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An update on Press Club scholarship recipients

Last year’s recipients of $1,500 student scholarships are moving forward with dazzling accomplishments in journalism, we are happy to report.

The club provides two scholarships. One is named for the late Herb Caen, Pulitzer-prize recipient San Francisco Chronicle columnist, the other for Jack Russell, revered Peninsula newsman and club co-founder who died in 2014.

The scholarships usually are given to one student in each category. In rare cases, however, multiple students may be selected.

This occurred for the Herb Caen scholarship when the work of two students was deemed exceptionally noteworthy.

Each student was a staffer for The Oak Leaf, the campus newspaper at Santa Rosa Junior College. The students are Kyle Schmidt, 20, and Maci Martell, 22.

Schmidt has since graduated from SRJC and is now attending New York University where he studies film and journalism.

“I have had a blast here and never felt any closer to the center of off-the-wall stories and news,” he tells us. “ … I wouldn’t be here without clubs like yours.”

Martell is completing her associate’s degree in journalism at SRJC serves The Oak Leaf and journalism program as a teaching assistant. Her program garnered even more awards in October from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges.

“I am extremely proud of the work our dedicated staff accomplished, as numerous people from our team won top awards in several categories,” she says.

“In addition to the JACC video journalism award Kyle and I received for the student rape reaction video, my fellow co-editor-in-chief (Estefany Gonzalez) and I won an award for one of our editorials from last year,” she says. “I am extremely proud of the work our dedicated staff accomplished ….”

Kellen Browning, then of Davis High School, received the Jack Russell scholarship. He is now attending Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., where he is majoring in political science in preparation for a journalism career.

Browning impressed the club scholarship judges. He also covered sports simultaneously for the Davis Enterprise newspaper.

Browning, 18, was selected the California Student Journalist of the Year and the National Journalism Student for 2016 by the Journalism Education Association.

He already is serving as managing web editor for the campus newspaper, The Student Life.

He currently takes one English class, a crime fiction class, Spanish, politics and ethics. “My favorite,” he says of the ethics class.

He also competes on the track team, though a recent injury has benched him.

“It’s been a whirlwind experience transitioning to college and I’m looking forward to pursue internship possibilities and keep writing,” Browning says. “I do not get much sleep. It’s a lot of work but I’m working on ways to manage it and have some fun, as well.”

The club is developing a more robust program serving high schools journalists in the next scholarship cycle. Plans are underway to host the next boot camp at City College of San Francisco, courtesy of Juan Gonzales, journalism department chair. It will include the club’s high school journalism competition and scholarship presentation. The expected date will be in late April or early May.

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