This past Saturday, alumni of UNC’s Chuck Stone Program for Diversity and Education in Media met for the 2nd Annual Alumni Luncheon. Since it began in 2007, the Chuck Stone program has sent more than 90 rising high school seniors to a week-long journalism wokrshop at Carolina. About 18 of those participants currently attend UNC, most of which are in the journalism school. The workshop teaches students about what studying journalism in college is like and sends them on reporting assignments, all while compiling the program’s annual publication, The Mix (the 2008 edition, which I contributed to, is here).
During Saturday’s luncheon, I was recognized as one of the participants who would be graduating this year. It’s hard to put into just a couple words how profound of an impact the program had on my college career. I truly don’t think I would have gotten into UNC if it wasn’t for the Chuck Stone Program, and the opportunities I have had over the past four years because I was a Chuck Stone participant have only enhanced my college experience.
In the summer of 2008, I was just a 16-year-old who knew she wanted to pursue a college degree in journalism and could only dream of attending UNC-Chapel Hill. Before the program, I already had my eyes set on the university even though my counselors told me it would be my “reach school”. When I found out I had been accepted to the Chuck Stone program, I cried! My dream only grew as I learned from j-school professors and professionals during the course of the program. And of course, the UNC’s campus speaks for itself and I quickly fell head over heels. I remember telling my mom my heart was bleeding Carolina blue after only a couple days. If you know me well, you know how madly in love I am with this university and it all began at the Chuck Stone program.
Not only did the program provide excellent insight into studying journalism in college, but it created the foundations of a professional network. I was lucky enough to attend the program with 12 ladies from across the country. Although I haven’t kept in touch with all of them, Chuck Stone has helped to establish a network of intelligent men and women from each workshop who have similar career goals that I can reach out to. Additionally the program coordinators have done more than I could have possibly asked over the past five years and will be great contacts in the future as well!
Thank you to professor Napoleon Byars, professor Queenie Byars, Monica Hill, Chuck Stone and all of those who have contributed to this wonderful program! It has made a significant impact not only on my college career, but in my future journalism career. If you know any rising high school seniors interested in journalism, encourage them to apply here. In the future, I can’t wait to watch the alumni program grow and hopefully give back to the program that has given me so much!