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The Chicago chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has selected its three 2020 scholarship recipients.  Each student will be awarded $4,000 to help fund their college career and help the organization achieve its goal of getting more Latinos in our newsrooms. This is all possible thanks to the support of NAHJ Chicago members and sponsors. During our annual “Nuevo Comienzo” fundraiser in February 2020, they helped us raise approximately $8,000! That is the largest amount raised since our fundraiser began in 2015.

Richard Requena/ DePaul University 

Richard Requena’s exemplary resume, authentic personal essay, and commitment to pursue a career in journalism, led the board to award him with the  Hortencia Zavala Scholarship which is funded by the family of current national NAHJ president Hugo Balta.  The scholarship was created in 2016 to honor Balta’s grandmother.

“Richard’s application was very impressive,” Balta said.  “The commitment that he has to be a journalist struck me. Also, his desire to want to tell stories and to be authentic to his experience and his community.”

The DePaul University student is expected to graduate with a master’s degree in journalism in November 2021. Requena has produced and written stories on mental health in the Latino community and the culture in immigrant majority neighborhoods in the Chicago area. Last summer, he interned for Chicago Tribune’s Hoy, the paper’s former Spanish language publication. A few months ago he helped create PUEBLO, a bilingual publication at DePaul University, and is an active contributor to the university’s publications.

Despite the pandemic and amid the adversities and risks, Requena has been covering the Black Lives Matter Movement in the Chicago.  Follow Requena’s journey here.

Richard Requena
Richard Requena

Luis Velazquez/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Luis Velazquez is studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’s expected to graduate in May 2021. Luis is currently working with Cicero Independiente, covering stories that impact the community. He has also written stories for his university paper, The Daily Illini. Velazquez says he believes journalism is the avenue in which factual and accurate information is dispersed in Black and Brown communities.

Follow Luis’ work here. 

Luis Velazquez
Luis Velazquez

Samantha Aguilar/Medill School of Journalism 

Samantha Aguilar is a Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern student pursuing who is double majoring in International Studies. She is expected to graduate in June 2023.  Aguilar is currently working with NOISE, predominately Black and Latinx communities of North Omaha, and says she is proud to be part of this industry. With everything going on in the current climate, she’s excited to adapt and learn from fellow journalists.

Follow Samantha here.

Samantha Aguilar
Samantha Aguilar
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