Chicago Headline Club Foundation Names 2021 Les Brownlee Scholarship Winner: DePaul’s Cam Rodriguez

Cam Rodriguez

By Storer (Bob) Rowley

The Chicago Headline Club and the Chicago Headline Club Foundation have selected DePaul University senior Cameron “Cam” Rodriguez as the winner of the Les Brownlee Memorial Scholarship — a $5,000 annual grant given to a Chicago-area journalism student in honor of Les Brownlee.

The club and the foundation received a record 32 applications this year for the scholarship from an array of excellent candidates from private and public institutions and community colleges from across the Chicago area. Rodriguez was chosen on June 2 by the Foundation Board after an extensive review.

“I’m so grateful for this scholarship from the Chicago Headline Club Foundation. This will have a huge impact on my studies and I’m honored to carry on the legacy of Les Brownlee,” said Rodriguez after learning she was the winner.

Rodriguez is graduating this month from DePaul University with a BA in journalism with a minor in geography and geographic information systems. She is enrolled in a graduate journalism program at DePaul pursuing her Master of Arts in journalism with a data journalism concentration. She has a wide skillset, including editing and producing multimedia work, data, research and visualization, and interactive mapping, and she has demonstrated a dedication to using emerging journalism tools and traditional strategies to engage readers and viewers.

Rodriguez is managing editor and a newsletter editor of DePaul’s “14 East Magazine,” has served as a research intern at WTTW-Channel 11 (PBS) in Chicago, and as an election fellow monitoring social media channels for misinformation and voter questions last fall at The Detroit Free Press. This summer, she will be a Dow Jones News Fund intern with USA Today’s national data team.

“The Chicago Headline Club Foundation is delighted to announce Cam Rodriguez is the recipient of the 2021 Les Brownlee Memorial Scholarship,” Foundation President Molly McDonough said. “There were many terrific candidates this year, which made our job of selecting only one even harder. But Rodriguez was an exceptional candidate. She stood out, and we are proud to give her this scholarship to help her continue her studies and cover part of her tuition. We think she will do great things in journalism.”

Brownlee Scholarship Selection Committee Chair Storer “Bob” Rowley said the foundation especially is grateful every year for the work done by deans, faculty advisors, counselors and student media at Chicago-area higher education institutions to pass on news of the scholarship to prospective journalism students.

Brownlee, who died in 2005, was the first African-American member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the first African-American president of the Chicago Headline Club.

Applicants for the Les Brownlee Scholarship are current undergraduate journalism students at Chicago-area colleges or universities. Candidates are assessed by a committee of the Headline Club Foundation and evaluated on their previous experience, clips, cover letter and demonstrated interest in pursuing a journalism career.

Applications for next year’s scholarship will open in February of 2022.

Visit for more information about the Chicago Headline Club and its Foundation, which provides funding to support professional, student, and citizen journalists for the enhancement of responsible and ethical media practices.