2017 Carole Simpson Scholar named

November 14, 2017 11:00

Stephanie Rodriguez, Illinois State University

Stephanie Rodriguez is a senior broadcast journalism major at Illinois State University with minors in Spanish and political science. Stephanie was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and raised in Elgin, IL. Stephanie is the president of the ISU Spanish Club, a news editor at The Vidette newspaper and an anchor and producer at the university’s student-run television station TV-10.

"I grew up in a single-parent Hispanic household never imagining one day thousands of people would listen to my voice or read anything I wrote," Stephanie says, "I decided to become a journalist to help people who, like myself, would never think anyone would care - let alone listen- to what they have to say."

Laura Trendle Polus, TV-10 News Directors, says, "Many times students tell me they don't have time to pursue more than one avenue (TV, radio, newspaper), but Stephanie manages to do three and to overachieve in all of those." She continues that she sees TV stations hurting as graduates with high student debt shy from small- and medium-market station salaries and stress levels, and that it's important to reward and retain students like Stephanie who are truly committeed to broadcast news. 

See some of Stephanie's work: Find Stephanie's website here.

In a career of notable firsts, Carole Simpson has led the way for minorities and women in broadcasting. After beginning her career as a journalism educator, she went on to break barriers and raise social issues as a journalist. Simpson was the first woman broadcast news in Chicago, the first African American woman to anchor a network TV evening newscast, and the first minority woman to solo moderate a presidential debate. She retired from ABC News in 2006 to become Leader-in-Residence at Emerson College's School of Communications in Boston. Her memoir, NewsLady, was published in 2010. Carole Simpson is a former RTDNF trustee and the 1996 recipient of the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award in recognition of her work to protect First Amendment Freedoms. She established the Carole Simpson Scholarship to encourage and help minority students to overcome hurdles along their career path in electronic journalism. The recipient of the Carole Simpson Scholarship receives $2,000 and an invitation to the Excellence in Journalism conference.

Meet all the 2017 RTDNF Scholarship &Fellowship winners.
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