Four graduate students working on master’s degrees to improve their skills as journalism teachers and school media advisers will each receive one of this year’s $1,000 Future Teacher Scholarships from the national Journalism Education Association.
The awards recipients are Amy Beare, Katie Comeford, Kelsey Jackson and Lindsey Ross.
Karen Flowers, JEA’s 2015 Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award winner, served as judge.
Beare teaches print, Web and broadcasting journalism and philosophy in literature at Mountain View (California) High School and advises student media there. Although she regrets being unaware of her own high school’s student newspaper, she says her current experience has made her “an ardent supporter of scholastic media.”
Flowers related to the part of Beare’s essay that described her agreeing to take the position as adviser: “How hard could it be? After all, I had read newspapers all my life.” Beare is finishing up her master’s degree for journalism educators in the Kent (Ohio) State University online program.
Comeford impressed Flowers with her motivation – building a program at Phoenix Military Academy, a Chicago public high school with a 100 percent low poverty rate. In the six years she has been there, she has helped her students produce five yearbooks, something that hadn’t existed before she arrived, and now is two years into advising the student news website.
She had never taken a journalism class, but was able to participate in the ASNE Reynolds Institute and then began her master’s degree coursework at Kent State University in the summer of 2014. Now she has two honors journalism courses and three Journalism I courses.
Jackson’s minor in communication, something she took to make her more “marketable,” did just that, even though she only pictured herself teaching great literature. With 15 credit hours of communication classes, she landed a job teaching and advising both yearbook and newspaper at Oakwood High School, Dayton, Ohio. Now, a year and a half into a master’s degree program for journalism educators at Kent State University, she’s building on that earlier knowledge. She said she firmly believes her students learn a lot from working in student media.
“What I know now is that journalism not only teaches lessons, but it also requires students to get up, get out and do what they just learned in the real world. This is why I’ve found I love teaching journalism: I watch students use life skills and independent thinking,” Jackson wrote in her essay. Her letters of recommendation describe how she pushes her students to keep improving, Flowers said.
As a high school senior, Ross was yearbook copy editor, which, she said on her application, “inspired me to study journalism in college.” A five-year adviser, Ross is beginning her second year at Gardner Edgerton High School in Gardner, Kansas, where she advises the yearbook and newspaper in addition to teaching 21st Century Journalism.
She began working on her master’s degree at Kent State University to gain new knowledge and skills to become “a more well-rounded and knowledgeable educator who can pass her skills on to young journalists and just maybe inspire them to become advisers as well,” she wrote in her essay.
Flowers said both letters of recommendation praised Ross for being a dedicated teacher, especially good at working one-on one with students.