Shantelle Willock is hoping to pave the way to a career in the media industry by pursuing her long-held passion for broadcast journalism, in college. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, to Panamanian parents, she left the Sunshine State to attend Syracuse University (SU), in Upstate New York.
She says the out-of-state commitment came with its “share of obstacles.” Determined to overcome financial challenges, she has held several jobs to support herself, while attending college, and also secured scholarships. She notes that she has also had to overcome challenges associated with being an African American at a predominately white institution. Over time, though, she says she says she has adjusted and even managed to find “a little place on campus” to call home.
She is currently in her senior year at SU, where, with the help of an HSF Scholarship and the Posse Foundation Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship, she is majoring in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with minors in African American Studies and Political Science. Her extracurricular activities on campus include serving as an editor and writer for UGirl Magazine, an inspirational magazine for female students at SU, and as a news reporter intern for campus public media organization, WAER. In addition to her journalistic endeavors, she is a dancer with the Latin dance team called the Raices Dance Troupe. Her ultimate goal is to land a position as a news anchor for a national news network.
In addition to being awarded her scholarships, she is on the Dean’s List and was recognized with the prestigious Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Medal for exemplifying the three tenets of drive, humility, and service before self. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which is dedicated to public service that emphasizes programs for the African American community.
Last year, she attended HSF’s Media and Entertainment Summit, a conference that exposes interested HSF Scholars to career opportunities in media and entertainment-related fields. She lauds HSF organization for empowering HSF Scholars by introducing them to “a remarkable network of alumni that shows the kind of success one can attain as a young, ambitious, Latino.” She also adds that she values being part of a network that sets up its students for success by providing industry-related mentoring, workshops, and lectures.
For students who are considering college in their future, she suggests mapping out their long-term career goals by envisioning where they would like to end up as professionals. “If you can imagine this, choosing the right college and the right path becomes a little easier,” she says.