3 Virginia college students awarded summer journalism fellowships

Two students at Virginia Commonwealth University and one at the University of Richmond have been named 2022 summer newsroom fellows by the Virginia SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation.

Anna Chen, a rising senior at VCU, was selected as the 2022 George A. Bowles Jr. Fellow, named for the late Virginia broadcast journalist. It is the top award in the foundation’s annual summer fellowship competition. 

For the second consecutive year, Josephine Walker, who graduated from VCU this spring, received a fellowship. The third recipient was Natasha Sokoloff, a rising senior at the University of Richmond.

Anna Chen

Chen, of Richmond, Va., is a mass communication major focusing on digital journalism and a minor in English and creative writing. She has worked for VCU Capital News Service covering health issues. 

As audience editor of VCU’s student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times, Chen managed social media accounts and facilitated recruitment and engagement. She has also worked at VCU’s Writing Center, where she coaches other students in writing for their academic work. 

She is a member and officer of Society of Professional Journalists, VCU Student Chapter. 

She will spend this summer as an intern reporter with The Progress-Index newspaper in Petersburg, Va.

Josephine Walker

Walker, of Centreville, Va., graduated from VCU this spring with a B.S. in mass communications (broadcast journalism) and B.A. in political science (U.S. government and politics.) 

Walker is the first student to win a second scholarship or fellowship from the foundation. She won the 2021 Bowles Fellowship and, concurrently, was a National Association of Black Journalists Summer News Fellow at NBCUniversal, working for “Meet the Press.” 

In 2022, she will be an intern at Bloomberg News in New York. 

As a reporter for VCU Capital News Service, she wrote bylined stories on the Virginia General Assembly that appeared in the Washington Post, Associated Press and Richmond Times-Dispatch. In the fall, she will enroll as a journalism graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Natasha Sokoloff

Sokoloff, of Huntington Beach, Calif., is a double major in journalism and leadership studies. In addition to her foundation summer fellowship, Sokoloff previously received the university’s Joseph E. Nettles Scholarship for Journalism

She has worked for the University of Richmond Capital News Service as a team leader and staff writer covering the Virginia legislature and served as news editor of UR’s student newspaper, The Collegian

She will spend summer 2022 as an intern with Magenta Florence, an English-language news and entertainment publication in Florence, Italy.

About the fellowship

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

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.

 You can make a donation by mailing a check (payable to Va. SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation) to:

     Brian Eckert 
     VSSEF Treasurer 
     2701 River Oaks Dr. 
     Midlothian, VA 23113

Donations are tax-deductible, and 100 percent of donations go toward the foundation’s journalism education programs.

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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