Holly Burns and Gisselle Medina awarded White House Correspondents’ Association scholarships

April 19, 2023

Holly Burns and Gisselle Medina. Photo: Marlena Telvick

Two first-year Berkeley Journalism graduate students Holly Burns and Gisselle Medina have been awarded White House Correspondents’ Association scholarships, the organization has announced.

Burns was a CAA Leadership Award Scholar and a staff writer at The Daily Californian and has recently had work featured on Northgate and KALX radio. Passionate about character-driven narratives, she is eager to bring a fresh perspective and energy to audio and film.

Medina is an investigative and multimedia journalist whose work has been published in The Daily Californian, Greater Good Science Center, The Oaklandside, The Frisc and more. Over the last year, their attention has been directed toward reporting on education equity in the Bay Area. This summer, Medina will be interning at the Los Angeles Times metro desk. Their scholarship is made in partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“Hearing I had received a WHCA scholarship made my heart pound with joy, filled my eyes with tears, and put a smile on my face that keeps returning,” Burns said. “It was during a challenging part of the semester, and the pressure of assignments, work life, and the nagging worry about finances had reached capacity. Since receiving the scholarship, I have felt surreal joy and deep gratitude for being awarded this honor. The scholarship, she added, will enable her to focus less on the necessities of life and more on the rigors of graduate school.

“Being recognized among the most promising next generation of journalists is a privilege that I never thought would be possible and I am very grateful for the honor,” Medina said. “It is a reflection of the tremendous effort and dedication I have invested in improving my skills and knowledge as a journalist,” Medina said. “I am not only grateful for the recognition itself, but for the opportunities that will come with it, such as meeting and building long-lasting relationships with journalists from all over the country who share the same passion as me.”

The awards are given to promising journalism students from the 14 participating colleges and universities, each of which sets its own criteria. Berkeley Journalism scholarships are for students pursuing government and public affairs reporting. Medina’s award was given by Berkeley Journalism, with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Berkeley Journalism Dean Geeta Anand, who early in her career covered local government and courts at the Rutland Herald in Vermont and the Massachusetts State House for the Boston Globe, is pleased to see students interested in political reporting.

“Proudly diversifying the race, gender and class of journalists to ensure that all stories get told is our mission,” she said. “Seeing Gisselle and Holly honored this way is an extension of our goal to change the face of journalism.”

“These journalism students are the future of our profession,” said alum and WHCA President Tamara Keith (’01), White House correspondent for NPR and co-host of the NPR “Politics” Podcast, in a press release about the 2023 cohort. “I look forward to someday soon sitting in the briefing room with them and cheering on their success.”

The students will be featured at a luncheon and program in their honor in Washington on April 28 and will be guests of the WHCA at its annual dinner on April 29.

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