Kristen Locker

Florida college graduate named NLP’s 2020 Gwen Ifill Student of the Year


Kristen Locker, a new graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, is NLP’s 2020 Gwen Ifill Student of the Year. Locker, the first college student to receive the award, was nominated by her professor, Lyn Millner, a finalist for NLP’s Educator of the Year Award.

“Kristen told us, ‘Checkology helped me navigate where I get my news.’ She says she no longer believes things at face value or relies on a single source and always researches information before sharing it,” NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller said. “We have no doubt that this will prove useful to Kristen as she moves on to film school and into her professional life.’’

Locker used Checkology while a student of Millner’s and became a teaching assistant in her news literacy course the following year. In addition, Locker delivered a lecture on verification tools, developed assignments for students and produced a video to promote news literacy to freshmen.

Watch the video of Locker receiving her award:

This award commemorates Ifill, the trailblazing journalist — and longtime NLP supporter and board member — who died in 2016. It is presented to female students of color who represent the values Ifill brought to journalism. Ifill was the first Black woman to host a national political talk show on television as moderator of Washington Week, and she was a member (with Judy Woodruff) of the first female co-anchor team of a national news broadcast, on PBS NewsHour.

“After reading more about Gwen Ifill, I saw how much she did and the weight of her work in corresponding, advocating, reporting, writing, all of that,” Locker said. “To see what she’s done in her lifetime, it’s just so inspiring. I want to follow in that legacy.”

Student honorees receive a $250 gift certificate and a glass plaque with an etched photo of Ifill.

“Honoring the legacies of John Carroll and Gwen Ifill — as iconic journalists, exceptional board members and extraordinary individuals — reaffirms our values and who we are as an organization,” Miller said.

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