About the project

About the project

“A Paper Trail” is the ninth Daily Bruin reporting project funded by the Bridget O’Brien Scholarship Foundation.

The scholarship issued its first award in 2008, a year after Bridget O’Brien passed away in a car accident while traveling in Cleveland with her husband. She was 26 years old.

Photo courtesy of Kristy Milliken.

Bridget was a daring, ambitious journalist and a former copy editor, reporter and photographer for the Daily Bruin. During her last quarter at UCLA, Bridget slept on friend’s couches and lived out of her truck so she could save money for a reporting trip to Central America. The package she created on free trade coffee farming was printed in the Daily Bruin and USA Today.

After her death, the foundation set up a scholarship to allow other student journalists to travel and produce long-term packages, as Bridget did.

We are honored to have been chosen as 2015 recipients for the first domestic project in the foundation’s history.

Our project focuses on undocumented student access to higher education in the United States. Over the course of 11 months, we traveled throughout California and to Atlanta, Georgia, piecing together what it means to be an undocumented student in each place.

The package we’ve created is the result of months of work, reporting and travel, and we hope it sheds light on an issue that has rarely been covered in the Daily Bruin. ■