Newhouse created the Lorraine Branham scholarship. None of the scholars are black women.

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The first cohort of Branham Fellows entered the Newhouse School of Public Communications this fall, with eight recipients from various backgrounds. Black women are notably absent from the group.

The scholarship aims to recruit students from socio-economically disadvantaged and under-represented populations, according to a New house press release, and give them the opportunity to attend Newhouse “debt free”. The scholarship will be awarded to a maximum of 10 students each fall.

The absence of black women received critical on social media because the stock exchange’s namesake, former Newhouse Dean Lorraine E. Branham, was a black woman.

Payton Campbell, a graduate of Newhouse’s graphic design program in 2021 and president of the SU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, said that in Branham’s absence and with few black female role models at the school, Newhouse needs to put more effort into making black women feel represented. She said she was one of the few black students in her major when she graduated in May.


Branham became Dean in 2008 after working in the newspaper industry for about 25 years, and she was determined to diversify the school. in his role. Branham died in 2019 from uterine cancer.

Campbell said she remembers finishing her final year of high school and interning at the Houston Chronicle in Texas in the spring of 2017. She had just received her waitlist notification from Newhouse. Her editor called Branham to defend Campbell, and three weeks later she was accepted.

Branham was instrumental in Campbell’s ability to compete in the League. She said this connection with Branham gave her the strength and encouragement to get involved in the Newhouse community.

“(Branham) was the reason I was so involved with Newhouse… even after he passed away because I knew I just wanted to carry on his legacy in any way I could,” Campbell said. “I wanted to show and prove that students of color belong to Newhouse whether or not we have the best test scores… we have stories to tell and our place in this school is as deserved as anyone from. other.”

Branham’s passion for influencing students, especially students of color, was well known not only to students, but also to Newhouse faculty and staff.

Amy Falkner, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Newhouse, served as Acting Dean after Branham’s death in 2019. Falkner said the recently established Branham Memorial Scholarship aims to motivate students in the same way Branham does them. has motivated itself.

“The students who came to see Lorraine or arrived here because of (who) Lorriane was. Because she nurtured both in a way that motivated students, especially students from under-represented groups. But also don’t hesitate to start a fire under your butt if you don’t do what you should and take advantage of incredible opportunities, ”said Falkner. “This is an incredible opportunity for, essentially, under-represented student groups.”

Claire Ceccoli is one of this year’s Branham Fellows. The freshman in public relations said the scholarship made all the difference for her and made her feel like Newhouse wanted it. Ceccoli, who is a white woman, said she understood the criticism surrounding the scholarship, but felt she could still make changes through the scholarship.

“I am aware that I am not part of a minority group,” said Ceccoli. “Yes, it wasn’t given to a black woman, and I’m not one of that group. But the scholarship always changes my life, because it inspires me to change and follow in the Dean’s footsteps.

Falkner said that while no black women have received the scholarship, that doesn’t mean black women haven’t.

“Sometimes people take the scholarship, sometimes they go elsewhere,” Falkner said.

Campbell said some black women may not have come to Newhouse due to the lack of belonging to the school.

“It’s hard to be a black woman in Newhouse. It’s hard to be in a space where you aren’t really understood and where you don’t feel very welcome or valued, ”said Campbell. “It doesn’t really surprise me that black women don’t want to come to Newhouse.”

It doesn’t really surprise me that black women don’t want to come to Newhouse

Payton Campbell, Newhouse alumnus

After working in the newspaper industry with predominantly white male colleagues, Branham understood the feeling of under-representation, Falkner said.

Branham’s ability to rise through the ranks as a woman of color is what she has always tried to show students, Falkner added.

“How do you work and succeed in a place where (being in the minority) is your situation? Said Dean Falkner. “This is what she was so passionate about but also exceptionally talented for. She did it, she lived it. She always tried to inspire students to do the same, and that’s what this is all about. inheritance and this scholarship Give people an opportunity.

Contact Shantel: [email protected] | @ shantelguzman2

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