Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 14, 2013—Williams College senior Monica Torres has been awarded the Jeffrey Owen Jones ’66 Fellowship in Journalism. The $10,000 grant is intended to help a graduating senior begin a career in journalism, either in traditional or new media.
The Jones Fellowship was established in 2009 to honor the memory of Jeffrey Owen Jones ’66, who died of lung cancer in 2007. Jones was an Emmy Award-winning writer, producer, and film professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. During his college years, Jones was editor of the Williams’ student newspaper, The Williams Record.
Each spring, a fellowship committee convenes to assess a range of project proposals. The committee aims to select a student who exemplifies the qualities for which Jones was greatly admired: “integrity, talent, independence of mind, wit, strength of character, skepticism of authority, and concern for others.” This year’s committee members were Shayla Harris ’97, award-winning videojournalist for the New York Times; Angela Schaeffer, director of communications; and John Kleiner, professor of English.
Torres, an American studies and English major from Tampa, Fla., will use the fellowship to take courses of study and pursue non-profit independent projects with The Feminist Wire to build upon her multimedia skills. This fall she will attend NYU Journalism’s Studio 20 program.
“I first became involved with media to take control of the lens through which I was being viewed, and to change the dialogue surrounding immigrants,” Torres said. “This power to inform and to incite is what led me to my interest in being a journalist, and my desire to give voice to the silenced is what has sustained it.”
Torres has interned as a reporter for Tampa Bay’s alternative weekly newspaper, Creative Loafing Tampa and as an admissions blogger for the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies program.
“I would not be in this position without all of the editors who gave me a shot,” Torres said. “I had no clips, no prior experience, but the editors at my hometown alternative newspaper, Creative Loafing Tampa, were very generous with their time, and showed me the ropes.”
At Williams, Torres is a Class of 1960s English Scholar, All-Campus Representative to the Minority Coalition, Baxter Fellow, and member of the Claiming Williams Steering Committee. Torres’ work has been published in The Feminist Wire and Creating Loafing Tampa. She has also been published in Williams College publications such as The Williams Record, Literary Review, and Monkeys with Typewriters.
“My advice to future journalists at Williams? Never call yourself an aspiring anything. You’re never just-. If you have no connections, no clips, like me, don’t despair: hustle,” Torres said. “Use your social media platforms – your Tumblr, your Twitter, your blog – as your outlets to keep up with current events, and to get your voice out there.”
Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.