Meet the 2021 AWSM Scholars Class

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AWSM Board

The Association for Women inSports Media is proud to introduce its newest class of AWSM Scholars.

Since 1990, AWSM has placed female college students in paid summer internships in the sports media industry at top companies from around the country.

The eight young women who were chosen as 2021 AWSM Scholars had to demonstrate their talent and drive throughout our competitive application process.

In addition to the paid internship, winners will also receive a $1,000 scholarship. 

These scholarships are possible thanks to our generous benefactors:

·       The Associated Press Sports Editors, sponsoring the MaryGarber/APSE Scholarship

·       Christine Brennan, sponsoring the Betty Brennan Scholarship andJim Brennan Scholarship

·       Martin Doerfler and Kristin Huckshorn, sponsoring the FoundersScholarship

·       Jim Jenks, sponsoring the Joyce-Jenks Family Scholarship

·       Tom Jolly, sponsoring the Betty Jolly Scholarship

·       Myra MacPherson, sponsoring the Leah Siegel Memorial Scholarship

·       Jorge Rojas and Jim Jenks, sponsoring the Celeste Williams Memorial Scholarship

Our internship hosts help make this program possible. A special thanks to ESPN, Orlando Sentinel, Sports Illustrated, USA Softball and USA TODAY, who return as hosts for the 2021 class, and to NCAA Digital, Dallas Morning News and The Star Tribune, who AWSM welcomes as first-time scholar employers.

Get to know the 2021 AWSM Scholars below: 

Natalie Bode is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying broadcast journalism and sports communication. She is originally from Brenham, Texas, and is a four-year student member of AWSM. She is a reporter and host for the ACC Digital Network, and serves as the face of UNC Athletics through her weekly student-athlete interview show, “Tar Heel Talks.” She also has served as a radio host for Carolina Basketball and hosted a podcast featuring Hall of Fame coach Anson Dorrance. This summer, she’ll be interning with first-time employer NCAA Digital and is the recipient of the Founders Scholarship. 

Emily Leiker is a junior at the University of Missouri studying Print and Digital Journalism with a minor in English. She currently covers Missouri football for the Columbia Missourian, and is the vice president of AWSM Missouri and president of APSE at Mizzou. Originally from Washington state, Leiker spent the 2020 summer in Raleigh, North Carolina, interning with the News & Observer. Leiker will join the staff at USA Today and is the Mary Garber/APSE Scholarship recipient. 

Stormi Leonard is a second-year graduate student studying multimedia journalism at Arkansas Tech University. She’s worked as a graduate assistant in the athletic communications office for the past two years covering a variety of sports including women’s tennis and men’s basketball. Leonard is a former intern for Texas Motor Speedway and a sports agent in Arkansas. She was a reporter for the sports news show, The Roar Rundown, at Ouachita Baptist and has won awards for a sports podcast. She will spend her summer interning with USA Softball in Oklahoma City as the Joyce-Jenks Family Scholarship winner. 

Christina Long is a senior at the University of Missouri studying journalism with an emphasis on magazine writing and a minor in Spanish. She is originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and has previously worked as a sports writer and editor at the Columbia Missourian and a correspondent covering Mizzou football for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also was one of four recipients of the Associated Press Sports Editors scholarship in 2020. She’ll be interning with the Star Tribune this summer and is the Betty Brennan Scholarship winner.

Daniela Perez is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Journalism and Latin American studies. She worked at the student run newspaper, The Daily Texan, as a sports reporter for two years with coverage ranging from soccer to football. The Boca Raton, Florida, native was a former intern at The Palm Beach Post and Sports Illustrated. She will be interning three hours from home at the Orlando Sentinel. Perez is also a member of the 2021 Sports Journalism Institute class and is the recipient of the Jim Brennan Scholarship.

Augusta Stone is a senior at the University of Georgia, where she majors in journalism and political science and is a student in the Grady Sports Media Certificate program. She has spent two years covering UGA football with the student-run Red & Black newspaper and has served as editor-in-chief and sports editor. Stone has appeared on SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show and is a frequent guest on ESPN Coastal Georgia radio. A native of Chickamauga, Ga., Stone previously interned with Spectrum News 13 in Orlando, Florida, and The Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, North Carolina. She will spend summer 2021interning with Sports Illustrated as AWSM’s Betty Jolly Scholarship winner. 

Arianna Vedia is a senior at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she is studying journalism and broadcast communication. The Fort Worth native is the engagement editor for The Shorthorn, UTA's student newspaper, after previously serving as sports editor and managing editor. Vedia is a member of the Sports Journalist Institute's class of 2019 and has interned at the Houston Chronicle. Vedia will be interning with the Dallas Morning News this summer and is the Celeste Williams Memorial Scholarship winner.

If you’d like to help support the AWSM Scholars program, please reach out to  Beth Maiman or Jeanmarie Winger for more information:,

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