Journalism Scholarships

Scholarships in the School of Journalism are possible because of caring alumni and friends, who are especially interested in easing the financial burden of journalism and digital storytelling students and helping them succeed. They remember what it was like to be in school. School of Journalism scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students, and range from several hundred dollars to a full year of tuition.


Journalism Student Scholarships

Students can visit the MSU Scholarships website to apply for School of Journalism and ComArtSci scholarships. The deadline to apply for most scholarships is Jan. 14, 2024.

Students should complete the short university general application and the College of Communication Arts & Sciences application, which includes questions about School of Journalism activities. Completing these simple questionnaires allows students to apply for many scholarships with one application. Be prepared to submit with your application the following:

  • a personal essay of no more than 500 words about the student's choice of major, experiences and career interest
  • a resume showing the student's media experience, work history, volunteer activities, campus media and student group involvement, awards and honors, unique skills, etc.
  • samples of the student's strongest work

The MSU Scholarships system also includes additional School of Journalism, ComArtSci and university scholarship opportunities for which students may be considered if they submit additional application materials. Some scholarships may require an essay on a specific topic. Scholarships that require additional application materials are indicated with an asterisk (*) in the list below.

You will need to know your GPA in your School of Journalism major. Here's how to look it up in the Student Information System,

  • Journalism students: From the "Students" home page, scroll down to the Journalism heading and click the section that says "Minimum 2.0 GPA in Journalism major courses" to view your Journalism GPA.
  • Digital Storytelling students: Please consult with your academic adviser.

Read more tips on the scholarship application process here:

Undergraduate Student Scholarships

Incoming students may apply:

View and Apply for Scholarships

Graduate Student Scholarships


Scholarships are applied the fall semester following their award

Scholarships awarded in spring are applied the following fall semester in most cases. Seniors are not eligible for scholarships if they are graduating in the spring and have completed all of their coursework.

View and Apply for Scholarships

Scholarship Deadline

Scholarship applications for current students are due by 11:59 p.m. Jan. 14, 2024. The deadline to apply for scholarships for incoming students is March 15, 2024.

Questions? Please contact Jeremy Steele.

Scholarship Descriptions

Albert Applegate Scholarship

Dr. Albert Applegate was the long-time director of the J-School, joining the faculty in 1935. He spent his career in the pursuit of excellence as a journalist and as a teacher. Dr. Applegate is a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.


  • Undergraduate or graduate student who excels in scholarly and journalistic activities throughout their academic career embodying the spirit and legacy of this legendary J-School professor.
  • Financial need and merit will be considered.

Andre A. Blay Film Scholarship

Andre Blay, known as "The Father of Home Video" was born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and received his bachelor's in 1959 and MBA in 1970, both from Michigan State University. In 1969, he founded Magnetic Video Corp., which duplicated video cassettes, and in 1977 the company licensed major motion picture titles for the consumer market. Blay founded Embassy Home Entertainment in 1982 during the height of the market. Lorelei Maison Rockwell and her husband, Wayne Kennedy, established this scholarship in memory of Blay, their cousin.


  • Recipients must intend to pursue a career in film in Hollywood

Bonnie Bucqueroux Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded in the honor of Bonnie Bucqueroux. Bucqueroux was a prolific writer and journalist, internet pioneer, videographer, congressional candidate, animal lover, radio and TV host, and beloved MSU adjunct professor until her death in 2015. Bucqueroux possessed a wide-ranging intellect and curiosity that earned her respect as a national expert on subjects that included community policing, online training for a variety of subjects, digital media, citizen journalism and sustainable agriculture. She also did early work with Michigan Farmer Magazine and developed Victims in the Media training for the School of Journalism students and news institutions across the globe. Bucqueroux was a National Magazine Award winner and Detroit Press Club Award winner, and she was recognized as Writer of the Year by the American Agricultural Editors Association.

As a journalism instructor and lecturer at MSU, Bucqueroux always found time to help students achieve their goals in the program and in journalism. She forged bonds with students that lasted long past the end of their college careers. Always comfortable making others uncomfortable, and never one to shy away from controversy, she encouraged her students to do the same and to seek the truth. She imparted her passion for social justice to her students and demonstrated to them how they could become a voice for the voiceless through citizen journalism.

The award is funded by people she influenced, in honor of their friendship inspired by a shared passion for journalism and education.


Applicants will be asked to articulate the following in a 500-600 word essay:

  • A unique life challenge that they faced and they were able to overcome
  • Passion for journalism or journalism entrepreneurship, and
  • Plans to contribute to community through journalism after graduation
  • Recipients shall have demonstrated financial need

Bob Gross Memorial Scholarship (For Entering Freshmen)

Established by the family and friends of Bob Gross, a sports reporter at the Lansing State Journal, who died in an accident early in his career. He had a 34-year career with the Lansing State Journal and received an award from the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame for “Exemplary Dedication and Commitment to High School Sports.”


  • This scholarship is for an incoming or existing student from mid-Michigan who has demonstrated interest and intent of majoring in journalism and shows sincere promise as a journalist
  • Preference will be given to an entering freshman
  • Preference may be given to students interested in being sports journalists 

Capital News Service/Bill Cote Endowed Scholarship

A veteran Booth Newspapers State Capitol Bureau reporter, Bill Cote joined the Journalism School full time in 1986 and ran Capital News Service until his retirement in 2002. Long considered one of the most innovative and respected bureau of its kind on any college campus, CNS alumni endowed this scholarship in his honor.


  • Given to journalism students who have reached at least junior status by the upcoming fall semester and who have completed at least one semester of exceptional work at CNS
  • Must have an overall GPA of at least 3.25

Detroit Free Press High School Journalism Scholarship

Established by current and former employees of the Detroit Free Press, the intent of this scholarship is to encourage students who participate in the Detroit High School Journalism Program and Detroit Free Press apprentice program to attend Michigan State University and study Journalism.


  • Preference is given to participants of the Detroit High School Journalism Program and Detroit Free Press apprentice program
  • Incoming freshmen are eligible to apply

The Detroit News Staff Scholarship


Established by current and former employees of The Detroit News, this award is intended to encourage students who have the demonstrated capacity to achieve educational and professional goals, the motivation to achieve these goals, and the initiative to seek opportunities to further their progress. Qualifications:

* The recipient shall be an incoming freshman who intends to major in journalism, plans to pursue newspaper journalism and shows promise of becoming a successful journalist.

Donald F. Katherine K. Dahlstrom Scholarship

This scholarship is for undergraduate or graduate students planning a career in environmental journalism. Awards are given in two categories: 1) for outstanding coverage by a Capital News Service correspondent, and 2) a scholarship for a high school student to attend a scholastic journalism workshop or conference related to environmental journalism or for a teacher education undergraduate or graduate student desiring to take an environmental journalism course in the School of Journalism. Preference is given to residents of Genesee and Ottawa counties.

Don Caldwell Memorial Scholarship in Environmental Journalism

This scholarship has been established by Robert and Charlotte Caldwell to honor the memory of their son, Don Caldwell, a 1981 Journalism graduate. After graduation Don gave two years of service in the Peace Corps in Swaziland. After working as a journalist at the Tampa Tribune he returned to South Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. There Don enjoyed a successful career as a journalist in television and radio.


  • Undergraduate or graduate student planning a career in science and environmental journalism

Edward A. Augenstein Memorial Scholarship

Reporters who covered the state capital in the 1940s through the 1970s knew that the first person they needed to meet was Edward Augenstein, pressroom manager at the Capitol for 35 years. His son set up this scholarship to honor the memory and work of his father. This award is given annually.


  • Recipient is selected on a basis of potential for success in journalism
  • At least junior status by the upcoming fall semester or graduate student 
  • Capital News Service experience (or similar experience) 
  • Academic achievement 
  • Financial need

Elizabeth Mangner Neil Overseas Study Scholarship

Elizabeth Mangner Neil supported her grandson, Craig J. Gehring, in his six-month overseas study experience to Yugoslavia when he attended MSU. The experience was a life-changing event for him, giving him an understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

Gehring established the Elizabeth Mangner Neil Overseas Study Scholarship for journalism undergraduate majors with at least junior standing in honor of his grandmother. Financial need may be considered.


  • Applicants will submit a statement indicating why they feel overseas study is of value to them and how this experience will help prepare them for their intended career
  • Priority will be given to those with no overseas experience and to those enrolled in overseas study courses offered by the School of Journalism

Ellen L. and Clyde L. Burton Endowed Scholarship in Journalism

Ellen L. Burton graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science and history. Following a distinguished career in journalism, she began teaching journalism at Olivet College and Michigan State University. Her MSU colleagues considered her an outstanding and dedicated instructor. Ellen retired from MSU in 1993 and passed away in 2001. Clyde L. Burton graduated from MSU with two degrees in Crop Science (BA in '50 and MS '52) and a PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology ('60). Dr. Burton was a faculty member in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology from 1972 until he retired in 1989.


  • Recipients shall be selected on the basis of academic excellence and outstanding achievement in Journalism. 

Eric Freedman Merit Award for Environmental Journalism and Capital News Service

Eric Freedman is a professor in the School of Journalism, director of the MSU Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and director of Capital News Service. Through this endowment, the donors wish to recognize outstanding work by students participating in Capital News Service and the environmental journalism program. The donors hope the award will encourage students to explore careers in public affairs and environmental journalism.


  • Recipients will have completed the Capital News Service course, completed an environmental journalism course, or worked for the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism that academic year.
  • Preference will be given to international students.
  • Academic success or exemplary work are required.

Gannett Foundation Hispanics in Journalism Scholarship

This scholarship was founded in 1989 thanks to the generosity of the Gannett Foundation. During the spring semester, one or more students will be selected for this scholarship.


  • Applicants will submit a statement about why journalism should include Hispanic and Latinx stories and voices and how that can happen more frequently.
  • Academic achievement 
  • Financial need
  • Interest in pursuing journalism as a career 

Gordon A. Sabine Endowed Journalism Scholarship

Dr. Sabine was the first dean of the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences. He was also a newspaper reporter, editor and educator. He stressed the importance of education for journalism in the many arts and sciences, which inform good journalists. Dr. Sabine also was vice president for Special Projects at MSU and his creative thinking and innovative recruiting strategies helped make MSU the world-class university it is today.

This award, generously given by Robert Sabine and Ellen Sabine, recognizes a junior, senior, or graduate student in the School of Journalism.


  • Journalism major
  • junior, senior or graduate student by the upcoming fall semester

Investigative Journalism Scholarship in Memory of CBS News Correspondent Ed Bradley

Margie Bauman graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism in 1964 and continues to enjoy a career in Journalism. She deeply values giving back, and wants to provide for current J-School students. From May 1976 to September 1977, she worked for CBS in New York City as a vacation relief writer at the CBS News Broadcast Center covering major national and international events. She was there during Ed Bradley's tenure and was inspired by his work. Ed, who is known for his work in journalism, including as a correspondent on "60 Minutes," lived in Detroit. Not only does this scholarship allow Margie to help current students, but it also recognizes a renowned journalist. 


  • Recipients shall be selected on the basis of financial need

Jane J. Carter Endowed Scholarship

Jane J. Carter valued education, superior news reporting, and the quest for knowledge. L. Susan Carter established the scholarship as a tribute to her mother to benefit worthy and capable students enrolled in The School of Journalism at Michigan State University.


  • The ideal candidate is a student interested in multi-platform journalism with a particular emphasis in broadcast/cable/satellite with preference given to students from the Great Lakes Region who maintain a 3.0 GPA

Joe Falls Scholarship

After 58 years of covering the biggest and smallest names in athletics, the only name truly synonymous with Detroit sports was Joe Falls’ own. He started off as a copy boy at the Associated Press bureau in New York before transferring to Detroit in 1953, only to be hired in at The Detroit Times in 1956. He moved to the Detroit Free Press in 1960, and started as a sports columnist at the Detroit News in 1978. In the spring of 2004 he was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. This scholarship was set up to remember Falls and recipients must be undergraduates in the Journalism School who have reached at least junior status.


  • Junior status by the upcoming fall semester
  • Preference is given to students interested in pursuing sports writing and/or column writing

John Krieg Scholarship

A 1982 J-School graduate, John Krieg worked for a variety of small and mid-sized daily newspapers in Michigan. He worked for the State News as a copy editor and garnered numerous writing awards during his time on campus. He was news editor of the Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He died in an apartment fire in Mount Pleasant in 1984. He was just 23 years old. Friends and colleagues established this scholarship in his memory.


  • This award is open to full or part-time juniors majoring in journalism 
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Expressed career interest in newspaper journalism
  • Preference will be given to students who have or are working or interning at a newspaper, or have financial need
  • Application must include essay on the applicant's philosophy of working with people

Ken Winter Scholarship in Journalism

Ken Winter is the former editor and publisher of the Petoskey News-Review. His newspapers repeatedly were judged the best in their circulation category in national and state contests. Winter was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2011.

This award is intended to encourage students who have demonstrated the capacity to achieve educational and professional goals, the motivation to achieve these goals and the initiative to seek opportunities to further their progress.

This scholarship is not offered every year.


  • The recipient should be a junior enrolled full-time in the School of Journalism 
  • Overall GPA of at least 3.0
  • Preferences will be given to students considering a career in newspaper or print journalism

Kyle C. Kerbawy Graduate Scholarship

A Journalism School undergraduate in the turbulent 1960s, Kerbawy was editor of the State News, graduating in 1967. He earned his MBA in 1969. A member of the School's Professional Advisory Council, he is a charter member of MSU's Beaumont Tower Society. He established this scholarship to provide financial assistance to a graduate student in journalism.


  • Recipients must be enrolled in the School of Journalism in the Master of Arts program at the time the award is activated
  • Funds may be used to support worthy research endeavors (support may include travel, computer time, attendance at professional meetings and other activities supporting worthy research) 
  • There shall also be satisfactory progress toward a degree 
  • Financial need may be considered 

Larry Lee Overseas Study Scholarship

Larry Lee, a 1970 graduate of the School of Journalism at MSU, spent a career in Lansing covering politics and public affairs for Gongwer News Service, a pioneering enterprise specializing in intensive reporting on those state-based issues. At MSU he began to appreciate the importance of a world view in addressing problems. Extensive travel throughout his life underscored the great opportunities to enhance learning by extended exposure to people in other countries. To that end, this scholarship is intended to make those opportunities available to Journalism students at MSU.


  • Scholarships will be awarded to students participating in MSU approved study abroad programs 
  • Students shall be full-time undergraduate or graduate students in the School of Journalism and must meet the school's minimum GPA requirements

Lawrence and Linda Sims Scholarship

Lawrence H. Sims is a 1971 graduate of MSU with a degree in Economics. Linda (Lein) Sims graduated in 1976 with a degree in Journalism. Their son, Alexander, graduated from the College of Engineering and the Honors College in 2014. This four generation Spartan family, beginning with Linda's grandfather who was a graduate of Veterinary Medicine, has chosen to honor their family legacy and to provide support for students to attend MSU from their home community of Saginaw, Michigan, where Lawrence and Linda Sims are actively involved as leaders in business and community service. 


  • Incoming first year undergraduate students from Saginaw County with a high school GPA of at least 3.5 and who intend to major in Journalism 
  • If no eligible students from Saginaw County, the Scholarship may be awarded to students from Bay County or Midland County with a high school GPA of at least 3.5 and intending to major in Journalism or one of the majors within the College of Communication Arts and Sciences
  • If there are no eligible students from Bay or Midland County, the Scholarship may be awarded to students from the State of Michigan with a high school GPA of at least 3.5, who intend to major in Journalism or one of the majors within the College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Len Barnes AAA Michigan Fund Scholarship

Len Barnes was a 1943 graduate of the J-School and long time editor of the AAA Michigan magazine, Michigan Living. The award honors his career in travel and recreational journalism that has made Michigan Living among the most respected travel journals and a standard of excellence for others in the field. This award was established by the Auto Club Insurance Association.


  • Recipients will be upper-class or graduate students at the time the award is activated 
  • Show a stated interest in recreation or environmental reporting as evidenced by clips of work in the area, statement of career interest and plans, or other material as required by the School of Journalism
  • Outstanding academic record and financial need will be considered

Mary Adelaide Gardner Scholarship

Established with a gift by the late Dr. Mary Adelaide Gardner, a legendary journalism professor at MSU from 1966-1991, these scholarships pay full or partial tuition costs for one academic year for a full-time junior or a full-time incoming master's student.

Dr. Gardner served as the first woman president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and also ran a summer journalism workshop for 20 years for El Norte, a newspaper in Monterrey, Mexico. She was adamant that students complete an internship as part of their education. The scholarships are awarded in the spring term for use in the following academic year. Dr. Gardner was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.


  • Full-time junior or
  • Full-time incoming master's student 
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher

Mary Gardner Study in Mexico, Latin America or Border Towns Scholarship

Professor Mary Gardner joined the journalism faculty in 1966 where she became the first woman faculty member with tenure. She retired from MSU in 1991 after a distinguished career as a teacher and scholar. In addition to mentoring hundreds of students at MSU and the University of Texas at Austin, Professor Gardner served as the first woman president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Professor Gardner also contributed to the development of an independent press system in Mexico and spent every summer for 20 years running a summer journalism workshop for El Norte, a newspaper in Monterrey, Mexico.

A scholarship will be given each year to study in Mexico, Latin America or a border town. Funds may also be used for study-related expenses such as, but not limited to, travel and lodging.


  • GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Journalism major
  • 90 credits completed or junior status by the upcoming fall semester

Marion Tuttle Marzolf Scholarship

Marion Tuttle Marzolf, professor emerita at The University of Michigan, taught courses in reporting, journalism history, and women in journalism from 1967 until her retirement in 1995. She also offered special courses in American Studies and in Scandinavian Studies. She served as associate director in the Department of Communication from 1987-1991. She received her BA in Journalism at Michigan State University. She taught part-time in journalism at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan, while earning her American Studies PhD (1972) at Michigan. She was active in the Association for Education in Journalism and Women in Communication, Inc. Marion looks back on those formative years in Grand Rapids Junior College and Michigan State University as fundamental in giving shape and meaning to her life. She intended to be a working news reporter, but in those days found it difficult for a woman to obtain a job in daily news reporting. She was a copyboy at the Washington Post and took a Girl Friday job at the National Geographic Magazine. She encourages young people today to pursue their dreams and remain open to opportunities that arise.


  • Recipients must demonstrate financial need
  • Recipients must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Recipients must reside in the State of Michigan
  • Recipients must be studying Journalism
  • Preference shall be given to students transferring from community or junior Colleges, or from another four year university.

Michael A. Sandra & S. Clark Scholarship

Michael A. Clark obtained his BA, MA and Ph.D. from MSU’s College of Education. Sandra S. Clark obtained her BA and MA in history from MSU’s College of Arts and Letters. Strongly concerned about science education and the accurate coverage of the ever-increasing number of environment and science stories in the media, the Clarks wished to support students pursuing a career covering science and the environment as professional journalists.


  • Undergraduate or graduate students planning a career in science and environmental journalism

Mickie L. Edwardson Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Mickie L. Edwardson obtained her Ph.D. in Communication from MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Dr. Edwardson wished to establish the scholarship in memory and in recognition of the contributions of James Lawrence Fly, general solicitor and general counsel of the Tennessee Valley Authority which improved the environment for seven states while helping citizens get more abundant, less expensive electricity.


  • MA and Ph.D. students studying environmental science communication in affiliation with the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

Robert E. Godfrey Scholarship

This annual scholarship is awarded in the honor of Robert E. (Rip) Godfrey. Mr. Godfrey graduated from Michigan State in 1947 after playing football and serving as vice president of Phi Kappa Tau. He also belonged to the speech majors, football and Varsity Club. Mr. Godfrey's career as a journalist spanned 33 years. He worked as a radio and television reporter/editor as well as in radio station management.


  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • Preference is given to students who have demonstrated leadership qualities and a desire and willingness to participate in extracurricular activities 
  • The scholarship may be awarded to an entering freshman providing they have achieved and maintained at least a 3.0 GPA throughout high school 
  • Upper-class students may also receive the scholarship if they have achieved and maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their general and degree program curriculum
  • All applicants must present an essay of between 500-1,000 words about how your involvement in extracurricular activities has impacted your life and influenced your future

Robert Popa Scholarship

Robert Popa was a 1953 graduate of the J-School who launched his career as a copy editor at the Oakland Press. He left the paper for a two-year military stint at Stars and Stripes before returning to work as a reporter for the Detroit News. He left newspapers in 1972 to become the first press secretary to Detroit Mayor Coleman Young. He left that post to be the director of public information for Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. He later became the Michigan press secretary for the Carter-Mondale campaign and launched a successful career in public relations. The scholarship was established by his many friends in the industry following his death in 1989.


  • Recipients will be selected on a basis of professional goals in journalism and have junior, senior or graduate student status and financial need

Serwach Leadership Scholarship

Joe Serwach was a 1987 J-School graduate and The State News editor-in-chief from 1985-1986. For almost 20 years Serwach donated funds to support his scholarship to help journalism students fulfill the best education possible.


  • Undergraduate journalism major
  • Demonstrated superior leadership and reporting and writing ability for campus or professional media 

Stan Soffin Scholarship

The longtime director of the J-School and retired MSU Ombudsman, Stan Soffin earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1964 (we do not hold that against him), a master's degree in Journalism from MSU in 1968 and his doctorate in American Studies from MSU in 1975. Soffin worked as a high school teacher, an instructor at School of Journalism, a reporter and an editor. After 16 years as director of the School of Journalism, Soffin was appointed as ombudsman in 1998. He is a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.


  • Journalism major or master's student who has completed at least 56 credits (including transfer credits) if an undergraduate student; or nine graduate-level credits at MSU if a graduate student 
  • Met minimum requirements for full-time student status 
  • Performed volunteer community service 
  • Demonstrated potential talent and aptitude in journalism by earning at least a 3.0 in JRN 200 and 300 
  • Graduate students with professional media experience are exempt from this latter criterion 

Stone Boyd Student Opportunity Scholarship

Robin D. Stone is a 1986 graduate of the School of Journalism and is an accomplished journalist and author. Stone started her career in newspapers. She was an editor at the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Detroit Free Press. Her career and contributions to journalism garnered her an Outstanding Alumni Award from MSU in 2004. It is her hope that this scholarship will be given to students who have exhibited leadership skills in the face of adversity, who have overcome significant obstacles, or who have an interest in promoting cross-cultural understandings.


  • Academic record reflecting a high GPA in the major
  • Participation in out-of-classroom experiences in journalism that can include student organizations or The State News
  • Must have experienced or secured an internship by the time they apply for the scholarship

Susan L. Silk Journalism Study Abroad Scholarship

As a professional with a distinguished career in journalism and public relations, Susan Silk places great value on the quality of education students receive as undergraduates. She understands that overseas travel and study provides not only educational opportunity, but personal growth. Ms. Silk’s intention is to encourage and provide the means necessary for an average journalism student with financial need to enjoy this opportunity.


  • Applicants will submit a statement indicating why they feel Education Abroad is of value to them and how this experience will help prepare them for their intended career
  • Undergraduate journalism major
  • Financial need
  • Additionally, the recipient is required to submit an essay after the completion of the study abroad describing the experience.

Victor G. Spaniolo Scholarship

Victor G. Spaniolo was a graduate of Michigan State University and a well-established newspaper publisher in Michigan. Spaniolo and his four children, also graduates of MSU, all worked at the State News, the campus newspaper. Spaniolo later was a founding member and chair of the board of directors when the State News became an independent, nonprofit corporation. His family established the Victor G. Spaniolo Scholarship in memory of their father.


  • State News experience 
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • Achieved at least junior standing in award year 
  • Possess exceptional character 
  • Demonstrate financial need

Walter S. and Syrena M. Howell Essay Contest $4,000 Essay Scholarship and Prize

$3,000 SCHOLARSHIP Plus a $1,000 PRIZE

Students wishing to apply for this scholarship and prize must write an essay. The student who writes the best essay in 1,500-2,500 words will be awarded the ($3,000) scholarship and ($1,000) prize.

The goal of the Howell Essay Scholarship is to encourage student to analyze of propaganda, as defined as, “the use of unproved and/or unverifiable assumptions in a report or statement of allegations reflecting the view and interests of its advocates.”

Essay Topic

A 2023 report by Freedom House, a human rights advocacy group, warns of the use of artificial intelligence to generate propaganda. According to the report, the number of governments using AI to steer online discussions in their favor doubled in the previous year to 47. The report said, “AI-based tools that can generate text, audio and images have quickly grown more sophisticated, accessible and easy to use.” This is increasing worries about the growth of deliberate disinformation campaigns.

In your Howell essay, describe the disinformation that has been created and, more importantly, describe roles for the news media’s role in exposing, discouraging and preventing government creation of AI propaganda.

In your essay, which may be text, audio or video, use and cite three sources. In keeping with the spirit of this assignment, entries will be checked to ensure nothing has been generated by AI and that there is no plagiarism. Potential violations will be examined under the School of Journalism’s academic integrity policy.

Essay Guidelines

Your essay should be 1,500–2,500 words. Consideration will be given to analyses with critical thinking and research, including — but not limited to — Web searches, interviews with experts on the subject and links to examples. Sources must be properly cited. Essay may be presented in a written or multimedia form. Multimedia essays should include scripts for any video content. Students may also produce multimedia elements as a supplement to a written essay.

Submit Your Entry

Submit your entry at Written content should be in a Word or PDF document. Do NOT include your name or any other identifying information in your essay file.

Only students with majors in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences are eligible. The winner will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Eligibility Requirements

Undergraduate MSU students with majors in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences are eligible. Those graduating in May are not eligible. Scholarships are issued for the upcoming fall semester.


Questions can be directed to Joe Grimm at

About This Contest

This contest and scholarship were established by Grant Howell, former editor of The Daily (Royal Oak) Tribune, in memory of his parents, Walter and Syrena Howell.

This scholarship and award is given annually to an undergraduate MSU student who writes the best essay examining media bias, a subject of deep concern to Howell. He was a feisty newsman, in the best sense of the word, always wanting his staff and his newspaper to cover the news fairly, objectively and honestly.

Wanda J. Herndon Scholarship

A member of the J-School Professional Advisory Council and named in 2002 a distinguished alumna of MSU, Wanda Herndon had a meteoric career in public relations. A J-School alumna, she established this scholarship to provide assistance for students from her hometown of Flint, Michigan and the surrounding area to benefit from an MSU J-School education.


  • Open to all journalism students at the sophomore, junior and senior level (as of the upcoming fall semester) who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism and show promise of becoming a successful journalist 
  • Preference will be given, but not limited, to students who have graduated from the following public schools in Michigan: Saginaw High School, Flint Central High School, Saginaw Arthur Hill High School, Flint Northwestern High School, Everett High School, Flint Northern High School, Carman-Ainsworth High School and Southwestern Academy (formerly Flint Southwestern High School).
  • Demonstrates financial need

W. Cameron Meyers Fellowship Fund Scholarship

This award was created to honor W. Cameron Meyers, a longtime newspaper reporter and editor who taught at the J-School from 1952-1974. Those who had Professor Meyers were profoundly impacted by his demands for excellence, his memorable anecdotes and his view of the world and his profession that of a journalist. He is a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.


  • The award is given to a student based on financial need
  • Given to a student with potential talent and aptitude to succeed in a career in journalism

William E. Costabile Scholarship

William E. Costabile is a 1974 alum of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. While a student at MSU, William worked as a sportswriter for both the State News and the Lansing State Journal. For eight years he worked in radio, using his journalism skills to write and produce radio commercials and sports broadcasts. Although he went on to work as a business analyst, he found his editing and photojournalism classes were an immense help. To say the least, a journalism education opens doors to many careers. This scholarship is to be awarded during their junior year to a student who will carry on MSU's highest journalism traditions.


  • Junior status by the upcoming fall semester 

Winthrop Faulkner Scholarship (For Those Pursuing Teaching Certification in Journalism)

Winthrop Faulkner, a graduate of the University of Florida and a business executive in the Detroit area from the 1920s to the 1960s, became involved with MSU when his son, James, attended the Journalism School. James graduated with a BA in Journalism in 1949 and later earned his M.A. in Education from MSU in 1968. James and his wife, Barbara, established the Winthrop Faulkner Scholarship Fund in memory of his father to encourage students to follow the advice he gave his son to get an education.


  • The recipient should show promise of being a secondary school journalism teacher and demonstrate journalistic ability
  • The student should be working towards a secondary school teaching certificate 
  • Experience on student, university and/or professional publications would be considered 
  • Journalism education students, either majors or minors, who are in their internship year are eligible as well as journalism education juniors and seniors