JEA awards 2 Future Journalism Teacher Scholarships
By Candace Perkins Bowen
Two students — one in an alternative teacher preparation program to transition from the newsroom to the classroom and the other planning to finish his undergraduate studies in 2021 — are this year’s recipients of the Future Journalism Teacher Scholarships. Each will receive $1,000 from the Journalism Education Association to help them earn their degrees.
The award recipients are Michael Lewis, student in education at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, and Aric D. Fulton Jr., senior in journalism education at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.
Lewis, with 25-plus years as a reporter and editor, plans to enter his first classroom as a teacher next fall. His reason for entering the Morningside Teacher Intern Program included his belief in the increasing importance of journalism teachers.
In his application, he wrote, “Nowadays, everyone with a social media account and a smartphone camera is a journalist. It’s up to journalism teachers to instill a sense of responsibility in this army of amateurs — to do the legwork, to verify before publishing or broadcasting, to be accurate and fair.”
A former colleague saw qualities of a good teacher in him before he made the switch.
“Mike is a skilled editor who can find holes in stories or make suggestions to reporters to help improve their copy,” said Jim Jenkins, former Sioux City Journal news editor. “I saw him check facts with writers many times at the Journal and sometimes challenge them to be sure the story was accurate. And, he did that in a matter-of-fact way that reporters appreciated rather than resented. I believe he would work with students in the classroom in much the same way.”
Fulton wrote in his application that he hears plenty of negative reactions when he says he plans to teach journalism.
“Despite the mixed reaction of others, it is not the competition nor the salary that I find discouraging,” he said. “It is the lack of diversity and marginalized voices.”
He wrote he plans to help students be aware of social inequities and to use their storytelling skills to make a difference.
Recently retired Ball State faculty member Kim Green, MJE, wrote in her recommendation, “Aric Fulton is going places with his balance of brains and heart. He will make a life-changing teacher we would all be proud to call ‘colleague’.” He will earn his bachelor’s degree in May 2021, although he is already taking master’s-level courses.
Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE, JEA past president, chairs this scholarship committee. Those who selected the recipients this year were Susan Tantillo, MJE, past JEA board member and adjunct university journalism instructor, and former recipient of the scholarship Maggie Cogar, MJE, 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, promoting professionalism, encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.