Casey Feldman Foundation Awards First CU Journalism Scholarship to Savannah Mather
Savannah Mather believes in the importance of creating an informed society. Savannah, who is a rising senior at The University of Colorado, Boulder, (CU Boulder) has received the first Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship Stipend for journalism students. The endowment at CU was originally established to provide a stipend for computer science students to provide IT work for a nonprofit , but Dianne Anderson, cofounder of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation stated that it was time for a change.
“It was a wonderful goal to introduce computer science students to the nonprofit world and at the same time aid small nonprofits. However, We had waning interest from computer science students presumably because they had no problem finding well paid internships.”
“It seemed quite natural to change the endowment to support journalism students given Casey’s passion for journalism and the critical need at this time to support those who have chosen this career path. Casey believed the press plays a critical role in our society and we do as well,” Dianne said.
Savannah couldn’t agree more with Casey that the press is an integral facet of society. Ever since kindergarten, Savannah has known she wanted to be a writer and tell other people’s stories. However, it wasn’t until high school that she discovered what she truly wanted to write about.
“My junior year of high school, I took an AP environmental science class and I absolutely fell in love with it,” Savannah said. “I loved everything about environmentalism, conservation, sustainability, and ecology.”
As soon as Savannah arrived at CU Boulder she decided to combine her passion for the environment with her love of writing and declared herself as a journalism major and geography minor. This was the start of her journey towards becoming an environmental journalist. Savannah feels as though journalism, specifically that relating to the environment, is an essential function of democracy.
Savannah reflected, “Journalism is more important now than ever. Unfortunately, we live in an age of misinformation that is spread so easily, and is threatening to journalism as a function of democracy.” She continued that she hopes to be a journalist reporting accurate information on matters like climate change and make it available to the larger public to create a sense of greater understanding.”
“Environmentalism and climate change is such a complex topic, and with the amount of science and research that we have, it’s so hard to disseminate that information and make it digestible to a general audience. But it’s really important because there are things happening right now in front of our eyes that are extremely threatening to our environment,” Savannah said.
During her time at CU Boulder, Savannah was able to join their student-run newspaper, The CU Independent. She joined the opinions section her freshman year, and took her time to define her niche in the paper as an environmental journalist. This past fall, Savannah wrote an article about the struggles between safety and sustainability amid the pandemic and the increase of single-use waste.
To Dianne, Savannah stood out among the rest of the applicants. “We loved that Savannah jumped right into writing for the university newspaper as a freshman and quickly became an editor by her sophomore year, like Casey did at Fordham. During this critical time of climate change we were thrilled to have an applicant who also has a background in science and aspires to become an environmental journalist. That she also had written about social justice justices issues sealed the deal so to speak!”
While Savannah spends most of her time appreciating and fighting for nature through the words in her articles, she also loves to spend her free time outdoors. An avid snowboarder, watersports player, and hiker, she climbed her first fourteener mountain, one of Colorado’s tallest mountains, last year.
Professionally, Savannah has just completed an internship for Kurani, an architecture firm devoted to solving the world’s biggest problems through architecture. According to their website, their designs like literacy lounges and Black arts centers help “improve conditions for education, the environment, immigrants, poverty, social justice, wellness and women around the world.”
Savannah found her time at Kurani as a journalism intern to be extremely rewarding and surprisingly impactful. “While architecture may not fit into the realm of environmentalism that I want to pursue, this internship has taught me that public spaces have just as much of an impact in how we interact, respect, and utilize the environment both inside and outside,” she revealed.
Looking into how we utilize the Earth’s resources and how that can in turn, aid public service, sustainability, and social justice initiatives, has helped Savannah create a more nuanced perspective on what it means to be a journalist.
Savannah hopes to implement the important lessons she has learned from her internship after she graduates from CU Boulder this fall. She dreams of traveling to all the amazing places the world has to offer while advocating for the environment as a journalist. A few of her biggest aspirations are to one day have her own podcast and work on a National Geographic environmental documentary.