WNC Awards Three $2,000 Scholarships for 2012

2012 scholarship winners Ilona Idlis and Elizabeth Sharrard

Ilona Idlis, left, winner from the University of Washington; Elizabeth Sharrard, right, winner from Bellarmine Prep, who will attend Seattle University in the fall. WNC Executive Director John Hamer is center. Not pictured is winner Erin Flemming. Photo by Kathy Schrier.

The Washington News Council has awarded three $2,000 scholarships to Washington state students planning careers in communications.

Two Dick Larsen Scholarships, which go to a past graduate of a Washington high school currently enrolled in a public or private college/university in this state:

Erin Flemming, 21, a University of Washington student and graduate of Evergreen High School. Flemming has been on the Dean’s list consistently at the U.W. and has also written for The Daily, The Seattle Times and TVW’s Legislative Review. She is currently interning at The Jordan Times in Amman, Jordan. Her mother attended the reception at the WNC office on July 9 and accepted the scholarship on Erin’s behalf.

Ilona Idlis, 21, a University of Washington student and graduate of Sammamish High School. Idlis has written for the UW’s Election Eye Blog for the Seattle Times, the UW News Lab and The Daily. She is an active member of Young Democrats at the University of Washington and has also been on the Dean’s List. She launched a “Support the Ta-Tas Bra Drive” as part of an annual volunteer mission to donate brassieres to women in Nigeria.

The Herb Robinson Scholarship, which goes to a graduating Washington high-school senior who is entering a public or private college/university in this state:

Elizabeth Sharrard, 17, a graduate of Bellarmine Preparatory School who will enter Seattle University this fall. Sharrard was editor-in-chief of The Lion, Bellarmine’s student newspaper, and formerly its opinions page editor. She was president of Key Club and a top student in several Advance Placement classes. She was an intern at Guadalupe House, a transitional housing home in Tacoma.

The WNC’s scholarship program is open to students with a serious interest in communications – journalism, public relations, politics, or a related field. Awards are based on scholastic achievement, financial need, and the quality of a written essay. This year’s essay topic was: “Journalists expect all institutions and sectors of society to be transparent, accountable and open. Should the same expectations apply to journalists?”

Dick Larsen, who died in April 2001, was one of the most respected political reporters in Washington state. He served for more than 20 years as political writer, editorial columnist and associate editor at The Seattle Times, and later wrote a column for the Eastside Journal. He also worked in politics and public relations, and was an accomplished illustrator/cartoonist.

Herb Robinson, who died in October 2003, was among the state’s most respected print and broadcast journalists. He was editorial-page editor at The Seattle Times for 12 years and a member of the editorial board for more than 20 years. He was previously news director at KOMO-TV, where he started and anchored its first news broadcast program. He began as a copy boy at The Times.

We offer these scholarships to honor the high standards of fairness, accuracy and balance in journalism and communications that Dick and Herb achieved throughout their careers. NOTE: The WNC would especially like to thank Deanie Larsen, Chuck Nordhoff and Sandy Schoolfield for their generous donations to our 2012 scholarship fund.


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