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Learning on one of the biggest platforms in sports: Introducing the 2020-21 Rhoden Fellows

(Photo: Illustration: Rachel Siegal)

ESPN’s launch of The Undefeated Rhoden Fellowship, in 2017, established the company’s commitment to highlight the sports, race and culture platform to develop new voices and nurture future journalists of color. Participants in the fourth class of the fellowship, representing six HBCUs, are primed to embark on a year of hands-on training starting this week.

The Rhoden Fellowship is a one-year, paid internship program that recruits aspiring journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, founded by former ESPN President John Skipper and award-winning sports columnist William C. “Bill” Rhoden. The fellows work as correspondents during the academic year covering and reporting sports, as well as general news, at their respective university communities for The Undefeated’s HBCU vertical.

Additionally, the student journalists create weekly multimedia content – hosting and producing a podcast on resonant issues and topics affecting young people. Producer Terrika Foster-Brasby, an HBCU graduate from Saint Augustine’s University, will help the students learn the production process.

“This experience is meant to give the students an opportunity to learn and grow on one of the biggest platforms in sports,” Foster-Brasby said. “It is my goal to help guide the fellows into gaining a successful experience so they can obtain a job and hopefully be the future leaders of ESPN.”

The class of 2020-21 – Ashton Edmunds, Jayla Jones, Parker Owens, Jonathan Scott, Marissa Stubbs and Alex Williams – shared their aspirations of the fellowship with Front Row.

Ashton Edmunds

Clark Atlanta University

I am extremely blessed to be working with the legendary Bill Rhoden and The Undefeated staff. Being a part of this fellowship has always been a dream of mine because I knew it would take me to that next level as a sports journalist. I’m most looking forward to working on innovative projects with my team, making life-long relationships and growing as a young professional throughout this fellowship. I am very excited for this opportunity and ready to get to work!


Jayla Jones

Prairie View A&M University

This year I am most looking forward to reaching my full potential as a writer, as I learn from and work alongside an amazing group of journalists who I now have the privilege of calling my peers. I am looking forward to covering a wide range of fun topics and adding to the collective voice at The Undefeated.

Parker Owens

Morehouse College

When I applied for this fellowship the world looked a lot different than it does today, and I am looking forward to still being able to create meaningful content and learning how to navigate this new normal alongside the most brilliant minds in this industry.

Jonathan Scott

Hampton University

I’m honored to be a part of what seems like a legacy between The Undefeated and Hampton University. As the fifth Hamptonian chosen in the fourth class of Rhoden Fellows, I’m looking forward to learning from the best journalists in the industry and perfecting my craft at my dream job.

Marissa Stubbs

Florida A&M University

What I’m most looking forward to during this year’s fellowship is the opportunity to grow and expand my skills as a young journalist. I want to be able to network and build life-long relationships with most, if not all of the talented staff at The Undefeated. I want a chance to correct my mistakes, hone my craft, and a chance to be undefeated. As a student of Florida A&M University, I want to be able to give back to my university through my work. Working diligently to demonstrate why I embody the great aspects every Rhoden Fellow will be the most rewarding experience ever!

Alex Williams

Howard University

I am most looking forward to challenging myself as a writer, connecting with other journalism HBCU students around the country, and also putting my passion for journalism into practice with the help of some of the most talented writers in the industry.

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