Don Watkins Memorial Scholarship winners announced

By Melissa McGrath

Every year, the Idaho Press Club awards $2,000 or more in scholarships to working journalists and future journalists. It’s all a part of the Don Watkins Memorial Scholarship Program.

We gather applications from across the state and award a $1,500 scholarship to one Idaho high school graduate who is currently pursuing his or her career in journalism or communications in college.

We also award a $500 Mid-Career Scholarship to any Press Club member who will use the money toward a project or professional development opportunity that will improve the working press in Idaho.

This year, we received several great applications, but two stood out among the rest to our panel of judges.

Lacey Larson won the student scholarship. She is studying communications at BYU-Idaho and set to graduate at the end of this calendar year. Right now, she is working for a local magazine telling the stories of those who have experienced strokes and how they are recovering, profiling BYU-Idaho’s president, and introducing the community to the personalities behind an improv company, among other news clips she shared with us.

Bridget Ryder is a reporter at the Teton Valley News. She took home several awards at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2012 Annual Awards Banquet this year, including 3rd Place in Rookie of the Year. But next year could be an even bigger adventure for Ryder. Teton County is home to one of Idaho’s largest Hispanic communities, so as a reporter for the Valley News, she says she covers one side of the immigration story. With help from the Don Watkins’s Mid-Career Scholarship, Ryder plans to travel to Tlaxcala, Mexico, and cover the other side of the story: the side south of the Rio Grande. Ryder will detail her travels and lessons for fellow journalists in an upcoming edition of the Communicator.

The Idaho Press Club awards these two scholarships every year. Details about each scholarship are available on our website at Scholarship entries are due February 15 each year.

Melissa McGrath is the public information officer for the Idaho State Department of Education, and is the secretary of the Idaho Press Club Board.