Saberi's Former Journalism Teacher Celebrates Her Release

As Roxana Saberi's release brings her closer to a return to the U.S., there's someone at Northwestern University hoping she'll find time for a visit when she gets back.

"I hope to see her right here at Medill talking about her experiences so she can relate to the students what it takes, and what it took for her to do her job," says Larry Stuelpnagel, current assistant professor of journalism and political science at Northwestern.

Stuelpnagel taught Saberi in 1999 in the graduate program at NU's Medill School of Journalism.

"She was a terrific student. She always made her deadlines. She always did terrific work and always knew she wanted to be a foreign correspondent," recalls Stuelpnagel.

After her graduation Stuelpnagel followed Saberi's career, keeping up with her work and maintaining some email correspondence. "I would get a real kick just out of listening to her stories on NPR. I would just shoot her a little e-mail saying, 'Hey, I caught you on NPR today.'"

"Lately it's gotten a lot more serious of course," says Stuelpnagel, who doesn't believe the allegations against Saberi.

"I started getting word when she got picked up for allegedly buying that bottle of wine — which I don't think she did — and there's no way she's a spy. As things escalated more and more I got more and more concerned. There have been women journalists who've died in the hands of the Iranians."

As concern for Saberi mounted over the past four months, Stuelpnagel found himself with a great teaching tool for his current students.

"What I tell my journalism and non-journalism students is that the job of the foreign correspondent is incredibly important, and it is fraught with risks," he said. "And that these are people that literally risk their lives to get us information. [She] showed great courage."

Stuelpnagel was thrilled with the news of Saberi's release.

"We're elated, delighted — you pick the adjective for the fact that she's been released from jail, and I just hope she comes back to the United States now," he said.

If he's lucky, maybe she'll even come back to his classroom.

John Tsarouchas is a reporter for