Three new Technician grants awarded

Sara Awad, Megan Dunton and Hassan Durant are the newest recipients of the Technician grant. First awarded in 2006, the $1,000 annual award is open to students with fewer than 36 college course hours.

Sara Awad, a freshman in First Year College planning to major in communication, is a 2012 graduate of Knightdale High School. As a sophomore she was head of the fine arts section for the school’s first student newspaper, The Knight’s Scroll. Benedict Vessa, an English instructor and Awad’s newspaper adviser, recommended her for the grant based on “her ability to lead young people, to hold them accountable for deadlines, and to organize the page design process.”

Expanding her interests beyond the newspaper, Awad was also on the first staff of “Knight Life,” a school news and entertainment show, and worked on the school yearbook staff her senior year. Jim Ryan, English department chair and yearbook adviser at Knightdale High School, described Awad as “a resourceful leader and an indefatigable worker.”

Megan Dunton became interested in journalism when she chose to research the Arab Spring revolutions for her senior project at West Carteret High School in Morehead City. After communicating with students in Egypt and Tunisia, Dunton ultimately designed a mock newspaper for the project.

Her high school English teacher, Melodie Darden, said Dunton’s “writing is sophisticated and perceptive, but she is also adaptable to suggestions for improvement and her writing changes based on her audience and subject matter.”

A member of the University Honors Program and a Thomas Jefferson Scholar, Dunton plans to double major in genetics and English with a concentration in creative writing.

Hassan Durant, a sophomore in chemistry, joined Technician as a staff writer in fall 2011 and is currently editor of the paper’s science and tech features section. As a student at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, Durant contributed to The Pegasus literary and arts magazine.

Jamila Simpson, PAMS assistant dean for diversity and student services, described Durant as “a hardworking, determined, creative individual who will do great things at North Carolina State University.”

Mark Herring, Technician editor-in-chief, recommended Durant for his proven dedication to the paper and willingness to take story assignments outside his primary interest in science writing. “He took several of the science stories … but he also branched out and covered human-interest pieces, art pieces and even news,” Herring said.

Awad, Dunton and Durant join three other current staff members renewing their grants:

  • Taylor Cashdan, a sophomore in science education and Technician deputy design editor
  • Sean Fairholm, a sophomore in professional golf management and Technician deputy sports editor
  • Jeniece Jamison, a senior in communication media and Technician sports editor

Students who are awarded the grant will receive $500 at the beginning of each fall and spring semester, while still being paid as a regular reporter, editor, designer or photographer. The grant is renewable for up to four years. Students selected plan on holding a leadership role with the newspaper in the near future and must have continuous service on staff to continue receiving the grant. All recipients must have and/or must maintain a 2.50 university grade point average. The grants are funded solely with advertising dollars. No state funds or student fees are used to fund the grant.