Congratulations Jaclyn Ferguson, the 2021 P.J. and Hilda W. Hill Award recipient.
The P. J. and Hilda W. Hill Award was established from a gift from P. J. Hill, a 1920 graduate of Indiana University. The $5000 award is presented to the outstanding senior on the IU Bloomington campus who has done the most to “better race relationships on the IU campus” during his or her undergraduate career. Jaclyn’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here at Indiana University includes her leadership and service as the founding editor of Black Voices, a section in Indiana Daily Student, the president of the Indiana University chapter of National Association of Black Journalists and the founder of the diversity recruiting team for the Media School within the College of Arts and Sciences.
Jaclyn’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
As the founding editor of Black Voices, Jaclyn has played a major role in amplifying the voices of minority students on the IU Bloomington campus through the Media School. This IDS section highlights BIPOC student leaders and why their voice is a significant force. The Black Voices team published 115 pieces in the inaugural semester, including stories on the impacts of the election on communities of color and how Black Lives Matter protests shaped racial justice initiatives. Black Voices gives students a space to feel comfortable sharing their work and art, especially in a publication that historically was not inclusive of their voice – by conveying the depth and diversity to Black students amidst this tumultuous political climate. James Kelley, Director of Journalism at the Media School, highlights the importance of Black Voices within student media: “As I look over the long, long list of articles published this semester, I cannot help but wonder how much we white folks have missed by not having a Black Voices section: where IU students of color could speak plainly about the issues of the day. Seeing Black Voices in the paper makes me happy and hopeful.”
The impact of this section in Indiana Daily Student reaches far beyond the IU Bloomington campus. During a city council meeting, Jim Simms, a member of Bloomington City Council commended Black Voices for being a concrete way people can work towards unity and racial justice.
Mark Cuban donated $250,000 to help build the section, which has allowed Black Voices to create even greater change. This semester, a scholarship was created to award to a Black Voices contributor in the spring to help fund internships. Oftentimes, students are unable to complete internships due to no pay and consequently are unable to gain valuable professional experience. Black Voices is also working on a yearly awards ceremony, to recognize outstanding student organizations on campus doing work for Black IU. This award will be a way for diverse IU students to come together, celebrate change and look forward to work that is still left to be done.
Jaclyn’s involvement in amplifying Black journalists does not stop with her work at IDS. She currently serves as the president of the National Association of Black Journalists. Jaclyn saw a need for multicultural inclusion with the Media School, as there was a lack of diversity in her classes and stepped into action, so she founded a diversity recruiting team for the Media School. During her executive position, the diversity team has held bi-monthly workshops for high schools with marginalized, underrepresented populations to teach them about opportunities with Indiana University and the Media School, as well as mini media workshops.
Jaclyn’s Academic Achievements
Jaclyn is a 2017 Founder’s Scholar and a Hudson and Holland Scholar. She is earning a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies, with a minor in African American Diaspora studies from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Jaclyn found her support system both in her family and in the Media School. She said:
I would like to thank my parents for always believing me and pushing me to be the best version of myself. I would also like to thank my Media School faculty for all of the support throughout undergrad. “