Announcing the Brechner Scholars in Media and Public Affairs

Brechner Scholars in Media and Public Affairs
July 09, 2014

Combined degree students Emilie Frank and Zinhle Essamuah were selected to receive the Berl Brechner Graduate Scholarships in Media and Public Affairs. Brechner is a member of the National Council for Media and Public Affairs, the SMPA Director’s advisory body. He received his BA in Journalism in 1968 and was the editor of the GW Hatchet. Thanks to his gift, each student will receive $20,000 in tuition funding toward their MA in Media and Strategic Communication when they enter the MA program full time in fall 2015.

“The communications education and exposure I got at GW served me well for a lifetime," said Brechner. "The School of Media and Public Affairs programs are so much broader now, and it’s only reasonable to help the school and new generations of students going through.”

Essamuah, the daughter of African immigrants, is excited that the combined degree program and the Brechner scholarship allow her to earn her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication in three years and begin her graduate program early.

“As a first generation American, paying for college has never been easy,” said Essamuah. “The Brechner Scholarship provides the financial support I need to continue learning from and contributing to SMPA. I am truly thankful and blessed to have received the award.”

Essaumuah has taken full advantage of opportunities available at SMPA. This past year, she served the student body as Vice Chair of the Media Student Community Council and interned for Planet Forward. “Every semester SMPA provides one-of-a-kind opportunities for its students that tap into the resources GW and D.C. have to offer,” said Essamuah. “My experience as a student in SMPA so far has truly made me #SMPAproud!”

Emilie Frank said that what she most loves about SMPA is the small class size. “Thanks to the more focused and personalized classroom environment, I've been allowed to interact more closely with my professors,” she said. “It’s an incredible asset, since everyone who teaches in SMPA is an expert in his or her field.”

She’s excited to continue that into her graduate studies, thanks to the Brechner Scholarship. Frank has completed internships at public affairs and lobbying firms and aspires to enter a career in that area after completing her BA/MA. “I hope that my time and experience in the combined degree program will help me realize exactly where I would like to be in the future,” she said. “And the fact that I'll have a master’s degree in media and strategic communication by the time I turn 23 is very appealing as well!”

To learn more about the combined degree program, click here.

To donate to the School of Media and Public Affairs and its students visit