by Edna R. Bautista, Ed.D., Journalism Scholarship Chair
As the fall semester ends and 2021 comes to a close, the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HFC) is pleased to announce the winner of its $2,500 journalism scholarship, now in its third year.
Jasmine Mata Sadang, a junior majoring in Communication Studies and Practices with a concentration in Strategic Communication, will be able to apply the scholarship funds to continue her education at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) through 2022.
Sadang was happy and relieved with the news that she won, especially during the ongoing global pandemic and unprecedented and challenging economic times.
“This scholarship will help me in my educational and career journey in multiple ways,” Sadang said. “I work part-time to pay off my tuition, so I’m usually scrambling to pay off monthly deposits. This scholarship will help me pay off a chunk of my tuition which will allow me to focus on my studies. Winning this scholarship also gives me motivation as a sign that I’m doing something right in these times of uncertainty.”
Journey from JCHS to JMC studies
Sadang graduated in 2019 as summa cum laude (3.86 grade point average) from James Campbell High School (JCHS) where she served on her class council and was a member of Distributive Education Club of America, a nonprofit organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
At first, she was unsure of her career path after graduating from JCHS. She had taken some general education courses at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu and Leeward Community College before transferring to HPU and starting her journey towards the journalism and mass communications (JMC) field.
“After taking a couple of communication and multimedia courses at HPU, I realized that JMC is something I can be passionate about,” she said. “I enjoy creating content that has stories behind it, whether it be a mock media plan for a nonprofit organization or a commercial storyboard for a local business.”
She said her career goals in JMC are “to be a speaker and storyteller for underrepresented people and for the Filipino and Hawaii communities [by working] for a local nonprofit organization or local business, helping with social media management, creating promotional content and stories or writing pieces to share with the public.”
Determined to gain more writing experience, Sadang joined Her Campus, an online magazine and student-run organization. Her faculty adviser and professor, AnnMarie Manzulli, noted that Sadang demonstrates a strong work ethic and has consistent and superior writing skills and teamwork contribution.
“She is an active member of [HerCampus] and has really come out of her shell because of it! It has been a pleasure to watch her confidence grow and her oral skills emerge during class presentations,” Manzulli said. “I believe that Jasmine is blooming at just the right time in her academic career and that the HFC scholarship will support her next steps.”
Part of her JMC journey includes writing stories for the Chronicle. This will give her even more experience and exposure in real-world journalism. Excerpts of her essay appear in this edition.
Committed to the craft of writing, Sadang is minoring in English and working as a writing mentor at the HPU lab, which “requires me to share my knowledge of writing to help [students] create pieces that they are proud to share with others. I am someone who has never been fully confident in myself during my whole life. But when students let me know that my efforts really helped them, I, little by little, begin to believe that I can be the person I want to be. This part-time job helped me realize that I truly do love to connect with people and help them share their voice— because in a way, me helping them helps me, too.”
Classes during the COVID era
Like her scholarship predecessors, 2019 winner Alyssa Acob from HPU and 2020 winner Brenna Flores from the Chaminade University of Honolulu, Sadang’s education was interrupted by the coronavirus crisis. In-person classes were moved online, forcing both students and faculty to adapt to changes quickly.
“Going to college during a pandemic has been a learning curve for me because it has pushed me to manage my time wisely,” Sadang admitted. “Taking online courses last semester was challenging because I have poor time management, meaning that I usually do not do work until it is the day before it’s due. I also usually relied on my weekly in-person classes to remind me to do my work. Going completely online really forced me to figure out when I should be productive and when I can relax.”
But Sadang demonstrated discipline in her studies, as her professor, Dr. Lisa Chuang, observed in an upper-division social media course.
“[I]n the middle of this course, we moved online because of the pandemic. While many students had difficulty making this transition, Jasmine was still able to produce high-quality work that demonstrated her thorough understanding of the course concepts,” Dr. Chuang said. She added that Sadang excelled in another class when it was conducted virtually.
Through all the educational uncertainties during the pandemic, Sadang adapted well and managed to maintain a GPA above 3.8 at HPU.
Filipino family values
Sadang is the daughter of Jun Rey and Feloida Sadang of Ewa Beach. She has one older brother. She credits her parents and grandmother, Julita Rosal Sadang, for helping her fund her college education. They have labor jobs (hotel housekeeping, janitor, restaurant cook and manager, etc.) and instilled a strong work ethic in her.
“When I think of how I had been given the opportunity to go to Hawaii Pacific University, my family comes to mind. My family lived most of their lives in the Philippine provinces of Ilocos Norte, Solsona and Paoay. So, hoping for better opportunities, they decided to immigrate to America. As a result, their children were able to reap the benefits of their choices. My ancestors are the reason why I value my education and why I am determined to thrive in journalism,” she said.
“The kinds of values they taught me were about how education, work and money are interconnected. If we want something in life, like a good job or money, we have to work and study hard by not taking our education and opportunities for granted. They have displayed this value through their dedication to return to their jobs despite being tired or not feeling well.”
Besides working part-time as a writing mentor at the HPU lab, Sadang also works part-time at Edible Arrangements. When she is able to take a break from her work and JMC classes, she enjoys reading, writing and journaling. Her interests also include social media, trending news, beauty, video games, nature and books.
Support the students
Please help the Filipino Media Foundation (FMF), a nonprofit charity, continue the journalism scholarship program by donating “dollars for scholars”; any amount is appreciated and is tax-deductible.
The program, which was established in 2019, is the only one of its kind for an ethnic community publication in the state of Hawaii. Hawaii Filipino Chronicle uses 100% of the FMF funds to invest in Filipino students who dream of working locally in the JMC field.
“Our ultimate goal for starting the HFC scholarship program is to have more of us in our community practicing professional journalism,” said Chona Montesines Sonido, Chronicle editor. “We believe in investing in the future of Hawaii’s media by helping college students financially as they will be the ones continuing our work someday.”
For more information about the journalism scholarship program or to make a donation, contact Sonido at (808) 284-4185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Edna R. Bautista, Ed.D., Journalism Scholarship Chair