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White House Correspondents' Association℠ 2012 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

The first and most important mission of the White House Correspondents' Association℠ is to promote journalism education. This year, thanks to the money raised at this dinner, we will give $132,200 in scholarships to 16 worthy college students, while funding programs for hundreds more in local DC high schools through our partnership with Prime Movers Media.


In 2007, the White House press corps lost a fiercely independent and dedicated journalist: Deborah Orin. For nearly 20 years as the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the New York Post, Deborah epitomized the very best in journalism. Always there with a tough question, an insightful quote, and a hard-hitting story, she brought to her craft the highest standards of excellence.

Deborah Orin began covering New York politics in 1977, and a decade later moved to the nation's capital where she reported on four U. S. presidents. She firmly believed that the media needed a wider political perspective, that a diverse country needs a diverse press. Deb lost her valiant battle with cancer, leaving behind her many friends, her husband, Neville, and colleagues on the White House beat. When she died on January 28, 2007, the
New York Post wrote: "readers will miss her honesty and wisdom."

Thanks to a gift, the WHCA℠ has established the Deborah Orin Scholarship to benefit qualified students at her alma mater, Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Two students will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, allowing them to pursue the craft Deborah Orin practiced every day. We will miss her voice. But this scholarship will allow a new generation of journalists to strive for Deb's very high standards.

The recipients of this year's Deborah Orin Scholarship are two current students from Medill School of Journalism.

Virginia "Jenna" Barnes, Norfolk, VA

Jenna came to Medill from Boston University, where she earned a degree in Anthropology in 2010. While at BU, Jenna studied abroad in London and interned at the ABC News bureau there. She also served as a student journalist on an Operation Smile medical mission in Lanzhou, China. In addition to working abroad, Jenna interned at WTKR-TV, her hometown CBS affiliate in Norfolk, VA. She's looking forward to one day putting her education and experience to work as a foreign correspondent.

Benjamin Kesling, Lexington, KY

Ben Kesling attended Wabash College as an undergraduate and went on to earn a Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. He then served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps for over six years.During that time he deployed on combat tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a graduate student in journalism at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.


The White House Correspondents' Association℠ supports a student at the Medill School of Journalism through a $5,000 gift toward a post-graduate degree for a student in the Government and Public Affairs reporting track.

David Unger is a graduate student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism concentrating in public affairs reporting. After receiving his bachelor's from Oberlin College in 2007, David wrote for the Evanston RoundTable newspaper and taught English in a small town in Spain. He spent the past two years working at Northwestern University's Center for Civic Engagement where he did web development and coordinated a fellowship program for undergraduates. A native of Evanston, IL, David is now in Washington, DC, participating in Medill's Washington Program.


The White House Correspondents' Association℠ awarded a $5,000 tuition grant in 2011-2012 to Namo Abdullah Azeez of New York.

Namo Abdullah Azeez (Namo Abdulla) is an Iraqi journalist and has reported for top Iraqi and international media outlets. As a freelance correspondent, he has written for The New York Times, Reuters, the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, and IRIN, UN's humanitarian news agency. He was most recently editor-in-chief of the English version of Rudaw, a leading newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan. Rudaw publishes in three languages and has a Europe edition for the expatriate Kurdish community. Although covering Iraq is difficult for journalists, Abdulla has reported in some of the country's most volatile places, such as Baghdad, Kirkuk and Diyala. He has chosen Columbia Journalism School because he believes it will provide him with the best opportunity to reachhis full potential and enable him to take part in the burgeoning media movement in Iraq.


The White House Correspondents' Association℠ scholarship prize is a one-time award of $7000. This year's recipients are three students from Howard University.

Shaquille Brewster, a junior Broadcast Journalism major with a minor in Political Science boasts a 4.0 G.P.A. The political landscape of Washington, DC brought this honors graduate to Howard University from Stratford, CT. His passion for politics sent him to Capitol Hill his freshman year, where he interviewed Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul regarding cuts to Pell grants.This experience led to the creation of; a blog that simplifies and contextualizes politics to disengaged and confused youth.

While a student in high school in Athens, GA, Christina Downs recognized the importance of hands-on training in journalism. She got a head start as Managing Editor of the school's magazine, Odyssey Newsmagazine, managing over 30 staff members, handling copy editing and layout, and managing pressconferences. At Howard University, this junior print journalism major and photography minor is the production managing editor of The Hilltop newspaper.

Los Angeles, CA native Saraya Wintersmith always knew that she wanted to use her writing skills across media platforms. Broadcast Journalism serves as her major with a minor in Afro-American Studies. She is currently a radio broadcast intern with C-SPAN. She has successfully applied her journalism tools as a contributing writer for The Hilltop and District Chronicle newspapers and as a News Intern for WPFW 89.3 radio.


The White House Correspondents' Association℠ supported six graduate students ($2,500 per student) to study in Washington for a semester, as part of the University of Missouri's well-established program. Each student received a
grant of $2,500 and the university waived the balance of the tuition in return.

Ryann Grochowski, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, is a data reporter for Investigative Newsource in San Diego, CA. She received her master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in December 2011, and is a former reporter for The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, PA. She completed her fall 2011 fellowship in the Washington Bureau of Investigative Newsource.

Siyu Hu, from Anhui, China is a master's student in print and digital news at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has worked as a reporter, copy editor and information graphics designer for the Columbia Missourian and is currently interning for the Washington Monthly as a researcher and fact checker.

Jessica Pupovac, from Chicago, IL, is an investigative reporting student in the master's program at the Missouri School of Journalism. Jessica is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, Illinois Issues and In These Times, among other publications. She is currently an investigative reporting interning with NPR's StateImpact project.

Jessica Stephens, from Waldorf, MD, is a copy editor and page designer at the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette in Bluffton, SC. She received her master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in December 2011.This fall she interned at The American Prospect in DC.

Joseph Yerardi, from Newton, MA, is an investigative reporting student in the master's program at the Missouri School of Journalism. He is an investigative reporter and a computer-assisted reporting specialist interning on the CAR desk at The Center for Public Integrity.

Yiqian Zhang, from Yangzhou, China, is a master's student in print and digital news at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is interning as a correspondent for the Spokane Spokesman Review in Washington.


The White House Correspondents' Association℠ supports a student of the University of California, Berkeley through a $ 5,000 gift toward a post-graduate degree for a student in the Government and Public Affairs reporting track.

Jamie Goldberg is a multimedia journalist studying at The Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and earned her political stripes last year covering the San Francisco mayoral race that daunted even veteran journalists. In covering the local scene of San Francisco, Jamie has helped readers gain a better understanding of the obtuse politics of the city. This summer, Jamie will cover national politics as an intern in The Los Angeles Times' Washington Bureau.


The following University of Maryland student will receive a $17,000 scholarship as part of a four year UMD scholarship program by the WHCA℠:

Christian (Chris) Trevino


In memory of Jack Donaldson, the White House Correspondents' Association℠ has established a onetime scholarship fund to subsidize the college education of a student in the Washington, D.C. area with a demonstrated interest in
pursuing a career in journalism. Donaldson, a 12 year-old actor, baseball player and lover of Lego, passed away in September 2011 as the result of a storm-related accident. He is the grandson of Julia Whiston, the association's executive director. The recipient, chosen from a talented pool of applicants with Prime Movers Media, is Angel Brock from McKinley Technology High School, Washington, D.C.

Additionally, an internship at Atlantic Media has been awarded to Shante' Nia Hayes from Chapelgate Christian Academy, Columbia, MD.

Thanks to the generosity of the following donors;

Atlantic Media
Bloomberg LP
Caren Bohan and Jeffry Bartash
Margaret Fogarty
Michael Griffin
Shirley and Edward Henry
Barbara and Norman Knopf
Nancy LeaMond
Mary Lou and Robert McGee
Melamed Foundation
Wall Street Journal
Barbara Whalen
Julia and David Whiston
Belinda Wilborn
Time, Inc.
Thomson Reuters

White House Correspondents' Association℠ PARTNERS WITH GW'S PRIME MOVERS

Prime Movers is an intensive journalism mentoring program based at George Washington University that sends interns from the School of Media and Public Affairs and professional journalists into urban high schools to start and support media programs. This year they are working with 10 DC public high schools.

In 2012, the WHCA℠ dramatically expanded its Prime Movers partnership role, increasing its financial support ($30,000) and more than quadrupling the number of events and correspondent-volunteers.

The 2012 Presidential Election provided a unique opportunity to give young journalists a real-time window into the election and to talk about the journalist's role in political coverage.

Correspondent teams visited students and discussed the latest news in the Republican primaries and White House reactions and campaign plans. Students turned the tables on the reporters, peppering them with questions about the
election and careers in journalism. Beyond these events, newsrooms offered class tours and top Prime Movers' students were invited to four White House Press Briefings. Special thanks to Michael Scherer of TIME, chairman of the Scholarship Committee, who was the chief WHCA℠-volunteer recruiter.

The mission of Prime Movers is to help students understand why journalism is important and why it's imperative to increase diversity in the industry and give voice to their communities.

prime movers
2011 Prime Movers Media (PMM) students Chelsea Green and Aaron Garvin visit the White House briefing room. Photo by Drew Angerer



For additional information about past winners, please visit the SCHOLARSHIP ARCHIVE page.

For more information, contact:
Julie Whiston, Executive Director WHCA, 202.266.7453  (click to send message)
Michael Scherer, TIME Magazine, 202 861.4092

Photo/Mike Theiler

2012 SLIDESHOW - full coverage of the pre-dinner festivities and the scholarship awards presentations. Photos/Mike Theiler



Watch on C-SPAN on Friday, 1:00 pm

White House Correspondents' Association℠ Hosts Scholarship Lunch Washington, DC Friday, April 27, 2012. Students receiving scholarships from the White House Correspondents' Association℠ attend a luncheon where they will hear from a panel of White House reporters and from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Jay Carney, who served in the Vice President's Office before being named Press Secretary, was Time magazine's Washington Bureau Chief from 2005-2008. Moderated by Julie Mason of SiriusXM, the panel will discuss access and transparency in their coverage of the President and includes Jake Tapper of ABC News, Ben Feller of AP, Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal, and Jackie Kucinich of USA Today. Last year, the Correspondents' Association distributed scholarships to 18 students, totaling nearly $100,000, according to its website. The students are undergraduate and graduate students from selected institutions. The White House Correspondents' Association℠ officially announces scholarship recipients at the Annual Dinner, which takes place on Saturday April 28.

The 2011 SLIDESHOW has a number of images of the reception and scholarship presentations.

 link to slideshow
2011 DINNER (link to C-SPAN video)


2010 scholarships




President Bush climbs up on a chair to equalize the height differential between himself and 6' 8" David Rivelli. Photo/The Associated Press


2007 scholarships


For a list of WHCA℠ scholarship recipients since 1991, visit the SCHOLARSHIP ARCHIVE page, which also features links to videos of past dinners and scholarship presentations.



Our 2010 SLIDESHOW features The President and Mrs. Obama, WHCA℠ members, journalism award winners, scholarship recipients, and some familiar faces from Washington and Hollywood. Flash player and a javascript-enabled browser are required to view the slideshow.

slideshow link


slideshow link



Watch WHCA℠ dinner videos dating back to 1993 on C-SPAN.ORG. Footage includes award presentations, scholarships, historical retrospectives, political humor,and some great "people watching" at the annual dinner.



Copyright © 2012 White House Correspondents' Association℠

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