The Ann Devroy Fellowship has had the impact on me and on my journalism career that I hoped it would, if not more. It's a treat now to look back and think about the fellowship. What journalism student at UW-Eau Claire would not dream of being invited to start his post- college newspaper career at The Washington Post? Who would not want to receive the fellowship carrying the name of one of his school's most respected professionals? It didn't seem real then, but it's easy to see now what a gift the fellowship was to me and continues to be for our journalism department. The fellowship was more than a once-in-a-career opportunity - it was motivation, it was the good kind of pressure, and it was a career head start unlike any other in journalism.
I arrived in Washington ready to be a sponge and a workaholic and with a strong desire to live up to the expectations of Devroy's former coworkers. I left with a much better understanding of how a daily newspaper operation works and a good idea about how the best in the business got to be just that. My experiences in Washington and later in Milwaukee prepared me well for a career in print journalism. Today, nine years later, I have a job I love for the paper where I always wanted to work. Would I have arrived at this place without the Ann Devroy Fellowship experience? It's a question I've raised to myself plenty of times, and the only conclusion I come up with is thank goodness I didn't have to find out.