Bodie McDowell Scholarship paves the way for one outdoor communicator 

Brittney Miller in a bright pink shirt in front of a mountain and lake.

Brittney J. Miller is an energy and environmental journalist and Report for AmeriCorps at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has a bachelor’s degrees in journalism and biology from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in science journalism from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

Miller received the Bodie McDowell Scholarship from OWAA in the summer of 2021 going into her graduate program at UCSC.

Miller graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degrees in biology and journalism in spring 2021. Then graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a master’s degree in science journalism in summer 2022.

How the Bodie McDowell Scholarship helped

Miller applied for the Bodie McDowell Scholarship as she was graduating from the University of Florida and about to enter grad school at UC Santa Cruz. 

“Grad school is a major financial investment — especially one in California and particularly in Santa Cruz, where it is notoriously expensive to live,’ said Miller. “As ecstatic as I was to be going to UC Santa Cruz, I was worried about how I could pay from it right out of undergrad.”

The Bodie McDowell Scholarship was one resource Miller said she was so fortunate to have going into grad school. 

“I remember learning I was awarded a scholarship and being so excited and appreciative that I was chosen as a recipient. That funding helped support my living expenses while I lived in California — a luxury I’m incredibly grateful for, as it allowed me to fully focus on my education since I didn’t have to take a second job on top of grad school and part-time internships,” said Miller.

The scholarship also gave Miller more time to explore the beautiful California coast. 

“I will never forget the days I spent hiking through redwood forests, walking along the beach at sunset, snorkeling through kelp forests – totally in awe of the West Coast and its beautiful outdoors,” she added.

“Thank you to OWAA for granting me those opportunities through its generous funding!”

Where Miller is today

After Miller graduated from UC Santa Cruz, she moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a Report for AmeriCorps. Report for America is a program that places journalists in local newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered beats. 

“I’m the energy and environment reporter – a position I surely obtained thanks to my grad school studies and the resources that supported my time there,” said Miller. “I’m reporting on water quality, agriculture, energy, environmental justice and much, much more.”

Receiving the Bodie McDowell Scholarship gave Miller reassurance that she was meant to be an environmental journalist. 

“Now, as I’m paving my way through the career, I feel so grateful to look back on my supporters – including OWAA – and thank them for bestowing their resources and confidence in me,” added Miller. “It means the world. And I hope I’m making them proud with my work.”

Bodie McDowell Scholarship info: What it is and how to apply 

Are you a passionate student with a drive to excel in the realm of outdoor communications? The Bodie McDowell Scholarship, named after the esteemed former OWAA President, is here to support your ambitions and help you make a mark in this exciting field.

Every year, the Bodie McDowell Scholarship awards three or more deserving students with financial assistance. Ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, these scholarships can provide a significant boost towards achieving your academic and professional goals.

What sets this scholarship apart is its emphasis on your commitment and potential in outdoor communications. While academic achievement is considered, it takes a backseat to your clear vision and examples of work in this field. Demonstrating your passion through writing, photography, film, art, poetry, or broadcasting is key to standing out as a candidate.

Both undergraduate and graduate students specializing in outdoor communications are welcome to apply. The application period opens on January 1st and closes on March 30th, giving you ample time to prepare and submit your materials. So check our website in January, 2024 when applications open!

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