Media release

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

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

Isabella Ba of Cranston has been selected to receive a Rhode Island PBS Scholarship for high school seniors or college students pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism. The award is up to $15,000 a year for up to four years.

“The field of applicants for this scholarship is always very competitive and Isabella rose to the top,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of Rhode Island PBS. “Isabella demonstrates the qualities we seek in scholarship recipients. She has proven high academic performance, and she possesses great potential to be a successful leader in broadcasting. On behalf of the Foundation Board and the staff of Rhode Island PBS, congratulations to Isabella for earning this scholarship,” he said.

Ba was selected from 27 applicants from the station’s broadcast area in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. The Cranston resident plans to major in communications at Rhode Island College.

“When I was notified I won this scholarship, I had to share the news with my mom immediately. Many students like me cannot help but worry about the financial costs of college. I felt a huge relief when I realized I was going to be able to now afford to attend college, live on campus, play tennis for RIC, contribute to my school community and pursue a career in broadcasting or public relations, something I have wanted to do for a long time,” said Ba, a 2023 graduate of Cranston High School East. “Being chosen as a recipient of this scholarship makes me feel seen and supported. It gives me a sense of hope knowing people believe in me and want to see me succeed and make a difference in this world.”

Ba began considering a career in broadcasting in middle school, when she visited a local TV station’s booth at a career fair, but it was her experience with Cranston East’s Bolt Broadcasting that sealed the deal.

“I met with some local journalists and was able to engage in some lively conversations about their careers and the paths it took for them to get where they were. When I entered high school, I got involved with the morning announcement program. I fell in love with being able to use my voice to share the news,” she said.

“My mentor, Mr. Silva, was inspirational in helping me learn the skills needed to be successful in broadcasting. Speaking in front of a crowd and on the radio comes naturally to me through my experience at Cranston East,” said Ba. “I want to become someone that people can rely on to bring them their news and information while doing so with joy each day as I have done for the past four years.”

At Cranston East, Ba was captain of the tennis team, Battalion Commander for JROTC, and president of the senior class and the National Honor Society. She also participated in theater, Cranston Police Explorers and Bolts Broadcasting among other activities.

This is the sixth 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 proud to have donors like Rhode Island PBS that value the importance of investing in the next generation. As the recipients graduate from college, start their careers, and contribute to the civic life of their communities, the impact of these scholarships will make a difference for decades,” said David N. Cicilline, 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.

For more information about applying for a Rhode Island PBS scholarship next year, visit

WSBE Rhode Island PBS is a community licensee operated by the non-profit Rhode Island PBS Foundation. A viewer-supported member of the PBS network of public television stations, WSBE uses the power of non-commercial media to educate, inform, engage, and inspire viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs, and education and production services at WSBE, visit