Senior journalism major Jeannette Ceja was recently named a 2008 Chips Quinn Scholar, a distinction awarded to only 20 students nationwide each year. The Chips Quinn program is sponsored by the Freedom Forum and provides internships, training and scholarships to college students of color who are pursuing careers in print journalism. The program offers special support and encouragement that will open doors to news careers and bring greater diversity to the nation’s daily newspaper newsrooms.
Chips Quinn Scholars spend two weeks in Washington, D.C., for training, experiential learning and mentoring by news veterans. The Freedom Forum then matches nominees with participating newspapers from across the country for paid internships. Upon Ceja’s return from Washington, she will spend ten weeks reporting and editing at The Tennessean newspaper.
“Jeannette is truly an exceptional student and we are thrilled that she has earned such a prestigious award,” said Dr. Sybril Bennett, Director of the New Century Journalism program and academic advisor and mentor to Ceja. “She has taken advantage of every opportunity to be successful and we are honored that the Freedom Forum and the Tennessean are recognizing her hard work in such an extraordinary way.”
Ceja is the third Chips Quinn scholar from Belmont; 2007 alumna Chasity Gunn was accepted to the program in 2004, and 2003 graduate Andrea Fanta served the Louisville Courier-Journal as a Chips Quinn scholar in 2002. In addition to her studies at Belmont, Ceja interned at CBS in Nashville, Fox in Chicago and worked for on campus media as well.
The program is named for the late John “Chips” Quinn Jr., editor of the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal, whose commitment to diversity now is his legacy. Chips was the son of John Quinn, advisory trustee and former deputy chairman of the Freedom Forum, and Loie Quinn, who together founded the program in 1991. Today, more than 1,080 students have participated.
“I am so excited to have this amazing opportunity in my life,” said Ceja. “I want to thank my family and my professors for always encouraging and believing in me. It means so much to me as I continue my journey in life.”