Jan 04, 2023
St. Bonaventure University junior Cassidey Kavathas of Lancaster, New York, will report alongside other top journalism students from across the country this summer through a Carnegie-Knight News21 fellowship.
This is the eighth year in a row a St. Bonaventure student has been selected for the prestigious News21 fellowship.
Kavathas, a journalism major and history minor, says journalism and writing are her passion and she is grateful for the opportunity to spend 10 weeks this summer participating in the reporting initiative, which is headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
The program brings top journalism students from across the country to report and produce in-depth, multimedia projects for major media outlets, including The Washington Post, NBC News and USA Today. Leading up to the summer program, students take part in a News21 issues seminar and begin preliminary reporting during the spring semester.
The 2023 investigative topic will be “America After Roe.” Previous topics tackled by the journalism students have included juvenile justice, disaster recovery, drinking water and voting rights.
Kavathas can’t wait to dive into the long-form reporting and expand her multimedia skills.
Her resume is already packed with an impressive range of media experiences, beginning with her first semester on campus.
Kavathas was impressed with St. Bonaventure’s School of Communication when she visited the university as a high school student. She knew she wanted to attend a university where she could – and would – write for the campus newspaper as a freshman. Kavathas now serves as the advisory editor of the student newspaper, The Bona Venture, after completing a semester as editor-in-chief. She is also the news director of WSBU 88.3 The Buzz, the campus radio station.
“I am so glad Cassidey chose St. Bonaventure and the Jandoli School,” said Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli School. “She makes us proud with her thoughtful work and leadership in student media. She will be another strong representative of our school in the News21 program.”
Kavathas has previously reported with The Chautauquan Daily, PolitiFact NY and The Olean Times Herald. She currently reports for TAPinto Greater Olean and is a writer for St. Bonaventure’s Office of University Advancement. On campus, she serves as a peer coach and admissions student ambassador.
Kavathas describes last summer’s experience covering arts and culture for The Chautauquan Daily, Chautauqua Institution’s six-day-a-week newspaper, as the perfect fit for her.
“I grew professionally and personally. Chautauqua was an incredible place to learn and grow. The Chautauquan Daily helped to make me a better journalist. News 21 seemed like the perfect place to continue that growth,” she said.
Kavathas is grateful to her university mentors and tries to pay it forward by mentoring underclassmen.
“Anne and Rich Lee (TAPinto editors) are so knowledgeable. They are incredible professors and incredible people,” Kavathas said. She also credits Assistant Professor Carole McNall, the adviser for the BV and the Buzz, for guidance on how to lead a newsroom and hungry reporters; Susan Anderson, director of fundraising communications, for showing her a different approach and style of writing; and journalism professor Dr. Denny Wilkins for helping her overcome imposter syndrome and pushing her to continually improve her writing.
Those experiences, she said, encourage her to keep learning and reaching for more opportunities as her skills and confidence grow.
“News21 is a multimedia project and having that background sets me up to be in a place where I know the basics. Everything I want now is beyond my comfort zone, so let’s get on with it,” she said.
Kavathas believes the fellowship will help her define her career path.
“I know I want to be a writer. Journalism and writing are my passion. The goal is always to go somewhere like the New York Times or Washington Post, but if my writing is read and cherished I’ll be happy,” she said.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.