Luisa Suarez, a junior journalism and political science double major at Temple University, was one of ten students across the nation to recently receive the NBCUniversal/LULAC National Education Service Centers (LNESC) scholarship. Suarez's hopes to be a trailblazer in Latinx representation in the media industry, especially in matters of politics.
The NBCUniversal/LNESC scholarship is awarded to Latinx undergraduate students who are pursuing careers in media and entertainment. Sponsored by NBCUniversal and administered by LNESC, the scholarship program selects young professionals who are committed to advocating for accurate and diverse representation of Latinx people. Each awardee, who must maintain the equivalent of a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale throughout the year, earns $5,000 to be split equally among the two semesters of the academic year.
But Suarez has gone above and beyond academic success during her time at Temple and Klein College of Media and Communication. Since her freshman year, she has been heavily involved with Temple University Television, anchoring for the station's Spanish-language programs Update Ahora and Lo Último and serving as a producer and panelist on the station's first Spanish-language talk show La Charla. She is the president of the Latinx Media Association, which aims to support Latinx students interested in developing media-savvy skills. Suarez believes that it is important to represent Latinx people in media because it sends a clear message that Latinx people are an integral part of the country and the world.
"I think it's important especially here in our media in the United States to have diverse voices," Suarez says. "I think for a really long time our news coverage wasn't as diverse as it needed to be, and when you have more diversity in the newsroom I think you more accurately cover a range of topics. And along with that you better serve your community when your newsroom is reflective of your country and specifically your community."
One of Suarez's recommenders for the scholarship was Rafael Logroño, an adjunct instructor at Klein who also created and hosts La Charla. Logroño has known Suarez for several years and has gradually watched her give back through her leadership roles and her mentorship of younger undergraduate students.
"I adore Luisa. I think she's one of the hardest working students not only at Klein but at Temple. She's someone who hustles, she is someone who is intellectual. She's someone who knows what she wants and that's quite admirable," Logroño says.
Patrick Murphy, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Klein, also recommended Suarez for the scholarship, saying "her interest areas — media, democracy and society, representation, diversity and inclusion and Latin American and Latino culture — resonate with current industry challenges involving voice, social justice and the role of media in society."
Suarez looks forward to applying for future internships within NBCUniversal, especially for opportunities at its cable political news channel MSNBC. However, she believes that even the channel itself can do better in its inclusion of Latinx media professionals. "Nationally we also need to do better to how we cover news in communities and how we have those conversations and cover certain topics," she says. For now, she is doing her part by working toward this mission on a local scale as an intern with Resolve Philadelphia, an organization that advances journalism that reflects community voices.