2022 Awarded $1,500
Alaska Professional Communicators Memorial Scholarship has again been awarded to Laura Ditto an Alaska Pacific University student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in creative and professional writing, with a minor in environmental science. She did an independent study on memoir writing and also took a class in partnership with Arizona State University through the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Ms Ditto seeks to communicate science in a way that is understandable to people outside of the scientific community, and continue writing about stories that go unheard. She has come to understand that not only does the public need a way to understand complex subjects, but also that under-served communities deserve to have their voices amplified
Her professor was impressed by her commitment to improvement, seeking constantly to best engage the reader, while remaining true to the intent of her writing. He wrote that Laura has demonstrated a strong and engaging voice.
2021 Awarded $1,500
Laura Ditto is pursuing a degree in Creative & Professional writing at APU with an Environmental Studies Minor. She plans to become a scientific communicator, helping spread valuable information to the public.
A judge described her writing as clear and concise, and a professor ranks her in the top 5% of students in her 15-year teaching career.
2020 (No Scholarships Awarded as No Applications Received)
2019 Awarded $1,500
Sara Hinojosa is currently attending Alaska Pacific University with a major in Creative & Professional Writing along with minors in business and psychology.
Sara was born and raised in Illinois, half an hour north of Chicago. She moved to Alaska to experience a place and culture that is furthest away from anything she had known before.
After graduation, Sara hopes to go into the communications field and pursue her dream of being a full-time writer.
2018 (No Scholarships Awarded as No Applications Received)
2017 Awarded $1,000
Jeanette Sweetman plans to graduate from UAA in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and a minor in French. She has a passion for multidisciplinary media and broadcasting and hopes to pursue dance videography through grad school.
One professor wrote that Jeanette’s creative interests go beyond art and into the fields of communications and public media as her storytelling intersects with her desire to communicate with the public. She was described as being in the top five percent of outstanding students seen in more than 20 years of teaching.
She has run her business, Jeanette Sweetman Photography, since 2010 and works in broadcasting at KRUA radio.
2016 Awarded $1,000
Alexandria (Lexi) Trainer plans to graduate from UAA in May of 2017 with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications and a minor in Justice. She has struggled to stay on track with that graduation date because of some serious bad luck. Her family home burned down last June, and she was in an accident suffering a serious concussion earlier this spring.
Still, Lexi is on track, with a GPA of 3.25. Her need was very apparent, since she has student loans and a full-time job with the Anchorage Police Department in addition to her full-time course load. Lexi also has an internship with the World Affairs Council and received a glowing letter of recommendation for the scholarship from the Council. Add to all that, she has been married only a few months!
She is very determined, energetic, fun and friendly. In her personal statement, she said winning the scholarship could be the key piece in allowing her to graduate on time, with less difficulty and more ease. She hopes for a career in PR with the police department.
2015 Awarded $1,000
Zakiya McCummings is a second year Journalism and Public Communications major at UAA. She has been Calendar Editor and Staff Writer at Anchorage Press. Press Editor, Susy Buchanan, said she was amazed a 20-year-old could be such an accomplished writer. Zakiya plans to graduate in 2017 and wrote that our scholarship will help her take on a full class load.
2014 Awarded $1,000
Pearl-Grace Rasmussen, a senior at UAA, writes that she has always looked forward to a career in the field of journalism. Her passion began as a toddler when she would watch the TV news and then report back to her mother when she arrived home from work. UAA put Pearl-Grace’s passion in perspective after she began volunteering at the campus radio station KRUA. She eventually became their first female sports reporter and decided she wanted to stay in broadcast. Currently she is employed at the ABC/Fox TV station’s Your Alaska Link.
Her academics are outstanding, while working two jobs toward the goal of being a debt-free college student. UAA’s Paola Banchero said, “She has probably been one of the most heralded students in our program.” Pearl-Grace has also been awarded twice each these prestigious journalism scholarships: Ward Sims Memorial Scholarship and the Elaine Atwood Scholarship.
2013 Awarded $1,000
Anne Bartholomew, a junior at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, majors in Journalism and minors in Spanish. She is the program director of KSUA, the student radio station, which MTV recognized as the best college radio station in the country. Anne writes for the Sun Star student newspaper and is a photographer.
Melissa Wentzel, a junior at the University of Alaska Southeast, majors in Interdisciplinary Studies with focus areas in Communications and English. She is an award-winning radio journalist and was program director at KCAW-FM. She has also worked for the Sitka Summer Music Festival. Melissa is a 38-year-old mother of three young children and plans to pursue a Masters in communications so that she can teach communications.
2011 Awarded $1,000
Erik Judson, UAA
2010 Awarded $1,000 each
Alicia Jo Johnson, editor of the student newspaper at Kodiak College. There was no student newspaper there when Johnson started as a freshman. She found supportive faculty members, recruited a team of enthusiastic writers, and developed Kodiak College’s first student-generated newspaper, The Emerald Looking Glass, which she edits. The college director, Barbara Bolson, wrote about Alicia’s “. . .significant impact on Kodiak College, the student body and the larger community.”
Felix Rivera, a junior at Alaska Pacific University and a noteworthy student leader who, as his professor Mei Mei Evans said at the award luncheon, “. . .has really been on a roll and became student body president.” Felix has been accepted for several programs, including an internship at the Institute on Political Journalism in Washington, D.C.
- 2021 Laura Ditto, APU
- 2020 No awards given
- 2019 Sara Hinojosa, APU
- 2018 No awards given
- 2017 Jeanette Sweetman, UAA
- 2016 Alexandria (Lexi) Trainer, UAA
- 2015 Zakiya McCummings, UAA
- 2014 Pearl-Grace Rasmussen, UAA
- 2013 Anne Bartholomew, UAF, and Melissa Wentzel, UAS
- 2012 No awards given
- 2011 Erik Judson, UAA
- 2010 Alicia Jo Johnson, Kodiak College, and Felix Rivera, APU
- 2009 Brenna Clairr O’Tierney
- 2008 No awards given
- 2007 Melissa Smith, UAA
- 2007 Maureen McCombs, UAF
- 2006 Joshua Borough, APU
- 2006 Nate Raymond, UAF
- 2005 Nate Raymond, UAF
- 2004 Brian Singler, UAA
- 2004 Leah Boltz, UAA
- 2002 Tataboline Brant
- 2001 Mark Frederick
- 2000 Kirsten Stiehm, UAF
- 2000 Michelle Eastty, UAF
- 1999 Laura Xan Alexander, UAA
- 1999 Amy Szopa, UAA
- 1998 Melissa Moore (Eicholz-Campbell), UAA
- 1998 Tataboline Brant, UAA
- 1997 Melissa Eichholz, UAA
- 1997 Matthew Oliphant, APU
- 1996 Darleen Bohan, UAA
- 1996 Candis Tew, UAA
- 1995 Kimberly Curtis, UAA
- 1995 Amanda Conard, UAF
- 1994 Destyne Erickson, UAA
- 1994 Deborah Deaton, UAF
- 1993 Terrie Shattuck, UAA
- 1993 Diana L. Campbell, UAF
- 1992 Erika Bernhardt, UAA
- 1992 Moira O’Malley, UAF
- 1991 Kerry Downing, UAA
- 1991 Holly Zachman, UAF
- 1990 Patricia Kimbrough, UAA
- 1989 Colleen McCarthy, UAF
- 1988 Dottye Holt, UAA
- 1987 Wilda Whitaker, UAF
- 1986 Asta Corley, UAA
- 1985 James Jay Longwell, UAA
- 1984 Kimberlee Lucking, UAF
For the first few years of the scholarship, Alaska Press Women (the predecessor to Alaska Professional Communicators) simply gave the amount to the journalism faculty at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks to award to a deserving student. APW has been unable to find a record of the winners for 1981, 1982 or 1983.