The McGraw Scholarships

A core mission of the McGraw Center for Business Journalism is to promote the development of future business journalists by providing young reporters with the training and skills needed to succeed in the field. One way we do that is through the McGraw Scholarships. Since 2015, we have awarded scholarships to a number of promising students in each class at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York who have chosen to specialize in business reporting.

To ground those studies in on-the-job experience, the McGraw Center also provides financial support to several Newmark J-School students in the business concentration each summer who undertake an internship at a media company. The support allows students to gain valuable training through internships that would otherwise be unpaid. To find out more about our summer interns, go to The McGraw Interns page.

The following students in each class have received McGraw Scholarships:

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2024


Lilah Burke

Lilah Burke received a bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University in 2018. Following graduation, she worked as a staff reporter covering American higher education at the digital site Inside Higher Ed and as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many other publications. During and after college she interned at Street Sense, Washington D.C.’s street paper, and Washingtonian Magazine.

Lilah became a journalist in order to satisfy her curiosity about the world and to write often. She decided to pursue a graduate education in business reporting after her experience as part of the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program, also hosted at Newmark Graduate J-School. The Ravitch program sparked her interest in the role of money in political and social issues. After graduation, she hopes to cover national and international economics stories with the help of data analysis. 

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2023


Tiara White

White received a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from Delaware State University in 2020. During her undergraduate studies, Tiara worked in biology research labs, studied mouse models in Alzheimer’s research, and attended biomedical research conferences. After graduating, she became a high school teacher at Northside Charter High School in Brooklyn. She decided to change careers in order to put her communications skills to work in journalism, and chose the Newmark Graduate J-School so that she can improve the reporting, interviewing, and writing skills needed to become an impactful journalist.

She chose to concentrate in business and economics reporting because she understands that most stories, whatever the subject area, have a financial component or business angle. She hopes the skills she learns at Newmark will enable her to work on a podcast and as a television reporter or anchor when she completes her degree. 

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2022


Gina Heeb

Heeb earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was also a reporter and editor for the student-run newspaper The Daily Cardinal. She has worked as a reporter in New York since her graduation in 2018, covering the intersection of the economy and politics for NBC News, Business Insider and other national news outlets. When she was assigned to cover the Trump administration, her investigative stories on its multibillion dollar farm subsidy program were cited in several U.S. Senate reports. More recently, she did a deep dive on Covid-19 safety complaints at a Fortune 500 company.

She decided to enroll at the Newmark Graduate J-School to refine her investigative, multimedia and data skills. She chose the business and economics concentration because of its skills-based curriculum and strong faculty. Following graduation, Heeb hopes to pursue investigative journalism, particularly stories with an economic and business focus.

Brianna Monsanto

A Brooklyn native, Monsanto is no stranger to CUNY institutions. She graduated in 2021 from Brooklyn College, with a major in television and radio journalism and a minor in marketing. Her studies there fueled her fascination with writing and creating multimedia work for an audience, and she decided to apply to the J-School. She hopes the experience will enable her to fine-tune her reporting and storytelling skills, as well as to improve her knowledge of business and the economy. In addition to broadcast journalism, her interests have widened to include data reporting and audio production.

After graduation, she plans to focus on stories that show how the economy impacts marginalized communities, as well as amplifying the voices of small businesses.

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2021


Denny Jacob 

Jacob received a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs from Baruch College in 2017. Following the advice of one of his professors, he submitted an essay about Macbeth that he’d written for a class to Refract Magazine, an online campus publication. The thrill of being published pushed Jacob to pursue a career in journalism. 

During his last year at Baruch, he interned at National Underwriter Property & Casualty, a trade publication for the insurance industry. He later came on full-time as an associate editor. After nearly four years on the job, Jacob decided to enroll at the Newmark J-School because he believes the program will put him in the best position to succeed in the ever-changing media industry. He chose to focus on business and economics because knowing how to cover the business beat will give him the foundation to cover any subject. His long-term goal is to be an investigative reporter with a focus on dark money and corruption.

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2020


Erica Wheless

Wheless graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2015 with a degree in economics. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she started out in banking, followed by several years working at advertising technology startups, before deciding to return to school to fulfill a lifelong drive to be a journalist. 

Wheless chose the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism because she likes how “hands-on” the program is; she was also impressed with the alumni she met when comparing J-Schools. She believes Newmark will provide her with the well-rounded set of skills necessary to succeed as a journalist today. She decided to focus on business journalism to strengthen her ability to take complex concepts in economics and write about them in a way that non-specialists can more easily understand. She is particularly interested in how women impact the economy — and how the economy, in turn, impacts them. 

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2019


Orlaith McCaffrey

 A Queens native, McCaffrey graduated from Binghamton University in 2018 with a degree in political science. She worked on the campus newspaper, Pipe Dream, and after graduation, interned on the markets desk of the Wall Street Journal. Earlier, McCaffery also worked as a copy editing and reporting intern at the Omaha World-Herald.

She chose the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY because she believes it will provide her with the multimedia reporting skills needed to compete in today’s competitive media landscape. She hopes to pair data skills and business knowledge to show how money shapes the actions of private and public institutions. McCaffrey also wants to explore how cutbacks in business regulation at the national level can affect people’s lives and the vitality of enterprises.

Mallika Mitra

 Mitra graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2016 with a BA in English. The Long Island native was editor-in-chief of The Index, Kalamazoo’s student newspaper. After graduation, she worked in public relations for enterprise and consumer technology companies in both San Francisco and New York.

Mitra’s love for writing and need to ask questions brought her back to journalism. She decided to attend the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY to develop the reporting skills required to find and tell important stories. She is focusing on business reporting in order to explore how technology is shaping the economy, and to get to know the companies that are making it happen.

Evelina Nedlund

A native of Vasteras, Sweden, Nedlund received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Mid-Sweden University in 2016.  Following graduation, she worked as a general assignment video reporter for the national newspaper Expressen

Nedlund decided to apply to the Newmark Graduate J-School to learn data journalism and documentary video skills. She is also interested in honing her ability to report on markets, tech and corporate finance. She chose the business concentration because she believes many of the most important social and policy issues being debated today are grounded in business and economics. Over the past summer, she interned with SourceMedia, a digital publisher that covers the financial services industry. She is currently interning with CNN Business during her third and final semester. 

Daniel Whateley

 Originally from Williamstown, Massachusetts, Whateley graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 with a BA in History. After moving to New York, he worked in digital media and advertising technology for five years, managing publisher partnerships and writing educational guides for clients on advertising industry trends.

He loved learning about the industry through the research projects he worked on there, He came to the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY to hone his data and business reporting skills. After graduation, he plans to continue writing about business full-time; his goal is help inform the public on topics that are frequently obscured by industry jargon.

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2018

Graison Dangor

 A 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in English, Dangor grew up in Farmington, Minn., a small suburb of Minneapolis. Before coming to the Newmark J-School, he worked as a copywriter and reported as a freelancer for the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper. He also did assignments for MinnPost, a nonprofit news site.

He returned to journalism school to learn investigative skills, as well as how to manage large reporting projects. He is particularly interested in stories on mental health and addiction. He chose to specialize in business reporting in order to develop the skills needed to cover how mental healthcare is provided and paid for. He also wants to explore how our well-being is affected by our experience in the economy.

Alexandra Semenova

A native New Yorker, Semenova graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Journalism in the spring of 2017. During her undergraduate years, she interned at NY1 News, Fox Business Network and Crain’s New York, in addition to reporting on the city for school assignments.  She also worked as an assignment desk intern at CNBC, at the network’s main newsroom in New Jersey as well as its production studio at the New York Stock Exchange. 

Semenova chose the business concentration because she wants to thoroughly understand the intricacies of finance and fiscal policy. Her goal is to produce interesting and easily digestible journalism for the people whose daily lives are affected by changes and trends in the economy.

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2017

Prachi Bhardwaj

A native of Alpharetta, Georgia, Bhardwaj moved to Silicon Valley in 2012 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a double major in Marketing and Advertising. She worked for several years in public relations for technology firms before realizing her true interest lay in journalism. She chose the business concentration because she hopes to explore how advances in areas such as artificial intelligence or robotics will affect the economy, and to report on the companies that are leading the race to develop these technologies.

Kevin Breuninger

After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in history, Breuninger moved to New York City to join Success Academy Charter Schools in 2014. Though he enjoyed his work at the non-profit, first as an Associate Teacher and later as a Recruitment Outreach Coordinator, a lifelong addiction to news and a yearning to write led to his decision to come to journalism school. He specialized in business reporting because it allows him to learn a unique set of skills in an area of perennial significance. After graduation, he hopes to cover breaking economic news at a major publication.

Oscar Gonzalez

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Gonzalez launching his own technology-focused news site at 30. Three years later, he returned to college to receive an associate’s degree and eventually a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. While there, he became the Editor-in-Chief of the student digital outlet, The Mesquite. He decided to focus on business reporting because he realized money played a key role in many of the stories he’s written. His goal is to become a tech reporter with a wide range of skills, and to dive further into subjects that are often overlooked.

William Mathis

Mathis grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey and majored in international relations and Spanish at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. In the spring of 2015, he started working as a journalist. He wrote a police blotter, pitched short feature stories to free weekly papers in Manhattan, and eventually became a stringer for the Associated Press. That experience allowed him to cover the visit of Pope Francis and the Black Lives Matter protests, among other stories. He is focusing on business and data journalism because he wants to be able to “Follow the Money”. Upon graduation, he hopes to use what he’s learned here to tell impactful stories showing how people are affected by business and the economy.

Annie Nova

A Manhattan native who graduated in 2016 with a degree in English from Hunter College, Nova spent most of her undergraduate years pouring over Shakespeare plays and literary theory textbooks. On a whim, she enrolled in Neighborhood News, a class in which students report and write for a newspaper in the South Bronx; with each assignment, her desire to be a journalist grew. Her work has appeared in DNA Info, Youth Today, Metro, Chelsea News and City Limits. She believes the reasons why people do the things they do can often be found in the economy and chose the business concentration in order to better tell those stories. In addition, she wants to find ways to illustrate the impact of income inequality in our country today.

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2016

Kara Chin

Chin spent nine years in Beijing, where she was the managing editor of Beijingkids, a hyperlocal magazine and website for international families, before coming to the Newmark J-School.  She wants to cover economic issues surrounding developing countries and to explore what their development means for the rest of the world.  A New York native, she graduated with a degree in management and business from Skidmore College in 2005.

Following graduation in December, Chin began a job as a video and podcast intern at ESPN’s popular data site, FiveThirtyEight.

Nico Grant

After graduating magna cum laude from Macaulay Honors at Hunter College, with a B.A. in Media Studies, Grant was the Community & Events Editor of Harlem News, a neighborhood newspaper.  He is interested in applying the skills learned in business journalism more broadly to his work, as well as in how the globalized economy affects the lives of ordinary individuals. He hopes to work in broadcast news production after graduating from the Newmark J-School.

Grant began the prestigious Winter Internship program at Bloomberg News after graduation.

Zameena Mejia

Mejia graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a double major in journalism and Spanish. She chose the business concentration because she wants to report stories that show how the economy impacts the lives of young consumers, especially millennials, Hispanics and women. Her goal is to work at a business-centered news organization creating meaningful stories for these groups.

In January, 2017 Mejia began an internship at Quartz, the digital site focused on global business news.

Tadia Toussaint

Brooklyn-born Toussaint earned her bachelors degree in Journalism at CUNY Hunter College in two calendar years. Her goal is to simplify business news to make it user-friendly. A businesswoman herself, she’s interested in stories that bridge culture and business. Studying business journalism provides the perfect opportunity to marry her love of business with her love of telling stories.

Toussaint has been reporting for the Haitian Times since graduation, and is also a freelance producer for BRIC TV in Brooklyn.

The McGraw Scholars – Class of 2015

Michaela Ross

Ross’s experience working as a small business development volunteer in Nicaragua for the U.S. Peace Corps sparked her interest in business journalism. While there, the Wisconsin native served as editor of the digital magazine put out by the volunteers, in addition to working on entrepreneurship education and economic development. A 2008 graduate of Carthage College with a degree in communication and digital media, she wants to tell stories that focus on the intersection between economics and culture.

Ross began working as a telecoms and technology reporter for Bloomberg BNA after graduation.

Danni Santana

Santana graduated from CUNY’s York College in 2013 with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communications Technology. The Bronx native covered York’s athletics department for the school newspaper and hopes to combine his love of sports with the training he receives at the J-School  to cover sports business. His work experience includes a stint at National Underwriter Life & Health, a health trade magazine.

After graduation in December, he was hired as an associate editor at Insurance Networking News.

Rajashree Chakravarty

A native of Kolkata, India, Chakravarty wrote for local travel and tourism web sites and freelanced for other publications after receiving her masters degree in English from Burdwan University in West Bengal in 2005. She continued freelancing after moving to the United States with her husband in 2008. She has long been interested in business news, and her goal is to do business journalism that makes a difference. She wants to write about economic and business stories in a compelling way that helps average people better understand this complex subject.

Following graduation, she is continuing to freelance for publications both in the U.S. and abroad.

Marguerite Ward

Ward graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2012 with a degree in Sociology. She began an internship with World Policy Journal after graduation, eventually working her way up to become the publication’s online news editor. Originally from Rye, N.Y., Ross chose to concentrate on business journalism because she is interested in the intersection of news, business and culture.

Ward became a news associate at CNBC after graduation and has since been promoted to staff reporter.