The Society of Silurians, the nation’s oldest press club, has chosen Irina Ivanova from the Class of 2013 to receive the Dennis Duggan prize, given annually to a CUNY J-school student for outstanding work in school and for professional potential. The prize, to be awarded at a dinner on May 22, comes with a $1,000 stipend.
Duggan was for many years a columnist for Newsday, specializing in stories about ordinary people – teachers, cops, fire fighters, shop keepers – that captured their spirit and dignity. He died seven years ago, just when the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism was launching, and the Silurians established the annual award in his name for a CUNY J-school student.
Dean Stephen B. Shepard called Irina “a very unusual and talented journalist.” Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she speaks several languages, including Russian, Ukrainian, French, and Spanish. She graduated cum laude from Amherst College, where she worked on school publications dealing with politics, culture, and the arts. Before coming to CUNY, she worked for the Indypendent, a multimedia hyperlocal web site dealing with community and cultural issues in New York. She later did community relations work for the Fashion Institute of Technology and had a fellowship with investigative reporter Wayne Barrett at the Nation Institute.
Not surprisingly, Shepard said, Irina finished near the top of the class during her first semester here. Specializing in Business and Economic reporting, she will intern this summer at Crain’s New York Business. As a special bonus, her fellow students have chosen her to serve on the search committee to find the next dean of the CUNY J-School. In the view of the faculty members who nominated her, and the Silurians judges who selected her, she has all the makings of a great journalist.
Previous Duggan Prize winners have been Danny Massey (Class of 2007), Barry Paddock (2008), Emily Feldman (2009), Simone Sebastian (2010), Patrick Wall (2011), and Jane Teeling (2012).