2009 NJC grant recipients

Posted on by sbhatt

Thanks to AAJA Seattle member Caroline Li, who publishes earthwalkersmag.com, for coordinating this year’s Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship program. Meet this year’s award recipients!


Peter Sessum

Peter is a business and journalism major at Edmonds Community College and is the current editor in chief at the Triton Review, his campus newspaper. He says, “As a journalist of color, last year I thought it was important to report from a different perspective, especially writing about those of us of mixed heritage and how we feel trapped in the middle. Now as the editor in chief, I encourage the reporters to report on their own ethnic perspectives. Diversity now has a voice on campus.”

Peter is also part of the Washington National Guard and recently transferred to a public affairs unit, which specialized in journalism. Through that program, he will be trained in broadcast journalism. He says, “ I am not young and idealistic, yet I am excited to see the direction journalism will take in the coming years and I look forward to being a part of it.”

One of our scholarship judges said, “ Peter is doing something different by going into journalism via the military route. He is also running a paper and taken it to the next level.

Martha Flores

Martha Flores Perez

Martha is an English and Spanish and Latin American Studies major at the University of Washington, Seattle Campus. She’s been a teacher and mentor to the local community youth through various programs that she is involved with. She says, “One of my goals is to work for a bilingual publication, whether it is a newspaper, online media or literary magazine…My experiences as an immigrant, as my family’s translator and with struggles to continue with my education have taught me about social injustices that often go unreported in the mainstream media.”

One of our scholarship judges said, “Martha shows a lot of initiative by her intern work and going to UNITY. She obviously has a drive. She’s going to be a reporter whether or not she gets this scholarship.”

Kassiopia Rodgers
Kassiopia Rodgers

Kassiopia is journalism major at Seattle University. She’s also a volunteer writer at the Spectator, Seattle U’s campus newspaper and a current intern at the Seattle Weekly. Last summer she participated in a study abroad program to India called, Mass Media in modern India, where she was able to interview the local journalists there.

She says, “ Committing to a career in journalism means falling in love and staying in love. You are your craft…I hope that with my hard work and dedication, I can inspire women of all backgrounds and show them that money should never be a determining factor when it comes to their own future.”

One of our scholarship judges said, “Kassiopa has both experiences as a writer and a blogger. She knows what students need to succeed in today’s journalism world.”

Ilona Idlis
Ilona Idlis

Ilona is a senior at Sammamish High School in Bellevue and plans to attend the University of Washington next year.

She says, “I am fascinated with the unknown and unfamiliar; I crave the smells and sounds of distant countries, the sights of novel faces and metropolises. I welcome culture shock- I need it.”

One of our judges said, “Ilona has strong opinions and huge potential.”

About sbhatt

Sanjay Bhatt jumped into journalism in 1996, landing his first job at The Times Leader, a daily in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He juggled covering 12 school districts and loved turning out enterprising, investigative pieces. Within a year, he got hired by The Palm Beach Post of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he spent the next six years building a reputation as a top health reporter. The biggest story he covered there was the 2001 anthrax investigation. In 2003, he joined The Seattle Times, where he has examined public schools, neighborhood issues, the economic crisis and local government. He enjoys producing mini-documentaries, trying new ideas online and learning new technologies. View all posts by sbhatt →
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