Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visiting Michigan in April

The Detroit News, Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation to offer internships in 2022

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — Two winners of college scholarships for students who embody civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks' values will also have the chance to work in The Detroit News' newsroom for two summers beginning next year.

Officials of the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation and The Detroit News announced Thursday they will award newsroom internships to two scholarship recipients each year starting in 2022.

Rosa Parks sits in the front of a Montgomery, Alabama bus in December 1956. Her refusal to give up her seat a year earlier led the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the city's segregated seating law illegal.

"We're so excited to be able to offer additional educational opportunities to the most exemplary winners of the Rosa Parks scholarship," said Kimberly Trent, board president of the foundation, a former Rosa Parks scholar and a former intern at The Detroit News, in a statement.

Every year, the nonprofit awards about 40 $2,000 non-renewable college scholarships to high-achieving high school seniors who are in need, involved in their community and best exemplify the late civil rights leader's ideals.

Since its creation in 1980 by The News and Detroit Public Schools, the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 high school seniors. Last year, the foundation awarded 41 scholarships.

This year's scholarship recipients are expected to be announced in The News on June 25. They'll be among those who can apply for the internships; each internship winner will be able to serve two summers at The News.

Kim Trent, president of the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation, hopes the internship opportunity will draw even more applicants for the foundation's scholarships and provide invaluable work experience.

In 1955, Parks sparked the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott, which ultimately resulted in the city's transit system being desegregated. Two years later, she moved to Detroit, where she continued her civil rights activism while living with her husband, Raymond, in a first-floor flat at 3201 Virginia Park. The civil rights legend was 92 when she died in 2005.

Gary Miles, The Detroit News' editor and publisher, said the interns will work at the newspaper for 12 weeks, gaining experience as reporters, photographers, multimedia producers and other roles.

They will also earn a paycheck. Once completed, the two internships will pay each student more than $13,500 — money that can help them with their college education, he said.

"The news industry needs a constant influx of talented journalists, but internship opportunities have been limited by tightening budgets," Miles said in a statement. "Those limitations are especially acute for people of color. But by partnering together, the foundation and The News are excited to expand opportunities to get real-world experience."

The internships will only open to Rosa Parks scholarship recipients who apply for them. Candidates must also have completed at least one year of college by June 2022.

Kim Trent, front right, sits with the late Rosa Parks, center, at a scholarship luncheon. Trent, the former chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors, was a former Rosa Parks Scholarship winner and a Detroit News intern.

The application period for the internships is expected to begin Oct. 1. Details are expected to be posted on the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation website before the application period starts.

The interns are expected to be selected by a committee designated by the foundation and The News. Recipients of the internships will be notified by the end of January 2022.

Funding for the internships will come from donations to the scholarship foundation that are dedicated to the program, officials said.

"This gives another great reason for our most talented high school seniors to apply for Rosa Parks scholarships," Trent said. "By being among the 40 yearly winners, they are eligible to compete for two summers of invaluable work experience."