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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Austin Smith
My name is Austin Smith and I am currently a graduate student at San Diego State University where I am pursuing my Masters degree in mass media and journalism. I wanted to get my degree in the journalism field because I believe our ability to share ideas, information, and experiences is how we evolve. I want my education and experience to be proof that people of color need and deserve to be involved in conversations that shape our country. 

I first heard about TLF from one of my very supportive professors. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I recognized how much the foundation cares for members and communities it serves. I believe in TLF’s mission because our society will only improve when we take responsibility for that growth. That is especially important in communities of color. I want to be a part of that movement. With this scholarship, I am now able to support myself through this current national health crisis and focus on the last year of my Masters program.  

Once I earn my degree, I’d eventually like to create a business that provides the local community with the education and space for minorities to thrive in creative, informative, and business writing. I want to pursue these goals because minorities are sometimes left out of policy discussions and deprived of creative writing platforms. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because the inclusion of divergent thinking is vitally important to journalism and greatly needed.

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because every professional needs the support and networking provided by foundations like TLF. I think the work TLF is doing is important because minority students and professionals need to know they have a places to go and organizations to rely upon as they navigate in a world that sometimes feels like it wasn’t built for them. 

I would like to thank my mom, Cathy Smith, for being my confidant and biggest cheerleader as I took the most unconventional of routes to get here.

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