Tara Monastesse of Warwick has been selected to receive a Rhode Island PBS Scholarship for high school seniors or college students pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism. The award – up to $60,000 – is renewable for up to four years.
“We are so pleased to announce Tara is the 2021 scholarship award recipient,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of WSBE Rhode Island PBS. “Tara competed in a tough field of very impressive applicants. Ultimately, it was her award-winning academic and community work, coupled with her engaging essay that gave her the winning edge.”
Monastesse was selected from dozens of applicants from the station’s broadcast area in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. She plans to major in anthropology at Mount Holyoke College.
“Receiving this scholarship is an honor that will allow me to pursue my passion for writing without concerns about finances. I can now fearlessly look forward to being the first person in my family to attend college,” said Monastesse, a 2021 graduate of Toll Gate High School who is the daughter of Gina and Ronald Monastesse.
Monastesse began considering journalism as a career during an internship with the Warwick Beacon the summer before her sophomore year in high school. Following her internship she worked as a freelance reporter for the paper.
“That first summer I spent learning to make phone calls, to chase a lead and of course, to write a good first sentence to make the whole endeavor worthwhile. My mind always goes back to that place when I think about my future, because it’s where I realized that I had the power to actively contribute to my community with my passion for writing,” she said.
“As I became more immersed in my work, suddenly my ‘boring’ hometown became a fascinating place to learn about people who planned parades, people who planned birthday surprises for their dogs, and people who used activism to raise awareness for good causes. I am addicted to that rhythm of creative output that sets newsrooms apart from other workplaces,” she said.
Monastesse received the Secretary of State’s Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award and the Billy Michal Student Leadership Award, was treasurer of Toll Gate’s chapter of the National Honor Society and vice president of the student council, was a member of the All-State Orchestra and was selected to attend the Princeton Summer Journalism Program.
This is the fourth year Rhode Island PBS has awarded scholarships of up to $15,000 through a $1 million scholarship fund created at the Rhode Island Foundation. The selection was made by a review committee coordinated by the Foundation.
“We are honored to have donors like Rhode Island PBS that appreciate the value of investing in young people. The impact of its support will be felt for decades as the recipients start their careers and contribute to the civic life of their communities,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.
Students had to submit an essay, a current academic transcript, a financial aid worksheet, proof of residency and a letter of recommendation from a teacher or professional attesting to the applicant’s merit towards a successful career in broadcasting, communications or journalism.
For more information about applying for a Rhode Island PBS scholarship next year, visit www.rifoundation.org.