Celeste Hamilton Dennis

Celeste Hamilton Dennis

Celeste Hamilton Dennis

Class of 2024

Celeste Hamilton Dennis (she/her) loves the scoop. Growing up in Levittown, New York with a single mother who asked questions at every turn—Who was at the pool today? Her mother ask where I was? How did the Bowmans afford that new porch of theirs?—it seemed inevitable she’d be just like her.

After studying literature at Boston College and University College Dublin, Celeste thought she wanted to be a music journalist and interned at The Long Island Press. While it was awesome to get free tickets to concerts, it wasn’t her thing. So she decided to head to Guyana with the Peace Corps, where she taught reading at a high school and sang a lot of karaoke.

She landed a job at Idealist.org after returning, and stayed for nearly a decade, working at all three of their offices: New York, New York; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Portland, Oregon. At Idealist, she dabbled in community outreach and spent most of her time writing about social entrepreneurs and everyday changemakers. Afterward, she had the privilege of collaborating with community college students to write their narratives and produce video stories. 

It seemed natural, then, that Celeste would fall in love with solutions journalism. She actively reports on responses to social issues and believes these stories are necessary to combat the hopelessness and distrust audiences feel right now about media. Her favorite stories to do are those that combine the unexpected. At Berkeley, she hopes to merge solutions and long-form journalism, as well as explore new ways of engaging communities that go beyond the traditional paradigm. 

When she’s not being a mom to two little girls, she’s seeking out rad dance parties, planning her next travel destination, and writing about mouthy women for a short story collection set in her hometown.


  • UC Berkeley Journalism

  • University College Dublin

  • Boston College


  • Investigative Reporting Program - Aging In America

  • MindSite News

  • Portland Community College, Marketing Specialist

  • Idealist.org, Editor


  • Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium Fellow, 2024

  • Beat Reporting for Mental Health Solutions at MindSite News, Association of Health Care Journalists

  • Dean's Fellow
    UC Berkeley, 2022-2024

  • Society of Professional Journalists NW Excellence in Journalism, Soft Feature Reporting for “The Unlikely Style Icon Teaching Older Women to be Fashion Rebels,” Narratively, 2019 

  • Society of Professional Journalists NW Excellence in Journalism, Soft Feature Reporting for “What Is Barbershop Therapy?”, YES! Magazine, 2018


  • "Serious About Gender Exploration? There's a Doula for That." YES! Magazine, 2024

  • "Counselors help seniors clean up, avoid eviction." The San Francisco Chronicle, 2024

  • "A tribute to the Pointer Sisters." KALW, 2023

  • "‘This history is in our backyard’: East Oakland memorial honors victims of Jonestown massacre." The Oaklandside, 2023

  • ‘"She Made Me Feel Seen and Heard.’ Black Doulas Offer Support That Can Help Mom & Improve Birth Outcomes." MindSite News, USA Today, and Capital B, 2023

  • "At this East Oakland salon, violence prevention starts with self-care." The Oaklandside, 2023

  • "A clinic in Oakland’s Chinatown brings mental health care to dental patients." MindSite News and The Oaklandside, 2023

  • "Undocutherapists Serve Those in the Shadows." MindSite News, palabra and San Francisco Public Press, 2023

  • "Making churches more welcoming for members with dementia: ‘ We don’t want them to think they’re forgotten’. " The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 2023

  • "A Day in the Life of an Oakland Chinatown community ambassador," The Oaklandside, 2023

  • ‘We’re reattaching people’: Mobile history project connects neighbors in North Oakland," The Oaklandside, 2022

  • "Volunteer chefs keep Oakland's pandemic-era free fridges full of hearty meals," The Oaklandside, 2022

  • "Art Teachers Are Teaching Girls to Code," Next City, 2021

  • "What Happens When Essential Workers Need Childcare," YES! Magazine, 2020

  • "19 Volunteers Sharing an iPhone are Trying to Support Incarcerated People Through COVID-19," Talk Poverty, 2020

  • "The Unlikely Style Icon Teaching Older Women to be Fashion Rebels," Narratively, 2019

  • "How a Stock Photography Project is Confronting Fat Bias," YES! Magazine, 2019

  • "What is Barbershop Therapy?" YES! Magazine, 2018

  • "This Contemporary Art Museum is Run by Kids," Artsy, 2017


  • Association of Health Care Journalists

  • Solutions Journalism Network
    Tom Wolfe Mentorship Cohort, 2019

  • Journalists Association for Mental Health


Art Activism, Immigration, Women's Rights, affordable housing, aging, community organizing, fat justice, mass incarceration, mental health, migration, public schools, racial and economic justice, reproductive justice

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