates both a reckoning on race and the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 isn’t exactly normal, and ways to engage with this voting bloc have shifted. One in 10 eligible voters this November will be members of Generation Z, according to Pew Research Center. Half of the 18- to 23-year-olds surveyed by Pew said someone in their home got a pay cut or lost a job due to COVID-19. A

COVID-19 pandemic prompts a 9.4% decrease in community college enrollment

Typically, when the economy contracts, enrollment at community colleges rises as people seek out more job training or head back to school to earn a degree. But the coronavirus pandemic is changing that. Early numbers for this fall show enrollment at community colleges in Northeast Ohio and nationwide has taken a big hit, down 9.4% nationwide from the same time in 2019. Black students are some of the most affected. For instance, fall enrollment of Black students fell 23.5% at Cuyahoga Community

Schools Push For Removing Names Of Confederate Leaders On Buildings

An Education Week tally found at least 193 schools in 18 states named after Confederate leaders. As America faces a reckoning on race, more people are pushing to rename school buildings honoring members of the Confederacy. “When we have institutions, not just schools, that are named after Confederate leaders or those who perpetuated racism and lynchings and hate, that exacerbates feelings of race in our schools," Tony Thurmond, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said at a J

How Are Schools Responding To Racism Right Now?

The national push for racial equality is propelling some school districts to change. The national push for racial equality is propelling some school districts to change. One example is Muncie, Indiana, Community Schools. Officials there plan to appoint a director of diversity, require implicit bias training for school resource officers and review the current curriculum. “We leave it often to the teachers to be developing their curriculum to teach, so that's where we believe we can do a little

Minneapolis' Schools Ended Their Police Contract. Will Others Follow?

Minneapolis Public Schools recently ended their contract with local police following the death of George Floyd. And now some in other cities want their own districts to follow suit. “We are seeing more of our students being ticketed at such a young age," Denver School Board member Tay Anderson recently told our sister station Denver7 . "Our schools cannot be ground zero for the school-to-prison pipeline.” He said he’d like to see money redirected to mental health counselors, and still wants sc

Community Colleges Prepare For Fall Semester Amid Coronavirus

Schools still face uncertainties as they figure out what the fall semester could look like in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Online learning is nothing new for many of the country’s 1,050 community colleges. “We at Montgomery College have been doing distance learning for years," said Marcus Rosano, director of media and public relations at the Maryland school. "So we've been experts at it before this new world came.” And leaders say they’re used to being nimble. “Community colleges have

Will The Child Care Industry Survive COVID-19?

Experts say the livelihood of an already fragile industry is now at stake due to the pandemic. Earlier this year, Tricia Peterson says her child care center in Wisconsin was earning about $6,000 a week in tuition fees. As enrollment dropped, so did her weekly income — to about $2,500. Peterson says she’s cut costs, stopped taking a paycheck and laid off four employees to remain afloat. “If our doors weren't open, we would not be servicing our families, and it would be that ripple effect of wh

America's opioid crisis means many grandparents are now raising their grandchildren

Kathleen Johnson said her late son Zak didn’t just walk. His stride was so distinctive, people used to call him Tigger. “When he walked, everyone knew him,” she said. Zak was fun, compassionate, and kind, his mom said, racking up friends in activities like the local 4-H Club and wrestling. He lived large. But like the more than 19 million people dealing with a substance abuse issue across the country, Zak was addicted to drugs. He got hooked after high school. Run-ins with the law followed.

What are trigger laws? Examining states' preemptive legislative bans on abortion

The Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago, making abortion legal across the United States. But the court’s makeup has shifted in recent years. Republican President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the bench, leaving some states to draft their own abortion laws on the chance Roe is ever overturned. Five states currently have what are known as "trigger laws" in place. “They express a legislative intent to ban all or most abortions as soon as it’s legally

How Northeast Ohio's libraries are staying relevant

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Twenty years ago, a library card could snag you a few books and a chat with your local librarian. But now, Ohio's 251 public libraries and branch locations are embracing technology more than ever, serving as community hubs while offering new resources to residents. "Books are still a major constant," said Michelle Francis, the Ohio Library Council's director of government and legal services. "But we have libraries who are lending musical instruments now; they're doin

Nearly a third of teen girls who drop out say pregnancy played a role

Nineteen-year old Kathleen Clement looks forward to Tuesdays. That’s the day she gets to put aside parenting for a few hours with other young moms at Akron’s First Glance youth center. During this recent evening, Clement and about 15 other women in their teens and early 20s are gathered around a folding table, making card games for their kids. Clement gave birth to her daughter Helena during her senior year at Towpath Trails High School. And like many students who suddenly face having to care
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