The New York Women in Communications Foundation, a 501c3, has been formally providing scholarship support to young women pursuing communications degrees since 2000. Even before then, the Foundation informally provided support to select, deserving young women. The following profiles tell the tale of just four whose education the Foundation invested in. Each traveled a very different yet successful career path, pursing their individual passion within the rich and varied communications landscape. To ensure more young women have the same opportunity, please consider a tax-deductible gift you can easily make online.
As early as age 13, Lindsay’s love of photography put a smile on her face and drove her to go after a career doing what she loved. That passion fed her calling to fashion photography. Thanks to a 2006 New York Women in Communications Foundation Scholarship, Lindsay was able to pursue her unique degree in Political Science, Photography and Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University.
The scholarship allowed Lindsay to study abroad in London. While living there, she expanded her creative energy and personal expression, she says, by being influenced by people who shared the same passion. “It was incredible to be able to connect with others who were passionate about their careers and driven to succeed. I loved having conversations with people my age who were as eager and passionate about life as I was.” In London, Lindsay also claimed a sense of direction: “I saw how advancing your knowledge around a niche skill set sets you apart from your competition.”
Upon her return to the U.S., Lindsay headed to Washington, D.C. for an internship at a business photography firm. It exposed Lindsay to “business know-how” and gave her the confidence to see photography on an entrepreneurial level. Today Lindsay owns New York-based Lindsay Adler Photography and works for a variety of magazines, publishing firms and advertising agencies. Her work has been featured in several international fashion and photography magazines. She also teaches photography at major conferences worldwide and has authored several photography education books. Clearly Lindsay is living her passion while also sharing it with the world.
In preparation for the “real world” of business, Christine attended Wellesley College. She knew the school’s excellent student/faculty ratio, small classes and its academic community of high-value engagement, debate and cross-disciplined thinking would put her in good stead for her chosen career — reporter. And it was a good start. But after three years of working, Christine decided to attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, which she was able to do thanks to a 1998 scholarship from the New York Women in Communications Foundation.
Graduate school “was one of the most fulfilling experiences,” Christine admits. “It enabled me to become the reporter I always dreamed about.” She has worked for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Crain’s New York Business. Today, she is a staff reporter on The New York Times’ Metro Desk covering transportation. And she is very grateful for the role her scholarship played in her career: “I have been able to live out my dream of becoming a journalist. I get to wake up every day and write stories that I love reporting.” No doubt her readers feel Christine’s passion too.
Those who know her well, including her mentors, describe Kristen as someone who is goal-oriented. In fact, setting life-altering goals has been a way of life for Kristen as early as age 12.
She attended Groton School, a college prep school in Groton, MA, that provided just the right environment to enhance a student’s self-confidence. She went on to Hofstra University on Long Island, graduating with a major in TV Production and a minor in Dance.
Kristen recalls the day she sent in her New York Women in Communications Foundation scholarship application in 2004: “I trekked to the school mailbox during a terrible blizzard, and all I thought about was how excited I felt to apply.” When informed she was being considered for an award, Kristen’s confidence rose tremendously. “I was thrilled that NYWICI had chosen me for an interview, and I knew that I just needed to be myself during the process. I had been preparing for this moment, and I just wanted to connect with the ladies on the interview panel,” Kristen reflects.
Kristen impressed those who interviewed her and won a scholarship that year. She went on to write and produce programs for BET, MTV, VH1, the Food Network and other media outlets.
In 2007, she founded JazziDreamer Entertainment LLC, a media consultation company that specializes in writing and production services for television and independent film projects. Fate took an incredible turn in 2010 when Kristen was selected to be a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune.” That experience would bring great fortune. Within three days and a twist of destiny, Kristen secured an apartment, a job and was chosen to be a part of the Cosby Screenwriting Fellowship, a 16-week program for emerging film and television writers. She moved to Los Angeles the very next month. Since relocating there, she formed an accountability group, Think Tank, challenging participants to complete a 90-day challenge to accomplish a major life goal.
“It’s a joy to be able to say that the New York Women in Communications Foundation supported my education,” says Kristen. “The women involved were so supportive and welcoming. It truly felt like they opened their arms to all of us who won scholarship awards.” Kristen has certainly come a long way, but she gives back too, serving as a mentor to others through Big Brothers, Big Sisters and with the NAACP’s ACT-SO Program.
Raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Vesna emigrated to Canada at age 13. She brought with her the passion and drive to succeed as a reporter. The English language may have been her second, but it guided her to exceed beyond even her own expectations and taught her that differentiating herself from others would be an important everyday task.
Her quest began by coming to the United States for college and receiving a tennis scholarship in support of her education at Hofstra University on Long Island. There she majored in Speech Communications with a minor in Print Journalism. Next up was a 2000 New York Women in Communications Foundation scholarship.
After graduation, Vesna’s first job was at a small town newspaper, The Greenwich Time. She also wrote for the Stamford Advocate and the National Law Journal, among other print outlets. “Starting out small is beneficial for a new writer,” she explains, “because reporting on so many different issues expands your knowledge.” Those opportunities also helped set Vesna apart from her competition by perfecting her writing abilities in real time at the young age of 24.
Perhaps because she was once an immigrant herself, Vesna chose eventually to focus and report on immigration issues. “I am most proud of using my communication skills to write stories about immigrants living in the U.S., including their struggles, challenges and accomplishments,” says Vesna. For her shining coverage of immigration in the U.S., Vesna was awarded the Special Achievement Award from the International Institute of Connecticut in 2006.
Vesna returned to graduate school in 2009 earning a Masters in International Affairs at The New School. Today she is a Media Relations Associate at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York where she no doubt continues to give voice to those who don’t always have one.