The National Press Club, the world’s leading professional organization for journalists, has chosen Amaya Collier of Austin, Texas, as the winner of its 2023 Julie Schoo Scholarship for Diversity in Journalism. The award for graduating high school seniors totals as much as $20,000 over four years.
Collier, a senior at McCallum High School in Austin, impressed the judges with a broad range of work samples that demonstrated an eagerness to report from the field and talk to a number of people to get the story. As an editor for her school’s paper, The Shield, she’s reported on topics ranging from the “critical race theory” bill, gender inequity, and immigrant food vendors.
“I’ve been raised in a time of intense polarization,” Collier wrote in her application. “I want to be a part of a restorative movement in journalism, building back trust and credibility in the media, and combating the reinforcement of one-sided stories and social division.”
She also participated in a summer program in global reporting for The School for the New York Times: “This reporting experience allowed me to amplify the voices of diverse communities in a big city, feeding my passion for equitable representation.”
Recommendation letters from her teachers praised her work ethic, curiosity, and strength of character.
“The highlights of Amaya’s scholastic newspaper career reveal a person who is committed to reporting on injustice and righting wrongs wherever she finds them,” said Dave Winter, teacher and journalism advisor at McCallum. “She has shown that she can fight the good fight by wielding virtually all of the tools available to a journalist: She is an excellent reporter, a skilled writer, a stellar photographer, and an outstanding cartoonist and illustrator.”
The Julie Schoo Scholarship for Diversity in Journalism provides the recipient $5,000 a year over four years to support academic expenses. Named in memory of the late Julie Schoo, a previous executive director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding high school students who are considering a career in journalism and will help create more inclusive, diverse newsrooms.
“Amaya is a bright student who already has keen insights into the state of journalism,” said Eileen O’Reilly, National Press Club president. “She will be an asset to the National Press Club, and we’re excited to support her in her academic endeavors.”
In addition to funding, scholarship winners are awarded one-year complimentary membership to the National Press Club. National Press Club scholarships are administered by its nonprofit affiliate, the National Press Club Journalism Institute.