NAJA awards $50,000 in total scholarships to five Indigenous journalism students
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Native American Journalists Association partnered with the Facebook Journalism Project to establish the NAJA Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship in 2018 to support quality journalism that strengthens and connects communities. For the 2020-2021 school year, NAJA will award five scholarships of $10,000 each to Indigenous students pursuing careers in media.
- Taylor Bennett-Begaye, Diné, University of Denver in Colorado
- Chad Locklear, Lumbee / Tuscarora, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
- Thomas Manglona, Northern Mariana Islands, Stanford University
- Miranda Stiles, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma State University
- Zane Gosaduisga Meyer-Thornton, Cherokee Nation, Western Kentucky University
The 2020 NAJA-Facebook Scholarship recipients were announced via livestream on the NAJA Facebook page hosted by NAJA Education Committee member and Native American Journalism Fellowship mentor Darren Brown (Cochiti Pueblo) on Friday, July 10 at 10 a.m. CST.
NAJA will award a total of $250,000 in scholarships through the Facebook Journalism Project. Students that applied but were not selected in 2020 are encouraged to re-apply in the future.
Scholarships are one way NAJA supports Indigenous journalism at every stage of members’ careers. NAJA student members can also apply for the annual Native American Journalism Fellowship, NBC News Summer Internships and other training opportunities throughout the year.
Taylor is full Diné (Navajo) and her hometown is nestled in the northwest corner of New Mexico where she graduated from Kirtland Central High School in May 2011. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication graphic design and minored in sociocultural anthropology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in April 2016. Prior to that, she graduated from Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, with her associate degree in digital arts and the general studies program in May 2013. Since obtaining her degrees, she has worked with local elementary schools as a substitute teacher and coach for girl’s high school soccer. Starting in Fall 2020, she will attend the University of Denver in Colorado to obtain her Master of Arts in media and public communication.
Chad is enrolled in the Lumbee tribe and also has Tuscarora ancestry. He is a writer, graphic designer and marketing specialist. He is the director of marketing for the Givens Performing Arts Center at UNC Pembroke. Over the last two years, he has worked as a co-founder of the Lumbee Film Festival. In 2015, Chad organized the 4th River People Music Festival, which highlighted local and national American Indian musicians. He also performed at numerous venues as a member of the traditional Native group, the Deer Clan Singers. His previous work was at UNC Wilmington and the Fayetteville Observer. Chad double majored in mass communication and art studies at North Carolina State University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in digital communications at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism & Media.
Thomas is a journalist from Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands with experience in regional and local newsrooms and a body of work comprised of print, radio, television, and digital mediums. He is a recent University of California-Berkeley alumni and incoming journalism graduate student at Stanford University. He is passionate about telling stories from and for Oceania.
Miranda is Muscogee (Creek) and a senior at Oklahoma State University, majoring in multimedia journalism and strategic communication with a minor in business marketing. She comes from the small town of Paden, Oklahoma. She is involved with O’ State TV, the Association for Women in Sports Media, and the Daily O’. Last summer, she had the opportunity to intern with Tyler Media and News on 6 in Oklahoma. She also completed the Native American Journalism Fellowship last fall through the Native American Journalists Association. When she’s not at school, she loves hanging out with family, traveling and meeting new people.
Zane Gosaduisga Meyer-Thornton
Zane (Cherokee Nation) is a visual journalist currently living in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There, he attends Western Kentucky University and is pursuing a degree in photojournalism with a minor in sociology, which he will complete by May 2022. He believes visuals are the most effective and immediate way to transfer and receive messages, and wants to use this power to document the world’s joys, sorrows, and complex issues. He knows none of what he does would be possible without individuals giving him a glimpse into their reality. For that, he promises to always show them accurately depicted with pure authenticity.