News Director Shawn Presley finds College Relations at Kenyon a good fit
S hawn Presley moved to Gambier and took up his duties as news director in the College Relations division's Office of Public Affairs at the end of August.
As news director, he serves as the chief point of contact between the College and its external audiences, especially the news media. In addition, Presley acts as editor of Fortnightly, the biweekly newsletter for members of the administration, faculty, and staff; serves as associate editor of the Bulletin and Along Middle Path; and writes articles and stories on campus activities, events, and issues.
A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, he received his bachelor's degree at Ouachita University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He went on to earn a master's degree at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
"One of the reasons I believe in a liberal-arts education," says Presley, "is that the advisor I had at Ouachita was a mentor to me. He made me feel good about my writing ability and encouraged me to consider a career in some aspect of journalism. I don't think you ever get that kind of attention at a larger university."
Presley began his career as office and conference coordinator for Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., a trade association. He then moved to Central College in Pella, Iowa, where he was coordinator of news services.
"I loved working at Central College," says Presley, "but after three years there, I felt it was time to move to the next level."
The next level turned out to be the University of Iowa in Iowa City. "As a Big Ten school, it was certainly different from the small, liberal-arts environment I was accustomed to," he says. "I got quite a bit of experience there in placing stories in the national media."
Presley says he was initially attracted to the job at Kenyon because it offered him an opportunity to move back into the intimacy of a smaller institution--and to take on the responsibilities of being a news director.
"In recent years, we've made real progress in bringing the College's faculty experts to the attention of education writers and editors as well as others in the media," notes Tom Stamp '73, director of public affairs. "One of the things that made Shawn such an attractive candidate for the job, in addition to his skill as a writer, was his experience in working with the media at both local and national levels."
"So far," says Presley, "I'm pleased with life in Gambier, and everyone has been very welcoming. I'm also impressed with the Kenyon faculty members I've met and what they're doing in terms of research and writing. I think I'll be able to offer many of them to various media outlets as experts in their fields."
When not at work promoting Kenyon, Presley enjoys reading and making trips to Columbus for films and food with new friends. "Social life here has been a very pleasant surprise," he observes. "There are a number of people in Gambier as addicted to movies as I am, and it's been fun sharing that passion with them."
Silverweed grant supports internships for SCAP students
A grant of $30,000 from the Silverweed Foundation, Inc., of New York, New York, will support summer internships for students from Kenyon's School-College Articulation Program (SCAP) who are preparing for their first year at the College. SCAP is an innovative yearlong program with a three-week summer component that invites rising high-school juniors and seniors to Kenyon for an intensive program designed to prepare and motivate them to continue their education beyond high school.
The grant, to be dispersed over a three-year period, will provide four $2,000 stipends in its first year for minority inner-city students, primarily from Cleveland and Columbus, to serve as research and professional assistants. Each student will work in a College office with a faculty member in a course of study the student is considering pursuing.
The goal of the program is to ease the transition from public-school life and culture to that of the small, rural setting of the College. The grant will provide room and board and help Kenyon to integrate the students into the community and enhance their chances for success.
The Silverweed Foundation, established in 1989, is an independent organization that gives funds to a variety of interests. It is run by sisters Karen J., Nina P., and Susan K. Freedman. Nina Freedman is a 1977 graduate of Kenyon.
SCAP, which began in 1979, is coordinated by Peter Rutkoff, National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at the College. During the academic year, at their home schools, SCAP students take college-level courses taught by their high-school teachers with the assistance of Kenyon faculty members. Participants in the summer seminars pursue academic work in English, history, mathematics, and science.
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