In a milestone for the School of Communication and Journalism (SoCJ), student Viola Flowers won a 2023 Scholar Award by the Overseas Press Club Foundation. Flowers is the first SoCJ student to win the award, which consists of a foreign reporting fellowship with a leading media company or a $3,000 scholarship.
“I was shocked by how competitive it was and that I was chosen out of a national applicant pool, but also immensely proud of myself,” said Flowers, a sophomore journalism major from Waterbury, CT. “I pour so much time and energy into my passion because it’s what I love to do and what I feel so strongly about. To have that recognized, and to know that it stands out among such a wide range of applicants, is beyond rewarding.”
Flowers is one of 18 journalism students from around the country to receive the award, including undergraduates and graduate students from leading universities. She joins 17 other students, both undergraduate and graduate, from prestigious schools across the United States like Harvard, UC Berkeley, Columbia and Northwestern in receiving the 2023 Scholar Award from the Overseas Press Club Foundation. The winners will be recognized at a ceremony in New York City in March.
“Viola has distinguished herself as a strong journalist and an excellent storyteller in our School. This award further distinguishes her and places her among some of the best student journalists in the country,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the School of Communication and Journalism and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science. “I am deeply proud of her achievement, and delighted to see her join the growing numbers of Stony Brook journalism and mass communication students who are winning national awards and recognition.”
For her application, Flowers submitted a cover letter, resume and a story she wrote for a class about a Ukrainian woman studying at Stony Brook, and her transition from her war-torn home country to the United States.
“Viola is that rare combination of exquisite writer and hard-hitting reporter,” said Sarah Baxter, director of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting and journalism instructor. “This accolade from the Overseas Press Club is a wonderful tribute to her talent and I have no doubt she will thrive in her journalism career.”
In addition to her academic work, Flowers is also a spring intern for NBC Nightly News this semester, managing editor of The Statesman and president of the Student Blood Drive Committee.