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Scholarship winners recount White House Correspondents' Dinner

Two Medill graduate students and one alumna were awarded scholarships by the White House Correspondents' Association and attended the annual White House Correspondent's Dinner on Saturday, April 27. Two of them recounted their experience at the event:


When I first heard I was going to be attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner, I was in shock. I'm first generation in my family to go to college, let alone get a master's degree. For me to receive this award and opportunity is absolutely amazing. It's also important as a Hispanic woman to show that we, too, can be successful. 

I got to meet some phenomenal journalists, like Chris Cuomo and Juju Chang [both from ABC News]. I grew up watching these journalists, so I was just in awe. And, of course, I got to meet some Hollywood stars, too. Tony Goldwyn (from the ABC show "Scandal") and his wife were some of the nicest people we met that night. Their daughter will be attending Northwestern this fall, so we were giving them the low down. I had an absolutely great time with my fellow Medillians, Vince Dixon (MSJ13) and Ashleigh Joplin (BSJ12). Ashleigh was the one making sure we all got pictures with the movie stars. Weaving in and out of the clutter of tables was hard, but entertaining. Lastly, getting to meet the President and the First Lady was beyond what I've ever expected in life. I remember going up and taking a picture with them but not knowing what to say other than "hi." Michelle Obama was absolutely the sweetest, as anyone would expect. I did enjoy getting to dress up and pretending it was my prom all over again. But this one definitely beats my high school prom! I am so grateful to Northwestern for choosing me to be a recipient of the award. -- Brina Monterroza (MSJ13)

This opportunity has acted as nothing but motivation. I have to get back to that ceremony and sit on the opposite end of the table. I need to be the journalist that has gained so much recognition that they can get a ticket to the WHCA dinner. The way that publications fight over tables and tickets to this event is mind blowing. I don't want to fight for a ticket, I want to earn one.

In 10 years, I want to be the journalist that comes to the Scholarship Luncheon and talk to award recipients and inspire them to continue pursuing their career and to make those career aspirations fit their wildest dreams. I know what I want to do with my life and how I want to impact the world through my work. This event showed me that it is possible, you simply have to know the right people that share your same interest. The WHCA gave me the chance to meet those people and I am forever grateful. -- Ashleigh Joplin (BSJ12)