Sera Allen, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, received Fordham’s first-ever award from the Women’s Media Group (WGA) this year.

The nonprofit serves as a professional association for women in media, including the publishing industry, digital media, newspapers, TV, film, and more. It awards scholarships each year to students in New York city colleges and universities to help “support the education of future publishing professionals who have demonstrated leadership in advancing literacy and promoting diversity/underrepresented voices in our industry.”

This was the first year the group added Fordham to its list of schools that receive awards each year, with Allen being the first recipient. As a part of the award, Allen received a $2,000 scholarship toward her education and three years of membership in the organization.

Nevin Mays, co-chair of scholarships and fellowships for the organization said that they ask applicants to talk about their experiences, leadership skills, and goals for diversity in media, which is what Allen said she did for hers.

“I wrote an essay to get the scholarship about how I want to go into publishing as a career and uplift women’s voices through publishing and writing,” she said.

Allen, who’s looking to pursue a career in the publishing industry, said that she always knew she wanted to work in the field.

“I’ve always loved books since I was little—I always knew it was my passion and that I wanted to be an English major when I got to college,” she said adding that she really enjoys autobiographical books because they help tell “people’s stories through challenges and triumphs,” and that helps her relate to different people.

Allen said that she was grateful to Fordham’s English department, particularly the creative writing faculty, for helping her enhance her skills.

“I think I’ve become a better writer throughout my four years,” she said, adding that her creative writing classes were small and interactive. “It was rigorous. The writing workshops we would do—every single student would give you feedback on your writing. It definitely helped me.”

Mary Bly, chair of the Fordham English department, who is a member of the group, said that the membership in the group is “by far the most useful” part of the award, since students get to attend events, network with the members, and participate in workshops.

Mays agreed that the networking and membership are the biggest benefits of the award, as usually the organization is open to women who have been in the field for 5+ years.

“They can take full advantage of everything we offer. We have so many great events that our event committee comes up with,” Mays said, citing a few recent ones on women in power, branding workshops, and a featured event with dancer Misty Copeland.

Bly said that she hopes this will help create more excitement for future applicants and create a cycle of women in the group from Fordham.

“So next year, we’ll have a new senior, but Sera will still be a member, and so we’re hoping we can have revolving memberships,” she said. “This [award]is a very exciting one.”

Allen said she’s already been to a few WGA events, including one for Black History Month.

“I’m really happy and grateful I got this experience, and happy to be a part of the group for the next three years,” she said.