Four students working to better their journalism and teaching skills are this year’s recipients of the Future Journalism Teacher Scholarships. Each will receive $1,000 from the national Journalism Education Association to help them earn their degrees.
The award recipients are Carissa Rapp, online journalism educator master’s degree program, Kent (Ohio) State University; Ari Karpel, master of teaching program, Bard College, Los Angeles; Tucker Love, senior in secondary education/journalism, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas; and Andrew Disinger, senior in journalism education at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.
Carissa “Carrie” Rapp, St. Louis, started her career as an English teacher but the position included advising the yearbook. She said she didn’t realize what she was getting herself into, but after four years as the “Spirit” adviser, she’s hooked. “I love the interaction and relationships I am able to build with my students,” Rapp said in her application. “I also enjoy helping these students build their journalistic skills, skills that transfer to many other aspects of life, and helping them pursue a career in journalism.”
Ari Karpel, Los Angeles, was a writer and editor for Entertainment Weekly magazine and a frequent freelancer for such publications as Fast Company and The New York Times. He said in his application he had “visions of leading deep classroom discussions on Melville and Ftizgerald.” But his experience in an “under-resourced” East LA public school teaching mostly low-income immigrants achieving well below grade level made him rethink his approach and use journalism and media literacy skills to engage them. He said they are reluctant speakers, “but when they are empowered to express themselves, [these] students have plenty to say.”
Tucker Love, Merriam, Kansas, says he “fell in love with yearbooks” when he was a high school freshman. He credits his high school adviser Becky Tate at Shawnee Mission North High School, Overland Park, Kansas, with helping “the quiet, polite and awkward 15-year-old I was” become a confident designer. Love went to Kansas City Art Institute but soon discovered he missed storytelling and really wanted to be a teacher. Love said he saw the “role Tate and numerous other teachers played in my development. Now, I want to pay it forward. I want to listen to and encourage students to be successful, through journalism.”
Andrew Disinger, Boonville, Indiana, enjoyed his high school student media work and started his college career as a telecommunications major. In spring 2016, he switched to journalism education. “The excitement and determination that I saw in him was evidence enough that he was serious and committed to this major change, regardless of how much time it would add to his studies at Ball State,” wrote Brian Hayes, MJE, Ball State’s journalism education program coordinator, in his letter of recommendation. He also noted Disinger’s concern about media literacy and the need for multimedia stories that resonate with young audiences. Disinger wrote in his application, “The profession of journalism is falling under attack in our country today. I want to equip my students to not only succeed in their own careers, but also help end the negative stigma that journalism has developed.”
Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE and JEA past president, chairs this scholarship committee. Those who selected the recipients this year were Vanessa Shelton, recently retired director of Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists, and two former recipients of the award — Adam Maksl, CJE, assistant professor of journalism and student media adviser at Indiana University Southeast, and Maggie Cogar, CJE, professional instructor and student media adviser at Ashland University.
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.