Meet Our Ida B. Wells Scholars

  • By Amy Dunkin
Artistic photo of the Ida B. Wells scholars
Photo: John Smock

The seven Ida B. Wells Scholars are forging careers in the spirit of the late 19th century journalist and civil rights activist who battled sexism, racism, and violence throughout her lifetime. They have come from as far as California, Mississippi, and Florida and as close as Brooklyn and Maryland to study in the media capital of the world and to deliver accurate, informative and fearless journalism on subjects as diverse as women of color in venture capital, the connection between sports and business, and the black diaspora in New York.

The students are all members of the Ida B. Wells Society, a news trade organization dedicated to increasing and retaining reporters and editors of color in the field of investigative reporting. These students were chosen to receive monetary awards to help them obtain a master’s degree at the Newmark J-School.

The fund for these scholarships was launched in 2018 at the school’s annual Awards for Excellence that honored Ta-Nehisi Coates. The renowned writer was introduced at the dinner by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, a co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society and member of the J-School’s Foundation Board.


Class of 2019

Jazmin Goodwin

Hometown: Born in Landstuhl, Germany; raised in Columbia, S.C.
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Media, Journalism, and Film with minor in graphic design from Howard University (2018)
Something interesting about Jazmin: “I’ve spoken before Congress advocating for education programming that prepares low-income students to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.”

Goodwin, who was the first Ida B. Wells scholar at the Newmark J-School, graduated in December with a concentration in business and economics reporting. She now begins a year-long fellowship as a business reporter at USA Today. She was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a 2017 fellow in the J-School’s Knight Diversity Initiative, and has had internships at CNN Business, Axios, and Washington City Paper.

She is particularly proud of a piece she wrote on women of color in venture capital. Beyond journalism, she can see herself working one day as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

Class of 2020

Dalvin Brown

Hometown: Meridian, Miss.
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Business Journalism from CUNY’s Baruch College (2018)
Something interesting about Dalvin: “I’m an avid snorkeler, and I have quite a few exotic pets: three crabs named Nook, Crook, and Cranny; and two small frogs named Downton and Abby.”

Everything Dalvin Brown has done in journalism so far has pointed him towards his dream job as a financial markets reporter.  In addition to earning a business journalism degree at Baruch College and writing for its student-run Dollars & Sense publication, he has been working at USA Today as a reporter for the money section covering the impact of technology on health care.

He’s proud of a story he wrote about how technology has worked its way into churches. “When I was growing up, it was frowned upon to use a cellphone in the church,” he said. “Nowadays, it’s encouraged in a lot of ways.”

Terrence Fraser

Hometown: East Flatbush, N.Y.
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Politics from Princeton University (2016)
Something interesting about Terrence: “In my free time, I sing and produce jazz/neo soul music.”

Fraser, who is also a Knight VICE fellow,  is focused on telling hyperlocal and international stories that are relevant to the black diaspora in New York City. Before he started at the J-School, he had an internship at The Marshall Project and worked as an independent photographer. He is currently producing a documentary on gentrification.

Fraser’s dream job would be to write for The Nation or do documentary videos for The Intercept.

Brooke Henderson

Hometown: Coral Springs, Fla.
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Journalism and minor in Chinese from the University of Florida (2019)
Something interesting about Brooke: “I’m trying to eat my way through New York. I want to try every kind of cuisine I can, especially when it comes to dessert.”

Henderson said she chose Newmark J-School because it is at the forefront of new media. “I didn’t want to go to a school with a prestigious name that rests on an old model of journalism,” she said. “CUNY evolves every semester, every week. We’re learning to be hands-on from the beginning.”

After she completes her degree in journalism, Henderson is headed for University of California’s Berkeley Law school. Her dream job is to be an investigative reporter who helps people understand how the law applies to their lives. 

Noelle Lilley

Hometown: San Bernardino, Calif.
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Film and Media Production from Arizona State University (2018)
Something interesting about Noelle: “My name means Christmas in French, but I was born on Thanksgiving.”

Lilley believes that integrity, truth, and freedom of the press are threatened now more than ever and that there has never been a greater need for journalists who will push for the hidden stories and “shine a light on the untold or ignored facts.” She hopes to apply her extensive experience in broadcast journalism to other media. At the J-School, she is eager to learn podcasting, social journalism, radio, and documentary. 

Prior to enrolling at the J-School, Noelle was a multimedia reporter for KERO-TV, 23ABC News in Bakersfield, Calif. She is proud of an enterprise story she did during the rating sweeps period about the first black family in Bakersfield.  Her long-term goal is to publish a novel, anchor for a television news station in a major market, or host a long-form news show. She was recently selected to be a student judge in the preliminary round of the Peabody Awards for Innovation in TV News.

Korey Matthews

Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Undergraduate degree: B.S. in Multimedia Journalism from Morgan State University (2018)
Something interesting about Korey: “I went to Paris in April of 2018 to film a documentary.”

Matthews has a keen interest in sports and business, and a desire to help people understand the connection between both subjects. Prior to starting at the Newmark J-School, he interned at Bloomberg News, where he wrote stories for its daily election wrap, worked with a breaking news team, and produced pieces for Bloomberg Market Minutes on the radio.

He is proudest of his piece called “A Widower’s Love” about a man who took care of his wife with dementia for 10 years.  His dream job is to anchor a major TV or radio show that covers a variety of topics, as well as to own a media company.

Victoria Mba-Jones

Hometown: Prince George’s County, Md.
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Media, Journalism, and Film from Howard University (2018)
Something interesting about Victoria: “I have a Dalmatian named Moscato (my favorite wine).”

Victoria Mba-Jonas is a passionate writer, video storyteller, and graphic designer who specializes in black culture. She has worked at The Haitian Times as a fellow and at Essence as an editorial intern.

In addition to those publications, her work has appeared in Kapital Magazine, The Hilltop newspaper at Howard University, and on Howard’s WHUR 96.3. She is proudest of a story she wrote for Essence in October 2017 about inspirational breast cancer survivor Erika Hart. She is also an aspiring filmmaker.