About the Fellowship
The $6,000 Stoody-West Fellowship in religious journalism is offered in recognition of the work and lives of Dr. Ralph Stoody and Dr. Arthur West, who were leaders in public relations and information services in The United Methodist Church. The grant assists one United Methodist student in her or his post-graduate study at an accredited U.S. college or university who intends on pursuing a career in religious journalism. The purpose of the fellowship is to enhance the recipient’s professional competence and thereby help to perpetuate the standards exemplified by Stoody and West.
Tiffany Stanley, a Master of Divinity student at Harvard University, will receive the $6,000 tuition grant. United Methodist Communications awards the fellowship annually to a United Methodist graduate student who intends to pursue a career in religious journalism.
“The church needs people who can tell its story,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “Tomorrow’s communicators are in our pews, and it’s our duty to identify and encourage them.”
Stanley, 26, discovered her Christian faith as a teenager at Red Bank United Methodist Church in Lexington, SC. With passions for both faith and writing, she did not know whether to choose a career in ministry or journalism.
“At the close of college, I felt torn about the seemingly divergent paths that lay before me,” she wrote in her application essay. “I could either be the journalist that I had always felt called to be, or I could serve in ministry, which I was feeling more called to do.”
But when Stanley began serving in missions, including The United Methodist Church’s US-2 Missionary Program for Young Adults, she discovered that religion and communication can go hand in hand.
“The more I discovered about religious journalism, the more I realized that this path blended my callings, allowing me to live out my faith and work in a field I love,” she wrote. “That discovery nudged me to pursue further education at Harvard Divinity School, where I could supplement my journalism degree with an education in religion, exploring my faith and the faiths of others.”
Stanley is currently the editorial intern at Harvard Magazine. Previously, she interned at Religion News Service in Washington, D.C. She plans to continue covering religion in both faith-based publications and secular media after she graduates in June 2010.