Optimist journalist honored by KPU

Optimist freelance journalist Dani Penaloza has received a prestigious scholarship from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

The 2022 Journalism and Communication Studies department scholarship winners were announced June 13 and Penaloza was the winner of the $ 1,000 “Most Promising Journalist” KPU Endowed Journalism Award, which is awarded based off faculty decision.

“I’m very, very honored that the department’s faculty selected me for this year’s Most Promising Journalist award, especially when they had so many talented students to choose from,” says Penaloza. “I can’t thank them enough for giving me the skills and knowledge to be where I am today.”

Penaloza graduated in January with a Bachelor of Journalism degree from KPU.

She worked as a community reporter and copy editor for student newspaper The Runner before being hired by the Optimist last summer, where she worked through the final semester of her degree.

This scholarship is not the first one for Penaloza as she won other scholarships while pursuing her degree. They include the 2019 Pulse FM scholarship (highest third-year cumulative GPA in journalism program); the 2020 PIPS Lorem Ipsum Endowed Award (KPU faculty recommended based on story submission) and the 2020 Excellence in Storytelling Award (KPU faculty recommended based on story submission).

Penaloza moved to the Ottawa Valley last fall and is working as a freelance journalist and podcast producer.

“I’m searching for a full-time gig in the Ottawa Valley right now, so receiving this award is so encouraging,” she said. “It means so much to me to have a vote of confidence this huge from all my incredible instructors.”

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