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Meet Heather Mongilio, The Capital’s Report for America corps member

It’s fair to say that I grew up an Anne Arundel tourist, or maybe better put as Anne Arundel-adjacent. As a Howard County resident, Annapolis was where we went on nice summer days to walk around or to take out of town visitors.

Arundel Mills mall is where I go shopping, or I did before a pandemic. Fort George G. Meade is where many of my friends’ parents worked. Now my friends are the ones who work for the Department of Defense.

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The Naval Academy was the prestigious school I watched friends apply to when it came to looking at college and where my sister’s best friend met her husband.

Now Anne Arundel County is my place of work. I’m the new military affairs reporter at The Capital, focusing on the Naval Academy and Fort Meade.

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You may have seen my byline on stories about how the coronavirus pandemic affected Induction Day or on the court-martial coverage of the former midshipman guilty of sexual assault. Or perhaps you’ve followed one of my mostly daily Twitter threads of COVID-19 numbers.

My position at The Capital is possible due to nonprofit Report for America, which places reporters in local newsrooms to help address staffing struggles faced by local newsrooms across the country.

When I applied for Report for America, The Capital was my first choice. I wanted to continue to report in Maryland, and I was excited for the opportunity to work for a staff that I long followed on Twitter.

I knew going in the military beat was going to be a challenge. I covered a military base — Fort Detrick — as a reporter for The Frederick News-Post, but that mostly focused on the biomedical laboratories on the base. My background is in health reporting with previous experience covering crime and courts.

I’m excited about the challenges presented by the beat, but I am also looking to the community to help me learn more about the area, the academy and Fort Meade. Normally, I would be out in the community, getting to know the folk at the military installations and in different community organizations.

But the pandemic has changed a lot, for reporters and the community. So instead, I’m inviting people to meet me digitally through a Facebook Live on The Capital’s page at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. We’ll also post it on Instagram’s IGTV afterward.

Ask me questions, learn a little more about me and the stories I hope to pursue, even forgive me for the fact that despite growing up in Maryland, I’m a diehard Red Sox and Patriots fan.

You can send me questions at hmongilio@capgaznews.com, but you can also send me tips and story ideas or even introduce yourself digitally. I’m also always reachable on Twitter at @HMongilio or Instagram at @heather.s.mongilio. And of course, you can call me at 443-355-6720 or find me on Signal using that number.

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