Devroy fellowship continues to benefit students, university
By Breann Schossow
After the death of Ann Devroy, UW-Eau Claire alumna and Washington Post reporter in 1997, a friend and fellow alumnus approached the university with the idea to create an internship in her name with The Washington Post.
With the combined efforts from The Washington Post, the university and other supporters, Devroy’s legacy lives on twelve years later in what Communication and Journalism department chair Mary Hoffman describes as a beneficial program that sets the university apart from others.
“It also really raises the profile of the department to bring the national level speakers in to talk about the values of journalism and the values Ann Devroy brought to her job," she added.
In the past, speakers such as Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward and most recently, Dan Balz, political reporter for The Washington Post, visited the university to speak at the forum in honor of Devroy. At this event, the Devroy fellowship was also announced.
The Devroy fellowship is awarded to an outstanding journalism student at the university, according to the Ann Devroy Memorial Web site. This includes a three-week unpaid internship at The Washington Post and a paid internship at a daily newspaper in Wisconsin, among other benefits.
This spring, the fellowship selection committee chose senior Mclean Bennett, Kohler, Wis., as the twelfth fellow to travel to D.C. next winter.
When Bennett applied for the fellowship, he was hesitant to even throw his name in. However, with his family putting him through college, Bennett said he wanted to continue making it worth it for them.
“It’s always worth a shot to a least try for these things,” he said. “It’s not just me whose invested time and money into school … It was worth it for a lot of people.”
The fellowship introduces the fellow to the world of big-time newspapers and what it means to be a working journalist, Hoffman said.
“I also think both of those opportunities are wonderful chances for students to network with people who might be later mentors or employers even,” Hoffman added.
Bennett said that while the fellowship offers many opportunities, it also comes with expectations as well, such as living up to what previous fellows and Devroy have already done.
“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “I think it can also be kind of a tough thing, but it’s worth it when you deal with it.”
Hoffman said the program will continue because The Washington Post, newspapers in Wisconsin and other partners are onboard. This means more fellows and more opportunities to bring their experiences back to the department and university.
“We can only do so much in the classroom,” she said. “This gives them a chance to come back to class and to think, ‘Okay. Today, we’re talking about this idea. Here’s how I saw that happen.’”
Breann Schossow is a junior print journalism major and News editor at The Spectator. She can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.