Marian University senior communications and public relations major Shana Risby has been named one of 20 recipients of the 2020 ProPublica Diversity Scholarship.
Risby, who also minors in psychology, was among 250 applicants, and will receive a $750 scholarship to attend a conference hosted by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
“Receiving this recognition and the opportunity to attend NABJ will give me the chance to take my ability to write as a journalist to the next level,” Risby said. “The coolest thing about attending this conference is that I’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are also striving for success.”
In her first year at Marian, Risby played a pivotal role in the reinstatement of the Black Student Union. Starting as its public relations coordinator, she now leads the organization as president.
Last summer she worked with WXYZ-TV Detroit news anchor Carolyn Clifford as a news intern, and she has conducted research on beauty standards in mainstream media and the effects they have on African American women. Her goal is to work as an investigative journalist focusing on racial issues and mental health.
“When I get out into the world I hope I can change the false narratives being depicted in today’s media, and I feel like being a journalist can help me do that,” Risby said. “I have witnessed too many stories about people of color being told from only one point of view. As a journalist I will have many opportunities to help change people’s perspectives, and attending NABJ will help me gain the tools needed for me to achieve that goal.”
ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom, works to increase the diversity of the broader journalism community, and the scholarship program is part of its ongoing efforts to help make it easier for journalists from underrepresented communities to attend educational conferences.