Press Releases


April 16, 2017   |   Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe Ste. 300, Austin TX 78751
BWS Fund Co-chairs: Elaine Davenport and Jorjanna Price

Scholarship Fund Announces 2017 Winners

AUSTIN—The Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund has awarded scholarships to two budding journalists and one creative writer—all students at Texas State University. The awards mark 27 years of supporting journalists and writers. Since 1990 the Fund has distributed more than $65,000 to up-and-coming reporters, writers and authors. Each year $1,500 scholarships go to student journalists and to writers who are age 40 or older.

The fund’s namesake, Bess W. Scott, is known for blazing a trail for women in journalism by writing hard news and screenplays and working in public relations. In 1915, she persuaded a reluctant editor to hire her as the first woman news reporter at the Houston Post. At age 99, she published her autobiography, You Meet Such Interesting People. The Bess W. Scott Fund is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation.

The 2017 winners are:

Scott Journalism Scholarships
Denver Donchez, 27, of San Marcos is a senior at Texas State University, majoring in journalism and minoring in women’s studies. She has worked two full-time jobs while putting herself through school—all while maintaining at 4.0 grade average. Donchez says her goal is “to be an advocate for the socially marginalized individuals who feel that they have no voice.”

Darcy Sprague, 20, has known since high school she wanted a career as a writer. The junior at Texas State University has had several journalism internships, including Austin Woman magazine, and this year traveled to Nicaragua to cover poverty and health issues as part of a study abroad program. Sprague says she would like to work for a nonprofit and cover humanitarian crises. She is from Elgin.

Scott Scribes Scholarship (40 or older)
Audrey Webb, 56, of Pflugerville is a graduate student in dramatic writing at Texas State University. She is working toward a Master of Fine Arts and wants to “apply my artistic abilities to the creation of dramatic works that provide not only entertainment but a fresh look at social situations that affect us all.” One of her plays was selected for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Webb previously worked as a reporter, copy editor, marketing writer and editor.

Media contact:
Jorjanna Price
512-444-4950
jprice67@austin.rr.com

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March 23, 2016   |   Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe Ste. 300, Austin TX 78751
BWS Fund Co-chairs: Elaine Davenport and Jorjanna Price

Writers Singled Out for Scholarships

AUSTIN—Supporting writers and student journalists for 26 years, the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund announces three winners for 2016. Two college journalism majors and one writer in the age 40 or older category have each won $1,500 scholarships. These awards bring the total funds dispersed since 1991 to more than $60,000.

In a career that spanned the 20th century, Bess W. Scott blazed a trail for women in journalism by writing hard news and screenplays and working in public relations. In 1915, she persuaded a reluctant editor to hire her as the first woman reporter at the Houston Post. In 1989, at age 99, she published her autobiography, You Meet Such Interesting People. Scott continued as a working writer until she was 100. The Bess W. Scott Fund is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation.

The 2016 winners are:

Scott Journalism Scholarships
Rae Jefferson, 21, is majoring in journalism at Baylor University with a minor in film and digital media. She has worked as copy desk chief at the campus paper, The Lariat, and as staff writer at the San Antonio Express News. After graduation in 2016, she plans to pursue a career in public relations for a nonprofit. Jefferson is from Houston.

Anna Herod, 19, is a journalism major at Texas State University in San Marcos with a passion for politics. She has worked as a reporter and editor at the campus newspaper, the University Star, and as an intern-reporter at the Hays Free Press. After graduation in 2017, Herod plans to pursue a career as a newspaper reporter. She is from Burleson.

Scott Scribes Scholarship
Jan Tomas, 76, is a former high school journalism teacher who now writes fiction and nonfiction from her home in Wimberley. In a career that began in the 1960s, Tomas has written for the Hartford Courant and the San Angelo Standard Times and worked as a copy editor at the The Monitor in McAllen. Tomas plans to use the scholarship money to attend various writing workshops, crafting both fiction and nonfiction.

Media contact:
Jorjanna Price
512-444-4950
jprice67@austin.rr.com

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March 31, 2015   |   Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe Ste. 300, Austin TX 78751
BWS Fund Co-chairs: Elaine Davenport and Jorjanna Price

Scholarship Fund Celebrates 25th Anniversary
with 3 Scholarships for Writers

AUSTIN—Marking 25 years of scholarship support for writers and student journalists, the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund has announced three winners for 2015. Receiving scholarships of $1,500 each are two college journalism majors and one writer in the “40 and older” category.

This year’s awards bring the Fund’s total outlay to $57,800. The first scholarship was granted in 1991 in honor of Bess W. Scott, a pioneering woman in newspapers, advertising and teaching. During World War I, Scott talked her way into the Houston Post city room and became the first woman to cover news stories. She was still a working writer when she reached the age of 100. The Bess W. Scott Fund is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation.

The 2015 winners are:

Bess W. Scott Journalism Scholarships ($1,500 each):
Maleesa Johnson, 20, of Baylor University is a journalism major with an interest in world affairs. She has worked at the Baylor Lariat campus newspaper as copy editor, news editor and currently copy desk chief. Johnson, of Round Rock, expects to graduate in May 2016 and pursue work as a reporter or editor.

Kristen Watson, 20, is majoring in journalism at the University of North Texas with a concentration in photography. In addition to her studies, she is a photography intern at the Denton Record-Chronicle. After graduating in December 2016, Watson wants to land a job with a newspaper or a photo agency. She is from Waxahachie.

Scott Scribes Scholarship for 40 and older ($1,500):
Sonia Natalka, 41, of Austin is studying creative writing at Austin Community College. Her goal is to earn an associate’s degree and enroll in Texas State University to pursue a master’s in fine arts. She says she wants to teach and write fiction. She has lived in Canada and taught English in Ukraine and Poland.

Media contact:
Jorjanna Price
512-444-4950
jprice67@austin.rr.com

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March 26, 2014   |   Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe Ste. 300, Austin TX 78751
BWS Fund Co-chairs: Elaine Davenport and Jorjanna Price

$3,000 in Writing Scholarships Announced

AUSTIN—A longtime rock and roll drummer pursuing a creative writing degree and a Texas State University senior who aspires to do investigative reporting are the 2014 winners of scholarships for writers and journalists.

The annual scholarships of $1,500 each are awarded by the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund. This year marks 24 years and $53,500 in assistance to individuals studying writing. The BWS Fund is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation.

The scholarships celebrate the legacy of Bess Whitehead Scott, a pioneering woman journalist who lived to be 107 and published her memoir, You Meet Such Interesting People, in her late 90s. Scott worked as a reporter, teacher and in public relations. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994.

The Bess Whitehead Scott scholarship winners are:

Barry Maxwell, Austin Community College
Scott Scribes Award (for ages 40 and older)
After a long career playing in Austin bands and working as a handy man, Maxwell, 53, earned a GED and enrolled at Austin Community College in 2011. He is one semester shy of an associate’s degree in creative writing. His work has been published in the ACC literary journal, The Rio Review, and in the online journal, Pithead Chapel. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Maxwell says the scholarship is both a financial boost and validation of hard work. “The gift of this award encourages me to continue to write, to pursue my studies, and it affirms my conviction that goals aren’t merely dreams, but may actually be achieved—even with a late start!”

Jordan Gass-Pooré, Texas State University-San Marcos
Scott Journalism Award

Looking back, 23-year-old Gass-Pooré says she knew at a young age she wanted to be a journalist. “The moment I laid my hands on a newspaper and my fingers were stained with black ink . . . I was hooked.”

At Texas State, Gass-Pooré has been a writer and editor for the University Star newspaper and reporter at KTSW radio station. She was also managing editor of the university’s Persona Literary Magazine. Off campus, Gass-Pooré has worked for several publications as a reporter and intern, including the Texas Tribune, Austin American-Statesman and The Austin Chronicle.

She wants to practice investigative journalism and eventually live in Spain, writing for bilingual publications.

Media contact:
Jorjanna Price
512-444-4950
jprice67@austin.rr.com

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March 26, 2013   |   Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe Ste. 300, Austin TX 78751
BWS Fund Co-chairs: Elaine Davenport and Jorjanna Price

$3,500 in Writing Scholarships Announced

AUSTIN—The Bess W. Scott Scholarship Fund has announced three scholarship recipients for 2013: a Texas State University student and two writers 40 or older.

Since 1991, the Bess W. Scott Scholarship Fund has distributed $47,000 in scholarships. One annual scholarship goes to an upper-level journalism student, while another benefits writers age 40 or older. The fund is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation.

Bess Scott was a pioneer in Texas journalism. She was the first woman hired as a news reporter at the Houston Post, and later worked in the fields of teaching and advertising. She published her memoir, “You Meet Such Interesting People,” in her nineties. Scott was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994, and died three years later at age 107.

The 2013 scholarship winners are:

Lindsay Medina, a junior at Texas State University in San Marcos
Medina, 20, receives the Bess Scott Journalism Scholarship ($1,500). She says she has known since age 16 she wanted to become a journalist. At Texas State, she has been a news reporter for the University Star campus paper. Medina, a journalism major from San Antonio, says she plans to earn a second degree in communications design. She will graduate in 2014.

Kathleen Floyd of Wichita Falls
Floyd, 50, was tapped for the Scott Scribes Scholarship for Ages 40 and Older ($1,500). She works at Midwestern State University and is a freelance writer. Floyd says she was 39 when she became a college graduate (from MSU). She has written for several Texas newspapers and the U.S. Postal Service headquarters. Floyd plans to use her scholarship to earn a certificate of narrative journalism at the University of North Texas.

Nicole Cortichiato of Austin
Cortichiato, 40, was singled out for the Scott Scribes Merit Award ($500). The author of two children’s books, she has also served as an art educator and a spokesperson for people with disabilities. Cortichiato says she will likely use the merit award to attend a writing workshop.

Media contact:
Jorjanna Price
512-444-4950
jprice67@austin.rr.com

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March 26, 2012   |   Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe Ste. 300, Austin TX 78751
BWS Fund Co-chairs: Elaine Davenport and Jorjanna Price

Winners Selected for
2012 Writing Scholarships

AUSTIN—A student journalist who has her eye on becoming a foreign correspondent and an award-winning high school journalism teacher have been named recipients of $1,500 scholarships.

The scholarships are awarded annually by the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund, which is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation. Since 1991, the Fund has distributed almost $44,000 in scholarships to 41 individuals.

The scholarships are designed for an upper-level journalism student and a writer age 40 or older who is making a career change.

The scholarship program is named for Bess Whitehead Scott, who was one of the pioneering women in Texas journalism. She was the first woman hired as a news reporter at the Houston Post, and went on to find success in the fields of teaching and advertising. Her memoir, “You Meet Such Interesting People,” was published in her nineties. Scott was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994, and died three years later at age 107.

The 2012 Bess Whitehead Scott scholarship winners are:

Zahra Farah, Texas State University in San Marcos
Farah, 20, receives the Bess Whitehead Scott Journalism Scholarship. The junior from San Antonio is working toward a major in journalism and a minor in international studies. As a first-generation Somali-American, she plans to pursue a career in foreign and investigative journalism. She also has attended San Antonio College where she was editor of the Ranger, a weekly newspaper, and spent a summer at the San Antonio Express-News.

“I believe good journalism can change the world,” Farah says. “I also feel we need more transparency with our government and corporations in hopes of better informing the public.”

LaJuana Hale, University of North Texas in Denton
Hale, 46, wins the Scott Scribes Scholarship for Ages 40 and Older. The Flower Mound resident is a high school journalism and creative writing teacher in Lewisville ISD. Her students at Marcus High School have won numerous state and national awards. Hale previously was an oral history writer for the city of Lewisville and a freelance writer. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and is studying for a Master’s of Journalism. Her goal is to teach journalism and English at the college level.

“I want to teach college and complete a literary nonfiction book I’ve been writing,” Hale says. “I taught college briefly before I took my current job, and I’ve always wanted to return when I had time to continue my education.”

Media contact:
Jorjanna Price
512-444-4950
jprice67@austin.rr.com

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April 11, 2011   |   Writers’ League of Texas

Four Winners Selected for
20th Year of Bess Whitehead Scott
Writing Scholarships

AUSTIN—Celebrating 20 years of helping students achieve educational goals, the Writers’ League of Texas has awarded $6,000 in scholarships among four recipients. The selections were made by the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Committee.

The diverse group of scholarship recipients includes a veteran reporter attempting a comeback after a newsroom layoff, a manager and bartender at one of Austin’s premier live music venues, and two Baylor University students.

The League’s scholarships were founded in 1991 to honor Bess Whitehead Scott, a pioneering journalist who in 1915 landed a reporting job at the Houston Post for $6 a week. Her decades-long career in reporting, teaching, and public relations culminated in 1994 when she was elected to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame at age 104.

In 20 years, the scholarship program has made 41 scholarship awards for a total of $44,000 in financial assistance. This year’s winners receive $1,500 each.

Scott Scribes Scholarships for Ages 40 and Older

Elizabeth Langton — University of North Texas, Denton
After the Dallas Morning News terminated her reporter position in 2009, Elizabeth Langton, 40, of Plano returned to her alma mater, the University of North Texas in Denton. She is now pursuing a master’s degree, studying narrative non-fiction at the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. Langton also covered courts, crime and education at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, winning numerous Texas Associated Press awards. She is also a certified fire journalist, completing 40 hours of training from the Lubbock Fire Department.

Kellie Salome — St. Edward’s University, Austin
While managing and bartending at Austin’s venerable Continental Club, Salome earned two associate’s degrees at Austin Community College, one in human services and one in creative writing. She wrote for and edited the student publication, The Rio Review. The 46-year-old former Albuquerque resident is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and rhetoric. After graduation, she plans to tackle a master’s of fine arts in creative writing and possibly teach at the university level.

Journalism Scholarships

Nick Dean — Baylor University, Waco
The Baylor junior, 20, has filled three positions at the student newspaper, The Lariat—reporting, editing and now editor in chief. He launched the paper’s blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts. After graduation, the journalism and political science major from Taylor wants to work in Washington, D.C., as a reporter covering federal courts. Dean also aspires to attend law school, focusing on the First Amendment. He has won several Texas Collegiate Press Association Awards.

Caitlin Giddens — Baylor University, Waco
Giddens, 20, is an editor at the university’s yearbook, The Round Up, where she designs pages, writes features and works in advertising. Giddens also writes for the Lariat student newspaper. The sophomore journalism and creating writing major from Tyler has written for a local magazine and newspaper in East Texas. She has been involved in journalism since her sophomore year in high school. After graduation, she aspires to a master’s in journalism and to work as an international reporter.

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