Portland State University senior David Solano may not wear the blue tie and sharp blazer that come with being a television anchor yet, but his pursuit of a dream took a turn in the right direction this summer when he was awarded the National Association of Black Journalists’ non-sustaining scholarship to be awarded at their 26th annual convention in Florida this August.
Solano, 24, is a speech major at PSU. He is president of the newly formed Broadcasting Student Association, and he most recently finished his career in writing as a sports writer for the Daily Vanguard. Along with his busy schedule at PSU, Solano has interned for The Skanner, an African-American newspaper in Portland, KOIN-TV, where he worked as a news and sports production assistant, KATU-TV, where he worked as a news intern, and KKJZ-Radio. To say he has prepared himself for the future could be an understatement.
“I just honestly feel like you have to get involved in internships,” Solano said. “You have to build relationships with people in your intended work force. Your degree is a great marketing tool, but relationships and experience is your meal ticket to getting a job.”
Solano was most surprised when he received word of the award through a phone call about three weeks ago.
“Gregory Lee, the assistant sports editor from the Washington Post, called me one day and gave me the news,” Solano said with a grin. “I thought there was some mistake.”
There was no mistake, and Solano had received one of 30 scholarships given to students across the nation. To get even more into detail, Solano’s scholarship was one of five given to student’s who specialized in print journalism and broadcasting. The scholarship is good for $2,500.
“It’s finally sinking in now,” said Solano. “I’m totally excited for the convention. It’s the biggest networking affair in the country.”
While Solano can’t help but be excited, he stays humble about being the only award winner from the state of Oregon, and gives credit to his mentors and family.
“I’m just elated to know I’ve been given an opportunity to do what I want to do,” Solano said.