PEMBROKE — Savannah Thompson, a Mass Communication student at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has been named the 2017 recipient of the annual Dr. John R. Bittner Scholarship.
This scholarship is funded by the Radio-Television-Digital News Association of the Carolinas. Thompson was recognized during a ceremony at the WBTV television station in Charlotte.
The organization selects one recipient each year from South Carolina and North Carolina. It is the first time a UNCP student has won the award.
“I think it is a great reflection on the Department of Mass Communication and I am so glad that I can help the department become better than it already is,” Thompson said.
In addition to taking a full course load, Thompson is a student-athlete. She is captain of the women’s golf team and earned a spot on this year’s Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll, All-Academic Team, as well as the Chancellor’s List.
Thompson shared her secret.
“I manage my time very well. I have a schedule and I usually stick to it. I am particular about things being in order. Without being a student athlete, I would be bored because I enjoy being busy.”
Thompson, a Seven Lakes native, gives a lot of credit to the Mass Communication department when she talks about being the type of student that is capable of receiving this scholarship.
“The Mass Communication department has helped me throughout my entire time here,” she said. “Having professors who truly care about me and are so helpful plays a huge role.”
Dr. Jamie Litty, chair of the Mass Communication Department, described Savannah as a natural leader and role model.
“She has worked her way up to a co-producer position for the students’ weekly TV newscast, ‘Carolina News Today,’ while successfully balancing her dual student-athlete obligations and interests,” Litty said.
Thompson has served as a mentor to young people involved in junior golf camps and participated in the Braves Buddy literacy program.
Dr. Jeff Frederick, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, described Savannah as an excellent embodiment of a student who is excelling in the classroom, in service to community, and in professional practice activities.
“It’s all the more remarkable that she has garnered the prestigious Bittner Scholarship while participating in athletics,” Frederick said. “Her work is very strong, as is the dedication of the faculty who have mentored her.”
Thompson will travel to Ireland next month as part of a Study Abroad trip led by Litty. The Mass Communication students will visit the Dublin Institute of Technology Film and Broadcasting Department and the Iris Times National Newspaper, among others.
Thompson was bitten by the “broadcasting bug” as a 16-year-old. At that time, she had earned an invitation to play in the Nature Valley First Tee Open in Pebble Beach, California. When she was not playing, Savannah spent hours in the Golf Channel’s production truck observing the broadcast of the tournament.
This summer, she will get a closer look at the NBC network. She has landed a summer internship with the Golf Channel — her dream job.
“I hope to form relationships and connections that will help me later in my career,” she said.
Tayley Strickland is an intern with University Communications and Marketing at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.