Meet the OTHC Scholars: Stacy Fernández ’19

Stacy Fernandez

When Stacy Fernández began her college search process during high school in Yonkers, NY, she really did her homework. She was laser-focused on a career in journalism, so she searched only for the best schools. “I’d never even heard of Syracuse University, but Newhouse popped up on almost every list of the best journalism schools,” Fernández recalls. “The sheer number of student publications convinced me that Syracuse would be a place I could gain a significant amount of experience outside of the classroom.”

It was a good choice. Fernández found many student-run publications that welcomed new contributors. “I felt empowered to practice and develop my skills as early as the second week on campus,” she says. She credits The Daily Orange with preparing her for internships at The Buffalo News and The Dallas Morning News. “The [Daily Orange] editors took the time to give me constructive criticism until I had enough experience to intern at top newspapers.”

Syracuse also provided her the opportunity to complete a dual major; magazine journalism through the Newhouse School of Public Communications and Latino-Latin American studies through the College of Arts and Sciences.

Getting help and giving back

During her sophomore year at Syracuse, Fernández was awarded an Our Time Has Come (OTHC) scholarship. “They enabled me to get through school with less of a financial burden,” she says. She found mentors in Sarah Valenzuela and Anthony Herbert, OTHC scholars who became her first friends as she began her studies. “When Sarah heard that the Office of Multicultural Advancement needed a student to help with the office’s social media presence, she recommended me for the position,” Fernández recalls. She worked there for three years before graduating in May, helping to re-engage the organization on social media, assisting in planning and executing Coming Back Together (CBT) events and acting as a student liaison for communication with other OTHC scholars.

Even as a motivated and self-directed student, there were times when Fernández needed support during her educational journey. “It took me a while,” she admits, “but I learned to be comfortable asking for help and realizing that’s a skill rather than a weakness. Being Orange means taking advantage of the resources and guidance available to us on campus.”

Creating an inclusive campus

Campus resources are helpful, but Fernández would like to see even more options for underrepresented students. “I would encourage those who are willing to enter homogeneous spaces and create room for marginalized communities to join the Syracuse community,” she says.

With graduation behind her, Fernández has accepted a summer fellowship in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. This national investigative reporting initiative is headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and many Newhouse alumni have done award-winning work there. She then hopes to land a job in the digital media field. As a Syracuse alumna, she feels compelled to support students who benefit from  the generosity of alumni. “I look forward to giving back to the OTHC scholarship, and I would like to become a mentor for another OTHC scholar,” she says.

If you’d like to support the Our Time Has Come Scholarship Fund, please visit the Office of Multicultural Advancement’s How to Give page.