Alumna named New York Times fellow

April 13, 2024

Shayla Colon softly smiles for a headshot that is in black and white.

Shayla “Lee” Colon ’19, MS ’20, was recently accepted into the prestigious New York Times fellowship program and earned the opportunity to work on the metro desk. Her passion for journalism and successful early career has led her down the path to this opportunity.

The alumna’s interest in journalism was sparked in high school through communications and public speaking courses. One of her favorite teachers, Roseanne Riolo, showed her the importance of shedding light on injustices, holding people accountable and sharing stories.

"It’s how we connect with others and can step beyond our bubbles to better understand the world’s citizens and their experiences," Colon said.

During her time as a Bobcat, she took advantage of every academic resource and professional opportunity that came her way.

“My wonderful professors taught me the ins and outs of my craft, how to manage my career with my personal life and most importantly gave me the support I needed to push through any hurdles in my way,” said Colon.

She credits the Director of Career Development for the School of Communications Lila Carney, along with the entire career development office for her success. The staff exposed her to industry professionals during her Quinnipiac tenure and gave her the chance to connect with those in her field and network post-graduation.

After earning two bachelor’s degrees — one in English and another in journalism — as well as a master’s in interactive communications and media, Colon embarked on her professional career.

“I have loved my career every day since starting,” said Colon. “I’ve thus far had the privilege of working in great newsrooms with fellow journalists who are eager to share their experience and teach.”

She spent two years as a Hearst fellow working on a variety of beats in Connecticut and New York. With guidance from her mentors at that position, she published some investigations that won awards. After completing that fellowship, she landed a job with a Financial Times Specialist publication covering real estate and infrastructure in private markets.

After applying three times to the extremely selective New York Times fellowship, Colon’s dedication and commitment to her field was proven by her acceptance to the program for the 2024-25 year.

“I have always wanted to work for The New York Times,” said Colon. “It’s funny because when I announced my fellowship news, a couple of old peers from my Quinnipiac days messaged me and said they can still remember how I spoke about working for this paper in the dorms. It’s just nice to see that all of the late nights, source walks and studying has paid off.”

She hopes that her work at the Times will help others, even if in some small way.

While she can check this accomplishment off of her short-term goals list, Colon aspires to become a foreign correspondent someday. She believes that working with renowned writers at the esteemed paper will act as the steppingstone to achieving long-term success in her career.

“I am so grateful for all of the people I’ve crossed paths with, especially the faculty at Quinnipiac,” said Colon. “They were once my teachers and now many are friends of mine. I owe them the most and hope I can make them proud."

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