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Isabelle Snyder at Media Conference w Nat Geo ed

Isabelle Snyder (far left) with Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Susan Goldberg (second from left) and fellow conference attendees.

In 2016, friends and family of alumnus Bill Cahir—renowned journalist, former Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania’s 5th District, and U.S. Marine Reservist killed in action in 2009—created the Bill Cahir Memorial Scholarship Fund for Journalism.

The fund provides resources for State High journalism students to attend a national journalism conference, and to participate in competitions related to writing, photography, broadcast, and design.

Through these experiences, students interact with professionals in the journalism and media field and meet and collaborate with peers from other schools. They also gain valuable knowledge about trends in their rapidly evolving field.

The scholarship is awarded to up to three qualifying students annually. Interested sophomore, junior, and senior students are considered based on their enthusiasm and passion for the field, commitment to the Journalism Program, demonstration of leadership potential, and quality of work.

This year, rising junior Isabelle Snyder received the scholarship toward her tuition to attend the Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University. The event welcomes high school student leaders from all over the country as National Youth Correspondents. The conference curriculum includes hands-on learning with industry leaders from the Mason faculty as well as international media outlets and Washington insiders. National Youth Correspondents will experience an integrated and forward thinking approach to journalism and media, while acquiring valuable “in-the-trenches” knowledge.

Isabelle shares her experience here in her own words:

My time at WJMC truly brought into focus what life as a journalist would look like. From the time spent in D.C. to the perspective and insight offered by our speakers, all professionals in the industry, my eyes were opened to the possibilities and opportunities available throughout the field. Of the journalists who spoke to us, almost all were considered leaders in the field, and many were Pulitzer Prize winners, producers, and Editors-In-Chief. In hearing their stories, and the stories of women especially, I was able to imagine my future as a journalist.

My favorite moment of the week was definitely my congressional appointment. I had two interviews scheduled with representatives of Pennsylvania, senators Toomey and Casey, so I was scheduled to stay in the Senate offices for the majority of the afternoon. Essentially left to my own devices, I was able to explore the building and speak to officials on my own. I had a sneak preview of what a life in politics or journalism would feel like, if only for a few minutes.

Since I was a little girl, I have cared deeply about the world around me. Whether it be through a career in politics or in journalism, I hope to use my voice to shed light on the complicated and the dark, and work for the societal and political change people need. I hope to work either as a journalist, focusing on human stories or political correspondence, or as a politician.

In 2018, scholarships were awarded to:

Angelica Rubin

The Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University

Angelica previously attended Penn State Communications Camp for Multimedia and the Shirley Povich Sports Journalism Conference at the University of Maryland. She was accepted to the Junior National Young Leaders Conference, where she began to recognize her interest in journalism as a career.

Ella Simpson

Penn State Broadcast Journalism Camp at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications

Ella participates in a variety of other activities to develop her skills as a public speaker and performer, such as theatre, mock trial, technology club and band. She hopes to have a career in journalism in order to have a positive impact on society.