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Mills College Students Win National Reporting Award

Oakland, CA–February 29, 2008. Competing against professional journalists, Mills College students have won national recognition for their radio series "The Dropout Dilemma" on Oakland public schools' dropout rates.

Eight students in Mills' Public Radio Reporting class earned second place for educational writing in radio from the National Awards for Education Reporting. The winners were announced this week by the National Education Writers Association, which represents professional education reporters and writers.

"The Dropout Dilemma" was broadcast on radio station KALW 91.7 FM throughout the week of June 4, 2007. Mills students Carmen Aiken, Hallee Berg, Thea Chroman, Sandhya Dirks, Sarah Gonzalez, Melissa McDonough, Jackie Kennedy, and Shira Zucker spent one semester examining issues related to dropout rates, including the small schools movement, pressures that make staying in school difficult, vocational education, and the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Holly Kernan, Mills lecturer and KALW news director, coordinated the project enabling students to report, write, and produce eight original radio stories. The Mills students examined dropout rates at Oakland Aviation School, Emiliano Zapata Street Academy, the Castlemont Community of Small Schools, Oakland High School, Skyline High School, Elmhurst Middle School, and the Fremont Federation of Small Schools.

The only independent contest of its kind in the U.S., the annual competition honors the best educational reporting in print and broadcast media among professional journalists. The Mills students will be recognized on April 26 at the Education Writers Association's 61st National Seminar in Chicago.

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to approximately 900 undergraduate women and 500 graduate women and men. Since 2000, applications to Mills College have more than doubled. The College ranks as one of the top colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report and one of the Best 366 Colleges by the Princeton Review.

Quynh Tran
Media Relations Manager

Last Updated: 2/29/08