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CBC News 2013 Joan Donaldson Scholars

Congratulations to the nine outstanding recipients of the 2013 Joan Donaldson Scholarship and the Weather Centre scholarship winner. You can also find out about past recipients.


Julia Whalen, Theresa Do, Lindsay Sample, Lucas Powers, Katherine McKenna, Asha Siad, Asher Greenberg, Roxanna Woloshyn and Idil Mussa.


Asha Siad | Mount Royal University (Calgary)

Asha Siad is a Somali-Canadian who is driven to tell stories about issues and people that are often overlooked. Raised in Calgary, Alberta, she loves finding a new angle to every compelling story. For the past three years, she was a reporter for The Calgary Journal where she specialized and reported on a diverse range of stories from breaking news to multicultural and human rights issues. In addition to her work as a reporter, she has also been involved in the film and television industry as a researcher and assistant producer. She was a researcher and production assistant on the second season of Pet Heroes, a documentary series featured on CMT for Corkscrew Media. Most recently she was an assistant producer on Shaw TV Calgary's documentary "Airdrie's First Build", highlighting Habitat for Humanity's efforts in Airdrie. In 2011, she completed a global social media awareness campaign to raise funds for the famine in Somalia and Oxfam Canada called Step UP for Somalia. She has traveled to the Middle East and Europe. Asha co-directed and produced an independent documentary film on immigrant women and the silences around breast cancer in their communities. She is now completing her studies in Journalism at Mount Royal University.



Asher Greenberg | Ryerson University (Toronto)

Asher Greenberg was fascinated by two seemingly incompatible topics in high school: politics and science. So, for a time, he pursued both - studying human biology and political science at the University of Toronto. After graduation, Asher backpacked through Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. He blogged to keep family and friends informed and entertained and soon fell in love with storytelling. In the summer of 2010, Asher interned with Israel’s major daily newspaper, Haaretz. There he published a feature on a threatened Bedouin community in the West Bank. Asher has always been interested in Middle Eastern politics. For several years, he was the director of Yalla Journal, a non-profit project that fostered dialogue between young Canadian Jews and Arabs. Asher was accepted to Ryerson University’s Master of Journalism program in 2011. During his first year at Ryerson, he was published in the Globe and Mail and the Huffington Post Canada. In the summer of 2012, Asher interned for CBC Radio’s As It Happens. He produced interviews with guests from all over the world, from Egypt to Norway, and on topics ranging from the Arab Spring to the science of belly fat.



Idil Mussa | Western University (London, ON)

Born in Saudi Arabia, Idil Mussa moved to Canada in 1986. She has traveled to countries all over the world including Somalia, Egypt, Cyprus, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan and Ghana where she volunteered for four months as an HIV/AIDS facilitator. Idil received an Honours BA in Environmental Studies and Anthropology from the University of Toronto before graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Western University in London, Ontario. Prior to pursuing journalism, Idil worked as a Frontline Worker at Fred Victor - a non-profit social service organization that provides shelter and support services to homeless and low income people in Toronto. While there, Idil worked in partnership with clients battling poverty, mental health challenges, addictions, and social isolation on a daily basis. Idil has also worked as an arts coordinator in Toronto's diverse Weston community. In collaboration with local community groups Idil helped to develop arts programming for at-risk, low-income youth. As co-host of Canadian Geographic Kids (CG Kids) - a children's television program on TVO - Idil had the opportunity to travel across the country to highlight its unique and beautiful landscape. Ultimately, it was an internship at CBC's political debate show counterSpin that deepened Idil's understanding of political issues and sparked her interest in journalism. As a CBC Joan Donaldson scholar Idil hopes to further hone her journalistic skills in order to produce the stories that capture the realities of marginalized communities in Canada.



Julia Whalen | St. Thomas (Fredericton)

Julia Whalen is completing a B.A. in journalism at St. Thomas University with a double major in an interdisciplinary programme called Great Books. Last summer Julia worked as a staff reporter for The Times & Transcript, Moncton's daily newspaper. She covered topics ranging from industry and politics to health and human interest. In July, Julia wrote a feature piece about the future of the provincial lobster industry for the New Brunswick Business Journal. Last year she also worked as the arts editor of the St. Thomas weekly paper, The Aquinian, and had a short radio documentary featured on CBC Radio One's 'Shift' program. A Type 1 diabetic herself, Julia has captained a team in the Moncton JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes since 2010. To date, her team of friends and family has raised more than $70,000 for the cause. Julia also volunteers with the St. Thomas Best Buddies chapter, a program dedicated to creating friendships among students and people with intellectual disabilities in the community. Julia is actively involved with theatre in Fredericton and was a cast member and co-scriptwriter for two original productions in 2012.



Katherine McKenna | University of King's College (Halifax)

Kate McKenna was born and raised in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. She's finishing a Bachelor of Journalism at University of King's College with a focus on broadcast and investigative journalism. Kate enjoyed her time at journalism school. She worked part-time as a reporter at CBC PEI - covering everything from the day-to-day lives of turkey farmers to budget addresses. She was one of two Canadian journalism students to win the Canadian Media Law Fellowship. She was also the editor of HRM Votes, a journalism student-led initiative to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the 2012 Halifax municipal election. Her interest in journalism is long-standing: during her undergraduate degree, she edited UPEI's student paper, The Cadre, and founded an alt-weekly called The Semantic. Before entering the world of journalism, Kate worked in politics. She founded an internationally-recognized lobby group fighting for women's rights on PEI. She also mucked around in political PR and served as a House of Commons page. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from University of Prince Edward Island.



Lindsay Sample | UBC (Vancouver)

Lindsay Sample's love for storytelling is rooted in her experiences travelling within Canada and around the world. While in the middle of an eleven-month white water kayaking and rafting adventure - that went from Quebec, through the eastern United States, into Central Mexico, and back - she decided to apply to journalism school. She was accepted into the University of British Columbia's Master's of journalism program, where she specialized in international reporting and video production. As a fellow of school's international reporting program, Lindsay travelled to eastern Cameroon to report on an Indigenous community impacted by the illegal logging industry. For her thesis, Lindsay reported from Nairobi, Kenya, where she produced a multimedia project investigating how mobile technology is changing the way humanitarian and development projects are implemented. Lindsay has interned at The New York Times Video Unit, Dan Rather Reports, and CBC Radio One's As It Happens. Her journalism is informed by her undergraduate degree from Queen's University, where she majored in Global Development Studies and minored in Film Studies. As a journalist Lindsay hopes to tell stories that have a lasting impact, while never losing sight of her responsibility to the individual people who trust her to share their stories.



Lucas Powers | UBC (Vancouver)

Lucas Powers grew up paddling and fishing the lakes of Ontario. Those long days on the water led him to toil in aquatic research labs at Western University, where he earned a degree in environmental sciences and published his undergraduate thesis. From there he packed up and headed west for the Pacific. While completing a master's degree in journalism from the University of British Columbia, Lucas was a fellow of the International Reporting Program. He travelled to remote villages in the Russian Far East to report on the illegal timber trade. As part of his graduate thesis work, he filmed, edited and produced a video documentary about British Columbia's dangerous dive fisheries. Lucas interned at the CBC London bureau during the 2012 Summer Olympics, working alongside senior foreign correspondents as an assistant producer for television and radio. He also helped to produce the annual Quirks & Quarks road show for CBC Radio. His recent journalism has focused on energy, the environment and international affairs. Lucas is trying to tell stories that reflect what it means to be a Canadian and move our national conversations forward.



Roxanna Woloshyn | University of Regina

Roxanna Woloshyn is an Iranian-Ukrainian Canadian completing her final year at the University of Regina's School of Journalism. She celebrates her diverse background, using her heritage for inspiration in the field of journalism. Roxanna's travels in North America and Europe have heightened her desire to explore the world and tell the stories that matter. Following a 13-week internship at Global Calgary, Roxanna received a five-month contract position as a writer/producer for the noon and evening shows. In September, she was offered a permanent position as a producer for Global's morning show. However, the call to finish her degree was stronger and she returned to Regina. Roxanna's journalism experience also includes writing for the Carillon, Village Voice and INK. Roxanna has served as a marketing intern and more recently, as an editorial intern for Prairie Dog Magazine, a bi-weekly alternative publication in Regina. She is now a freelance writer for the magazine and posts on the 'Dog Blog' regularly. Roxanna is active in her community and volunteers at many community events. She is the youngest board member on the Cathedral Area Community Association and chairs its communications committee. In the fall of 2012, Roxanna produced her class' final current affairs show, Undefined, which focused on the unexpected challenges newcomers face when they arrive in Canada. Roxanna is looking forward to further exploring the mediums of radio and television at CBC.



Trinh Theresa Do | Ryerson (Toronto)

Theresa grew up in the suburban town of Woodbridge, Ontario but in her heart, she was exploring the world. She spent her formative years in a never-ending rotation of volunteer positions, destined for a life dedicated to social justice and the greater good. At 16, she took on her biggest project to date: building Dreams Fulfilled Relief Organization (DFRO), a poverty-relief NPO her mother founded to assist impoverished children living in the global South. In the summer of 2011, Theresa embarked on a charitable mission to Vietnam to profile over 100 rural families to develop a DFRO sponsorship program. Fluent in Vietnamese, she also met with various levels of government to discuss future anti-poverty projects in the country. During her studies at Ryerson University, Theresa was actively involved as VP Events with the school chapter of Journalists for Human Rights, and was the head of RUtv News, the student-run weekly TV news show. In her final year, she produced a TV documentary about a lesser-known aspect of gang violence-- youth outreach workers and the systemic barriers they encounter. She also produced a weekly international affairs podcast called 'The Global Dialogue.' Theresa was awarded the Weather Network Scholarship, as well as the Len Coates Memorial Award for the most promising journalism student of her year. Her life goal is to become an influential player on the international development stage, ideally within the United Nations. She still has faith in the UN, even if no one else does.