Award-winning radio-maker, writer and editor is a longtime contributor to Harper’s Magazine, National Public Radio, Radio Ambulante, Virginia Quarterly Review, The World, and others.

Maine College of Art & Design announced today that Annie Avilés has been selected to serve as Chair of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Avilés brings with her a wealth of experience telling in-depth stories for national and international media outlets.

Ian Anderson, MECA&D’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, said, “The Salt Institute has an incredible legacy of producing ethical, creative and responsible storytellers and documentarians. Today I am proud to announce that Annie Avilés will continue this legacy for Salt as its new Chair. Annie has an unusual combination of skills -- as a writer, journalist, radio producer, and teacher -- that makes her uniquely positioned to lead Salt. Annie, in collaboration with all of us at MECA&D, will provide the vision for Salt’s future, ensure the excellence of our graduate certificate in documentary studies, and teach the next generation of documentarians as they tell stories that are both modern and timeless, and seek to move our hearts and minds.”

Avilés spent much of her career in South America, working as a foreign correspondent for NPR and PRI's The World, and as a contributing editor at Radio Ambulante, an award-winning Spanish language podcast. She's also held positions as a fellow in investigative reporting at UC Berkeley, as a visiting scholar at NYU, and as managing editor of the Life of the Law podcast. In addition to her work in radio, Annie's longform nonfiction is published by Harper's Magazine, Smithsonian, and Virginia Quarterly Review.

Prior to taking on the position of Chair of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at MECA&D, she taught at Boston University, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, the University of Southern Maine, and UC Berkeley.

Annie's work has earned awards and fellowships from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Fulbright Program, the International Reporting Project, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and others.

About Salt at MECA&D

Since 1973, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies has taught students from all over the United States and the world to become truthful, thorough, creative and responsible storytellers and documentarians. In Spring of 2016, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies formally became part of MECA&D. For the first time in its 42-year history, the program is accredited.

The Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies is a one-semester graduate-level intensive in documentary storytelling at MECA&D, one of five academic programs at the College. There are four tracks: Radio, Short Documentary Film, Photography, and Writing. Students are able to utilize student services and access the College’s extensive studios and equipment, like the new recording studio in the Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music.

Applicants to the Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution or be currently enrolled as a junior or senior in good academic standing at an accredited college or university. Students have already been applying to the Fall 2017 program; we have a rolling deadline, however if you’re interested in the upcoming term, we encourage you to apply soon.

To explore some of the fascinating stories of survival, love, faith, discovery, perseverance and more, as seen through the lens of former Salt students, visit This impressive collection contains works by more than 1,000 Salt students – many of whom have gone on to successful careers at places like NPR and National Geographic.

For more information about Salt at MECA&D, visit For interview or image requests, please contact Raffi Der Simonian ( / 207.699.5010).