A journalism frontier awaits first recipient of Hubbard-Hottman scholarship
Shelby Reynolds is eager to contribute her ideas to an industry in transition
Shelby Reynolds has maintained a 3.6 GPA while attending school full-time, working part-time and writing for the Sunflower student newspaper. She is the first recipient of the Jeremy Hubbard and Taunia Hottman Scholarship in Communications.
Shelby Reynolds is getting into the world of journalism at a time of daunting challenges: declining newspaper revenues, recurrent layoffs in newsrooms and nagging uncertainties about the future of digital media.
She couldn’t be happier about it.
Taunia Hottman and Jeremy Hubbard with daughter, Olivia, and son, Charlie, are WSU alumni whose new scholarship will help ease the financial burden of college for students in the Elliott School of Communication.
“I’m excited to see where journalism is going to take me,” says Reynolds, a sophomore in the Elliott School of Communication. “There’s so much to explore, so many options. I want to play a role in how digital media and social media are changing the face of journalism.”
Reynolds, a first-generation college student who grew up in Wichita, is the inaugural recipient of the Jeremy Hubbard and Taunia Hottman Scholarship in Communications. Both Hubbard and Hottman earned bachelor’s degrees in communications from Wichita State, Hubbard in 1996 and Hottman in 1997.
Today, Hubbard is a news anchor for KDVR and KWGN-TV in Denver, after working for four years for ABC News in New York. He was the 2012 recipient of the Elliott School of Communication’s Outstanding Alumnus Award. Hottman is a freelance writer who also stays home to care for the couple’s two children, Charlie, 3, and Olivia, 9 months.
Though still young — Hubbard is 41 and Hottman is 39 — they didn’t want to wait too long to endow a scholarship at Wichita State.
“We both remember what it was like to be struggling students, having a hard time paying for tuition, books and other bills,” Hubbard said. “We talked about it and decided, it’s time to do something to help other young people in that situation.”
Both Hottman and Hubbard received scholarships while at WSU, but they also worked part-time jobs while pursuing their degrees. Though both recognize it’s somewhat uncommon for people who are still developing careers and raising families to make such a philanthropic commitment, they feel a sense of obligation to their alma mater.
“We decided we could sacrifice part of our paycheck to help ease the burden on a WSU student,” Hubbard said. “We sacrificed a lot back then, so what’s a little more sacrifice now? Especially if it’ll make things a tiny bit easier for a current Shocker.”
That’s certainly the case for Reynolds. Her family has limited ability to help finance her college education, so scholarship assistance is invaluable, she said.
“To get this scholarship took a lot of the stress off me and my family,” says Reynolds, who works part-time at a pizza restaurant and lives at home to help keep expenses down. “I don’t know how I would have gone to college if I’d had to rely on our own finances. College was especially important to my dad. He wants for me what he never had, which is an education.”
Reynolds recalls always enjoying writing. She was the editor of her school newspaper at Wichita Northwest her junior and senior years.
“I’ve always been a big reader and thought I would be an author someday,” she said. “Then I decided I wanted to be a journalist, even though I really had no idea what that meant — that one day I’d be making a newspaper and interviewing people. That’s crazy!”
She’s not sure where her journalism education will take her, but she knows she wants to write, whether it’s for a traditional outlet such as a newspaper, for a magazine or for one of the many digital publications that are experimenting with new ways to tell stories.
“There is so much that is changing about journalism right now, but one thing I’m confident of is that there will always be a need for people to tell stories and share information,” Reynolds said. “I want to be a part of that.”
If you would like to establish a scholarship to help deserving students, please contact Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president for planned and annual giving, at 316-978-3804 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.