Mills Student Wins National Journalism Competition

Oakland, CA–May 31, 2016

A radio news story about a 17-year-old El Salvadoran migrant fleeing gangPerez Velazquez recruitment earned Mills College student Maira Perez Velazquez a national college journalism award.

Perez Velazquez won best radio feature in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence competition for her story The Journey: An Unaccompanied Minor’s Story of Coming to the US, which aired on San Francisco public radio station KALW in June.

Winners were announced in May for stories produced in 2015. Perez Velazquez beat finalists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Ithaca College.

A senior public policy major at Mills, Perez Velazquez produced the story in the spring of 2015, and it aired on the KALW Crosscurrents program in June.

“It was a really wonderful experience because I got an understanding of what it would be like to work in public radio and understand what it takes to produce a story,” Perez Velazquez said.

Perez Velazquez, who is a native of Kent, Washington and the first in her family to attend college, said she plans to attend law school after graduating Mills.