2 North Carolina HBCU students tabbed as next generation of journalists through special scholarship

ByAkilah Davis WTVD logo
Thursday, February 15, 2024
2 HBCU students in NC tabbed as next generation of journalists
"I prayed and fasted and the Lord granted my prayers," one scholar said. The other revealed, "It is beyond exciting!"

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Two North Carolina students have been selected to an exclusive group of U.S. scholars.

The Walt Disney Company and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) have partnered up to develop the next generation of journalists with the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program.

MORE: Disney UNCF Scholars announced for 2024 cohort

If you walk the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, you might run into journalism student Gabrielle Heyward buried in her calendar.

"I have one on my phone that tells me where I have to be and at what time," Heyward said. "I just learned to manage my time very, very well."

Somehow, she manages to balance school with student organizations, working two jobs and maintaining a 3.8 GPA.

"It's tough. Both my parents are educators. I grew up where there were no bad grades," she said.

No bad grades means the bar has been set high since she was a little girl. Heyward had a few media opportunities on campus, but nothing like the one she's about to start this summer at ESPN.

"I prayed and fasted and the Lord granted my prayers," Heyward said.

Since 2015, the Walt Disney Company and the United Negro College Fund has partnered up to build a pipeline for Black storytellers and innovators.

The students selected to the program will receive $5,000 renewable scholarships, professional development tools and early career opportunities including internships with ESPN, National Geographic and FX.

Many of the former students from this program go on to do great things after graduation. In fact, there are several former scholars who are now full time workers with The Walt Disney Company.

Many of the scholars attend historically black colleges and universities. This year 28 scholars were selected.

Johnson C. Smith University scholar Danaria Gorham is the other student from North Carolina to receive this opportunity.

"It is beyond exciting," Gorham said. "I really fell in love when I had to create my first news reel."

At 23 years old, Gorham is getting plenty of experience now through podcasts and other opportunities on campus. Gorham is working toward her goal every day by majoring in communications as she gears up for the internship of a lifetime this summer with Nat Geo. She hopes this will put her on the path to become a news reporter someday.

"Being in that position would mean I am the representation and I would want other Black little girls to see they can do it too," Gorham said.

Disney is the parent company of this station.