Student Story

I'm Going to do Amazing Things: Abrielle Cunningham '23 on the Ifill Scholarship

Why did you choose to attend Simmons?

I chose Simmons because of its amazing location. It was probably the best decision I've ever made. It wasn't my top school when I applied, but as soon as I visited and then finished my first semester, I knew it was the school for me.

For most of my academic career, I knew I wanted to do something with communications, but I was not exactly sure if it would be in journalism, art, or something similar. But I knew from that first tour and seeing the Ifill wing that Simmons would be an amazing place to continue my education. I told my mom that this was where I wanted to be.

What professors have helped you reach your goals?

There was one particular course I took — it wasn’t even a communications course. It’s “American Feminist Public Intellectuals,” taught by The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities Dean Brian Norman — that course helped me to see all these women throughout history who were able to communicate beautifully. I thought, “Wow, I really have the power to do the same thing.” It may look different so many years later, but I have the ability to do the same things. Additional amazing professors like Beatriz Cobeta and Rachel Gans-Boriskin have encouraged me to continue my Gwen Ifill College studies.

[Simmons] was probably the best decision I've ever made.

What does the Ifill Scholarship mean to you?

I was shocked when I found out I had received the Ifill Scholarship. I asked myself and my family, “Is this right? What did I do to deserve this?” Gwen Ifill made so many exceptional marks in the communications and journalism world — I wondered if it was something I could measure up to. But after that initial shock, I thought to myself, Gwen Ifill was an amazing person, and I'm an amazing person — I'm going to do amazing things, too.

As you look to the future, how do you hope to connect your passion to a lifelong purpose?

I love the idea of creating both verbal and visual messages that make an impact in the world. In the future, I see myself in media and technology, really working at that intersection of media and design, of marketing and communications, and developing the messages and campaigns that those companies are putting out into the world. That’s my big dream.

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