Meet Grace, this year’s recipient of the Brett Lerner Memorial Scholarship. Grace is a senior in the Department of Journalism. Like Brett, she has a passion to make a difference on topics that matter most to her.

“Heading into my senior year here at the University of Illinois, I often sit back and reflect on all that I have done thus far, how many people I have impacted, or what kind of legacy I will leave behind once my days here come to an end in May,” Grace said. “Brett’s time with us was tragically cut short, but the mark he left was indelible.”

“I was a sophomore in the fall of 2015, and Brett was an upperclassman whose name I had heard a few times, but I never met him. However, no matter who was asked, they only had the best to say about Brett. He was passionate, he was talented, he was driven, and he was going to go far in life — everyone just knew it. In the days after the accident, there was a tangible feeling of immense loss. I knew that we had lost someone truly special.”

Grace photo“I do not take this scholarship lightly. Brett had a passion for what he did throughout his time here at the university, and I strive to cover the stories that fuel my fire, too. My passion is the stories of people who ordinarily get pushed to the margins — whose voices we do not get to hear that often. At a time as polarizing as this, we need the Fourth Estate now more than ever, and we need people with Brett’s drive in them. A drive to seek the truth and report it — while being fair, accurate, and just.”

The Brett Lerner Memorial Scholarship in Journalism continues to impact the lives of talented students like Grace, and will honor and celebrate Brett's legacy at Illinois for years to come.     

(photo: Grace is pictured on the left with a friend at the National Association of Black Journalists)

On behalf of the Pomerantz family, friends and future scholarship recipients, thank you to everyone who has honored Brett's life and legacy at Illinois through their gift to the Brett Lerner Memorial Scholarship in Journalism. 

The College of Media will continue to honor and celebrate Brett's life by supporting talented journalism students at Illinois through his scholarship. To make a gift to the Brett Lerner Memorial Scholarship in Journalism, please visit our giving page or call 217.244.5466