Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful 2014. It was a full year for me.

My first book, Putting Education To Work: How Cristo Rey High Schools Are Transforming Urban Education, was released in August, and two weeks later, I was on a plane to Italy for an International Reporting Project fellowship.

I spent my fall in Rome and Sicily seeking out the “Pope Francis effect” on Italy’s response to immigration. More than 150,000 migrants from Africa, Syria and beyond have traveled across the Mediterranean to Italy in the past year. I came home weighed down not by souvenirs but by the stories of refugees and trafficking victims.

A few articles from my trip will appear in National Catholic Reporter and Global Sisters Report this month, but I’m continuing to seek homes for many of the stories I gathered. My goal in 2015 is to break into mainstream publications in addition to Catholic media.

I also chaired the Journalism and Women Symposium national conference this year. It gave me a collaborative, managerial project that you don’t often get as a freelance journalist. I enjoyed working with my fellow volunteers and helping a new director establish systems and a budget for the event. The experience made me miss working with a team.

At the same time, freelancing has afforded me such fantastic opportunities. Thanks to the folks at HarperOne, NCR, IRP, and JAWS for letting me be a part of their projects.

I also want to thank those of you who have provided support and advice along my path. If we haven’t had a chance to catch up recently, I would love to hear from you.

May 2015 bring you adventures and good stories, personally and professionally.

Happy New Year!