Media release

Rhode Island PBS announces recipient of $60,000 journalism scholarship

Narragansett High School graduate wins regional scholarship worth up to $60,000 over four years

Alison McCadden of Saunderstown has been selected to receive a Rhode Island PBS Foundation Scholarship for high school seniors or college students pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism. The award – up to $60,000 – is renewable for up to four years.

“In a very competitive field of applicants, Alison rose to the top,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of Rhode Island PBS. “Alison demonstrates the qualities we seek in scholarship recipients. She shows high academic performance and great potential for success and leadership in journalism. On behalf of the Foundation Board and the staff of Rhode Island PBS, congratulations to Alison for earning this scholarship,” he said.

McCadden was selected from dozens of applicants from the station’s broadcast area in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. She plans to major in journalism at Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

“A free press is a fundamental part of our society, and I think now more than ever journalism is a critical field to enter. I'm so excited to begin my college education and I'm humbled and honored to be a recipient of the Rhode Island PBS Scholarship,” said McCadden, a 2020 graduate of Narragansett High School who is the daughter of Donna and Brian McCadden.

McCadden began considering journalism as a career while acting as the sole student representative on a statewide committee comprised of teachers, professors and historians that was developing curriculum resources for genocide education in Rhode Island.

"We were charged with accumulating and organizing resources to help teachers portray genocide appropriately and effectively. I had discussions with Brown professors and direct relatives of genocide victims, dug through databases for engaging resources and shared feedback from a student perspective," said McCadden.

"I navigated through an initially unfamiliar situation, talked with people who were completely different from me, researched important topics and created a final product that will educate and inform people. Looking back on my experience, I was practicing journalism without fully realizing it," she said.

McCadden was valedictorian of the Class of 2020, senior class secretary, president of the National Honor Society, and competed in volleyball and lacrosse. In addition, she won the Rhode Island Law Day Essay Contest and Rhode Island Girls State Samsung Scholarship Award. She also served as a member of the Rhode Island Genocide Curriculum Task Force, where she developed statewide curriculum resources and wrote a unit of study for middle school students.

This is the third year Rhode Island PBS has awarded scholarships of up to $15,000 through a $1 million scholarship fund created at the Rhode Island Foundation. The selection was made by a review committee coordinated by the Foundation.

“We are honored to have donors like Rhode Island PBS that appreciate the value of investing in young people. The impact of its support will be felt for decades as the recipients start their careers and contribute to the civic life of their communities,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

Students had to submit an essay, a current academic transcript, a financial aid worksheet, proof of residency and a letter of recommendation from a teacher or professional attesting to the applicant’s merit towards a successful career in broadcasting, communications or journalism.

Learn more about applying for a Rhode Island PBS scholarship next year.