2019 Patricia Fisher Scholars

Seattle Foundation/Patricia Fisher Endowed Scholarship


The Seattle Association of Black Journalists is proud to recognize winners of the 2019 Patricia Fisher Endowed Scholarship at a reception at Cascade Public Media Wednesday May 15, 2019. 

We offer this scholarship to honor Patricia, her support of young people and her contributions to the community. The scholarship program is open to African-American students with a serious career interest in print, photo or broadcast journalism. Awards are made based on scholastic achievement, financial need, and commitment to journalism and to minorities. 

2019 Patricia Fisher Scholars

The Seattle Association of Black Journalists congratulates our 2019 Patricia Fisher scholars Dakaria Heru, Maya Smiley and Tyreke Wilbanks.

Dakaria Heru is a graduate of Seattle's Cleveland High and is a rising junior at Temple University. Her recent coursework includes Representing Race, and Introduction fo Film and Video Analysis.

Maya Smiley is a 2019 graduate of Highline High School and begins studies at Western Washington University this fall. Her budding career in photojournalism combines her skill and passion for photography with her desire to do good in the world.

Tyreke Wilbanks is a rising junior at Western Washington University. His journalism major in journalism is complemented by has passion for photography and filmmaking. His work has been published in the Western Front student newspaper.


About Patricia Fisher

Patricia Fisher was much more than an award-winning journalist.  She brought new levels of sensitivity and perspective to the editorial pages of The Seattle Times and distinguished herself as a tireless, eloquent fighter in the areas of education and social justice.

A Tacoma native, Pat was a graduate of Clover Park High School whose strong ties to the Pacific Northwest led her to attend the University of Washington.  She graduated in 1968 with a major in journalism and a minor in English. Her outstanding academic performance earned her a teaching position in the University of Washington English Department, where she taught from 1968-1975.

Pat’s acumen for teaching and love of young people blossomed as she became a positive, aggressive force throughout the area.  That was especially true in neighborhoods, where there were too few role models and even fewer professionals willing to donate precious time and energy.

Her demanding academic and community responsibilities did not prevent Pat from exploring her love of journalism. Summers spent working at The Seattle Times became stints of part-time employment and ultimately a full-time position as a general assignment reporter in 1975.

Pat wrote for The Seattle Times business and features departments before accepting a position on the newspaper’s editorial board as the first woman and first African-American editorial writer and columnist. Increased regional visibility brought new demands, but she continued to volunteer her time, to encourage young people and to serve as a role model.

She was a founding member of the Black Journalists Association of Seattle (now known as the Seattle Association of Black Journalists), The Northwest Journalists of Color, and a former regional director for the National Association of Black Journalists. She was also an active member of The Links Inc. and Jack and Jill of America.

Pat was named 1986 Journalist of the Year by the Alliance for Children Youth and Families. She was honored by the Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism Competition for business reporting and column writing. She also received special recognition from the Women of Vision, Power and Potential for her leadership and her coverage of political strife in South Africa.

Pat’s travels to Africa had a profound effect on her life and shaped much of her commentary until multiple   sclerosis forced her early retirement in 1989.

Patricia Fisher died on February 12, 2006 at age 59. Later that year she was inducted into the University of Washington School of Communications Hall of Fame.