Scholarship Aid Announced For Aspiring Journalists

Three aspiring journalists at Washington, D.C.-area universities have been selected to receive financial assistance for the 2021-22 academic year from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation (SDX/DC). Two of the students will be receiving SDXDC scholarships totaling $9,000 and a third student will be receiving $2,000 to help cover tuition costs.

The financial aid announced on April 26 is funded by donations from members of the Washington, D.C. Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ-DC), support from the Gridiron Club and Foundation, and individual gifts to SDX/DC from journalism education advocates.

One student from the University of Maryland and another from Marymount University were selected by a committee of journalists from a pool of area students who applied for the scholarships. Based on their applications, finalists were interviewed by the panel and questioned about their aspirations, journalism ethics, the First Amendment and related topics.

Also interviewed was a graduate student at the University of Maryland who has been paying his way through school by freelancing news stories and holding down part-time jobs and internships in Maryland and D.C.

“Journalism needs well-trained practitioners today, more than ever,” said SDX/DC foundation President Reginald Stuart, in announcing the selections. “We hope the students we have selected will be able use this financial aid to reach their aspirations to continue helping our society appreciate and understand the value of a strong free press.”

The 2021-22 SDX/DC Scholars are:

  • Amanda Hernandez, who will be a junior at the University of Maryland. She is working on a double major – Multiplatform Journalism, with a focus on investigative projects, and Information Science, specializing in data science. She will be receiving the SDXDC/B.J. Cutler Gridiron Scholarship and the Ira R. Allen Award. Her scholarship totals $6,000.
  • David Moreno, who will be a senior at Marymount University in northern Virginia. He is majoring in Communication and plans to work in broadcast journalism. His scholarship totals $3,000.

Also receiving financial assistance from the SDXDC Foundation is:

  • Gabriel Pietrorazio, who will be in his second year of studies for a masters degree in journalism. He received a BA in political science and American Studies from Hobart College in 2020. He is being granted $2,000.

The scholarship awarded to Hernandez is funded by the Washington Gridiron Club in recognition of veteran journalist B.J. Cutler, who spent years with the Scripps-Howard Newspapers and international Herald Tribune and served for years as a member of the Gridiron Club and Foundation.

The scholarship awarded Hernandez includes a $1,500 award given annually by past SDXDC scholarship recipient Ira R. Allen. His award is designated for a University of Maryland student focused on reporting and writing for print and digital media.

Scholarship recipients also are offered free mentoring by veteran journalists affiliated with SDXDC.

In addition to Scholarship Committee Interim Chair John C. Henry and Stuart, Scholarship Committee members for 2018-19 were SDX/DC board members Darlene Superville, Frank Quine, Amy Fickling and Evelyn Hsu.

SDX/DC is a non-profit journalism foundation founded more than 50 years ago by the Washington, D.C. Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, now the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) of Washington, D.C.

The foundation was created in 1962 as the non-profit, education arm of the Washington, D.C. Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of journalists founded as Sigma Delta Chi.

The foundation has awarded over 200 scholarships to students with a demonstrated interest in journalism attending colleges and universities in the D.C. area.