Gentel Blair, a senior majoring in journalism and mass communication, has won the 2016 Ailes Rising Apprentice Scholarship from Fox News. She will receive a $10,000 educational scholarship and a two-month internship at Fox News in New York City next summer.
Blair is the fifth Saint Augustine’s student in a row selected for this prestigious scholarship, which is awarded to two minority students from among candidates across the nation. She follows in the footsteps of Sakeeda Freeman (2012), Princess Goodridge (2013), Naomi Afari (2014) and Clayshawn Moore (2015).
Blair credited J. Peder Zane, an assistant professor in the Media and Communications Department, for encouraging her to apply. “I was really excited about the internship but nervous also,” she said. “It wasn’t in my original plans this summer but I trust in God and he makes no mistakes in ordering my steps. I am glad I received this amazing opportunity and I will make my SAU family proud this summer.”
Noting that Blair was one of several strong candidates from Saint Augustine’s considered for the prestigious scholarship, Mr. Zane said the Ailes award benefits far more than the single winner. “From the day students arrive here, they know that if they work hard, they might earn the gold-plated opportunity Gentel will enjoy,” he said. “The fact that a national news organization such as Fox continues to look to our graduates for tomorrow’s leaders is the best confirmation I can think of regarding the quality of education we are providing our students and the time and effort they are devoting to learning their craft. It means more than we can say that a figure such as Roger Ailes recognizes and supports our efforts.”
Blair can choose between New York and Washington, D.C., as the location for the internship. “I chose New York, first, because I have never been to New York; second, because I believe New York has more networking opportunities for me as a broadcast journalist; and, third, because I have family in New York,” she explained.
From Lexington, Ky., Blair’s concentration within communications is broadcasting. She aspires to be a sports reporter and already has several professional accomplishments under her belt. She has job shadowed with NBC Sports in Sacramento, Calif., with the Raleigh News & Observer and with the Charlotte Hornets media department. Blair also has interned with the university’s WAUG-TV/Power 750 AM, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and with the USA Track and Field Entertainment Properties.
She also is very active in campus activities. Blair is serving this year as Miss Saint Augustine’s University, and, in September 2015, was one of five finalists for the Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame competition in Atlanta, Ga. In her junior year, she was the speaker for a domestic violence event titled “Saving My Sista.” Also, she was selected as the university’s Toyota Green Initiative Campus Ambassador, an honor that gave her the opportunity to rally support for green campus initiatives.
The Ailes Rising Apprentice internships can lead to a job offer from Fox News, though even when no job is offered or interns choose not to accept them, the program can lead to other opportunities. Last year’s winner from Saint Augustine’s, Clayshawn Moore, chose to return home to Texas rather than staying in New York, but she recently landed a job as with KTBC Fox 7 in Austin as an assignment editor/weekend producer.
Blair hopes her internship leads to similar success. “After I researched the internship and gained more knowledge about this opportunity I hope to gain mentors, new hands on experiences outside of academics, and a job offer when the internship concludes,” she said.
— Christian Roberson