For six Saturdays, more than thirty high school students participated in the annual Lemke Journalism Project, and one past participant of the program gave back to the program. The Lemke Journalism Project was designed to teach students how to write about diversity issues in Northwest Arkansas, but participants continue to use what they learned in the program.
“Good job getting it done on time, I like it yeah it’s definitely informative and it really gets her viewpoint of what people feel of being Muslim in the U.S. so it got that diversity point, very good.”
Lemke Journalism Project Assistant Breybinda Alvarez participated in the program for two years while in high school. She said the program allowed her to develop the skills needed to pursue a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
She said, “It has definitely helped me come out of my shell, feel comfortable talking to others getting interviews.”
Alvarez said she was able to take advantage of the scholarship opportunities available through the Lemke Journalism Project.
“I was kind of on that line of going to a community college and going to the UofA so that was definitely one help that really helped through the program, getting that extra money needed to come here,” Alvarez said.
Director of the Lemke Journalism Project Gina Shelton said the project began 16 years ago to provide an outreach for young minorities. Now students can choose from the different aspects of journalism such as print or broadcast reporting.
“The purpose is to bring together high school students, to teach them about journalism, and also hopefully inspire them to pursue careers in journalism,” Shelton said.
She said volunteers of the program provide a great level of engagement with high school participants and when connected with a University of Arkansas student it is incredible.
Breybinda Alvarez said she encouraged high school students to apply for the program even they had interest in other disciplines.
“You don’t have to be a journalism major to participate, there is a lot of undeclared and you never know you might change your mind,” Alvarez said.
High school students were recruited from Rogers Heritage High School, Rogers New Technology High School, Springdale High School, Fayetteville High School, Haas Hall Academy, and Springdale Harber High School.
To volunteer for the Lemke Journalism Project students can contact U of A instructor Gina Shelton.
The 2017 Lemke Journalism Project will host a graduation ceremony for the participants April 13th.
Story by UATV Reporter Nanci Flores