RTDNF awards over $30,000 to 2021 scholars and fellows

June 29, 2021 07:00

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of nine scholarships for journalism students and two fellowships for new professionals. The 50th class of scholars and fellows will receive over $30,000 in monetary awards and will be invited to attend the RTDNA21 news leadership retreat in Denver, Colorado this September 2021.

These up-and-coming journalists are passionately and creatively telling the stories most important to their communities, from New Jersey to Nebraska.

Their diverse backgrounds and interests 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 nearly 600 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 is given annually to a student of color and supports media diversity.

Tamia Fowlkes is a senior at the University of Wisconsin –Madison majoring in Journalism and Political Science with certificates in Gender and Women’s Studies and Leadership. She currently serves as an Investigative Reporting Intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has previously served as a Google News Initiative Fellow for the Isthmus, a Reporting Intern for The Wisconsin State Journal and as an NBC News Fellow. On campus, she serves as the Big 10 Voting Challenge Intern for the Morgridge Center of Public Service and co-hosts a podcast called Pod-Cast Your Vote.


Presidents Scholarship, a $2,500 award in memory of past RTDNA presidents in recognition of two broadcast journalism students’ excellence.

Daniel Han is a New Jersey native and student at Rutgers University majoring in journalism and media studies. He currently interns at POLITICO’s New Jersey bureau, where he covers politics and policy out of Trenton, the state’s capital. He’s worked in print and digital media, with bylines in local newspapers and hyper-local online news websites across the Garden State.

Megan Lebowitz is a rising senior at Northwestern University double majoring in journalism and political science. She is an intern for Meet the Press and a News Director and reporter for Northwestern News Network, NU’s broadcast outlet. Megan has previously interned at CBS News, VOA and WOIO, Cleveland’s CBS affiliate. She has also completed research on the impact of citizen journalism on Western media’s coverage of the Syrian Civil War, which was published by Nieman Reports and the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal.


Mike Reynolds Scholarship, in memory of the late KCCI-TV editor, this $1,000 award recognizes a student’s writing and dedication to news.

Delaney Beaudoin is a senior at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Journalism. She is the current Editor-In-Chief of her school’s campus newspaper, The Wheaton Wire. She is passionate about politics and travel, which she hopes will intertwine with her pursued career. She is excited to graduate, as she is the first person in her family to receive a college degree and set out in the world of journalism.


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.

Kelsey Bigelow is a small-town Nebraska kid entering her senior year of college at Kansas State University. She began college at Northeast Community College in Nebraska where she received an associate degree in radio and television broadcasting. She is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in journalism with aspirations to become a sports reporter for a larger television network.


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.

Maya Brown is a senior journalism and political science double major at Stony Brook University pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, with a passion for politics and social justice. She has interned for CNN, the Council on Foreign Relations, WSHU Public Radio, the Long Island Herald and is currently interning at NBC News as a Social Newsgathering Intern. While at school, she is the Managing Editor of her campus newspaper, The Statesman, and the president of the Stony Brook Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As a Black and Mexican woman, she sees an underrepresentation in topics surrounding social justice and minorities and hopes to fill that gap by becoming a White House correspondent.


Pete Wilson Scholarship, honoring the late San Francisco broadcast journalist, this $2,000 grant is awarded to a Bay Area journalism student.

Noah Baustin is a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he studies investigative reporting and audio production. Noah is currently the Open Source Investigative Intern at the San Francisco Chronicle and a Research Assistant at the UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program where he covers law enforcement and local government in Oakland. Before J-School, Noah was a producer for American Public Media’s Field Work podcast, interned at WBUR’s Endless Thread podcast, and wrote the weekly agriculture column for his hometown newspaper The Daily Hampshire Gazette.


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.

Dominique Lavigne is a Journalism and Radio-Television-Film student at UT Austin. Because of her background as a Puerto Rican and Black woman, she is passionate about connecting people through the media and telling underrepresented stories. She’s hardworking and hopes to make a difference in the world with the content she creates.


Horner Scholarship, presented to by veteran reporter Robert Horner, this $2,500 scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student studying journalism or communications with aspirations of a career in broadcast or video journalism.

Austin West is a junior at Buena Vista University double majoring in Digital Media and Strategic Public Relations. At Buena Vista, he is a part of the university's radio station, KBVU, serving as the station manager, and is a member of the Sports team for the university's television station, BVTV. Austin is very involved with athletics as well, earning awards for his play-by-play broadcasting and his football podcast, Football UNfocused.


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.

Shamarria Morrison is a Weekend Evening Anchor and Multimedia Journalist at WPSD Local 6. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and it's there she realized her passion to tell stories for underrepresented and often silenced voices in news. While at WPSD Shamarria found those stories were best told through investigative journalism that focuses on the why and not just the who. Shamarria strongly believes strong, passionate, and relevant journalism starts in a culturally diverse newsroom who are always striving to evolve and ask, "How can we do better." She says good journalism comes from good journalists.


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.

Andrea Perdomo is a producer and reporter for WLRN, South Florida’s NPR member station. Previously, as a general assignment reporter for WGCU Public Media in Fort Myers, Fla., she produced Spanish-language newscasts for a community radio station serving agricultural communities. She has won national and regional awards for her reporting on the environment, education, and migrant communities.


Lee Thornton Scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship awarded to an undergraduate student in honor of Lee Thornton, the first African American woman to cover the White House for a major news network and the first African American host of All Things Considered on NPR.

Ariana Cobb is a rising senior honors student at Howard University, majoring in Journalism and minoring in Graphic Design. She is very active on campus as a member of Lambda Pi Eta National Communications Honors Society and participates in Howard University’s Association of Black Journalists as the Co-chair of Social Media & Graphic Design, Undergraduate Student Assembly as a Public Relations Assistant, 101 Magazine as the Social Media Director, and WHBC HD3 Radio Station as a member of the Social Media and Content Teams. Her ultimate career goal is to become an entertainment host or correspondent. This summer, Ariana is a Social Marketing Intern at Showtime Network and participating in the T. Howard Foundation and IRTS Summer Fellowship Programs.


Jacque I. Minnotte Health Reporting Fellowship, created to honor former news director and Medstar executive Jacque Minnotte, who died in 1993. This fellowship recognizes excellence in health or medical television and radio reporting.

Cecilia Hernandez-Cromwell is the News Director and Anchor at Telemundo Noticiero Oklahoma, the only Spanish news station in the state of Oklahoma. She has been with this Tyler Media owned company for over six years and has moved up positions until becoming the head of the news department. She works constantly on new projects while also training and mentoring young adults entering the media business. She has covered a variety of topics such as politics, education, tornado disasters, and much more while working for Telemundo Oklahoma.



 


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