California State University Los Angeles

California State University Los Angeles

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California State University Los Angeles

Cal State LA is a comprehensive urban university situated five miles from the center of downtown Los Angeles. The University is one of the most culturally diverse four-year institutions in the country. It is located at the intersection of the largest Latino and Asian communities in the nation, and close to the largest African American community in California. Of the University’s approximately 26,000 students, 59% are female. The student population is 73% Latino/a, 11% Asian American, 5% White, 4% African American, and 0.1% American Indian.

Housed in Cal State LA’s College of Arts & Letters, the Department of Television, Film, and Media (TVFM) currently offers both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Film and Television, a BA in Journalism, and an interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Television, Film and Theatre (TVFT). In the Fall 2023, these programs together serve over 700 students. TVFM is housed in the Cal State LA Television, Film, and Media Center, which includes instructional and studio spaces, a working sound stage, as well as sound recording and postproduction editing facilities.

The TVFM BA offers concentrations in production, post-production, screenwriting, and critical studies.

The Journalism BA and Journalism Minor offer foundational skills in news media literacy, news content creation and advanced multimedia production.

The TVFT MFA offers an interdisciplinary curriculum with options in content creation, writing, and acting. This MFA program is one of only five nationally that offers professionally geared training across all three TV, film, and theatre platforms.

The Robert Nelson Foundation awarded Cal State LA an $80,000 grant to support scholarships, internships, and travel awards for deserving students enrolled in the university’s media studies and journalism programs. The grant is intended to support Cal State LA in providing its students with a life-changing education, and help young people follow their dreams of pursuing a career in media and journalism.

The Robert Nelson Foundation Media Studies Scholarship and Awards Program will be administered to benefit re-entry, veteran, and/or single parent students who may be the first in their family to attend college, and/or other students with demonstrated need who are currently studying TV, Film and Media studies or Journalism at Cal State LA. Scholarships will be available to students majoring in media studies or journalism, and awards would be available to support 1) unpaid internships that help students explore professional media careers and 2) student travel expenses to media-related conferences and competitions.

The grant allocation will be:

$20,000 for Robert Nelson Foundation Media Studies Scholarships

Scholarship support is critically important for Cal State LA students. Approximately 60% of their students are Pell-grant eligible, meaning they are from the lowest socioeconomic group and thus in greatest need of financial assistance. In addition, about 55% of students are the first-generation in their families to attain a college degree. The proposed scholarships are to be awarded to approximately 4 – 6 students in amounts ranging from $3,000 – $4,000 per student resulting in a meaningful financial award.

$40,000 for Robert Nelson Foundation Internships for Journalism Students

Financial support is essential for journalism students to be able to undertake professional internships and thus create an important pipeline to newsroom employment. Cal State LA believes who provides the news matters. Many internships in journalism are unpaid, making paid internships very competitive. Too often, these valuable opportunities go to better-resourced students or those with previous, often unpaid internship experience. Because 75% of Cal State LA’s journalism students are from very low-income households, they cannot afford to take unpaid internships, no matter how valuable. The proposed allocation will allow approximately 8 additional students to experience an internship and share their experience with their peer students.

$20,000 for Robert Nelson Foundation Awards Program

In addition to scholarships and internships, awards for student travel to conferences and participate in competitions can be life-changing. Cal State LA students generally live in the area surrounding campus (i.e. greater East Los Angeles), and many have limited personal resources for travel opportunities. However, when students attend regional and national conferences, they showcase the skills they have learned with students from other institutions. The chance to compete in state or national competitions can truly be transformational. They also receive invaluable opportunities to learn from, work with and network with industry professionals. This funding will help send approximately 12 students to at least one upcoming out-of-state competition or training, or approximately 24-28 students to in-state events.

Los Angeles Mission/Media Lab

Los Angeles Mission/Media Lab

Los Angeles Mission/Media Lab

The Robert Nelson Foundation recently made a $25,000 gift to the Los Angeles Mission to be specifically designated to their media training lab. Mr. Nelson spent his entire career in the media industry, he also was a supporter of the LA Mission. It is The Robert Nelson Foundation’s great honor to help the LA Mission with a cause that so closely parallels Mr. Nelson’s life of excellence and giving.

Funding provided for KISD “Parent Resource Center”

Funding provided for KISD “Parent Resource Center”

Funding provided for KISD “Parent Resource Center”

The Robert Nelson Foundation is honored to have funded a project for the Kent Intermediate School District that will support families of students with special needs. The KISD “Parent Resource Center” will provide resources and support for families facing the challenges of raising a child with a disability. The parent resource center will collaborate with The Robert Nelson Disability Support Center to provide opportunities for parents and individuals to access resources, support, and guidance. The Robert Nelson Foundation is honored to support such a worthy cause that will have such a positive impact on so many families in West Michigan.

This video was produced from funds from The Robert Nelson Foundation as part of the Parent Resource Center that is also funded by the foundation.

Robert Nelson Foundation Fellowship

Robert Nelson Foundation Fellowship

Robert Nelson Foundation Fellowship

The Robert Nelson Foundation Fellowship has been created to provide experiential learning opportunities to students in the Journalism, Broadcasting, and Digital Media Program, including mentoring by faculty members and support for students who are undertaking unpaid internships at nonprofit organizations. The opportunity for the students to spend time working at a nonprofit organization is a chance for them to share their emerging skills and expertise with the organization, and at the same time learn the importance of giving back to the community. Mr. Nelson had a vision of helping young people with their education and for sharing the importance of giving back to the community. The Robert Nelson Foundation is honored to be able to provide this unique opportunity for students at GVSU that accomplishes both goals within his vision.

Robert Nelson Foundation Fellowship

Announcing the The Robert Nelson Foundation Scholarship

Announcing the The Robert Nelson Foundation Scholarship

The Robert Nelson Foundation proudly announces the creation of The Robert Nelson Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Nelson had a desire to help young people with their education and the foundation is proud to announce a scholarship program through Grand Valley State University to assist students entering the field of multimedia journalism. Mr. Nelson spent almost 40 years of his life devoted to this field, and the foundation is honored to carry out his passion by helping young people reach their educational and life goals. The foundation will provide four ten thousand-dollar scholarships initially to qualifying students. Coupled with the scholarship, will be The Robert Nelson Foundation Career Exploration/Summer Broadcasting Camp. The camp will be specifically designed for high school students who show a desire and passion for entering this field. The exploration camp will combine the expertise of the university staff with local media professionals to give the students a hands-on experience as well as providing them the knowledge of the next steps for their education. The foundation is excited about this opportunity and partnership to fulfill Mr. Nelson’s desire to help young people reach their goals.

Congratulations to our 2023-2024 scholarship recipients


My name is Lea, and I will be a senior next year, graduating early in the fall of 2023. I am from the western suburbs of Chicago and plan to attend law school somewhere in the city! Some top schools of mine are DePaul, Loyola, University of Chicago, and Northwestern. I am extremely excited to begin my career in law by pairing my love for writing and journalism with my passion for advocating for our rights in the legal system. Some academic goals of mine are to graduate summa cum laude because school has always been a top priority of mine. I love to learn and am eager to continue learning as I plan to attend law school in the fall of 2024. There are endless opportunities accessible to me once I earn my JD. Aside from practicing litigation as a prosecuting attorney, I aspire to create legally appropriate copy for news organizations. One day, I may be able to create copy for myself for a legal podcast informing civilians of their rights in the scope of the law. Again, the opportunities available to me with my multimedia journalism degree and my JD are endless, and I am excited to see what the future has in store for me. I am immensely blessed to have been chosen to receive this scholarship. The generosity of the donor has impacted my ability to finish my degree in multimedia journalism without the added financial burden that comes with obtaining a higher education. Along with my undergraduate degree in this field, I will attend law school, which is a hefty cost. So, their generosity is deeply appreciated and will play an immense role in my success and ability to make a difference in this world.


Growing up in Holland, Michigan feels like a world away from the dreams that I have for my career in sports journalism and broadcasting. As a little kid I grew up dreaming of commentating the sports I love so much. Football, baseball, basketball, and hockey all make up some of the best memories of my childhood and recreational life. Up until my time at Grand Valley, I hadn’t had the opportunity to pursue that dream. As I approach graduation in one year, there is so much that I’m looking forward to doing before then. So much that I need to do. I grew up as the son of a GVSU alum and first-generation college student. This school is in my blood.

I’ll be the sports editor for The Lanthorn, and I’m expecting commentating opportunities to work out with The Whale. I want to host a show on The Whale and continue to do a weekly DJ spot for WLSX radio. Beyond that, once I leave college, there’s no specific place or job I expect to do. I want to find the best opportunity and attack it. I have a connection to a college football show producer at ESPN, which may be my first step out the door of GVSU. Ultimately, I want to commentate the biggest sporting events on major networks. One brick at a time I feel like I can make it happen.

Honestly, I can’t understate how much this means to me. This scholarship is life-changing because it allows me to pursue those opportunities to their fullest. I get to fully immerse myself in the school for one last year, as I get to gain valuable experience doing real work in the multimedia journalism field at the university. Thank you so much. I’d love to meet you if that’s possible.


My name is Jackson, and I am entering my fourth and final year at Grand Valley majoring in multimedia journalism, hoping to become a sportscaster for a Major League Baseball team. I grew up in Ravenna, Michigan, but graduated from Grant High School in 2020. This upcoming year, I am looking forward to announcing all of Grand Valley’s games on The Whale with my broadcast partner. Outside of that, I will be growing my craft with other schools as Kent City High School has hired me to call football games, as well as teaching high schoolers about broadcasting, along with announcing for Cornerstone University.

My academic goal is to become the first person in my family to graduate from college. I have pursued college, because I have seen what my dad has gone through while he has worked his life in the trades filled with stress. I vowed to work a job I enjoy every day, as in if you work a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. As a kid from a school with a graduating class of less than 100, I thought becoming a broadcaster would be near impossible. Since I started college, I have led the way on a new track where students at Grand Valley will be able to announce games. I have a mentor who is one of the broadcasters for the West Michigan Whitecaps, and he has brought me on to announce games for Cornerstone University. Since working with him, I have been able to lock up an internship with the Traverse City Pit Spitters, where I will serve as their announcer for their live streams. My goal is to one day become a Major League Baseball team play-by-play announcer.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I haven’t had the luxury of being able to take out student loans, therefore causing me to work over five jobs, sometimes all of them simultaneously. With this scholarship, I will be able to take all of the money I have saved up for college and put that money towards a new car and other big life events, and most importantly, graduate college debt-free. Once again, thank you.


Hello! I’m Macenzie, and I am honored to receive the Robert Nelson Foundation Scholarship. I’m a junior at Grand Valley State University studying multimedia journalism. I chose GVSU because I heard fantastic things about the journalism program, and I wanted to be close to all the opportunities Grand Rapids has to offer. I’m originally from Imlay City, MI, which is a small farm town in the thumb, so it’s been an adjustment. I’m expected to graduate in December 2024, so hopefully I’ll get accustomed to the area by then! I’ve enjoyed my time here so far. This upcoming school year I’m looking forward to getting an internship; I’m hoping to get one in radio because that’s what I’m most passionate about.

I have always enjoyed school, and college is no different. Most days it doesn’t feel like I’m actually in school because all of my journalism projects feel more like a fun pastime than actual homework. I don’t find myself dreading going to class or putting off assignments, and not many can say that. I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing, and I want that in a career as well. If work doesn’t feel like work, you did something right. I would love to get a career in radio. I participated in one of our campus radio stations WLSX last school year and I fell in love with it. I think it would be awesome to interview musicians and athletes while playing music I enjoy. I think radio creates a strong sense of community as well, which is very important to me. I could do fundraisers for animal shelters, donate concessions to local youth sports leagues, run contests, among so many other things. I would love that opportunity to give back while truly enjoying my work.

I want to say thank you for choosing me for this scholarship as it does not go unappreciated. I work full-time to help fund my education, and it leaves little room for doing much else. Because of this scholarship, I will now have some cushion to be able to explore my future career by getting an internship or starting my own radio show on campus. I will continue to focus on my school career, and I am happy to have more people supporting me along the way. Your investment in my education will not be forgotten! Thank you again for your generous gift.

Congratulations to our previous scholarship recipients

Audrey Whitaker

Multimedia Journalism, Environmental and Sustainability Studies

I am incredibly grateful to receive this scholarship! I am honored to be recognized not only for my hard work as a student journalist so far, but also for my potential to succeed in my career after graduation. This scholarship will enable me to focus deeply on what I am learning in my journalism classes and gaining real-world journalism experience.

I am from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. I am passionate about the environment and journalism, having grown up sailing on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. In my career as a journalist, I hope to use my reporting skills to help others understand environmental issues and to take action to address them.

I am looking forward to serving as associate editor of GV’s student newspaper, The Lanthorn, this year! This will be my fourth year on the Lanthorn staff. I will also be serving as commodore of GV’s Club Sailing team and preparing for life after graduation! I am excited to work on my senior project for GVSU’s honor’s program, which will be a series of blogs focused on “zero waste” consumption, and for the new “Producing for Broadcasting” class I am taking this fall.

Gillian Hanton

Multimedia Journalism

My name is Gillian Hanton and I am an incoming senior multimedia journalism major at Grand Valley. I am originally from Sterling Heights, Michigan, a city on the east side of the state in the Metro Detroit area. However, I am currently working for the summer in St. Ignace, Michigan, a small town in the Upper Peninsula. This is a place my family frequented on vacations while I was growing up, so it genuinely feels like a second home to me.

It is very difficult to describe how thankful and honored I am to receive your scholarship, and how profoundly it will impact my future at Grand Valley State University. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, I had to become a part-time student because of some personal issues with my health and my family’s health as well. As a result, I have had to add on an additional semester to my educational career at Grand Valley. I was very concerned about how I was going to pay for this extra semester, and I have considered taking on an extra job for the next year to reduce some financial stress, as my other academic scholarships will expire after only four years. With this scholarship, you have given me the greatest gift an academically invested student can receive: the ability to spend my time in college doing what I love, without having to worry about financial difficulty.

Writing and journalism are my greatest passions, mainly because I love learning about my community and sharing their stories with the public. I was a staff writer for the Grand Valley Lanthorn, our school newspaper, last year, and it challenged me to become more involved in all aspects of life at Grand Valley, whether that be in sports, volunteer efforts, or the arts. In more ways than one, it made me a better, more well-rounded person.

This coming year, I am looking forward to participating in one of my other passions, theatre. Because performances were halted for well over a year due to the pandemic, I can’t wait to get back onstage and create important art with some of my best friends. I have deeply missed the endless rehearsals, opening night jitters, and countless mistakes made while creating a production. My senior year (plus one more semester) would not have been the same without these experiences, as well as your support.

Sabrina Edwards

Multimedia Journalism

This scholarship will help me tremendously in finishing my education at Grand Valley State University. I don’t receive help from my parents, and I am not eligible for financial aid. Because of this I’ve been paying out of pocket and taking out loans. Receiving this scholarship will help lessen the workload I have during the semester as I work nearly full time as well as being a full-time student during the school year.

I grew up in Wyoming, Michigan but graduated from Grandville High School. There I was able to discover my passion for broadcast news while giving the live announcements for my school. After college I hope to start a career in the broadcasting field, where I can help others share their stories. This year I am looking forward to graduating college and continuing my work at Grand Valley’s student led paper, The Lanthorn. Due to your generosity, I do not have to worry financially for my final school year. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.

Robert Novak

Multimedia Journalism

Thank you so much for your generosity. This scholarship will make an enormous difference in my life. Now, I have an opportunity to focus more on academics, rather than worry about my finances.

I’m originally from Michigan’s east side. I’ve worked extremely hard to surround myself with projects and work that I am passionate about since moving to Grand Rapids to attend school. I’m currently working as a production assistant for WGVU Public Media and am an intern at Local Spins. I take pride in my work and love being able to work in multimedia journalism. Thank you again!

The career exploration fund and the scholarship will provide tremendous support to students majoring in multimedia journalism, especially those interested in broadcasting.  Because of your gift, these students will have access to experiential learning opportunities that they otherwise would not have had.

Philomena V. Manella
President, Grand Valley State University

The Robert Nelson Disability Support Center

The Robert Nelson Disability Support Center

The Robert Nelson Disability Support Center

Robert Nelson was a man of kindness and compassion and had a special place in his heart for the disabled population. In honor of his desire to help the disabled population, the Robert Nelson Foundation has granted $75,000.00 to the City of Grandville, MI to create a Disability Support Center in the local library in honor of Mr. Nelson. The center will consist of resources and materials to assist people looking for help in facing the challenges of a disability or life changing event. Hard copy materials, digital resources, and inspirational material will be a part of the collection with the goal to guide and lead people to the help and resources they need. A goal of the center will also to be a place of collaboration for local agencies and organizations that assist the disabled by providing a place to meet and discuss further ways to help the community. The foundation is honored to put Mr. Nelson’s name on such a special project and looks forward to see the development of this project as it moves forward.

We are excited to share an update on the progress that is underway on the new Disability Support Center…

Construction continues through the winter at the Grandville Public Library on the expansion that will house The Robert Nelson Disability Support Center. A designated room within the expansion that will hold hard copy materials, digital access to resources, and inspirational materials specifically designed for those who are facing the challenge of a disability. The foundation is honored to continue Mr. Nelson’s legacy by providing this resource for the community.

I fully support the establishment of a first-of-its-kind resource center housed in our public library facility targeting the unique needs of those persons and families in the community facing disability challenges. …  This investment will allow us to fully serve and support such a Center and to provide the environment for it to grow, prosper and serve as a model for other libraries.

Steve Maas

Mayor, City of Grandville