The Seattle Association of Black Journalists is proud to announce our Patricia Fisher Scholars for the 2016-17 academic year.
Merdie Nzanga enters her junior year at American University as a three-time recipient of the Patricia Fisher Endowed Scholarship. Her academic adviser writes that Merdie’s goal in journalism is to “be a conduit for truth telling and image congruence regarding Africa bring a place of beauty, intelligence and prosperity with its own set of problems like any other continent.”
Merdie is a second-generation immigrant to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She observes that U.S. news coverage of the African content is incomplete, prioritizing stories on HIV, war, and inadequate health care.
Meanwhile Merdie’s family members report to her stories often untold in western media: Economic growth in Angola; women taking on more powerful positions in farming, government and business in Uganda.
Merdie anticipates the challenges of working as a foreign correspondent in Africa, pitching stories that contradict a narrative of dependence and poverty. But with her journalism experience and her fluency in English and French, meeting that challenge is her plan.
Merdie has written for the Seattle Globalist, American University Television, American’s Eagle Online and the NABJ Monitor at the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Jaden Young enters her freshman year at Dartmouth College as a Patricia Fisher Scholar. Jaden’s teachers at Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High School praise her sophisticated cultural literacy, her perseverance, her eye for design and her gift for news writing.
Jaden’s journalism adviser appointed her editor-in-chief of her student newspaper, The LC Journal, for her senior year. Jaden joined the paper as a junior to push herself to write more often and ask questions more effectively. There she found what she calls “delicious challenges:” Getting interviewees to open up, crafting stories that inform without bias, and, as news editor, “encouraging” staff to meet deadlines.
Jaden is also a recipient of a best writer award from the North Idaho College high school journalism conference. Her clips include a profile of a faith-based athletes’ club at her school and an obituary of a Pulitzer prizewinner who also graduated from Lewis and Clark High.
When Jaden was in tenth grade her advanced placement English teacher often saved Jaden’s essays to read last, because, the teacher writes, “they helped me learn and consider new ideas.”
Congratulations to Merdie and Jaden from SABJ!