Renee Hickman has joined the staff of Unified Newspaper Group.

Hickman, who was born in Missouri but raised in Rome, Georgia, has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and an undergraduate degree from the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland.

Most recently, Hickman lived in Ukraine covering politics and culture while completing a Fulbright scholarship, and she has covered politics and agriculture policy at NBC News and Bloomberg, respectively. She also covered state government for the Columbia Missourian and local news at KBIA, the NPR station in Missouri.

Before starting in the journalism industry, Hickman previously worked as a fundraiser for nonprofits.

Hickman is taking on beats held by two reporters. She will be covering the City of Stoughton, taking over for Amber Levenhagen, who died in August, and the City of Verona, taking over for editor Jim Ferolie, who has covered the beat for 13 years and will be taking on more administrative responsibilities.

She will be working alongside fellow local government and education reporters Kimberly Wethal, Emilie Heidemann and Scott De Laruelle, with coverage of the communities of Stoughton, Verona, Fitchburg and Oregon.

Renee Hickman can be contacted at renee.hickman@wcinet.com.