SCSD Alumna Provides College Scholarships to ITC Media StudentsNottingham alumna Natasha Alford is a successful journalist – serving as a Political Analyst for CNN and VP of Digital Content for The Grio.
She’s also giving back – by way of college scholarships to help others from her hometown break into the media industry!
Through the Natasha Alford Scholarship for Aspiring Journalists, three ITC students were selected as the award’s first recipients, each receiving $2,000 to use at their discretion toward classes, equipment, or anything relating to their college journey. The students were all selected for their passion for – and drive to change – the field of journalism.
For Destinyi Fernandez, it was her passion for photography that caught Ms. Alford’s attention.
“I was so impressed with the power of her photos and her passion for connecting audiences,” Ms. Alford shared. “I picture her taking photos for the cover of the New York Times one day!”
Destinyi plans to major in photography and hopes to pursue it as a full-time career – all thanks to being introduced to the art through her school’s media program in her sophomore year of high school.
“As soon as I became introduced to photography, I became truly inspired,” Destinyi explained. “I’m so passionate about the art of photography and the freedom it gives me. Winning this scholarship makes me feel really happy – like Ms. Alford really values what I wrote and saw something in me. It makes me feel proud that she saw that this is a field I’m really going to pursue.”
For Serenity Baxter, it was her observations about local media coverage that earned her the scholarship.
“I was blown away with her personal story – the beauty of her unique identity and how she identified that Syracuse often has stories that are overlooked,” Ms. Alford said.
“The people of Syracuse have so many stories to tell, but the media often overlooks them,” Serenity explained. “I want to be part of telling those stories. It’s my goal to help get underrepresented voices into the media – maybe by way of pursuing some kind of bilingual journalism. It means a lot to me to win this scholarship. Being underrepresented myself, this scholarship will be so helpful to me on my journey!”
Serenity plans to attend Middlebury College, where she intends to focus on Russian Studies and Linguistics – thinking that could open the door to translation opportunities down the road.
And for Nathaniel Teska-Prince, Ms. Alford valued his drive – and his unique view of the media.
“He expressed how he always puts one foot in front of the other when faced with adversity,” Ms. Alford said. “I also loved that he mentioned how he saw media as a canvas and the journalist as a painter.”
“I have a desire to be great at everything I do,” Nathaniel shared. “I had a sports blog at age seven, and I recently started my own graphic design business. This scholarship will help support me in college as I single out specifically what path I want to pursue. To me, it means the world. One of my goals is to make a mark and to be remembered. Receiving this scholarship makes me feel like the work I’ve put in is being noticed and it’s starting to pay off. I am motivated to keep up the great work!”
Nathaniel plans to attend Hobart College where he will study Media Arts.
“My heart was full when I saw how many SCSD students applied to this scholarship,” Ms. Alford said to the students as she announced them as winners. “Reading your stories made me proud to be from Syracuse! I remember being in high school and having so many dreams, but wondering if they were even possible. This scholarship is about more than the money… it’s about creating a direct line to me. You can now say I’m with you on your journey. I come from where you come from. I hope I can affirm that whatever it is that you want to do, it’s possible. This is just the beginning for all of you!”
We’re so proud of Destinyi, Serenity, and Nathaniel on this impressive achievement and we’re thankful to Ms. Alford for her continued support of SCSD students!