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Dameris Bagwell Scholarship to be Awarded April 23

April 18, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ-WIU) banquet Saturday, April 23 will include awarding the second Dameris Bagwell Scholarship.

Bagwell, who was vice president of the NABJ-WIU, helped get the chapter organized at Western in Spring 2008. The 21-year-old Bloomington (IL) native was killed in a traffic accident Dec. 1, 2008, while traveling back to WIU. She was scheduled to graduate in May 2009. The scholarship in her name was first awarded at the April 2009 NABJ-WIU banquet.

Criteria for the Dameris Bagwell Scholarship were established to uphold her outstanding academic and extracurricular accomplishments, according to Professor Mohammad Siddiqi, journalism director.

"Dameris was a force in the classroom and on campus," said Siddiqi. "The criteria faculty set for the scholarship reflect that."

Minority students applying for the Dameris Bagwell Scholarship must be a sophomore or upperclass journalism major or minor with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and be active in at least one professional student organization.

In addition to her role with the NABJ-WIU, Bagwell had a minor in broadcasting, was a minority student ambassador, was a peer educator for the Beu Health Center and was a member of Western's Student Orientation Staff. She also had written for the Western Courier, the student-run newspaper on campus. In the May 2009 Commencement Ceremonies, her parents, the Rev. Darrell and Beverly Bagwell, and her brother, D.J. Bagwell, accepted her diploma, which the University awarded posthumously.

D.J. Bagwell will be the speaker at the April 23 banquet. A competitor with the 2004 WIU Leathernecks football team, he earned his bachelor's degree (2005) in communication and his MBA (2007) at Western.

"D.J. has written a book in his sister's honor, 'The Brand New You.' He says the things Dameris did are now instrumental in helping others work hard and do their best," wrote journalism Associate Professor Pearlie Strother-Adams in a dedication to Dameris Bagwell: 'Remembering Dameris Antonia Bagwell: The Ultimate Achiever.'"

"She was a stellar student, very proficient and well accomplished in her field. She was an excellent writer who often helped other students with their work," Strother-Adams added. "In Dameris I saw the potential of a true scholar, for she was able to conceptualize theory in a manner that was of graduate capability and all of her papers were well written and theory based."

The NABJ-WIU awards banquet will be held in the University Union Lamoine Room April 23. There will be a noon-1 p.m. reception with a cash bar. The Italia Viva buffet will begin following the reception, and D.J. Bagwell will speak at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, contact journalism program secretary Clara Carrigan at (309) 298-1216, or email

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