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Four students receive UMCom scholarships for 2003-04

4/21/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn

NOTE: Head-and-shoulders photographs of Susanna Song, Julia Vazquez, Diane Connolly and Janet Fillmore are available at

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Four students will receive aid through two United Methodist Communications scholarship programs in the coming academic year.

Susanna Song, a junior at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and Julia Jovanie Vazquez, a senior at Columbia College, Chicago, were named the winners of the Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students. The scholarship provides $2,500 to an ethnic minority junior or senior pursuing a career in journalism. The late Leonard Perryman was a journalist for the United Methodist Church for more than 30 years.

Diane Connolly, a graduate student at United Methodist-related Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, and Janet Fillmore, a graduate student at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, will receive full Stoody-West Fellowships of $6,000 apiece.

The Stoody-West Fellowship was named for the Rev. Arthur West of Lebanon, Ohio, and the late Rev. Ralph Stoody, who were staff executives of UMCom or a predecessor agency.

The Commission on Communications' scholarship committee chose the winners from 14 Stoody-West applicants and eight Perryman applicants during its April 9 meeting. The commission oversees UMCom. All of the scholarships are for the 2003-04 year and are awarded on a one-time basis.

Song is anchor for WNUR 89.3 FM and a reporter for the Northwestern News Network. She also serves as a youth group teacher at Hebron Presbyterian Church in Illinois and is a Korean-American Scholar, as well as a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and the Asian-American Journalism Association. She has participated in mission trips to Nambia, Africa, and the Dominican Republic.

"After graduation, God willing, I will have the opportunity to go to other desolate areas, not just as a missionary but as a venerable journalist," Song wrote in her application.

Vazquez is an active member of Palos United Methodist Church and worked as a senior apprentice artist and radio production intern. She has won several awards, including the SICA All-State Theatre Medal, National Choral Award, City of Chicago & Gallery 37 Time Capsule Grand Prize and the Moraine Valley Brook Scholarship, and she's on the dean's list at Columbia College for 2002-03.

"Upon my graduation at Columbia College, I am going to pursue my master's of electronic media at the University of Illinois in Chicago. During a course of research that I have been planning, I look forward to tracing the patterns and history of television, children and the media's influence," she wrote in her application.

Connolly is a member of First United Methodist Church of Coppell (Texas) and is pursuing her master of theological studies degree at Perkins. She graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and English. While at Indiana University, she held positions as city editor, copy chief, editorial writer and reporter on the Indiana Daily Student newspaper. She was the founding editor for ReligionLink: Resources for Reporters (, and served as the religion editor and deputy arts editor for The Dallas Morning News, as well as news layout editor, copy chief and feature page editor for The St. Petersburg Times.

She received the Schachern Award from the Religion Newswriters Association for the best newspaper religion section in North America for 1998, 1999 and 2000, and the Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council for best newspaper religion section in the country for 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

"Religion binds and divides people in the deepest ways imaginable," she wrote in her application. "In the coming years, two of the most pressing questions we face are: Can the world's religions learn to get along? And what terrible price will we pay if they cannot?" For this, she is attending seminary to get a better grounding in scripture, ethics and history. She concludes her written statement with, "I hope this will equip me to write and report with more depth and clarity about how faith is a potent force - both a healing and divisive force - in today's world."

A member of Mayfield United Methodist Church in Mayfield Village, Ohio, Fillmore is active on the administrative board and serves on ministry teams addressing areas such as elder care and women's Bible study. She has also served as a Sunday school teacher and participated in short-term mission trips. She is enrolled at the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio, where she is pursuing a master of divinity degree. She received a master of arts degree in journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington and a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

Fillmore's career in journalism began in 1981 as an intern copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she currently serves as the assistant editor of the Sunday Magazine.

Her application lists several honors and awards, including seminary scholarships through the United Methodist Foundation, Double Your Dollars for Scholars program, Gift of Hope program and Mayfield United Methodist Church's Partners in Ministry.

"My goal is to be a strong advocate for children," she wrote. "I plan to work for either a United Methodist children's facility or an organization that directly or indirectly helps children (such as Save the Children or Heifer International) and use my writing skills to highlight the needs and celebrate the successes of youngsters.

"I also want to be a 'journalist on call' for the United Methodist Church, documenting in words and photographs the many ways that it helps children in crisis around the world. As an editor at newspapers in the Midwest for 20 years, I know there is always a story behind the obvious story."

More information on UMCom scholarships is available by contacting Amelia Tucker-Shaw, resource consultant, at (615) 742-5400, or visiting UMCom's Web site at

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