Two aspiring journalists from Florida universities have been awarded $1,000 each as the 2018 recipients of the Florida Outdoors Writers Association scholarship for outdoor communicators.
The winners are Marwan Alenezi, a graduate student in journalism at the University of Miami School of Communication and Emily Mavrakis, an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.
“FOWA is pleased to recognize these up-and-coming journalists who are dedicated to communicating the outdoor experience to a broader audience,” said Dorothy Zimmerman, communications director for Florida Sea Grant and chair of the FOWA scholarship committee. “They impressed the scholarship committee with their new and innovative use of media.”
Marwan Alenezi videos and photographs for the Miami Herald Neighbors section, and has produced a film documentary on invasive species in Florida. In addition to English he speaks Spanish and Arabic, and is a certified PADI dive master. He received the University of Miami Outstanding graduate student award in journalism and media management.
“Marwan is an exceptional student and young journalist and an accomplished multimedia storyteller,” writes his adviser, Rich Beckman, the former director of graduate studies for the UM department of journalism. “He has excellent writing, audio, photography, video, producing and editing skills and is one of the very best students I have had the pleasure to work with during my more than 40 years in academe.”
Emily Mavrakis is an intern at the Gainesville Sun and hopes to become an environmental reporter upon graduation. She is currently working on a story that maps and displays how Alachua County residents use the county’s extensive network of state park trails so that residents can better use and enjoy these valuable resources.
Mavrakis was the Florida Museum of Natural History’s first science writer intern, and comes highly recommended by noted Florida author Cynthia Barnett. “She is an outstanding student and promising young journalist who I expect will make a positive difference in the profession and in the world,” Barnett writes.
FOWA awards scholarships each year to deserving college students whose career goals are to communicate to the public a love and appreciation for the outdoor experience. Florida Sea Grant coordinates the competition. The 2019 competition will open in March.