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Since joining the magazine's Washington bureau in 1987, Pat Wingert has specialized in stories involving children, education, juvenile justice, health, demographics and social welfare.

In recent years, she has co-authored cover stories on teen depression, gay families, AIDS, single parents, stressed-out families, homeschooling, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, abstinence & sex ed programs, and the growing teacher shortage. She was also very involved in the magazine's coverage of the Washington area sniper attacks in October, 2002, as well as the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the aftermath of 9-11.

Wingert's cover story "Kids Who Can't Learn" (November 1997) won a National Press Club Award. She also won an Educational Press Association award for her work on the cover stories "Ritalin: Are We Overmedicating Our Kids?"(March 18, 1996) and "The Puzzle of Genius"(June 28, 1993). In 1993, she won the Educational Press Association's Unity Award in Media for "A World Without Fathers", and in 1992, Wingert shared awards for the Newsweek cover story "The 10 Best Schools in the World" (December 2, 1991) from the Educational Press Association of America and the Education Writers Association. She also shared an award for best feature reporting from The Deadline Club (Society of Professional Journalists) for Newsweek's special issue "How Kids Grow" (Summer 1991). Wingert was a 1991 co-winner of a Benjamin Fine Award for Outstanding Education Reporting for the Newsweek cover story "Afrocentrism" (September 23, 1991). She shared Education Writers Association Awards in 1989 for her cover story on how kids learn, and in 1988 for a Newsweek On Campus cover story about black progress in higher education. In 1982, Wingert won a National Media Award from the Mental Health Association for a series of reports on problems with Illinois mental health hospitals.

Coming to Newsweek after a nine-year journalism career in Chicago, Wingert had worked as a reporter for The Chicago Tribune from 1985 to 1986 and The Chicago Sun-Times from 1977 to 1984. While working at the Sun-Times, she worked as legman to Chicago's legendary Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist, Mike Royko. A Chicago native, Wingert received a B.S. in journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband Brian Kelly, the executive editor of U.S. News magazine, and their three children.