2016 Journalism Scholarship Winners
Congratulations to Jessica Hice, Taylor Buck, Brittany Murphy, Leah Horner, Jonathan Ayestas, Celina Oseguera and Gabriel Sandoval, the 2016 Journalism Scholarship recipients.
The $4,000 Jerry Gillam scholarship was awarded to Jessica Hice, a previous SPC scholarship winner. Jessica will be a senior at Sacramento State in the fall. The judges were impressed with the progress she has made in the past year, including attending the University of California’s political reporting boot camp and winning an internship this spring at the Sacramento Bee. In addition, she has taken advantage of the Press Club-affiliated Millennials in Media mentoring program. In the fall, she will not only continue to work on the campus paper, the Hornet, but will also be president of the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The $4,000 Nereida Skelton scholarship, the winner was Taylor Buck. The Skelton scholarship is earmarked for promising students who come up through community college and are at the beginning of their journalism studies. Taylor is a Sac City College student who will be attending Sacramento State in the fall to pursue a political science degree with the aspiration of becoming a political reporter. She has already interned on political campaigns, completed classes in reporting and written pieces for the campus newspaper.
The $4,000 Bob Schmidt scholarship winner was Brittany Murphy, who is a graduate student at UC Berkeley. Her medium is photography rather than print or broadcast. She had already established herself as a five-year veteran of commercial photography when she decided to go back to school because of her passion for daily journalism. In the first year of her Berkeley program, she completed an internship as a photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle and is now beginning one at KQED that will help her with her videography skills, critical for today’s multimedia news platforms. Eventually, she aspires to work for AP, Reuters, or the Sacramento Bee.
The $4,000 Dan Walters scholarship was awarded to Leah Horner, a previous SPC scholarship winner. Leah has completed an internship at an east coast TV station, attended a journalism study abroad program in England, and participated in a National Press Photographers Association conference to learn about story-telling techniques. The judges felt that the story clips she submitted as part of her application are not only of high professional quality but also demonstrate that she already has a keen eye for finding stories to tell. A native of Sacramento, Leah will be finishing her bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo next year, and we expect to see her launch her career in broadcast news soon after.
The recipient of the $4,000 Doug Willis scholarship was Jonathan Ayestas, who will be a senior at Sacramento State. Already working at his second internship for Capital Public Radio, Jonathan is part of the digital news team. He serves a similar role at Sac State’s Hornet, where he is Digital Managing Editor. As he wrote in his application, “I curate the social media and instruct writers and editors how to think outside a print-centered mindset. It is important to increase engagement on social media platforms because it helps drive traffic back to our website.” Jonathan told the judges he sees a huge potential for growth in digital media – and the judges saw a lot of potential in Jonathan and his forward-looking approach to journalism.
The $6,000 Jean Stephens scholarship, the winner was Celina Oseguera, a native of Linden in San Joaquin County who will soon be a senior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Celina grabbed the judges’ attention with her creative graphics that put data in context and made complex stories easier for readers to understand. Her passion for journalism and the positive role reporters can play was also evident in her application letter. She wrote, “We don’t write for fame. We don’t write for glory. We don’t write to flaunt our bylines. We write as a voice to the voiceless, a fighter for the oppressed and as a bull dog for those who want answers but live in a world with entities that refuse to give them.” With her eye for graphic design and embrace of data mining, the judges believe Celina has a solid skill set to help her become the journalist she aspires to be.
The $8,000 Earl Squire Behrens scholarship was awarded to Gabriel Sandoval, who will be a senior at Chico State this fall. Last year, Gabriel was one of five students selected nationwide to participate in ProPublica’s Emerging Reporters Program, and he will soon begin a two-and-a-half month internship at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Currently, he writes for the campus newspaper, the Orion, as well as freelances for the Chico Enterprise-Record. Gabriel said his goal is to “muckrake.” He wrote in his application letter, “Too often I hear about officials abusing their power, wielding influence for their own sake, not the public’s. As a journalist, I feel obligated to hold those people accountable. Shining light on communities plagued by darkness and creating positive change in them is what I do now, will do in the future and will do for a living for many years to come.”