This fall, in the peak season for college applications, several high school seniors who attended Princeton’s Summer Journalism Program (SJP) will be getting a little extra help as they try to earn admission to some of the nation’s best universities. SJP staff remain in contact to assist students in the college application process, and if history is a guide, the SJP graduates should fare well: Four program alumni currently are enrolled at Princeton, and others have gone on to elite schools like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.
The nomination for our Tigers of the Week — the SJP directors, pictured from left, Richard Just ’01, Greg Mancini ’01, Rich Tucker ’01, and Michael Koike ’01 — came from a program alumna, Tasnim Shamma ’11, a Daily Princetonian senior writer who said that without SJP, she never would have applied to Princeton.
Just, Mancini, Tucker, and Koike, four friends who worked together on The Daily Princetonian staff, created SJP after graduation in an effort to diversify college and professional newsrooms by giving students from low-income backgrounds a chance to explore and study journalism in a 10-day summer seminar. All student expenses, including travel costs, are paid by donors (mostly Princeton alumni).
The initial idea was to expose aspiring journalists to the field through classes with professional reporters and tours of media outlets like CNN and The New York Times. But, Just said, “At a certain point, we realized that wasn’t enough.” Many students from low-income backgrounds attend high schools that have limited resources for college counseling, so the SJP staff stepped in to help with the application process — nudging the students one step closer to college newsrooms. Staff members also help SJP grads find journalism internships after they reach college.
SJP is taking applications for its 2010 session — the program’s ninth — and the four founders remain deeply committed to the program, even though most have not pursued journalism in their professional lives. Mancini teaches high-school English, Tucker is an attorney, Koike works in private equity, and Just is the managing editor of The New Republic (as well as a member of PAW’s alumni board).
Do you have a nominee for Tiger of the Week? Let us know. All alumni qualify. PAW’s Tiger of the Week is selected by our staff, with help from readers like you.