The Radio Television Digital News Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of nine scholarships for journalism students and four fellowships for new professionals. The 49th class of scholars and fellows will receive more than $35,000 in monetary awards and will be invited to attend Excellence in Journalism 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.
These up-and-coming journalists are passionately and creatively telling the stories most important to their communities, from Maryland to Missouri.
Their diverse backgrounds and interests are make them assets in local news, able to lend unique perspectives and uplift the voices of everyday people from all walks of life, each with stories to be told.
Since 1970, RTDNF has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships and fellowships to more than 575 young journalists as part of its mission as the educational arm of RTDNA.
Recipients have gone on to enjoy careers in journalism as reporters, anchors and news directors, or in related fields such as White House speechwriter, media regulatory attorney and journalism educator. Several former recipients have served as RTDNA board members and many, including some of this year’s class, are Murrow Award winners.
Carole Simpson Scholarship, presented by barrier-breaking journalist Carole Simpson, this $2,000 award given annually to a student of color supports media diversity.
Tony Betton, Jr., is a senior at Georgia State University majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in entertainment media management. Having interned at Ryan Seacrest Studios, WSBTV Channel 2 and FOX 5 in Atlanta, he has done everything in his power and passion to become a great young journalist and storyteller. Tony has served as a fellow for the CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship and in both NABJ Short Courses (NCA&T and FAMU). He also was a recipient of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters’ E. Lanier Finch Scholarship. As a rising professional journalist, a former founding member, VP of Broadcast and President of NABJ-GSU and student of the craft, being selected as the recipient of the 2019 Carole Simpson Scholarship is an honor to Tony. He is thankful to all his family, mentors, RTDNF and Ms. Carole Simpson.
Ed Bradley Scholarship, a $10,000 award presented to an outstanding student of color in memory of the late CBS News’ 60 Minutes correspondent and groundbreaking journalist.
Lauren Granada is a senior at Emerson College majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Leadership and management. Growing up, Lauren was very shy, but being able to put on her “journalist hat” gave her an excuse to talk to people and ask difficult questions. She hasn’t taken the hat off since! Lauren serves as the co-News Director of WEBN (We’re Emerson Broadcast News) as well as the co-President of Emerson’s RTDNA chapter. She is passionate about local news and believes in giving back to her community by spreading the word of truth. Lauren hopes to work as an MMJ for a local news station when she graduates.
Lee Thornton Scholarship, a $2,000 award established to honor the groundbreaking late journalist and editor.
Andi Wenck, University of Maryland 2020, is a rising senior studying broadcast journalism and leadership studies. She is also a student-athlete, goalkeeping for the University of Maryland women’s soccer team. Amidst her athletic career, Andi has interned with Maryland Athletic and D.C. United’s video production teams, winning Big Ten All-Academic honors, the BEA Award of Excellence and a NATAS Student Production Award. Upon graduation, Andi hopes to pursue a career in creative video production for professional and university sports teams. Follow Andi on her website.
George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship, presented to a student at the University of Texas at Austin, this $6,000 award established by the boxing champion honors his inspirations, President Johnson and RTDNF Founder Barney Oldfield.
Jaewon Yoo is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in broadcast journalism. She is an active member of Texas Student Television's News Department, and has been in the roles of volunteer, Assistant Producer, and Assistant News Director. She has interned with Houston's music radio station- 104.1 KRBE, and is currently an intern at the Austin NBC (KXAN) news program's life style show, Studio 512. She's honored to be the recipient of this scholarship, and will continue to pursue a career in this industry with a passion towards telling stories of all people.
Mike Reynolds Scholarship, in memory of the late KCCI-TV editor, this $1,000 award recognized a student’s writing and dedication to news.
Maya Huter, originally from Eugene, Oregon, is a rising senior majoring in broadcast Journalism and minoring in Global and Post-colonial studies at Emerson College. She specializes in broadcast news production, and has produced several news shows and news specials in her time at Emerson. This summer she will be interning at MSNBC in New York City, where she will help produce the 10 a.m. news hour with Hallie Jackson. For her senior year, Maya will be the Field and Features Director for Emerson Independent Video, where she will oversee all of the field news pieces and special news productions.
Pete Wilson Scholarship honoring the late San Francisco broadcast journalist, this $2,000 grant is awarded to a Bay Area journalism student.
Ricky Rodas is a second-year student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism where he is focusing on audio reporting. His Salvadoran parents raised him and his two brothers in Los Angeles County, where he learned the value of befriending people from all walks of life. Ricky’s work has been published in Bay Area news outlets such as SFGate, Oakland North, KALX and Richmond Confidential. He is currently an intern at Mission Local. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to podcasts and chilling with his friends.
Lou & Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship, presented annually by past board member Lou Prato and his wife Carole, this $1,000 award is presented to a student pursuing sports journalism.
Noah Gross is a senior at the University of Maryland who will be graduating in December 2019. The Cleveland, Ohio native is majoring in broadcast journalism in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He has had five internships over his time in his three years in school, including working in Cape Cod, Virginia, Washington D.C and Los Angeles. Noah hopes to be a sports reporter after he leaves school.
Presidents Scholarship, a $2,500 award in memory of past RTDNA presidents in recognition of two broadcast journalism students’ excellence.
Hanin Najjar is an Arab American journalism student. Her passion is to advocate and give voice to marginalized peoples and their issues. She is a self-proclaimed journalist and activist.
Annabel Thorpe is a journalism and economics major at the University of Missouri. She is a reporter, anchor, and producer for the local NBC affiliate station, KOMU-TV, and the Vice President of the university's RTDNA chapter. She has interned for the Dallas Morning News twice, and she is very excited to take on NYC this summer as an intern with Erin Burnett OutFront for CNN. Thorpe has always been a storyteller, and she is excited to see how her stories will take different forms over time.
Michele Clark Fellowship, named for the CBS News correspondent tragically killed in a plane crash while on assignment, this $1,000 award supports a new professional minority broadcast journalist.
Tiffany Liou is a Taiwanese American reporter at WFAA in Dallas. She loves working as solo-journalist, meaning she shoots, writes and edits her own work. Tiffany has told stories across the country, and even internationally in Haiti. During her free time, you’ll usually catch her jet-setting, playing with her dogs, or hiking – always with a camera in hand.
Minnotte Health Reporting Fellowship¸ a $2,000 award supporting a broadcast journalist on the health beat.
Anh Nguyen Gray is a public health reporter at NPR member station KUNR in Reno, Nevada. Her reporting covers a range of issues regarding health care reform, disease outbreaks, the opioid epidemic and gun violence. She enjoys covering topics that address the prevention of disease and the promotion of health. Those stories include nutrition, evidence-based health initiatives and medical innovations. She earned the “Best Reporter” distinction from the Associated Press Television Radio Association (APTRA) in 2018. She was also a contributing reporter on three news series that have won regional Edward R. Murrow awards; those stories examined various local issues and range from the lack of affordable housing in Northern Nevada to the legalization of marijuana in the state. Gray received her master’s degree in public health from Boston University and a master’s degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
N.S. Bienstock Fellowship, established by Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper of the talent firm now known as Bienstock, a UTA Company, this $2,500 award supports a new professional minority broadcast journalist.
Stephanie Serrano is a Latina reporter for KUNR in Reno, Nevada, the city where she was born and raised. She joins KUNR as its first bilingual journalist covering both the economy and community stories, with the goal of elevating the voices of everyday, local people. Stephanie is a former NPR Next Generation Radio fellow, where she now contributes as a mentor. Stephanie’s work is self-described as a large rainbow: a mix of colors, sounds and formats. Her storytelling is founded in multimedia feature reporting on topics including sports, immigration, sexual violence, arts and culture, homelessness, politics and business. She is also a passionate illustrator and painter. While earning her bachelor's from the Reynolds School of Journalism, she won a national Hearst award for her reporting on two first generation Latinas on the path to a four-year college. In 2018, her feature highlighting an immigrant soccer player who uses his bilingualism to connect with his fans won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting and a regional Associated Press Television-Radio Association award.
Vada and Col. Barney Oldfield National Security Reporting Fellowship established to honor the founder of RTDNF, this $1,000 fellowship is awarded for reporting on national security.
Beverly Banks is a native of West Virginia and currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Journalism with a major in Politics and National Security at the Medill School of Journalism. Beverly was a recipient of the White House Correspondents’ Association Deborah Orin Scholarship in 2019 and earned first place in the Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media Editors award category for TV News Stories in 2018. She has covered the government shutdown, 2019 State of the Union address, confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and 2018 midterm elections. Her goal is to work as a political correspondent in Washington, D.C.