Elizabeth Zach held three journalism fellowships – in 2015, 2016 and 2018 – at, respectively, Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West, University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, and the nonprofit Marguerite Casey Foundation.
These honorary appointments allowed her the time and resources to carry out deep reporting on the American West, its greatest challenges, legacies and prospects. Her research explored the work of women ranchers and farmers; the closure of rural hospitals and how this affects local populations and economies; the feasibility of cancer treatment in rural communities, and the role of telemedicine; and “persistent poverty,” a Federal designation that can unintentionally shortchange the rural poor.
Her fellowships took her across nearly every quarter of the rural American West, visiting sheep ranchers in the Pacific Northwest and southern Colorado, migrant workers in California’s Imperial Valley and healthcare workers in northern New Mexico and the San Joaquin Valley, cattlewomen in Wyoming and Montana, vintners from Washington to California. Her work from the fellowships appeared in The Washington Post, In These Times, High Country News, The Colorado Independent and other publications, and she has spoken on her research at regional and national conferences, as well as in radio interviews.