The AAJA Sports Task Force offers a scholarship of up to $2,000 to current college students interested in pursuing sports journalism/media as a career through the Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship.
About the AAJA Sports Task Force
The mission of the AAJA Sports Task Force is to elevate the voice of Asian Americans in sports and encourage future Asian American sports journalists across multiple media platforms through mentorship and scholarship opportunities.
Sports are increasingly becoming part of everyday lives. Beyond the entertainment value, sports issues have – at times – led newscasts and made headlines across traditional news outlets. What has been lacking is the perspective of Asian American voices in sports media. The AAJA Sports Task Force scholarship is one way to turn the tide. The scholarship is designed to specifically help Asian American/Pacific Islander students interested in sports reporting or other sports media-related professions.
About Al Young
Al Young is an award-winning journalist who blazed many trails for Asian American sports journalists. He is the nation’s first Asian American sportswriter at a metro daily. He is also the first Asian American to cover the NFL as the New Haven Register beat writer for the New York Giants and Jets. While with the Register, he also wrote a weekly column that was the first in the country focusing on national and local personalities and trends in women’s sports.
Young’s career spans more than four decades. He was a writer and editor at the Boston Globe, USA Today, the New York Daily News, the New Haven (CT) Register and Bridgeport (CT) Post-Telegram.
In 2010, AAJA named Young to its inaugural honor roll as an “Asian American Pioneer in U.S. journalism.” He is a past president of AAJA’s Washington, D.C. chapter. Retiring in 2013 from the Boston Globe, Young is currently the advisor to the student newspaper at Quincy College in Massachusetts.
The AAJA Sports Task Force is pleased to offer a scholarship of up to $2,000 to current college students interested in pursuing sports journalism/media as a career through the Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship.
Eligibility and Rules
- AAJA student membership is encouraged for all applicants and required for the selected scholarship recipients. For membership, please apply online at www.aaja.org.
- Applicants must demonstrate journalistic excellence, a strong interest in pursuing sports journalism as a career. Selected scholarship recipients must commit to a minimum of five hours of volunteer work for the AAJA Sports Task Force.
- Applicants must be an undergraduate student enrolled full-time with at least 12 credit units each semester at a junior college or university located in the United States. Applicants must also be currently taking or planning to take journalism courses and/or pursuing sports journalism as a career.
Candidates will be selected on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated journalistic ability, financial need, and commitment to the field of sports journalism.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, January 31
- Cover letter (explain journalism experience – if any – academic accomplishments, career goals, community involvement and financial need. 500-800 words)
- Essay (1,000-2000 words)
- GPA requirement: Minimum 3.0
- References (names and contact information)
- The deadline to apply will be announced soon.
Questions? Email Daniel Garcia, AAJA Program Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship Recipients
2020 Recipient: Roshan Fernandez
Fernandez, a magazine, newspaper and digital journalism major at Syracuse, is the fifth overall – and first freshman – recipient of the award.
Fernandez grew up in Northern California where he worked as a visuals editor at his school newspaper before becoming editor in chief during his senior year. While working at his high school paper, El Estoque, Fernandez developed a passion in interviewing subjects across the school, specifically in sports.
“I found it interesting because I sort of knew what they were going through as a student athlete and I wanted to tell their stories,” Fernandez said. “I learned soccer wasn’t going to be my future and I realized journalism was actually what I wanted to do.”
After enrolling at Syracuse, Fernandez joined the campus newspaper, the Daily Orange, where he currently serves as a digital editor. Although his spring semester courses on campus were derailed by COVID-19 concerns, Fernandez is still attending online courses from his home in Cupertino, Calif. He is set to intern with the Chatam Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Fernandez aspires to be a professional baseball beat reporter.
2019 Recipient: Eric He
Eric was a senior at the University of Southern California, majoring in journalism when he was awarded the 2019 STF / Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship. After working as a sports editorial intern at the Southern California News Group over the summer, Eric enrolled in graduate level courses at Columbia University and freelances for Yahoo Sports.
"The Al Young Sports Task Force Scholarship helped lessen the load on my tuition," said Eric. "I have been fortunate to land internships in major markets, but it is oftentimes a struggle to find affordable housing in big cities. I didn’t have to worry about that while I was at the Southern California News Group, which allowed me to really focus on producing work that I was proud of for the publication."
Eric's work has been awarded first place, "Best Sports Story" and first place, "Best News Series" by the California Collegiate Media Association awards.
2018 Recipient: Tami Nguyen
Tami was awarded the 2018 STF / Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship when she was a senior studying Film and Television at Boston University. After graduation, Tami was a studio operations intern at ESPN (also through the AAJA Sports Task Force). She now works as a control room operator for the Boston College Athletics.
"The scholarship funded my living expenses for my ESPN internship. And at ESPN, I learned many technical skills which I now use at Boston College Athletics," said Tami.
Tami was also awarded a 2018 Columbia School of Journalism fellowship to attend the 2018 AAJA National Convention in Houston.
2017 Recipient: Nader Issa
Nader was a senior at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in broadcast journalism when he was awarded the 2017 Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship.
"The scholarship reaffirmed my confidence in my work and it helped boost my motivation to keep working toward bigger accomplishments," said Nader, now a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. "Any time you can get a confidence-builder such as a scholarship, it helps you stay focused and driven."
In 2017, Nader was also awarded first place for in-depth reporting with the Society of Professional Journalists' regional awards, third place for sports game story with the Illinois College Press Association, and second place for general excellence with the Illinois College Press Association.
2016 Recipient: Brady Wakayama
Brady was awarded the 2016 Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship while he was a senior at Washington State University, majoring in broadcast journalism.
“The Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship gave me more confidence in my journalistic ability and has motivated me to push even harder to achieve my dreams as well as continue AAJA’s mission of fostering a more diverse industry,” said Brady, who is now a TV news reporter at KEZI 9 News.
“I am very fortunate to say that I have achieved my post-graduation goals of landing a reporting position close to my hometown of Seattle. I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the KEZI 9 News team in Eugene, Oregon where I look forward to continuing to learn and further develop my broadcast journalism skills. Eugene is the best place I could ever imagine starting my career, and I am excited to use this opportunity to continue pursuing my career aspirations of becoming an anchor or reporter on the national level.”