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Rochester news station awards first scholarships

by Katherine Fernandez - Copy Editor
Tue, Feb 26th 2019 09:00 pm

The College at Brockport has extensive connections with local businesses and organizations to ensure that its students get the most out of their college experience. Some of these connections result in amazing opportunities for professional growth. One such instance is the WHEC Scholarship program for meteorology majors that was launched in the Fall of 2018.

WHEC News 10 NBC and Brockport have a history of collaboration. In the late 1990s, the college and the news organization agreed to place a doppler radar on top of Mortimer Hall. WHEC also contributes $9,000 a year to the Brockport Foundation and, according to Richard Reingold, WHEC Vice President and General Manager, the amount is set to increase slightly next year.

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must meet specific criteria. Students must have to either major in meteorology or have the intent to do so, in addition to acquiring and maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or above. The selection process follows a three tiered system when giving preference to applicants. Preference is given to applicants who are graduates of schools within the Rochester City School District. The next level of preference is given to graduates of Rochester Charter schools, followed by graduates of any other high school in the nine county Greater Rochester area. Applicants must also exhibit “academic excellence and potential for success,” which is judged by the selection committee in the Department of Earth Sciences.

“There are a lot of students who study meteorology and many of them want to go on and work in TV news afterwards,” Reingold said. 

Recipients are given more than just the scholarship, they are also invited to join the News 10 NBC crew as a paid intern for one semester.

Senior Amanda Leavell was chosen to receive the scholarship and subsequent internship. Although she did not discover her passion for meteorology until she started her college career, Leavell recalls her early connections to newscasting.

“In elementary school we had a school news team that would announce the news every day and it was so much fun, I even got an award for best newscaster of the year,” Leavell wrote. “After looking over what paths would be best for my career, I came to the conclusion of broadcast meteorology – combining both of my interests for science and being on television.” 

Leavell has been a star student during her time at Brockport, forging close relationships with professors who see the great potential in her.

“Most people have to apply to the scholarships through the school but I was blessed enough to have a teacher nominate me to receive the award,” Leavell wrote. “It was a huge accomplishment for me because it proved that all the hard work I’ve put into my studies truly paid off.” 

Not only does she excel academically, she also takes on responsibilities outside of the classroom, working as the president of the Brockport Barbell Club, participating in bodybuilding competitions and working two jobs. 

Leavell is ready to take her talents out into the world and ready to follow her passions wherever they may lead her.

“After I graduate I want to pursue my dream of being on TV, no matter what state or even country it takes me,” Leavell wrote. “Obviously I have experience related to weather but I’m determined to keep my mind open to any other opportunity that comes my way. You have no idea where life is going to take you, so it’s best to be flexible.” 

Having traveled to New York City on the Brockport Alumni trip held annually in the fall semester, Leavall is actively working to create and foster relationships with professionals in the field.

As the end of her college career draws to a close, Leavall along with the other meteorology majors will have many opportunities for success thanks to the connections they have made during their time at school as well as their connections with the greater community. 

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