3 Virginia college students awarded $1,000 summer journalism fellowships

Two students attending Virginia Commonwealth University and one at the University of Mary Washington have been named 2021 summer newsroom fellows by the Virginia SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation.

Sahara Sririman of Virginia Beach, a sophomore at VCU, was awarded the foundation’s George A. Bowles Fellowship, named for the late Virginia broadcast journalist. Josephine Walker of Centreville, a VCU junior, and Jess Kirby of Springfield, a sophomore at Mary Washington, received foundation fellowships.

Each fellowship includes a $1,000 stipend to support a summer newsroom internship. The funds can be used for any internship-related travel, lodging, supplies and other costs.

Sririman is a double major in mass communications (digital journalism concentration) and political science. At VCU, she is a contributing writer for the student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times. In her fellowship application, she said she wants to “highlight the stories of people who have grown accustomed to being silenced” and “serve as a watchdog for the common good” as a journalist.

Kirby, a sophomore double major in sociology and communication, was recently elected editor-in-chief of UMW’s The Blue & Gray student newspaper. She served as news editor during the 2020-21 academic year. Last summer, she performed an internship at The Springfield (Va.) Connection newspaper.

Walker, a VCU junior, is a mass communication (broadcast concentration) and political science double major. She works as a writer-reporter with Simplified, an Instagram-based online news outlet. She will spend this summer as an NBC-Universal Summer Fellow working for “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.” (Here is a VCU News story about Walker’s internship.) She interned last summer at The Globe Post/The Defense Post news websites.

The foundation has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships and fellowships to more than 90 students attending Virginia colleges and universities since its creation in 1971 by the Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter.

Here is a list of recipients, including bios and photos, over the past 50 years.

Published by SPJ Virginia Pro

SPJ is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.

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