The Editorial Freelancers Association is pleased to announce that Mauranne Vernier of Evanston, Illinois, is the recipient of the inaugural EFA Ruth Mullen Memorial Scholarship in the undergraduate category, and Kristen Shipley of York, Pennsylvania, is the recipient in the graduate category.
The two EFA scholarships—one for an undergraduate attending an HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) and one for an HBCU alum pursuing a graduate degree—are available to students who are Black, African American, or of Black African descent and enrolled in a degree program leading to (1) employment in the publishing or communications industry, or (2) a career that could lead to their becoming a member of the EFA. Each $5,000 award will be paid directly to the scholarship recipient’s HBCU or graduate school in two annual installments of $2,500 for disbursement on behalf of the recipient.
An incoming junior at Spelman College, Ms. Vernier is an English major who serves as editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper and as an editorial intern for Spelman’s Blue Record podcast. She plans to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, with a goal of pushing Black storytelling forward. “I was thrilled to learn of my selection and am honored to be one of the recipients,” she said.
Ms. Shipley is a 2018 graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), the largest HBCU, where she studied journalism and mass communications. She is just starting her first year at Harvard Business School and aspires to become a successful entrepreneur who inspires the next generation through her work, public speaking, and writing. “I plan to honor Ruth Mullen’s legacy and her lifetime commitment to civil rights,” she says. “With a background in journalism, I will use my voice to tell stories that we don’t often hear.”
Andrea Reid, co-chairperson with Andrew Huston of the EFA’s Ad Hoc Committee on HBCU Scholarships and herself a graduate of an HBCU, said, “This is an unprecedented moment for the EFA, as it is the first time our association has awarded scholarships. It is especially important and gratifying that the scholarships are focused on HBCUs! I am honored to be a part of the process that has granted EFA scholarships to these two individuals, Ms. Vernier and Ms. Shipley, who are destined to change their communities and the world.”
The EFA Ruth Mullen Memorial Scholarship, awarded in partnership with the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is named in memory of Ruth Mullen, longtime EFA member and volunteer. At the time of her tragic death in September 2021, Ms. Mullen was serving as an EFA co-executive. “Ruth was an early and strong advocate for this scholarship program,” said Andrew Huston, co-chairperson of the scholarship committee. “Given Ruth’s lifelong support of civil rights and educational equity, the EFA Board of Governors enthusiastically supported naming this scholarship program in her memory.”
Although the program provides for two scholarships for the 2022–2023 academic year, the scholarship committee has set about raising funds to provide even more scholarships next year. Toward that end, a Donate page has been established on the UNCF website. Please consider donating and feel free to post the Donate link on your social media and share the link with friends and associates.